Go Vivid. Sometimes it is the places you go that matter. Places where you find new experiences, meet interesting people and explore differences in geography and culture. If you never left your living room, how would you know there is something else to see, other than the ‘same old, same old’? Often getting out of our comfort zones, be it our sofa, or our home State, can lead to something wonderful. For us, ‘getting out’ means literally getting outside, going for a hike and seeing a bit of nature. We did just that recently with a working / vacation trip to Montana. This was our first visit to Bozeman and nearby Big Sky, and well, Big Sky is well named of course, for the huge views we saw from just about every stop on the way.
First, Montana is nature at its best. The landscape starts in Bozeman with far-as-you-can-see flat farmlands that push up against the Rocky Mountains in stark contrast. Think green fields with a backdrop of gray snow-covered peaks. The air felt cool, crisp and clean, and less humid than our dreadfully hot North Carolina. We quickly noticed as we drove toward Big Sky, the valleys between the mountains had plenty of twist-and-turn rivers and frequently people fly fishing just along the side of the road.
Then there were hiking trails. Most trails were easy to find with drive up trail heads, except the ones at the top of Big Sky, which required a ride on the chair lift – a 20-minute ride to take you up another 1500 feet. At times the air felt thin as we adjusted to the altitude above the tree line. Our first big hike was Beehive Basin. The trail starts at ~7000 feet and over 6+ miles climbs another 1650 feet. The first few miles are through stunning meadows filled with at least a dozen different wild flowers that made you feel like you were in the hills of Bavaria. At the top were great views of the Spanish Peaks complete with a dusting of snow. Another notable hike was Lava Lake, which is located about 1500 feet above the trail head and is the only local glacier carved lake.
Like all good tourists we also ventured to (somewhat) nearby Yellowstone to see Old Faithful and a few very large Buffalo. They literally stopped traffic a few times, and it seems nothing really phases them. I guess out here in all this wilderness, nothing should really phase us either, only the time it takes to watch another sunset drop past the silhouette of the mountains.