Glacier National Park – Staci Visit

3 Days, 21 Miles, 3,710 Feet of Elevation

We had a good reason to get back to Glacier the next weekend with Staci rolling through as she added us on to her own crazy travel adventure.


Although she didn’t arrive until the evening the late Montana summer days allowed us to enjoy Flathead Lake for a couple of hours.


The following day we headed directly to the airport to drop off Janet, drove to Whitefish to board Chica, and did a quick food shop for a weekend of camping and hiking; we were ready for some Glacier.

We arrived at Cut Bank Campground after 2 and all the sites were full so we posted up at a fire ring just outside the park boundaries and were off to our warm up hike.


Aster Park Overlook (South Shore Trailhead – Two Medicine) 4 miles round trip, elevating just under 800 ft.

The weather was crazy and we were almost rained out, but the clouds broke and we got to experience a gorgeous hike.


Following the trek, we arrived back at camp, settled in and were about to call it a night when we were not-so-warmly told: “You’re on Blackfoot Tribal Land and can’t stay the night.

At this point it’s 9PM and we knew with certainty that Cut Bank Campground was full, but being less than two miles from the camp we decided to make sure.  Well it was full.  BUT Staci made some friends and they allowed us to share their site – WIN!

We quickly set up shop and dug in for the monster hike to come the following day.

Medicine Grizzly Lake – Triple Divide Pass (Cut Bank Trailhead) 14 miles round trip, 2,380 ft. elevation

Just from the beginning of the hike, we knew it would be outstanding.


It started with an imperceptible climb through gorgeous meadows full of wild flowers and into thick forest.


From there the elevation gained quickly and we were treated to a truly epic view of Medicine Grizzly Lake.


As we continued to climb we approached the Triple Divide vista point from which snow melt flows South to the Gulf and into the Atlantic Ocean, Northwest through Alaska and into the Pacific Ocean and Northeast to the Hudson Bay in Canada.


Staci bravely snapping away on the edge of a huge mountain!

The descent – as always – provided for a different perspective and was just as much of a treat as the climb.


While it seemed Staci had enough gas in the tank to do the whole thing again, Amy and I hit our threshold by the end of the hike and we were all excited to lounge out back at camp.


An official meal was cooked and we enjoyed a few drinks before crashing.


Hidden Lake (Logan Pass Trailhead) 3 miles round trip, 550 ft. elevation

On our final day we drove West on Going-To-The-Sun-Road and stopped for a short hike along the Continental Divide.


Normally this would have been an easy hike, but after the prior day it was pretty rough.  The sheer beauty insisted we keep going though.


As we approached the lake we were welcomed by this guy.


Yup, glad we did this hike!


Loving us some Glacier and so happy to have our friends to share the experience with!

Glacier National Park – Janet Visit

Janet (Amy’s mom) rolls through to check out the situation in Montana and is determined to get it in.  So in what’s becoming true Sasson fashion, we oblige and plan an eventful week starting with a trip to Glacier National Park.


Lake McDonald

The plan was to enter through West Glacier and drive Going-To-The-Sun-Road across the park where we would set up shop at Cut Bank Primitive Campground south of the St. Mary East Entrance.

The beginning of the drive takes you past Lake McDonald (above) and parallel to McDonald Falls.


From there the road elevates pretty fast and the views are incredible.


Chica was into it…


Nearing the end of the road Janet lobbied for one last pull off for pictures and it was good she did!  We ended up staring at one of the more iconic views in Glacier:


Wild Goose Island on St. Mary Lake

After a gorgeous ride, we arrived at the entrance of Cut Bank Campground and knew we found the right spot to camp out.


We found a money spot and started setting up shop.


Good we got there when we did, July is Glacier’s busiest month and sites fill up by noon – crazy!

We had a fun night camping, ate a breakfast of champions the next morning and decided to drive back through Going-To-The-Sun-Road to get home – did not regret that decision!

After a long ride back we unpacked and were treated to a beautiful site on our porch to wrap up our day.


Little did we know the rainbow was a sign of the surprise to come…


Literally, surprise! Baby Ryder Rayboy came early.  Welcome to the word little lady!

Becoming a grandmother didn’t reduce Janet’s ambitions to get as much Montana as possible so we got her out on Flathead Lake for SUP Boarding.


Jan Jan stayed with us and relaxed for the week, enjoying the beautiful property before flying out to the Rayboy’s.


Good she got rest in cause she’s headed for three weeks of baby world.

Montana – Mission Mountain Wilderness & Local Fun

Our warm-up hike out to Twin Lakes got us itching for more outdoors action.  Fortunately the nasty weather forecast for the weekend was postponed and we hastily got a plan together for camping and hiking.

Mission Mountain Wilderness (Flathead National Forest)

Mission 3

Glacier Creek Trail #690 presented nice options for a hike the next day and we decided camp at the trailhead for an early morning start.  There wasn’t much information about dispersed camping options along the Kraft Creek Rd (trail access road) so we leaned on our experiences from Colorado and assumed we’d find a spot leading up to the trailhead.

Our instincts were correct and we found a gem on Kraft Creek Rd just past mile marker 3 and set up shop.

Mission 1

The best way to look for an appropriate dispersed camping site is if there’s a fire ring present that’s previously been set up by other campers.  Leave no trace is big in outdoor recreation areas and creating new fire rings is frowned upon.

As you can see this particular spot is a solid find.  So much fun camping in the wilderness!

Mission 2

In the morning we geared up for our hike to Crescent Lake on Glacier Creek Trail which is a solid 3.5 mile climb (one way) that elevates about 1000 ft.

The trail starts with some fun creek crossings.

Mission 4

Yes, I made her go first…

We passed the fork in the trail leading to Glacier Lake and figured we’d hit it on the way back if we felt like it.  On the ascent towards Crescent Lake we caught a gorgeous areal glimpse of Glacier Lake.

Mission 5

We took in the scene and were absolutely going to be stopping by there on the way down.

Countless switchbacks and endless huckleberry fields later, we arrived at Crescent Lake.

Mission 6

Crescent Lake

We plopped down for lunch and did some exploring before heading back down towards Glacier Lake.

Mission 7

Glacier Lake

Even as we were both nearing our threshold for the day, the extra half mile (out and back) to Glacier Lake was worth it.

Local Fun

Living on our hilltop in Big Arm overlooking Flathead Lake provides a ton of outdoor action at our doorstep.  Combine that with the long days (it doesn’t get dark till 10 PM), well, we’ve been taking advantage.

First thing we did was break out the new blow-up paddle boards (SUP boards).

Rec 1

It was perfect on Flathead Lake for our first go.

I also – begrudgingly – accepted Amy’s challenge to bike down to the lake and back.  Biking the 3 miles down to the lake is a breeze.

Rec 2

The way home is pretty rough with around 600 ft of elevation, but gotta keep in shape!


Afternoon walks and drives exploring our “neighborhood” also tend to be eventful.

We had some words with the local cattle.


And found a ranch named specifically for Amy 🙂


For our social fix, we had a night out in Whitefish with pre dinner fun at Whitefish Hand Crafted Spirits.

Rec 3

Followed by a solid meal in Latitude 48’s Red Room where MT native, Dan Dubuque was jamming out.

Rec 4

We are gonna get as much of Montana in these next months as humanly possible.

Arriving in Montana & Celebrating 1 Year on the Road!

July represents one year on the road!  A year ago driving half a day to Montana after a cross country flight would have probably been considered a daunting prospect…but for us battle hardened road warriors it was no big deal.

The drive through Washington and Northern ID was gorgeous (especially Coeur d’Alene) and arriving at our new home for the next three months was the absolute pinnacle.  Imagine arriving to this!

House View

That there is Flathead Lake: THE biggest natural body of water west of the Mississippi

Chica was pretty pumped about it too

And yes, we are in the sticks and things like this happen in our front yard.

Rec 5

Flathead National Forest – Jewel Basin (Swan Mountain Range)

Being back in the country had us itching to get out into nature and we decided to hike out to Twin Lakes.  The trailhead kicks off at Camp Misery.  It’s a solid 5 mile round trip hike that elevates about 800 ft.

Twin 1

Geared Up & Ready

The hike up got awesome fast.

Twin 2

Quarter way up and Flathead Valley is magical

Being back in the mountains just felt right.

Twin 3

If you’re wondering, yes hiking all the way to the lakes is worth it!

Twin 4

Being early July, there is still a nice amount of snow at this elevation and we couldn’t find the trail to actually get to the lake.

Twin 5

After looking for a bit we gave up and ate lunch in the snow on top of a mountain.  Life is good.

July 4th: Visit from the Vincent’s!

In a cool twist of fate, Matt, Jen, and Ewan happened to be a three hour drive away in ID on vacation.  And because they’re awesome, they made the trek to Big Arm to celebrate the 4th.

J&M 4

Did I mention the property we’re on has a fire pit out front too…

No visit to Flathead Valley is complete without getting onto Flat Head Lake.  So we broke out the water toys (SUP boards and tubes);

J&M 2

the windy day wasn’t deterring us and Matt and I gave it a go.

J&M 3

Pretty sure Ewan had a good time as well.  I know Chica will miss him.

J&M 1

All this in our first week!  Montana’s gonna be fun.

A Month in Limbo – Part 2 (The Caribbean!)

Our second action packed half of June was truly insane.  The fact all this happened in a two week period is mind blowing.  Crazy fun, but ready for a rest for sure.

On the logistical side we concluded the best course of action to travel 4000 miles to the U.S. Virgin Islands to celebrate Dan and Whitney’s wedding – while in transit to Flathead Valley, Montana – was this:


-10 hour drive from Oregon to Seattle 6/19

-Post up and work in SeaTac (right by Seattle’s airport) 6/19-6/21



We caught Becka and Joe wrapping up their time in Tacoma and got to hang out and meet their crew. So glad our travel overlapped!

-Fly to Florida 6/22 and crash with the parents

Prelude 2

-Fly to St. Thomas 6/23


View from our room – Nazareth Bay, St. Thomas

-Fly back to Florida and crash another night 6/27

Prelude 4

-Fly back to Seattle 6/28

-11 hour drive from Seattle to Big Arm, MT 6/29


Dan & Whitney’s USVI Wedding


lovely couple straight chillin’

Arriving a couple days before the wedding to the beautiful St. Thomas and seeing all of our closest friends was sensational.  Within 15 minutes of arrival we were in our bathing suits at the beach bar with the crew.


The following day was consumed by lying out on the beach and snorkeling some pretty nice reefs before heading to the rehearsal dinner (beach party).


College friends being college friends


Amy got some bride time

Wedding Day!


Not sure this scheme can be beat:

Boarding dinghies to get to our transportation to the wedding.


Yes, that’s right, we needed to get on a boat to get to the wedding ceremony.


I didn’t say it sucked, we had a blast!


We arrived at Salomon Bay on St. John, took the dinghies to shore and while waiting for all the dinghies to arrive, Sean did Sean things.


It was time.  Dan punched WAY above his weight and locked Whitney up for good.


So happy for you guys!

After Dan got hitched; a picture for the ages.


Then back on the dinghies for some more fun sailing around the Caribbean like we owned the place.


Great times!


To wrap up the day we ate and got into usual wedding stuff.  Speeches were made that are better off forgotten, people passed out in hammocks and overall, it was a memorable night that was just a bit fuzzy the next day.

Did you think that was all?

True to form, Dan and Whitney took it up yet another notch by treating their guests to an outstanding day on a catamaran for sightseeing and snorkeling in the Caribbean.


Of course, it was amazing and another day of incredible memories was created combining comradery and debauchery surrounded by the epic backdrop of the U.S. Virgin Islands.


And just like that it was over.  We came back in super chill mode.


Well that was a hell of a detour…On to our journey to Montana!