Glacier & More w/ Gabe, Alex & Eric!

WARNING: This blog post will absolutely compel you to visit Northwestern Montana.

The weekend started with a bit of a hiccup as we were expecting three guests and received two; Eric had a bit too much pre-vacation fun the night before his flight and, well, he didn’t make it.  Spoiler alert:  he met up in Glacier the following day.

Glacier NP

After scooping Gabe and Alex up from the airport we headed straight for Glacier NP; no time to waste too much ill s**t to see.

Hidden 1

We decided to drive Going-To-The-Sun-Road across the park to our campsite at Chewing Blackbones and took a warm-up hike to Hidden Lake.

Hidden 2

Amazing start to the trip!

From there we headed to camp and started setting up shop.

Camp 1.1

Once set-up was complete, we got down with dinner and a warm fire.

Camp 1.2

The following morning we woke up to the most pristine day we’ve experienced in Glacier thus far; not one cloud in the sky.  Perfect day for our 6 mile, 1,200 ft elevation hike out to Cracker Lake.

Cracker 1

Cracker 2

After countless switchbacks we hit an elevation point that provided for absolutely insane views.

Cracker 3

A bit further down, we could tell we were close; time to pick up the pace ladies.

Cracker 4

As if it was meticulously planned, the final stretch takes the explorer to a small crest that reveals Cracker Lake.

Cracker 5

Words and pictures don’t do it justice…so go there yourself.

We continued on a bit scoping out a place to post up for some lunch.  Yup, that’ll do.

Cracker 6

Following this fairly intense hike there was no time to waste in getting into our meal.

Cracker 7

After thoroughly munching out, we lounged awhile taking in the stunning backdrop and decided to dip our feet in this magnificent lake before heading back.

Cracker 9

Look what we found IN the water!

From there it was time to go, so we laced up our boots and braced for the mission home.

Cracker 9.1

While we were not completely thrilled to walk all the way back – a ski lift would have been cool – the views compensated and we enjoyed every minute.

6 miles later and mission complete!

Cracker 9.2

Back to our site we started cooking, and as if we rang the dinner bell, Eric rolled through and set up shop at the site attached to ours.

Camp 2.2

We wrapped up the day with full bellies…

Camp 2.3

…and yoga.

Our last morning in Glacier we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and headed back west on Going-To-The-Sun-Road.

GTS 2.1

GTS 2.2

Nothing like seeing this ride from both directions.

Big Arm

Back in Big Arm that evening, family dinner was proper

BA 1

And a campfire was lit in our front yard.

BA 2

Our plans to rent a boat the following day were hampered by wildfire smoke and high winds so we got our water toys and headed south to Polson to escape the smoke.

BA 3


BA 4

From there we headed north to the Tamarack Brewery in Lakeside for some beers and dinner.

BA 5

We arrived home to an incredible sunset and took our guests for a tour of the neighborhood.

BA 6

Amy and Alex of course were doing their thing.

BA 7

And out of nowhere the horses occupying the field we were passing galloped towards us to say hey.

BA 8

This was truly incredible!

We strolled back to the house as the sun disappeared behind the hills

BA 9


Amy’s Oregon Adventure

While Mark was having his man weekend with Josh, I flew out to Southern OR to meet my little niecey Ryder Love.


To top it off the Sossin’s were also in OR to meet her! Jordan’s nephews, Jacob and Judah absolutely loved her to pieces and had so much fun at the Rayboy Ranch playing with the chickens and collecting eggs.


They couldn’t believe that there was so much free food to pick in the garden!


That afternoon we headed out to the Oregon Caves National Monument which is nestled deep inside the Siskiyou Mountains. The caves formed as rainwater from the ancient forest above and dissolved the marble below, creating the “Marble Halls of Oregon”.


The next day was Jeska’s 38th birthday! We had a great time hanging out in Grants Pass at the Farmers Market and eating brunch at Ma Mosa’s! Go There!


That evening we got all dolled up…


and had a delicious birthday dinner at Alchemy in Ashland. Also Go There!!


Before I knew it, it was time to go home to Montana.  So happy I made it for Ryder’s one month birthday!


Until next time Rayboys!

Man Weekend w/ Josh

With the new addition to the family, Amy planned to go lay eyes on little Ryder and help her sister in OR.  Seemed liked a perfect opportunity for Josh to come through and get a guys weekend in.

So Amy departed to OR and Josh arrived in MT

Flathead Lake

We kicked off Josh’s arrival with a visit to Flathead Lake.  While Paddle Boarding is awesome, it doesn’t beat riding speed boats.  So, with that fact established we rented a 190 horse power watercraft and dominated the lake.

B - 1

After riding about 20+ miles from the Lakeside rental spot to Polson we meandered back and chilled on the home-front – Big Arm Bay – before making our way back to Lakeside.

B - 2

Not many better ways to spend a day.

After relaxing and taking in the view from our porch that evening we headed out early the next morning, dropped Chica at the kennel and rolled up to Glacier NP.

Medicine Grizzly Trail

Finding a campground wasn’t easy and we just missed the last site at our backup: Cut Bank.  True to manly form, we cut our losses, decided to figure it out later and started on a hike to Medicine Grizzly Lake.


Josh was really hoping to fight a bear that day.

The hike from Cut Bank trailhead to the lake is about 6 miles through the alpine meadows below Triple Divide Pass.


As we approached the lake, the waterfalls that feed it from the mountaintops took shape motivating us to complete the journey.


Yup, the lake was spectacular.  We sat down, enjoyed our lunch and took in the scene.

Once we completed the hike, it kind of sucked to have to figure out where we were going to post up for the night, but everything happens for a reason.  We ended up finding a beautiful site at Chewing Blackbones Campground which was awesome to know about for the following weeks’ plans.


We wrapped up the trip with a ride back through Going-To-The-Sun-Road to give Josh the full Glacier experience.


Of course we stopped at the beautiful & iconic Wild Goose Island


And skipped rocks on Lake McDonald

After leaving the park, we picked up Chica, and headed back to Big Arm where we’d get a fire going in the front yard and drink lots and lots of bourbon.

Successful weekend!

Kootenai National Forest’s Cabinet Range – Granite Lake

After thorough research and a wave of ambition we decided to hike the 13 miles round trip and elevate over 2,000ft to see what Granite Lake was all about.

Being a 2.5 hour drive to the trailhead, we decided to camp on the trail road the night before so we could get an early start the following day.  Just under 2 miles from where the dirt road starts on Granite Lake Road we found a money camp spot with an existing fire ring and posted up.

K 1

Prior to the hike, we cooked a solid breakfast and headed out.

k 2

We read the trail would be tough to navigate due to the fires in 2015, but the first few miles weren’t too bad and we arrived at the falls (almost midway through the trail) without breaking a sweat.

k 3

Then it got real.

We came across a river crossing and I took a spill into the river while trying to cross a very slippery felled tree.  Fortunately all that was hurt was my pride and even Chica was wondering why there was no bridge.

k 4.2

Me being completely soaked and Amy’s boots full of water we decided to continue.

While the trail remained dicey and difficult to navigate, there was always a saving grace the pointed us in the right direction and willed us to keep going.

k 4

Candidly, the poorly maintained trail, wet feet, and thick thorny brush made it a rough go.  And once again, when the will to finish began to fade, Snowshoe Peak appeared in all its glory and we knew we had to continue.

k 5

We slogged it out for a few more miles and were richly rewarded.

k 6

Granite Lake is heaven on earth.  We took off our boots, freed our wrinkled feet, and enjoyed a solid hour soaking it all in.

k 7

Recharged with rest, full bellies and dry feet it was time to head back.

k 8

Knowing the route and the challenges of the trail to come made the return trip easier.  We had a great time crossing through the overgrown meadows and over the dicey river crossings.

k 9

While the trek to the top wasn’t all rosy it was certainly a memorable adventure that was rewarded with an hour of solitude at Granite Lake.

Local Fun in Lake County, MT

The plan was to keep it easy our last week of July, but Montana ensured an eventful close to an amazing first month.

With the last hump day of the month coming to a close, we were on the home stretch to the weekend and were treated to a truly spectacular display of nature.

WE 1.1

Seeing this in person was amazing.  To the North it was as if the sky was on fire.  Facing East over the lake we saw a massive storm with incredible bursts of lightning.  Towards the South a beautiful rainbow appeared.  And this was happening simultaneously!

The storm cleared and a pristine day followed.  The sun was shining without a cloud in the sky and we were determined to take advantage.  With hours of daylight left after work we got the paddle boards together and enjoyed some lake time.

WE 2

Best purchase ever!

Friday brought a crazy twist of fate full circle.  During our trip to the Caribbean Chica stayed with an awesome couple, Taylor & Liza, in Seattle who just happened to be getting married on Flathead Lake where Taylor has family.  And we just happened to be a 15 minute drive from where this was taking place.  So after the nuptials the newlywed couple invited us to hang out with their amazing family, took us out on their pontoon boat, and we ended a great day at a fun dive bar in Lakeside.


Our plan to spend Saturday on Flathead Lake paddle boarding to Wild Horse Island turned out to be kind of a disaster – enough said – and we wrapped up the weekend exploring Buffalo Bridge Road which led us to a portion of the Flathead River.

WE 3

And BONUS, an awesome wheeling track!

WE 4

We went back to work Monday completely fulfilled and received yet another awesome surprise visit from the Gower girls on Tuesday.  Sari just happened to be driving right by our house to get from Glacier NP to Yellowstone and we all hung out for a while.


Chica was thoroughly exhausted after the kids were done with her.

Well, that week couldn’t have turned out any better…on to the next one!