Category Archives: Summer

Must-Stop Family Road-Trip Attractions

There’s nothing quite like loading up the family and embarking on an epic road trip to make some everlasting memories and there’s no place to make those memories better than Montana. From the Bitterroot Valley to Glacier National Park, Western Montana has enough scenic byways for a lifetime of cruising. We love road trips and camping so we partnered with Bretz RV & Marine to bring you a spring camping gear giveaway. So enter to win, load up your RV, chart a route through our charming small towns and make it a point to pull over and check out these fun and unique roadside attractions.

A Hefty Hereford

Stoney’s Bull sits at Clearwater Junction and greets travelers along Highways 200 and 93.

Along Highway 200 at Clearwater Junction, you’ll find a 15-foot-high, 18-foot-long Hereford steer.

50,000 Silver $ Bar

50,000 Silver $ Bar

Stop in St. Regis to visit the infamous 50,000 silver dollar bar, stay for the burgers, shakes and souvenirs.

Stay: Salmon Lake State Park, Clearwater Junction, Big Larch Campground

Flathead Cherries

Flathead Cherries

At 3,000 feet above sea level, Flathead Lake has the perfect growing climate for cherries. Make your way around the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi to see the orchards, and be sure to stop at a roadside stand for a taste of this prized fruit.

Stay: Campground St. Regis, Nugget RV Park

Amazing Fun Center

The Amazing Fun Center in Coram, MT

When you’re done exploring Glacier National Park take the kids to the Amazing Fun Center in West Glacier. With a 1.5-mile maze, go karts, bumper boats and mini golf, you won’t leave without being at least a little a-MAZE-d.

Stay: Flathead Lake KOA in Polson, Polson Motorcoach & RV Resort, Edgewater R.V. Resort & Motel in LakesideDiamond S RV Park in Ronan

Seeley Lake

A family docks their boat as the sun sets over Seeley Lake

With easy water access, a walk-up burger joint (Bay Burgers, right on the lake!) and ice cream shops (try a blue-goo swirl cone at The Ice Cream Place), your family will fall in love with this little lake town.

Stay: Seeley Lake Campground

Darby

What road trip is complete without a stop at an old-fashioned candy store? Darby, Montana’s Old West Candy Store is the perfect spot to satisfy your sweet tooth. Don’t miss out on the huckleberry options!

Stay: Travellers Rest Cabins and RV Park

Float the Clark Fork and Ride the Carousel

A Carousel for Missoula

Stop in Missoula to ride one of the fastest carousels in the West. If you’re there on the weekend, be sure to check out one of several farmers markets on Higgins Avenue. Cool off with a scenic float down the Clark Fork River afterwards.

Stay: Jellystone RV Park, Cabins, Campground, Boat & RV Storage, Jim & Mary’s RV Park, Missoula KOA

A couple enjoys their RV stay in Glacier Country

We’ve partnered with Bretz RV & Marine of Missoula to help you on your journey to find these Western Montana roadside gems. Store gear, grill and lounge with this custom camping set perfect for your next adventure.

Enter to win here:

Explore-Worthy Excursions in Western Montana

We all need a little adventure in our lives, and we all have different thoughts about what that means, so here are a handful of travel ideas to explore, depending on your “adventure type.”

The Bookish Explorer: Montana Valley Book Store

Montana Valley Book Store in Alberton, Montana

You know the type—they carry a novel in their bag everywhere they go and insist on stopping in a bookstore in every new town they visit. If this is you, we’ve found your heaven on earth in Alberton, Montana. The Montana Valley Book Store houses more than 100,000 unique and rare books at any given time. Their shelves are constantly rotating, waiting for the perfect book lover to walk in. Open year-round, the owner lives only five minutes away and will come unlock the store for whomever stops by.

Inside Montana Valley Book Store.

Pro tip: For lunch, stop at the Flyin’ R Café for a homemade patty melt on marbled rye. Write your name next to ours on the wall, snap a pic and use #GlacierMT to say hello!

Write your name on the wall at Flyin’ R Cafe’.

Patty Melt at Flyin’ R Cafe’ in Alberton, Montana.

The History Seeker: Garnet Ghost Town

Overlooking Garnet Ghost Town.

The most intact ghost town in Montana—Garnet—takes its name from the ruby-colored stone. The town itself hasn’t been inhabited since the late 1940s, though volunteers help visitors explore the buildings for anyone who hikes in during the summer. If you’re a cold-weather history seeker, click into your cross-country skis and glide into town. Be sure to peek in the windows of the hotel, general store, post office and saloon. Visit our ghost towns page to learn more about the old mining campsites on Garnet Range Road and how to get there.

Pro Tip: The Bureau of Land Management rents out two Garnet Ghost Town cabins in the winter.

The Backcountry Rambler: Holland Lake Waterfall

Stand-up paddleboarder enjoys an early spring day on Holland Lake.

Nestled in the Seeley-Swan Valley and good for an adventure in any season, Holland Falls is a three-mile round-trip trek up trail #42. To get there in winter, strap on your snowshoes, or hike up on a hot summer day to cool off in the mist of the massive falls. The trail ends just before the falls and overlooks Holland Lake. Then, head back down for a little water play in the lake. It’s is a popular spot for campers, canoers and stand-up paddleboarders.

Overlooking Holland Lake from Holland Falls.

The Pioneer: Martin City + Hungry Horse

Hungry Horse Reservoir.

There are three things you need to know about Martin City and Hungry Horse, Montana.

  1. In 2017 they held their 39th annual Cabin Fever Days and Barstool Ski Races.
  2. The towns were created after World War II during the construction of Hungry Horse Dam.
  3. They love your dam puns.

The Romantic: Fire Lookouts

Come on, we know you’ve dreamed about escaping to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, wistfully sipping coffee while you watch the sun rise over the Rocky Mountains. Well, here’s your chance, you romantic, you. The U.S. Forest Service rents fire lookouts and cabins throughout Montana on a first-come first-served basis. This off-the-beaten-path getaway can be yours for a small reservation fee. Western Montana houses eight of these 360-degree-view, picturesque lodging options. Reserve your spot at recreation.gov.

The Foraging Fiend: Huckleberries

Huckleberries.

This finicky native shrub only grows in high elevations, making Montana’s mountains a perfect home for its tasty berries. Huckleberries look like small blueberries and taste like a cross between a blueberry and blackberry. While you can find huckleberry syrup and jam at many Western Montana stores and farmers markets, the true forager will take to the hills looking to find their own “purple gold.” Most Montanans won’t give just anyone their secret berry spot, but we can tell you that the state’s legislature coined Trout Creek the “Huckleberry Capital of Montana.” Plan to visit in August for the Huckleberry Festival, and they just might share their secrets.

Pro Tip: If you decide to forage for huckleberries, be sure to make some noise and carry bear spray. Montana is bear country, and huckleberries are bear food.

Kayaker paddles through Holland Lake on a peaceful fall morning.

What’s your adventure type? Tell us by tweeting or gramming @glaciermt or #glaciermt.

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A Pack Trip in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness: Part Three

I’m just going to say it: spending a week in the backcountry of Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness was a memory I’m never going to forget. But before I get too sappy, let’s pick up where we left off from parts one and two of this trip.

Day six was our last official day in camp and while most of the group opted to do a horseback trail ride to the Flathead River, I decided to stay at camp and go fishing with Bill—another guest on the trip. And while we had a great time fishing the purest water I’ve ever seen, it was the experience of fishing at this particular place that made it such a wonderful day.

Our fishing hole on White River.

Our fishing hole on White River.

You see, my mama and my grandpa (as well as my grandma and aunts and uncles) used to come into the Bob Marshall Wilderness every summer for their family vacation. The best part: they fished this exact fishing hole on White River.

No filter or editing; the water really is this color.

No filter or editing; the water really is this color.

And while my grandpa has been gone for a few years now (and I still miss him every day), it was so special to know that both my grandpa and my mom had spent time casting their own fishing lines in this spot. Sidenote: this was a memory my mama shared with me after I came out of the Bob. Looking back on that day, I spent quite a bit of time just sitting on the shore of White River and trying to soak up every moment. Now it makes sense to me why I was so drawn to that particular location; being in the same place my mom and grandpa had been decades before turned that Montana memory into something that I can only describe as part magic and completely special.

I'm certain that I'll love this place forever.

I’m certain that I’ll love this place forever.

Fishing will Bill, another sweet (and funny) grandpa.

Fishing will Bill, another sweet (and funny) grandpa.

Patiently waiting.

Patiently waiting.

I love a feisty fish.

I love a feisty fish.

Pretty little trout.

Pretty little trout.

The little fly that landed the fish.

The little fly that landed the fish.

After a few hours on the river, we headed back to camp to meet up with the rest of our crew. At dinner on our last night, we sat around eating ribeye steak (which was THE best steak I’ve ever had) and sharing highlights from our trip. Our group shared moments that included Amy’s cooking, the views from the Chinese Wall and making the ride to Gladiator. When it was time for my turn, I teared up…and not because I was sad, but because a trip like this isn’t something that can easily be put into words. To sum it up, it was one of the most impactful trips I’ve ever taken. We all went to bed that night knowing that we had all shared an experience that would stay with us forever.

On the last day, we awoke early and prepared to hit the 24-mile-long trail to Benchmark.

This is how light it was at 5:38 a.m. in the mountains.

This is how light it was at 5:38 a.m. in the mountains.

By 9 a.m., we were climbing up the Continental Divide toward White River Pass.

By 9 a.m., we were climbing up the Continental Divide toward White River Pass.

Looking west.

Looking west.

Giving the horses a rest on top of the pass.

Giving the horses a rest on top of the pass is always a good idea, especially with this view.

Standing at a place that's frozen in time.

Standing at a place that’s frozen in time.

Cementing this view in my mind.

Cementing this moment in my mind.

Giving Popeye a well-deserved break from carrying my booty up the mountain.

Giving Popeye a well-deserved break from carrying my booty up the mountain.

We walked a few miles down from White River Pass along creeks and through forests before mounting our horses to ride the rest of the way to our lunch stop. While we were taking a break, the two pack strings caught up with us. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: those mules can move.

Tucker and his pack string.

Tucker and his pack string.

Crossing the creek, with a stop to let the mules drink.

Crossing the creek, with a stop to let the mules drink.

Turk and his string.

Turk and his string.

A well-behaved mule string is a beautiful thing.

A well-behaved mule string is a beautiful thing.

Riding back through an old forest fire. As we made our way through this burnt forest, a wind howled through the trees creating one of the eeriest sounds I've ever heard.

Riding back through an old forest fire.

As we made our way through this burnt forest, a wind howled through the trees creating one of the eeriest sounds I've ever heard.

As we made our way through this burnt forest, a wind howled through the trees creating one of the eeriest sounds I’ve ever heard.

Getting closer! At this point, we were about 2 hours away from the trailhead and our rear ends were feeling it.

Getting closer! At this point, we were about 2.5 hours away from the trailhead and our rear ends were feeling it.

Officially leaving The Bob.

Officially leaving The Bob.

Just a girl and her horse.

Just a girl, her horse and their shadows.

We were met at the trailhead by Bryar and Amy's folks: Mark and Renee.

We were met at the trailhead by Bryar (Amy and Tucker’s oldest son) and cool drinks.

For fun (and to help me remember the trip and be able to share this off-the-grid Montana experience with you), I created a little video. Take a look…

A few things to keep in mind if you’d like to take a pack trip into one of Montana’s most beautiful places, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex:
-Go with an experienced outfitter. Mills Wilderness Adventures has more than 100 years of experience packing into The Bob and it shows in how they handle their stock, welcome their guests and act as true stewards of the land. Other recommended outfitters can be found here.
-Book your trip in advance. If you want to take a pack trip in summer 2017, start researching the area and outfitter you’d like to go with now.
-You don’t have to be an avid horseback rider to take a pack trip. If you’re not, your booty will be sore (especially on day one and day seven) but riding that far is manageable. Don’t let the distance scare you.
-If you book a trip with Amy and Tucker Mills, get ready for some of the best storytelling you’ll ever hear. While Tucker has a quiet demeanor, he is one of the best storytellers in the area.
-If you plan on using your cell phone as your camera, bring a portable or solar charger.
-For packing, be sure to bring a button-down shirt (or two); hiking boots (don’t forget these at home – I was SO glad I had cowboy boots and hiking boots); and riding gloves (to help keep your hands a bit clean during long rides).

As for me, this trip was special because it’s a memory that could only be made in Montana. And that’s something I’ll be grateful for forever.

xo,
TT

A Pack Trip in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness: Part Two

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that earlier this summer I fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine and took a pack trip into Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness will Mills Wilderness Adventures. Sidenote: if you’re just joining me, you can check out part one of the pack trip here.

On day four—the day after our incredible ride to the Chinese Wall—I decided to hang out at camp, relax and try my hand at taking photos. I was joined by two pals, Turk and Cinnamon, and we headed down to play in White River.

The path from camp down to White River.

The path from camp down to White River.

I'm fairly certain this little path was magic.

I’m fairly certain this little path was magic.

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Getting his saddle ready to ride. My favorite part of this photo: he didn’t know I was taking it.

Turk (and his trusty steed) crossing White River.

Turk (and his trusty steed) crossing White River.

Turk and Cinnamon.

Turk and Cinnamon.

After chatting with Cinnamon along the river, we turned around and saw this scene. This was one of the favorite moments from my trip: just a cowboy hanging out, talking to his horse.

After chatting with Cinnamon along the river, we turned around and saw this scene. This was one of the favorite moments from my trip: just a cowboy hanging out, talking to his horse.

PSA: I love riding horses...but you don't have to be a horseman to enjoy the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Its trails are also perfect for hiking.

PSA: I love riding horses…but you don’t have to be a horseman to enjoy the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Its trails are also perfect for hiking.

Heading back up to camp.

Heading back up to camp.

Hanging out with the horses AKA the perfect companions.

Hanging out with the horses AKA the perfect companions.

After our day hanging out at camp and taking pictures, we awoke on day five to one of the most perfect mornings of the summer.

Good morning to you too, Rocky Mountains.

Good morning to you too, Rocky Mountains.

Low-hanging clouds.

Low-hanging clouds over camp.

Early-morning light.

Early-morning light.

Following breakfast, Bob (one of the wranglers and perhaps one of the kindest men I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting) headed out with his pack string to ride the 24 miles back out to the Benchmark Trailhead. While I knew Bob had done this ride solo many times, as I watched him and his string make their way down the trail I was filled with feelings of awe and wonder as they rode off into the forest.

Bob leading his team.

Bob leading his team.

See ya next time.

Bob saying his goodbyes.

After sending Bob off down the trail, we prepared to head out for today’s destination: Gladiator Mountain. A 12-mile-long ride, I hadn’t heard of this mountain before now, but Amy told me it was one of her favorites so I was pretty positive I was going to love it.

From camp, we stayed parallel with White River for a spell as we made our way into higher elevations and through forested terrain.

From camp, we stayed parallel with White River for a spell as we made our way into higher elevations and through forested terrain.

Looking back toward White River.

Looking back toward White River.

The views from here were AMAZING.

The views from here were AMAZING.

Our first pit stop: Needle Falls.

Our first pit stop: Needle Falls.

Taking in the view of Needle Falls.

Taking in the view of Needle Falls.

This marker was just hanging out, in the MIDDLE of the WILDERNESS.

This marker was just hanging out, in the MIDDLE of the WILDERNESS.

Tucker checking stirrups.

Tucker checking stirrups and the cinch.

Climbing and climbing and climbing.

Climbing and climbing and climbing.

And climbing and climbing.

And climbing and climbing.

After riding across some of the most interesting terrain I’ve ever seen, we arrived to a gorgeous meadow at the base of Gladiator Mountain. And I have to be honest: I was completely surprised at the beauty of this place. I knew it was going to be pretty, but I didn’t expect this lush oasis surrounded by mountain peaks.

My favorite view.

My favorite view.

Our crew eating lunch and marveling at the incredible mountain that rose up before us.

Our crew eating lunch and marveling at the incredible mountain that rose up before us.

Tucker and Gladiator.

Tucker and Gladiator.

Soaking up the sun and the beauty of this meadow.

Soaking up the sun and the beauty of this meadow.

After spending as much time as we could ingraining this place and this moment into our memories, we headed back down the mountain for camp. And that, my friends, was quite the ride. We took a different trail down and the terrain in front of seemed to go on forever, as the only thing in view was endless mountain peaks.

Making our way down.

Making our way down.

Mountains upon mountains.

Mountains as far as the eye can see.

We also found this massive sinkhole on the side of the mountain.

We also found this massive sinkhole on the side of the mountain. Needless to say, we didn’t get too close.

The lovely Janet.

The lovely Janet.

And looking back on those two days now, I know one thing for sure: I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

xo,
TT

A Pack Trip in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness: Part One

Taking a pack trip into Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I grew up on the doorstep of The Bob along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front where I could look out my window and see it everyday, and while I had played in this wilderness on day hikes and rides, I’d never spent an extended amount of time in my backyard treasure. Which, let’s be honest, is kind of weird and really lame.

Montana's Rocky Mountain Front AKA the gateway to the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front AKA the gateway to the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

While several members of my immediate and extended family did horseback pack trips or hiking trips in the Bob Marshall pretty regularly, including my mama (who went in every summer with her family growing up), my grandpa (who made countless trips into The Bob, even during his later years in life) my big sister and both of my little brothers. And yet, my messy-haired blond self never went on any of those trips.

However, ALL of that changed this summer when I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine and spend a week in the heart of one of Montana’s most spectacular places—the Bob Marshall Wilderness. And in case you’re wondering how this dream of mine finally came true, it was because of my friend (who is also my cousin, because Montana is small and my family is big) Amy Mills. Amy and her husband Tucker own Mills Wilderness Adventures and they regularly take guests into The Bob and as luck would have it (and because they’re really nice and knew I had never gone on a pack trip), they invited me to join them for a trip this summer. Needless to say, I jumped at their invitation and on July 14 we headed into the Bob Marshall Wilderness to spend a blissful week in one of the most incredible places on earth.

On the first day of our trip, we met in Augusta and headed to the Benchmark Trailhead for a trip that was sure to be one of the best adventures of my life. We got to the trailhead where Tucker and his crew were waiting for us with pack strings and horses saddled and ready to go.

Morning light at Benchmark Trailhead.

Morning light at Benchmark Trailhead.

By 8 a.m. we were on the trail making our way to White River, our camp for the week. Today’s ride was 24-miles-long and would include cresting the Continental Divide at White River Pass. There was a moment on the ride where I looked back at the rest of the group and saw the mountains rising behind them and wondered if this is how early explorers felt when they set out to explore the West. That feeling was quickly replaced by one that is best described as surreal. Even though The Bob has always been my backyard and I’ve looked at its landscapes thousands of times, I almost couldn’t believe the beauty of it was real. Our views included open meadows, cliffside trails and terrain that was burnt during a forest fire in 2007.

Making our way through a landscape that was burnt in a 2007 forest fire.

This part of the ride (through an old forest fire burn) was hauntingly beautiful. 

At our mid-morning break, the pack strings passed us. Those mules can MOVE.

At our mid-morning break, the pack strings passed us. Those mules can MOVE.

Amy and Hawk leading our group up the trail.

Amy and Hawk leading our group up the trail.

White Rive Pass: Elephant Ear to the left and Haystack Mountain (the start of the southern portion of the Chinese Wall) to the right.

White Rive Pass: Elephant Ear to the left and Haystack Mountain (the start of the southern portion of the Chinese Wall) to the right.

Janet, an avid horsewoman and perhaps one of the loveliest gals ever, checking out the view of the Flathead Alps from White River Pass.

Janet, an avid horsewoman and perhaps one of the loveliest gals ever, checking out the view of the Flathead Alps from White River Pass.

I loved seeing the rest of the guests loving my Montana so much.

Beth and Jeanine capturing a memory. I loved seeing the rest of the guests loving my Montana so much.

"Meet me in Montana, I want to see the mountains in your eyes."

“Meet me in Montana, I want to see the mountains in your eyes.”

After 8+ hours of riding, we arrived in White River and my feelings about camp may have been partially due to my incredible sore booty and achy legs, but it was so beautiful.

The view from camp at White River.

The view from camp at White River.

Day two of the trip was spent doing one thing and one thing only: resting our booties. We also wanted to give the horses a day off, since they were the ones who actually hauled our behinds the 24 miles in to camp. Also, I’d like to give a special thanks to my horse, Popeye. He carried me and my cameras into camp like it was no big deal.

Each night, the horses and mules were put out to pasture. And each morning, the wranglers would bring them back in.

Each night, the horses and mules were put out to pasture and each morning, the wranglers would bring them back to camp.

Crossing White River.

Crossing White River.

Bob finishing up his morning wrangle.

Bob finishing up his morning wrangle.

After a full day of rest, day three brought the moment of the trip I was most excited about. We were going to ride 12 miles from White River to one of the most stunning geological formations in the country: the Chinese Wall. A 22-mile-long rock escarpment, the Chinese Wall reaches heights of 1,000 feet and runs through much of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Standing here, on top of the wall and looking out over endless mountain ranges, is one of my most special memories.

The mountain ranges seem to go on forever.

The mountain ranges seem to go on forever.

Dream come true. Photo: Tommy Meyer

Dream come true. Photo: Tommy Meyer

Amy and Tucker, taking in the landscape.

Amy and Tucker, taking in the landscape.

Standing on top of the wall.

In addition to the cooking, planning, driving and leading guests in and out on horseback, Amy is also a great sport and moonlights as a model when I ask her. 🙂

I think this is what they call a #MontanaMoment.

I think this is what they call a #MontanaMoment.

Basically on top of the world. Photo: Tommy Meyer

Basically on top of the world. Photo: Tommy Meyer

White River from Haystack Mountain (the Chinese Wall).

White River from Haystack Mountain (the Chinese Wall).

Jumping for joy after spending time on top of the Chinese Wall.

Jumping for joy after spending time on top of the Chinese Wall.

And that my friends, is just the beginning. Can’t wait to share parts two and three with you soon!

xo,
TT

25 Photos from Summer in Montana

Truth be told, it doesn’t get much better than summer in MontanaAnd this year, summer has been pretty fantastic. From visiting Bighorn Canyon in Southeast Montana to biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, it’s been full of adventure, beautiful weather and lots of memorable moments. Before the days of summer fully give way to fall, I thought it’d be fun to take a look back at a summer spent in Montana.

Here’s a look at 25 of my favorite summer memories from living, working and playing in Big Sky Country.

1. Bighorn Canyon. 

Visiting Bighorn Canyon in the southeast corner of Montana was the highlight of June.

Visiting Bighorn Canyon in the southeast corner of Montana was the highlight of June.

2. Mission Mountains from the top of Ravalli Hill. 

One of the best views in Montana.

One of the best views in Montana.

3. Gladiator Mountain. 

To get here, you're well-advised to take a hearty horse.

To get here, you’re well-advised to take a hearty horse.

4. American Indian dancers at Ninepipes Lodge in Charlo. 

The dancers + this backdrop made for a perfect morning.

The dancers + this backdrop made for a perfect morning.

5. A late summer sunset. 

A Missoula sunset.

A Missoula sunset.

6. Horses at Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork. 

Letting the horses out to pasture.

Letting the horses out to pasture.

7. A misty morning in Glacier National Park. 

Snow and low clouds lingered in mid-May.

Snow and low clouds lingered in mid-May.

8. Missoula from Waterworks Hill. 

Taking in the view of the Garden City.

Taking in the view of the Garden City.

9. Twilight on Flathead Lake. 

I think this is what they call a perfect Montana summer night.

I think this is what they call a perfect Montana summer night.

10. Riding through remnants of a forest fire. 

Riding through several miles of forest-fire burn was one of the most vibrant memories from the summer.

We rode through several miles of forest-fire burn and this experience is one of my favorite and most vibrant memories from the summer.

11. The Rocky Mountain Front east of Lincoln. 

Country roads, take me home.

I can only imagine the scenes along this road.

12. The Clearwater Canoe Trail. 

Sky and land collide near Seeley Lake.

Sky and land collide near Seeley Lake.

13. Storm clouds over Lake McDonald. 

One of my favorite scenes, the boats of Glacier Park Boat Company at Apgar in Glacier National Park.

One of my favorite scenes, the boats of Glacier Park Boat Company at Apgar in Glacier National Park.

14. The Blackfeet Nation + Glacier National Park. 

This view is just off Highway 2 between East Glacier Park and Browning.

This view is just off Highway 2 between East Glacier Park and Browning.

15. Main Street in Augusta, Montana. 

One of the perks of small-town living: little traffic.

One of the perks of small-town living: little traffic.

16. Biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road. 

One of my favorite memories of the entire year: biking in Glacier National Park.

One of my favorite memories of the entire year: biking in Glacier National Park.

17. The Augusta Rodeo. 

One of the greatest things about summer is that nearly every town in Montana has a rodeo.

One of the greatest things about summer is that nearly every town in Montana has a rodeo.

18. Playing in the water at Placid Lake. 

The Seeley-Swan Valley is home to hundreds of lakes. Placid Lake just happens to be my personal favorite.

The Seeley-Swan Valley is home to hundreds of lakes. Placid Lake just happens to be my personal favorite.

19. Cotton-candy clouds. 

Montana sunsets may be the best sunsets.

Montana sunsets may be the best sunsets.

20. White River, Bob Marshall Wilderness. 

Montana's backcountry looks like THIS.

Montana’s backcountry looks like THIS.

21. Sawtooth Mountain + Montana’s plains. 

One of the most stunning places to see is where the mountains and plains meet.

One of the most stunning places to see is where the mountains and plains meet.

22. The Chinese Wall in Montana. 

Standing on top of the Chinese Wall.

Standing on top of the Chinese Wall, a 22-mile-long rock escarpment in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

23. Country roads. 

Driving Montana's country roads is something I highly recommend when visiting Big Sky Country...because of views like this.

You can never go wrong taking a country road.

24. The Crown of the Continent. 

Many park visitors come in July and August. This photo is why I love visiting in June.

Many park visitors come in July and August. This photo is why I love visiting in June.

25. A barn in Gold Creek. 

To me, farms and ranches are Montana.

To me, farms and ranches are Montana.

It was a great summer.

xo,
TT

A Summer Weekend at Placid Lake State Park

I feel like we’re at the point in our relationship where it’s time to introduce you to one of my favorite places that I’ve been kind of keeping a secret. Please meet my love, Placid Lake State Park

A Fourth of July sunset.

A third of July sunset at the lake.

While I’ve mentioned Placid Lake in the past, I haven’t really shared too much about it with you. But it’s time and the truth of the matter is that Placid Lake is—hands down—one of my favorite destinations in Western Montana.

Why? Well, I’ll tell you…
1. It’s just off-the-beaten-path enough that it takes a little more effort to get there.
2. The campground is fantastic (with electric sites for those of you with RVs and campers).
3. The boat launch is easily navigable and you can rent boat slips.
4. They have showers. (And to be honest, the fact that I can take a 3-minute shower while camping for $1 in quarters is what truly converted me to loving this state park the most).
5. It’s a short drive to Seeley Lake.
6. I really, really love state parks.

Here’s a look at a recent weekend at Placid Lake State Park.

Sunset at the lake.

Sunset at the lake.

My favorite spot on the boat.

My favorite spot on the boat.

Purple mountain majesties.

Purple mountain majesties.

A view from the campground.

A view from the campground.

My buddy Dwain playing on the water.

My buddy Dwain playing on the water.

A perfect day for sailing.

A perfect day for sailing.

Your turn: where’s your favorite place for a weekend away? 

xo,
TT

A Weekend at Home in Augusta, Montana

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know by now that I’m a Montana girl through and through. I live here, love it here and my soul feels at home here. I currently live in one of the “big cities” of Montana and I have to tell you that while I love where I live, there’s no place like home. For me, home is a 2-hour drive over the mountains to a small town that sits along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front: Augusta.

Main Street, Montana.

Oh hi Augusta, Montana.

My family (which is big, wild and fun) is firmly entwined in the community of Augusta, Montana and each year I go home for one of the biggest weekends of the year—the Augusta American Legion Rodeo (which celebrated 80 years of rodeo this year)—to help my mom and dad at our family business, the general store that sits on Main Street. Plus, it’s not just the store that needs some attention during the weekend. I also work our family taco stand. Yep, you read that right. We have a taco stand that is only open one weekend each year. Years ago (as in 35+ years ago), my aunt started the stand when she was home for the summer and it’s an always-present staple during rodeo weekend. Growing up, I worked that taco stand every rodeo weekend and I’m kind of nostalgically happy that that tradition hasn’t changed. Sidenote: I didn’t get any photos of the taco stand or the delicious tacos we serve each year because the stand was insanely busy! 

Anyway, while we worked the entire weekend, it was one of the best weekends and visits home that I’ve had in a long time. Here’s a look at a weekend at home in Montana…

My mom was decked out and ready for the weekend. You can just call her "Cowgirl Sue."

My mom was decked out and ready for the weekend. You can just call her “Cowgirl Sue.”

The much loved and most demanding member of our family, the store.

The much loved and most demanding member of our family, the store.

Evening light lit up the store beautifully.

Evening light lit up the store beautifully.

Ready to ride.

Ready to ride.

The pick-up crew.

The pick-up crew.

Oh hey, cowboy.

Hey cowboy.

Taking in the view of the rodeo arena.

Taking in the view of the rodeo arena.

Night falls over Sawtooth Mountain. PS: this photo was taken at 10:06 p.m.

Night falls over Sawtooth Mountain. PS: this photo was taken at 10:06 p.m.

It was a good weekend.

Your turn: where does your soul feel the most at home?

xo,
TT

A Little Mayhem in Montana

Every once in a while, you meet someone, instantly click and know that this person is someone special. Take, for example, my friend Kristin (also known as Camels + Chocolate). She and I met several years ago on twitter when she was planning a western road trip with her husband, SVV. I weighed in with where they should go and what they should do and pretty soon, Kirstin and I were in Missoula having burgers at the Mo Club. Four years later and Kristin is still one of my favorite people.

Kristin and I in Glacier National Park.

Two twitter (and real-life) friends exploring Glacier National Park.

And as fate would have it, a little over a year ago, she introduced me to three of my new favorite people: Keith, Angie and “Mayhem” Keiser.
Sidenote: if you’re not familiar with the Keisers and Mayhem, be sure to check out Fashion by Mayhem. Long story short, Mayhem is known for making paper dresses and her mama Angie posts them on her instagram account. Mayhem also has a collection (that she designed when she was 4 years old!) with J. Crew. An added bonus: she’s adorable and hilarious. 

From the first time I chatted with Angie on the phone, I knew we’d be quick friends. Fast forward from there and this summer had the Keiser family in Montana, ready to make a week’s worth of memories in Big Sky Country. And the best news (for me anyway): I got to be their on-the-ground tour guide in Western Montana’s Glacier Country.

Mayhem brought me a present: a necklace she designed for her J. Crew collection.

Mayhem brought me a present: a necklace she designed for her J. Crew collection.

We spent a week playing in Glacier Country and soaking up as many Montana moments as possible. Their trip itinerary included two days at The Resort at Paws Up,  a stay in Missoula, a visit to the National Bison Range, a fun-filled day at Flathead Lake Lodge, playing in Whitefish and exploring Glacier National Park. But instead of just telling you about it, I thought it  would be better to show you.

Here’s a look at our Montana adventures…

My mini BFF and I at the antler pile at the National Bison Range.

My mini BFF and I at the antler pile at the National Bison Range.

Animal watching on the National Bison Range.

Animal watching on the National Bison Range.

This view of the Mission Mountains is perfection.

This view of the Mission Mountains is perfection.

Three photographers exploring Montana. Sidenote: the car was in park, off and not moving when this picture was taken.

Three photographers exploring Montana. Sidenote: the car was in park, off and not moving when this picture was taken. Safety first, people.

Watching the horses come in at Flathead Lake Lodge.

Watching the horses come in at Flathead Lake Lodge.

Mayhem trying her hand at bull riding. ;)

Mayhem trying her hand at bull riding. 😉

The views from Whitefish Mountain Resort never cease to amaze me.

The views from Whitefish Mountain Resort never cease to amaze me.

Riding the alpine slide at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Riding the alpine slide at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Mayhem and her mama cruising down the slide.

Mayhem and her mama cruising down the slide.

Two BFFs in Glacier National Park.

Two BFFs in Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park from the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Glacier National Park from the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

As always, "I want to see the mountains in your eyes."

Mountain reflections.

Taking in the view from just below Logan Pass.

Taking in the view from just below Logan Pass.

My favorite childhood destination: Glacier Park Lodge.

I introduced the Keisers to my favorite childhood destination: Glacier Park Lodge.

By the end of the week, I had three new friends and the cutest pint-sized BFF in the West. For this girl, it was a week I’ll always remember. If you want to see more of our week adventuring in Western Montana, just search #MayhemTakesMontana on instagram or twitter.

xo,
TT

PS: To see the trip through the eyes of the Keiser family, check out Angie’s blogs on Montana’s beauty, their stay at The Resort at Paws Up, Missoula and the National Bison Range  and an afternoon spent at Flathead Lake Lodge.

 

Two Days at Montana’s Triple Creek Ranch

Truth time: some of the best meals I’ve ever had were at a guest ranch tucked into the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. The dining experience at Triple Creek Ranch was one comprised of culinary delights that you’d expect to find in a city, as opposed to the quiet mountains of Montana.

Located a short drive southwest of Darby, Triple Creek Ranch isn’t a typical ranch getaway. It’s comprised of beautiful log cabins, an outdoor pool, mountain meadows and trails that are ideal for horseback riding. Oh and in 2014 it was named the #1 hotel in the world by the readers of Travel + Leisure.

The entrance to the main lodge at Triple Creek Ranch.

The entrance to the main lodge at Triple Creek Ranch.

During the two days and nights I spent at Triple Creek Ranch, one of the elements that impressed me was how comfortable it was. Of course, you’d expect to be comfortable at any place with the word “ranch” in its name, but there was something extra special about Triple Creek Ranch. Maybe it was the elk that came to fill their tummies in the mountain meadows or the lush green landscape that seemed to surround the property no matter where I looked. Perhaps it was the extra attention to details made by their staff that had me (and my traveling partners) feel so welcome and comfortable. Or maybe it was the palate pleasing culinary delights that left me looking forward to the next meal and seeing what the chef would whip up. (Sidenote: Chef Jacob introduces a new dinner menu every night using fresh ingredients he has on hand. Um, hello deliciousness). More than likely, it was the effortless combination of all of those that left me with a big Montana crush on Triple Creek.

Welcome bags and handwritten notes greeted us in our cabin.

Welcome bags and handwritten notes greeted us in our cabin.

I LOVED the outdoor pool. I'd say it has one of the most beautiful pool settings in all of Montana.

I LOVED the outdoor pool. I’d say it has one of the most beautiful settings in all of Montana.

I spent a lot of time at this pasture. The reason: the brand new colt that made its debut two days before my arrival.

I spent a lot of time at this pasture. The reason: the brand new colt that made its debut two days before my arrival.

Hey baby.

Hey baby.

The bartender whipped up huckleberry cocktails. Rumor has it they were TASTY.

Unwinding with handmade huckleberry cocktails in the rooftop lounge. 

My favorite: the huckleberry lemonade.

My favorite: the huckleberry lemonade.

I loved my cozy room!

I loved my cozy room!

Yum.

Yum.

One of my favorite moments was at breakfast. I was trying to decide between the pancake and french toast and the waitress said "Get both!" I listened to her.

One of my favorite moments was at breakfast. I was trying to decide between the pancake and french toast and the waitress said “Get both!” I listened to her.

The ranch also offers a variety of activities both on- and off-property. My favorites included mining for sapphires and the on-ranch trail ride.

Mining for sapphires.

Mining for sapphires.

My buddy Ruger.

My buddy Ruger.

Upon our return to the cabin, we had these framed photos from our ride.

Upon our return to the cabin, we had these framed photos from our ride.

Taking in the view.

Taking in the view.

Needless to say, it was the best two days.

And if you’re planning a trip to Triple Creek Ranch, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
-The ranch is open year-round and is an adults-only getaway. All guests must be at least 16 years old to stay at the ranch.
-Throughout the year, the ranch offers signature and holiday events that include vitner, women’s adventures, fly-fishing and cowboy school getaways.
-If you’re coming to Triple Creek, be sure to spend some time in nearby Darby. I recommend a stop to see Jimmy at Double H Hat Company, check out Bandit Brewing and Old West Antiques Gallery & Candy Store.

xo,
TT