This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of WASPcam™. All opinions are 100% mine.
Christmas 2016 was a stunning day here in NW Montana, I had social obligations in the afternoon but decided it wouldn't stop me from getting to the mountain and killing a few runs. Of course, by killing I mean almost killing myself, haha. Seriously though, I may found my love for powder but at this stage of learning that also includes a whole lot of up close face time with the pow.
Another exciting bit to the day was getting to test out my new WASPcam™! One of the first things I noticed is that it's waterproof WITHOUT a case, that's right, no case needed! If you're an outdoor enthusiast like myself then you realize just how exciting that is.
WASPcam™ 9907 4K
Okay so first thing, I’m getting my boarding gear together and decided to go ahead and open the camera box up. It’s packaged simply, you don’t need wire cutters to break into the thing, so that’s a perk. Once I got the box open all these goodies came out! There are six different mount options that come with this, how rad is that!
My new WASPcam™ and I are now ready to hit the mountain, and I know I already mentioned how stunning the day was so I want to to see for yourself.
This is what WASPcam™ looks like on it's own.
WASPcam™ 9907 4K
Every corner garnered these views that were to die for! If you’ve never been to Whitefish ski mountain, I recommend you change that. We’re next to Glacier National Park (as you know if you’ve been reading my blog) and on a clear day you get a fantastic view of the park. I love, LOVE getting up to the mountain as they open. It’s my favorite time to be there and I feel great when I’m leaving about the time most people arrive, plus you avoid a ton of lines. I’m pretty sure that Christmas day get real busy up there, it was filling up fast when I was taking off for the day! Luckily I avoided lines and got the best views!
Up at the summit they were snowblowing off the summit house deck and the sun was shining bright, temps were just right and all was right with the world.
I’d just made it onto my first run when I was greeted with a view I knew I wanted to capture.
See what I mean about you needing to get here?? My WASPcam™ can take photos at 20mp quality so really it’s all I need to have on me boarding! I definitely like to be able to carry one camera and my DSLR is crazy impractical so still being able to get high quality shots is a definite plus.
I can imagine gifting a WASPcam™ to my hiking friends too, the compact size and waterproof feature make it a slam dunk for the outdoors! It’s pretty simple to use too so even my daughter can click pics or video if she wants too, plus I don’t have to worry about her dropping it like my DSLR.
Happy holidays and happy trails!!
Reblogged from http://hikingforliving.blogspot.com/2017/01/whitefish-mountain-christmas-day-with.html
Nothing like good ol' daylight saving day to kick your butt... at least that's what I am going to blame my late start on for this hike ;-) Leaving Kalispell around 11 am I made it to the trailhead by noon and was on my way. There isn't much parking at the trailhead so I would think on busier, warmer days that you may have to park farther from the trail. On this day, however, there wasn't another soul in sight. This may have been due to the cold morning or the storms surging above our heads (but not quite landing).
This hike gives you instant gratification, you've barely started down the trail before you get a stunning view. There's a sheer rock side you're standing in above a creek and a little waterfall, you're looking at the treetops below with a nice creek. I look forward to revisiting this area come spring, I have a feeling that it will be quite the sight when the water is high.
Now, if that photo doesn't make you want to BE THERE, you may need to find another blog to read ;)
As a whole the trail is pretty mellow. There's no steep terrain after the first bit and the couple of miles into the lake are sheltered from the wind. I was able knock this trail out in about 2 hours total, I kept up a good pace.
The lake was really green in color, I did get to see some fish jumping and it seemed like they were sizeable. The trail doesn't end at the lake either, it keeps on going although I didn't look it up to see where exactly it comes out, I think you could do this as a little thru hike if you wanted to.
Perfect short hike when you have to get your trail fix but have errands too! At least that's what made it perfect for me. It really has been unseasonably warm this November in Montana too, I expected to be ankle deep in snow by now.
Short and sweet post today.
Liking Exercise When You Don't Really by Meg Worden, Feed Me Darling I've always hated exercise. If I had my way I would spend my days eating pie, drinking gin, smoking Camel cigarettes, and delegating. Mmmm. Pie. :::sends pie person out for more pie...
The Going to the Sun Road(GTTSR) usually doesn't open up past the Avalanche trailhead until late June, if you go in the dead of winter then you may not get past Lake McDonald lodge, that was the case for this hike. In years past I have not spent all that much time hiking in GNP because I love to take my dog, Ron, hiking with me. Well, if you've followed the blog then you know he hasn't been popping up in posts, sadly. This is due to him injuring his leg somehow over winter 2015. Not hiking, the little turd did something at home while I was at work and we've been working to get him recovered ever since. It was a knee injury which is really difficult for dogs and takes a long time to heal.
In case you forgot... or don't know who Ron is.
Anyhow, back to the hike!! So we parked at Lake Mcdonald lodge and decided to try the trail that goes back past the horse stable. It was gorgeous, loads of snow though and tough going, for some reason we decided to go at it without snowshoes on this particular day. It wasn't crazy cold and there ended up being a mixture of snow conditions and a whole lot of "post holing" as I've heard it referred to. Which is where your footsteps plunge through the snow and leave big holes because the snow is deep and too soft to walk on the top.
As we all know that can be quite tiresome! It definitely was so we made it out to the road at a random point after several miles, we were pretty tired by this time, working our way towards the Avalanche trailhead. I think we were probably about a half mile from it when we decided to turn around, even if we had made it we wouldn't have had the energy to hike the Avalanche trail which was our idea originally. What really sealed the deal is when a family came along cross country skiing, boy that looked nice, haha!
Making our way in we took the trail that goes back by the horse stables and just followed that, eventually we ended up off trailing very briefly when we saw the road and it looked much easier to walk on!
Coming back we stopped to look at McDonald Creek which was a definite highlight so here are some shots from that!
The always stunning mountains that never quit also made an appearance.
If you're hesitating for some reason, DON'T, get here and see this for yourself!!! You won't regret it.
Columbia Mountain is a fantastic trail because it's so close by! It's right off of the highway too so it's very easy to get to. Since it goes pretty high it's not very easy to hike in the winter, early spring or late fall though thanks to all the snow... that's why we didn't quite make it to the top. It's still worth it.
One of the first things you come upon is this cute waterfall. Depending on the season there usually isn't much water so it's easy to get across.
Another water crossing, you may get a bit wet at this one!
Once you get up a few miles the views start getting real nice!
In the spring water trickles from all sorts of places through and along the rocks.
Ladybug find. Now the trail is somewhat low key for a while, the first few miles. We even wondered if we were on the correct trail at one point because it got pretty flat and even went down at one point. As it turns out you just kind of go around the mountain for a while but then you start going upward. I mean, you start to climb, quickly. Switch back after switch back and it continues that way for the rest of the trail, we made it within about 3/4 of a mile of the top. It ends at Alpine Trail No. 7.
The snow is what stopped us from getting to the top, it got steep after this and more snow made it more dangerous. We definitely could have made it without Ron and with crampons but safety is paramount.
That's it for this one, I will be writing a new blog post for this hike in 2017 so stay posted because I will be making it to the top!
Missoula is familiar territory for me, I lived there for some 7 years or so. I'm down there pretty often but rarely for more than a day, this spring I had the chance to spend 4 days. (Volbeat was playing a show there that week too, YAY!)
Well, on to the hiking then. When I first came to live in Missoula I was in a lovely little home in the Rattlesnake; actually it was a bit of a blast from the past to venture up there and hike around. It's funny that I didn't hike around there hardly at all when I lived there... of course I owned horses back then and rode a lot. This particular hike stems from the main Rattlesnake trail head and is a nice loop with a decent amount of elevation gain.
There's not much of a view to be had on the trail but it's still pleasing to the eye.
You can tell it's used a lot by bikers.
I had the opportunity to test out my brand new Lowa boots on this trip! They're super nice and lightweight, waterproof, mid ankle height and a pretty blue color.
A little hiking selfie, of course.
So if you're in the Missoula area and looking for a nice hike that is a good distance but not strenuous, this fits the bill. The only hike I've ever regretted was the one I didn't take!
Six Mile peak, oh this was a fun one! The trail begins a short jaunt off of State Highway 83 on Six Mile Road.
It's a well groomed trail and seems like it must get a good amount of use, on this day we didn't see anyone although there was a truck parked a bit closer to highway. This trip wasn't planned particularly well or mapped out. I kind of just spotted the trail sign and turned there.
Ron was sure having a dandy time on the trail though!
I didn't take many pictures on the way up, I should have but I got wrapped up in getting to the top. The trail wasn't all that scenic as far as views go until the last bit anyway.
On this particular the day there were some storm clouds in the distance and a slight breeze but overall the weather was spectacular.
The trail isn't all that long either, it was about 4 and a half miles in to the peak.
At the top though, oh boy!!! The wind was so strong, it whipped around so hard it made standing difficult. I had to catch Ron when he started getting propelled toward the cliff side because of the wind turning his little wind breaker hood in to a sail! It was hysterical afterwards, it just looked so funny but I doubt it would have been a laughing matter had he made it much closer to that edge.
We did not stay up there long, needless to say, the wind was lashing us so dramatically that it actually kind of hurt! Thank goodness for awesome an awesome rain jacket that double as an impenetrable wind breaker. Speaking of, if anyone is wondering what I'm rocking here it is a wonderful REI brand rain jacket that I bought on sale for about 70 bucks. Super comfortable with good venting and it packs decently light.
Six Mile peak, elev. 7406 FT.
The wonderfully accessible trail, you can see from the map that it's just off of the highway really. As with any road in Montana, expect it to be a rough ride though ;)
Although the accuracy of Runtastic has come in to question of late, it does a pretty good job overall but as is turns out is typically a mile or more short. I can just guess it's because it doesn't ping your position often enough but... really I do not know.
Driving back, pretty late in the day as you can see I caught this terrible photo of this nice sunset over Swan Lake. Oddly enough my phone has a difficult time taking photos in low light at 55 mile an hour... hmm.
A warm weekend in September seemed like the perfect time to test out my boat legs and take a canoe trip!
Everyone prepared life jackets, fishing poles, beer and water craft as got ready to set out.
I borrowed a canoe that day with my boating partner from another fellow in the group. We had met up in White Fish and drove out to the Teakettle river access in Columbia Falls, MT.
Now, as it turns out, I discovered fairly quickly that I don't like boats... The canoe gave me a constant feeling of falling, to which I would react instinctively and try to catch myself. After about 10 times of this, it gets pretty old.
None the less, it was really quite fun, we did some fishing and enjoyed the sun.
Some were in rafts, canoes, sit in kayaks, and some sit on kayaks.
Ron the French Bulldog seemed to have a rather good time of it. Plus, he looked dang cute in his little life jacket!
We all stopped where the river came to a Y and took a nice lunch break in the sun, enjoyed some grub and good conversation.
Ron, as usual, was rather tuckered out from all the commotion.
The view from the river wasn't half bad and it was very cool to observe the mountains from another perspective, even if I was felling rather nauseous.
All this led to a passed out bulldog in the back seat ;)
Perhaps one of my most interesting hikes of 2014, largely documented by shaky video... It was my first attempt using a new action-geared video recorder I'd picked up second hand. Needless to say, it didn't go very well. The few photos I have certainly don't do this majestic trail justice but I will always have the memory.
Dense clouds hung over the landscape as far as you could see.
On this trek we decided to do the opposite of what most do when they venture out to conquer this legendary GNP trail, we decided to start at the loop. The loop is at the bottom of the trail, yes the entire trail is on an incline, and at the top is Logan Pass. So we parked up at the Pass and jumped on the shuttle with a nice, friendly driver and down to the loop we went. Up at the Pass the wind was harsh and cold, we were glad it wasn't like that down at the other end of the trail. The day began rather uneventful, just a pleasant hike up observing the splendors of this lovely national park.
The chalet in the distance
Coming from this direction the Granite Chalet isn't far in to the hike. None the less by the time we made it up there the wind was catching us and we both forgot hats on this particular day. We were cold, really quite cold.
Inside the chalet you find plenty of seating at large picnic style tables.
There's a warm, inviting fire.
The windows are fogged from the warmth and moisture wafting off of hungry hikers eagerly enjoying the food they packed in.
Moving on we soon came across a split in the trail where you had the option to go up and look out over Grinnell Glacier. At this point we were not far in to the hike so we eagerly took off up the side trail looking forward to seeing the glacier.
We spotted this little fellow a few yards up the trail.
The sign indicated the trail was relatively short, less than a mile. The part we did not know, with 8+ miles of the Highline trail left ahead of us, was that the trail jets up almost 1,000 feet in elevation in that distance.
We were also unaware of the conditions we would find at the top. The wind threatened to blow you off of the narrow, fog drenched rocky path as you ascended. The climb was tough but we made it, out of breath but glad to have conquered the seemingly long trail. Wind whipped around so hard at the top, instinct kicked in pushing us to dive behind the large rocks perched on the cliff of Grinnell glacier's crater. There were a few others that had braved the climb and the weather. As the wind propelled fog sailed across the crater below we were able to catch glimpses of the spectacular ice formation contained within the mountain side.
The wind became stronger and stronger, it was clear we couldn't stay here long. When we saw another small group of hikers coming out of the mist and darting to find any break possible from the wind we guided them to the spot we'd found and bid adieu. Heading back down the mountain side was barely easier than the climb up, out of the gray around us hail began pelting down. We cinched up our rain jacket hoods and tried to keep our heads down, thankfully the hail subsided half way down.
By the time we made it back to the Highline trail we were thankful for the sprinkling rain drops and mild wind. I had brought along a pack of hand warmers, still ill-prepared for the weather we'd found on a half mile above, so each of us took one and tried to warm up our hands as we walked.
The rest of the trip allowed glimpses between the fog of stunning scenery.
In case you were wondering, our hands never did warm up. As much as we tried that tiny hand warmer was not nearly enough to thaw our frozen appendages.
There are areas where you can look down on the Going-to-the-sun Road. So cool!
At the end (or the beginning for most people) before dropping in to Logan Pass is the famed area with the guideline... to be honest though, after all the trail prior to it and the riveting experience climbing the steep trail to Grinnell Glacier, this part was really easy. It didn't even seem narrow in comparison!
The view on the other hand, certainly did not disappoint!
Now as beautiful as this is, I can still recall how cold my thighs were. Yes, I said my THIGHS, I didn't have rain pants on that day and clearly did not realize how the weather was up there. You know the way your feet go cold and numb, it feels funny to walk right? Well it can happen to any part of your body really, any part that isn't covered or insulated properly.
So at the end of this spectacular event, after again braving the fierce winds at Logan Pass, we were all too thrilled to make it to the car. Oh we were so happy for the heater in the car and even more glad to eat all the extra snacks in the car!
Given the choice, opportunity and knowledge of exactly how this trip would go, I honestly tell you I wouldn't have changed a moment. We giggled at folks perusing the trail in wet jeans, shuttered at girls in tiny shorts, and made endless jokes about how numb various body parts were. It was a wonderful day.
Happy trails my friends!
Sunday rolled around and the sun peaked out for the first time in days. I awoke feeling great an anticipating the group hike that day. After a quick bite Ron, Matt and I loaded in to the truck and took off, westbound. We met by a gas station near Bigfork that could easily be considered "the middle of nowhere" by most. It was a cool morning but the sun cut through with just enough strength to keep from shivering. People trickled in over the 25 minutes or so we spent at the station, by 9 15 or so we were already on our way to the trail head.
The trail head is the main one for the Jewel, it goes to every trail in the basin and you can make it all the way over to the Hungry Horse Reservoir if you really want to. The weather clouded up quickly as we began gearing up for the trail. There were 10+ of us and 5 dogs along for this wonderful trip.
The climb begins immediately at a pretty decent grade. The dogs were already having a ton of fun romping around together in front of the group, Ron the French Bulldog stayed much closer to us as he usually does.
Ron looking dashing in his backpack, first time wearing them out on the trail!
This lovely gal was very curious about my camera as I tried to snap some pics of her.
Ron, more or less oblivious, was much less interested in Matt's snack than the food-driven woolly husky.
One of the first photo's I took that day was this one, looking back towards Flathead Lake. In the distance you could see lower clouds than the gray, ominous mass drifting above our heads.
As we reached the point by the radio facility we saw a few mountain goats milling about. I always look forward to being able to get a glimpse of these fun, thrill-seeking goats!
We had a few folks from Connecticut, Texas and Arizona. "Flat-landers" as they referred to themselves as, the group took another break here to accommodate those used to the lower elevations. Having lived in Florida for many years myself at sea level, I know it's quite a shock to the body suddenly scrambling up to mountainous peaks!
That peak in the distance is where we're headed!
Matt and I took the lead, running as much of the remaining climb as we could stand! That was difficult (Matt made it quicker than I), I am surely not a runner. I enjoy hiking and some trail running but my big ol' legs just are not designed to be very aerodynamic! A little out of breath we reached the summit and oh boy, what the view we beheld!
Fog rose moved around the ridge we had just crossed as we watched from the top.
Kathy observing the view shortly before realizing she had lost her sunglasses on on the way up (they were found by one of our hikers though!).
Ed, Kathy and Mocha enjoying the view.
Mocha giving loves!
Beautiful Husky eyes!
Down the other side we go! The weather was completely clouded over, damp and quite cold by this point we were all feeling pretty chilly. Yay for layers!
I was clearly not prepared for this photo. That it the beautiful Birch Lake in the background though... which makes this photo slightly redeemable.
Grey, mucky sky in the background!
Me trying to be brave, haha! That's actually the tip of a cliff I'm standing on... that's as far as I could get my leg up because I was a bit nervous (and cold!).
Found a patch of snow!!
Where we've just come down from, now we are wrapping around and headed in-between Picnic Lakes.
Anyone need a toilet?!
The dogs enjoyed a muddy dip in some murky, smelly water at the lakes. Not Ron of course, he didn't go near it.
The little bridge just after the Picnic Lakes.
Quick stop as some of the group were getting very tired... Ron included!
What a fun trip with lovely people! I look forward to hiking again with some of them in the future.
The trail itself is moderate to difficult, the climb is relatively gradual for those who are hikers and the distance is only about 7 miles total.