A family friend from Pennsylvania reached out to me a few months ago about a special trip he and his sister were planning on taking with their 80-something-year-old dad. Their trip included two nights in lovely Kalispell, Montana – which allowed me to play tour guide for a day. We started our day by driving up to Polebridge Mercantile for some huckleberry bear claws, then headed over Logan Pass, down to St. Mary River for lunch & fishing, followed by a trek in & out of Many Glacier, then headed back to Kalispell via Highway 2. For the record, I have stopped at Goat Lock nearly every time I have driven past it. I’d likely guess I’ve stopped over 100x and until TODAY had not once seen so much as a hint of a goat other than the sign at the trailhead stating they were there. I can now confirm there are actual goats at the Goat Lick rest area. Yay!
Another trip around the Daystar. Another new adventure was taken. While I had initially had a backpacking trip into the Crazy Mountains planned, it was sidetracked & a new adventure was formulated that included multiple days of hiking in different areas and crystal mining. Xoxo.
Although Rost and I had just returned home from our most recent trip to the East Coast, Brian had a work conference in Missoula this week so Rost and I tagged along.
Over the course of a week Rost and I walked more than 50 miles around the city and ate Big Dipper ice cream nearly every day we were there. In my defense, it was 100 or more every day we were there. We saw lots of friends, got to check out the Missoula library, and finally swam in Becky’s pool! I was also able to squeeze in an abdominal MRI at my old place of work, Advanced Imaging, to follow up on the masses discovered on my liver and pancreas back in July. I am happy to report they appear non-cancerous and only require re-checks every 6 months for the foreseeable future. Huzzah!
The air was filled with the sweet scent of pine as we arrived at the campsite, surrounded by towering trees and a babbling stream nearby. Rost had spent the first two nights camping with Grandma & Grandpa while I took my first vacay from momming in well over a year (48 bittersweet hours – a ridiculous amount of stuff was accomplished).
Brian & I joined in on the fun Friday night to enjoy a couple of days relaxing at the lake.
This unforgettable experience marked the beginning of countless adventures for my little explorer, creating cherished memories to last a lifetime.
My friend Bre and I took a third trip to bike the Going to the Sun Road. Another attempt that had me turned around before reaching the end point yet again. My first trip out was rained out (something I now need to take into account when adventuring with Rost), the second trip a grizzly bear decided the road was (rightfully) his (or hers). On this trip, a flat tire on Bre’s bike meant she had to run roughly 3 miles next to her bike back to the trailhead while I took our boys back in my double bike trailer – which I luckily decided to use on this trip instead of the single bikes seat Rost prefers.
It had been raining all week when there was a break in the clouds. Not wanting to miss a bit of our short summer here in NW Montana, Rost and I loaded up the RadRover and took off for the park.
Finally! We reached the end of the current bikeable part of the road.
While success was ours, the day took a sad turn while we were stuck in the parking lot while rescue crews did their best to resuscitate a woman who ultimately lost her life after falling into Avalanche Creek. A somber reminder that nature is powerful and often unforgiving.
I’ll leave you with a little tale to end on a good note: At our turnaround point, I could tell that the break in the weather we were experiencing was coming to an end. I turned Rost into the dry duckling that could and handed him a PB&J sandwich to snack on while we coasted back down the road. As we hit speeds of over 30 mph Rost began rubbing his hands all over the small of my back. He’d never done that before and it took me several minutes to figure out what the heck he was doing. As we hit top speed my tanktop began fluttering in the wind. It generally does not do that and so this was a new experience for him. He was trying to figure out how my shirt was seemingly moving on its own. As Rost was scratching my back, he also discovered he could snap my biking shorts back. About halfway down the mountain, Rost proceeded to deposit his half-eaten PB&J sandwich into my shorts, sending sticky sweetness oozing down my buttcrack.
Living only thirty minutes outside of Glacier National Park definitely has its benefits. One of those is quick and easy access to the Going to the Sun road.
Each year the road opens first to hikers and bikers. I’ve had the chance to bike the road during this time once before when I lived in Missoula. This particular trip biking the road was rained out but I plan on taking full advantage of the close proximity for years to come.
The moment you slip into those soothing waters, the worries and stresses just melt away. The earthy scent, the gentle heat, and the mineral-infused waters create a unique symphony of relaxation for both body and soul. It’s a special kind of serenity that only those who’ve immersed themselves in hot springs can truly understand. While I prefer natural hot springs out in the middle of nowhere, I’m not one to pass up the chance to sit in hot water since our home no longer has the creature comforts of a tub.
The last month has definitely centered around spending time with family and friends.
Sadly, it also included Rost’s first trip (of what I’m sure will be many for this little mountain goat) to the ER. After exhibiting a fever of 102.8 and difficulty breathing we took him in one night. After 4 hours of waiting we got the diagnosis of an ear infection. Due to my history of ear infections as a child, which resulted in multiple sets of tubes, I hope this kid has his father’s ear canals.
As a true Montanan, Rost has been out in the woods many hours already during his life. Over the last several weeks, much of this time has been spent not just on a leisure hike but as scouting trips for future hunts to fill our freezers.
I’m looking forward to the day he wants to heat out into the wild on out of his own. In the meantime, it’s been fun watching this little guy explore the natural world around him with the assistance of his family. Rost really enjoyed the spoils of Dada’s fishing trips this past summer. By the look on his face it appears he’ll be a hunter in the future as well.
In the meantime, it’s my job to teach him to be respectful of our natural world, thankful for where our food comes from, and to go at it all with a bit of grace and humor.