Tag Archives: Montana

Wade & Cliff Lakes

UntitledLast summer on a random weekend, I packed up the camping supplies, rented a couple os SUPs and picked up my friend E. We headed south to Wade and Cliff Lakes. We had never been down there before but had heard it was a beautiful area and it was only about two hours away. The lakes are tucked behind some hills on a random dirt road. There is a campground at each lake and one in between on the hill. We arrived pretty early but all the spots on Wade Lake were taken and Cliff Lake was windy so we checked the hilltop instead and were able to grab one of the last spots. It was definitely a more popular spot that I expected. Several people looked like they were there for more than a weekend. We set up a tent to stake our claim and head back down to the water.
Untitled Untitled

People were fishing and hanging out on the beaches. We packed our lunch up on the boards and headed out. Both lakes are smaller and we were on Wade Lake. We went across the lake and back in a fairly lazy fashion. Coming back we were fighting wind, but once we reached the beach, we laid out with some wind and continued relaxing.
Untitled

The campgrounds are the typical basic set up and we had a site backed up to cliff. The whole area is a geological fault where the lakes sit and is what created the cliffs around the area. There are little roadside signs and a walk from the campground to the lake explain it all. So beyond a beautiful site, you can get a geology lesson as well. A perfect weekend get away!

Untitled

Advertisements

Taste of the Trails [West Yellowstone]

Untitled
Last year, a random group of friends headed down to West Yellowstone for the Taste of the Trails.  I didn’t really know anyone except the one person that invited me. No one had been to the Taste before and we didn’t know what to expect. It was so great, we came back and talked it up, resulting in a return trip with new people this year. This year the sky stayed grey most of the day and we did get snowed on a little bit, but it was still a great day to be out.
Untitled

The Taste of the Trails is a 5k cross country ski event by the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation.  They have four food stations set up along the pristine Rendezvous Trails. You begin with appetizers, (elk strudel and candied bacon anyone?), followed by soup, (your choice of four different kinds), then the main course, (payaya!), finishing with dessert (too many to list but the chocolate chip bread pudding so so good).
Untitled
Payaya
Untitled
Dessert! So many to try. 
The course was super easy. They removed the one steep hill that was before the soup station this year to make it even more beginner friendly. The course has a biathlon shooting range on it. This year there were people training as we came along for our main course stop.
Untitled
The hill that took many down last year

The cabin that they serve the main course is an old ranger cabin that they moved over  to save it from demolition.Untitled

After we finished our course and warmed up in the warming hut, a couple of us went back out to do a little bit more exploring. The trails are so well taken care of and the maps and markers make it so easy to not get lost as you weave in and around the forest. I need to pay more attention to the events they have going on. They do a fun/beginners biathlon that I would love to try out and several other fun races.
Untitled
One of the hills we would realize was not so bad later on

When we were done, we meet up with the others at the local Buffalo Bar before heading over to the Norris Hot Springs to finish the day off before heading back to Bozeman. I’m sure we’ll have another great crew headed down again for next years Taste!

Untitled
Last year’s crew

Women’s March [Time to Stand Up]

Untitled
For most of my adult life I have been afraid to voice my opinions that relate to politics. Because quite frankly, I fucking hate politics. I refuse to select a party. I don’t fully buy into one or the other and think we probably need more than two parties to define the melting pot that is the United States. I understand why we have government and laws. I pay my taxes, I might complain at times, but I know why its necessary, so fine. It’s politics I hate and you know what I mean.

I have a sneaking suspicion this is also rooted in the fact that I grew up conservative in a rural area of a red state and then left it. After I left home and had many different experiences. Experiences that proved things are not so black and white. That put me somewhere in the middle because I knew where both sides were coming from and I agree with both sides on a little of this and a little of that. And those changes or opinions did not always align with most of my family or friends back home. I gained many great values and learned a lot as a farmer’s daughter. I would never, ever disagree with that and my change in ideas felt like I was a traitor. As someone not huge on arguing, (though, I will if I am confident I know what I am arguing about), I have mostly kept my mouth shut. I did what I could to move my ideas and thoughts forward through various volunteer actives and organization support and did not broadcast it on social media.

For the record, I hope our 45th President is so great that I happily vote for him again in four years. I’m not kidding.

But for that to happen, it’s time for me to stop being afraid. It’s time for me to tell my father his “joke” that we knew the first place to check was the only black family’s home on our block if anything was missing the night we forgot to lock the door, is not funny or okay. It’s time to stop pretending that the times I was sexually assaulted (it may have been in small ways, but it doesn’t matter, its not okay that I rationalized were fine, because it wasn’t a big deal, because I wasn’t hurt. And no. those incidents were not in the big scary city of New York, it happens right here in Montana), was something that did not need to be acknowledge. because it does need to be. It’s time for me to stand up for my friends who are gay or bi or whatever they identify as, because they are some of the nicest, most wonderful people I know and I don’t understand how anyone could think they are less human and therefore don’t deserve equal treatment. It’s time for me to stand up for the environment. Its time for me to fight for equal pay and opportunities in employment as my male counterparts that I equally matched. I care about job in this country. I care about agriculture, the land, the way of life I was raised in. I don’t really give two shits about guns. I care about all the violence we see because of them. I believe its time to stop blaming and start taking ownership over these systematic problems and make it right. No one can claim we have some sort of great solution for a lot of things. I’m pretty sure we all want safe communities, support our children’s education, want our children to grow up in health environments and want to see jobs increase in America. And no not everyone is going to be completely happy all the time. But that’s why it’s time for me to speak up, because the only way we will find resolution is by talking and meeting in the middle. And so I went to the Women’s March in Montana.

Untitled

Some have poo pooed it and ridiculed it, as if they didn’t have the opportunity or, in fact, do the similar things years ago. I’m guessing it’s because they don’t actually understand what is was about. I want to know why you felt the need to publicly to make fun of it, instead of asking someone why they were marching. Some have said, we need to accept who the president is. We have. Don’t worry. That’s why we marched, it wasn’t us throwing a fit. It was us reminding the president we are here and we are not going away, that our issues matter too. Some have assumed those who marched think they are lesser citizens with out voices. We know you have voices and know you’re intelligent and passionate too. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with you or that I have to shut up. We also have voices and we also have the same right to use them for what we believe is right and we might, just might, be using them to voice for more that ourselves, our needs. Some think it was a man bashing session. I don’t think I heard one bad word about men. Bottom line: we were not “just stomping around in little pink hats” (but I wish I had a pink hat!) and doing nothing more. You are grossly underestimating us.

The Women’s March in Montana was so uplifting, so hopeful, so exciting. The mission of the march is: “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” It was not meant to be a march against the president. There was dancing, there was singing, there was no violence. The march was invigorating and a call to action. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many women and men who feel the same. We were encouraged by our state’s first lady and our senator, Jon Tester, telling us to keep marching, keep fighting. I hope they do the same. The march was our way of reminding everyone that we care about so much more about what we leave for our children, (well maybe your children, let’s not pretend I have intentions of going down that road). It was us saying  that we are going to work tirelessly for change important to recognize and honor the melting pot that this country is. It was our way of saying that we are not going to let fear win. Diversity empowers us. Diversity of every kind.  So I am going to voice my thought, prayers, whatever, and I’m going to try to not be afraid of the backlash I might get from those closest to me.

For those of you who bothered to make it through I leave you with these three things.
One, an apology for getting so heavy, but it’s my blog so I get to do what I want.
Two this quote, I don’t know where it came from, but it resonates:

“If you are a woman that does not believe that there is a reason to protest, you should be thankful that you have never been discriminated against. But there comes a time when you will have to realize that this isn’t all about you– that there are women fighting every day for equal pay, affordable birth control, and low cost healthcare provided by PP. That there are women who may never feel safe again because the men who sexually assaulted them were not given jail time. The fact that you have never been faced with hardship does not mean that it does not exist, in the same way that just because you ate today doesn’t mean that world hunger has ended. Be aware that this is about ALL WOMEN. One day, when you are faced with this discrimination, we will be there and we will stand by you.”

Three, this NYT Video about talking to the people you love and who voted for the other side.

Domestic Dispute Retreat [Bozeman Office Bonding Experience]

Untitled
Last spring, our office was getting pretty tense. We decided we needed to “air our grievances” and “do some bonding.” Or something like that. So we went to  cabin at an undisclosed location near Pony, Montana, former home of the Duck Races, for our Domestic Dispute Retreat. At least that’s the story we told the bosses.

The cabin is one of my coworkers little hideaways and it was effing adorable and perfect. The location is up a dirt road along a little creek. There is no internet and terrible, if any, cell service. No one is anywhere near you. There is a main cabin with a kitchen, living room and bathroom and then three sleeper cabins down a little boardwalk.

Untitled
Look at that stove! And the farm sink!
Untitled
Required fireplace
Untitled
And that bath!
Untitled
Sleeping Cabins

We had ribs that were being smoked with a secret recipe, lots of booze and bobcat cornhole. And that was basically what we did all afternoon until dinner was ready. I did whip up a quick Raspberry – Rhubarb Tart for dessert.
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
Note a hydroflask is an excellent rolling pin in a pinch
After dinner we headed down to the famous Pony Bar for a few drinks and pool. We stopped by the horse on the hill for a required team building exercise: getting J on the horse and in the correct photo position.
Untitled
Untitled
Watch your step
Once we made our way back to the cabin, the guys stayed up playing poker and the girls crashed. The next morning our host made an amazing egg bake thing in a dutch oven over a camp fire before we all headed home with our hang overs. All grievances cleared and ready to head back to the office on Monday, until the snow clears this spring…
Untitled

Sunday Coffee Date [Thanksgiving Edition, #56]

Untitled
Feed toast and coffee! MMMM

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would say, “Happy Thanksgiving!” I went back to South Dakota and my sisters were home as well. Our brother couldn’t make it. We had dinner over at grandma and grandpa’s house where we got grandpa to play Apples to Apples. He didn’t win, but he beat me. And he has Alzheimer’s.
Untitled

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that we did some Black Friday shopping, although a lot of it was stuff dad wanted us to pick up for him at Cabela’s. I did manage to get most, if not all of my shopping done for Christmas. We also set up the tree at home and I need to get mine up before my holiday party next weekend. Eeeck!

Untitled
If we were having coffee, I would tell you about Diesel, my parents dog, that had to have his leg amputated on Monday. He was already hopping around on his remaining three legs and begging for extra attention because of his condition. I also finally met Duke, the new puppy, who is not a puppy. But he is still adorable.
Untitled

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that some days, I definitely feel like I could use on of these.

If we having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that my floor hockey team killed it in the finals. We did not win a single game all season and then we won both final games, including one against the undefeated team, to make it to the championship game. We didn’t win the title but it was so fun. I still have the bruises on my shins.

If we having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I went speed dating with a friend. We meet another great girl friend, but definitely not boys. It was more for the fun of it but definitely disappointing compared to when I went in New York. We did get some good laughs though.

Untitled
If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that we had a ton of fun at Dr. K’s game night. Even though I am not big on games where you have to make up things or preform things, but Quelf was pretty fun. A little long, but fun. Other people definitely got into it.

Untitled
White Sulfur Hot Springs

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that my sister, Dani came to visit last weekend. She was helping some people move out here from Sturgis and stayed for the weekend. We had some good meals, hung out at the White Sulpher Hot Springs and watched the Cats loose the Griz. It was a sad day. I’m glad I didn’t spend money on tickets for us to go to the game and just watched it at a bar.
Untitled

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I never get tired of this view. I would have definitely missed it if I had moved back to New York.
Untitled

Sacagawea Peak

Sac peak

If you haven’t noticed, I tried to get in as many hikes as possible this summer. The weather has stayed nice so long this year, that I’ve had a chance to get a couple more in before it turns bad. At the end of September C and I went up to Sacagawea Peak, the tallest in the Bridgers at 9665 feet.  The hike is just shy of 6 miles round trip and gains 2000 feet, (For the record, websites say its a 4+ mile hike. I tracked us only going down and it had us at 2.8 miles, so not really sure what the deal is…)  Who doesn’t like to be on top of the world?

Sac peak

The hike starts at Fairy Lake. You climb up through the trees for a bit before you begin switching back and forth through the basin to a  small saddle where the trail splits and you can head west down in into Gallatin Valley or up to the peak. The switch backs can be pretty tedious at times and the path is pretty narrow. I maybe slipped on the loose rocks on the way down once…

Sac peak
From the saddle
Sac peak
Scrambling to the top

The last bit of the hike is  a little bit of a scramble over hard rocks and the wind was blowing once we reach the saddle, but it’t not really that difficult of a hike. You can keep going along the ridge line all the way to the M, only 21 more miles away. (This is something I want to do sometime, just need to get a crew to go!)
Sac peak
See the trail?

Sac peak
Those white spots are mountain goats!

On the way down we spotted the elusive mountain goats that are typically hanging out on the peak. Maybe they were not into the wind. I wasn’t paying attention to when we started, but it took somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours to get up and an hour to get down. It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning and I wish I would have done it earlier this year. If the road up to Fairy Lake wasn’t so rough, I would do it frequently. We’ll see what next summer brings!
Sac peak

Hyalite Peak

By CW

I meant to hike to Hyalite Peak a decade ago when I was in school at MSU but somehow failed to do it. I think I was afraid of the distance and elevation gain during my fat kid stage. I don’t know why I was afraid, especially with the views at the top. I don’t know who suggested we do it one random August day, but I’m so glad they did.
By CW
by Chels

The hike starts at the Grotto Falls trail head behind the reservoir. You take a right at the fork, do not continue east to the East Grotto Falls trail head. The hike is about 15 miles round trip and gains 3378 feet, most of which is during the last two miles.
map_hyalite_waterfalls
via
The first five miles are pretty easy. Starting at 6900 feet in elevation, you cross several streams and pass many waterfalls on your way up.
Untitled
By CW
via Chels
Untitled

At the end of the five miles is a lake in the basin at approximately 8900. We hung out there for a moment before heading up to the peak, the second tallest in the Gallatin Range, at 10298 feet.
Untitled
the hike switchbacks up to the saddle and ends at the top of the peak on the left!

Untitled

From up there you can see the Bridgers, the Crazies the Absorkees, the Spanish Peaks, and the Tabacoo Roots as well as Hyalite Canyon, Gallatin Valley and Paradise Valley. It is beautiful and amazing how far you can see. We spent about an hour on the top before heading down.
Untitled
By CW
via Chels
By CW
via Chels

The hike down from the peak to the lake was pretty quick but the trip from the lake down was about the same time as heading up. Round trip it took us about 6 hours, including the time spent at the lake and on top. If you have the time and are in Bozeman, you should do this hike. It’s amazing up there.

Untitled