Day Twenty Nine: Moooooooooose!

We woke up a little late and had a typical slow Sunday morning with tizzy’s and reading. Our neighbors stopped by to chat for a bit and then we packed up and were on the road at 10:30 with our shakes. We saw a bear on the way out, just hanging out on the side of the road. It couldn’t have been a better exit from the park.

We headed to Two Medicine to have lunch there and check out that side of the park for a bit. Veggie sandwiches, are you surprised? Us either. They are our favorite. The area around Two Medicine was much less touristy than that of the West. More Western old town with a couple of gift shops and a laid back campground and picnic area. It was refreshing.

We headed on our way out, and pulled over next to a river Jake had seen on the way out. We’re so happy we did because…yes! Jake saw his first moose! Actually two. Right up the river from where he was. A perfect ending. He caught a few fish as well which made him feel better about the license purchase he had made. I read and did some planning for Arbonne while he fished. Soaking up the sun. All was well! We stopped for huckleberry pie and ice cream on the way out and then headed to our final destination for the evening in Choteau.

Choteau didn’t have much to see, but our campground was a very pleasant surprised. The name was Mountain View Campground. We loved the tent village we stayed in! It had nice grass, a cooking counter, outlets, and accessible water! On top of that, the showers were updated and clean with plenty of hot water, AND a big sink with hot water to wash dishes in. We were happy campers to say the least. We had a very detoxifying dinner of chickpeas and rice with ginger tumeric tea, followed by some stretching in the soft grass and a shower. Life was good. We wish we could pick up this campground and take it with us everywhere we went! It is a wonderful place to stop through on your way through Montana. Tomorrow, we head a little ways to Great Falls to visit a friend.

Day Twenty Eight: Grinnell Glacier

Our plan for the day was to be leaving the campsite by 7 to make sure that we found a parking spot at the base of the Grinnell Glacier trail. We woke up at that time instead. Oops. We still made it to to the trailhead by 9 and got one of the last parking spots. Yippee! The weather was perfect and we were so excited to be there. The total distance was about 12 miles. I’m not sure of the elevation climb but it wasn’t too bad. Even for me! We didn’t bring the bear spray, though of course there were the most bears we’d been around on this trail. Our fellow hikers had our backs! There were plenty of other hikers joining us, and this time we were grateful for them. We saw a brown bear from an overlook mosying through a field. Is mosying a word? It was the perfect way to see wildlife. From a good distance above. The hike views only got better. Wildflowers, blue lakes, and monstrous peaks everywhere you looked. The sun was shinging, and there was a slight breeze. We were so grateful.

Lake Josephine

The view was better through binnoculars but there he is!

Grinnell Lake

We made it to the top and celebrated with a peanut butter (almond butter for me) and jelly sandwich with our new favorite beers and a view! Then we headed up a little bit more to check out the Glacier and take some pictures where we met the loveliest two people from Canada! They were friends traveling and we swapped pictures. That’s been working out quite well. We chatted the whole way back down the mountain. It made the time just fly! On the way down we ran into a big horned sheep right in the middle of the trail, as well as an adorable marmot hanging out next to it. The sheep was a little in shock I think, poor guy. He didn’t move at all and just stared at us for a while. When we reached the bottom, we exchanged numbers with our new friends, made plans to make it back up to the stampede next year in Calgary, and then headed our separate ways. They asked what we were doing tonight and we felt like old people when our response was just hanging out at the site. We were pooped and drinks by the fire sounded excellent. No shame.

We headed back to camp, making a stop at the overpriced grocery store by St.Mary’s lodge for some icecream and snacks. A box of Cheerios was $10. Needless to say, if you are traveling and camping in Glacier and are looking to save money like we try to do, do your grocery shopping elsewhere. Hence the backpacking food dinner the night before. Every little bit helps! Tonight we found some fettuccini pasta sides that actually looked really good and were affordable. Plus we had some pesto, and fresh herbs to use as well as wine we had picked up in Canada! It worked out perfectly. Until it rained. Once a day everyday we get a shower and we’ve gotten pretty used to it at this point. The pasta stayed surprisingly warm as it sat on the stove getting wet. We dried off by the fire and ate standing up with a rainbow behind us and a slight wine buzz. No complaints. After dinner we spent time drying everything off and then headed to bed, looking forward to moving forward and onto new places tomorrow!

Day Twenty Seven: Laundry Day

We actually made our goal of leaving the campsite at 7! Win! The overnight oats were a success and made for an extra easy morning. Campsites in such high demand there was a guy waiting to take our spot at 6:30. He took a final picture of the campsite number to share with Grandma, and then we were on our way. Coffee filled drives with views of going to the sun road in the opposite direction made for an amazing morning.

We arrived at Rising Sun campground and waited in line for about 45 minutes before getting our spot. Yes, even at 8 in the morning there was a long line of people hoping to secure a campsite. Success! We paid for two nights and then headed to the entrance of the park to find laundry. It was only about 9:30. Ah, the beauty of early morning rising. Johnson’s campground had a wonderful coin laundry service AND good wifi. WIN. I was able to get a little work done and do laundry at the same time. Fresh bedding. Fresh clothes. Happy Jake and Cass. After laundry our hungry selves went on our way to find some food at St. Mary’s lodge. It worked but we wouldn’t recommend it. Not to be rude, just honest. After lunch we picked up some groceries. They had the cutest little shopping carts that my little kid self got overly excited about! It’s the little things. Literally.

Jake dropped me back off at Johnson’s to continue catching up on work for a couple of hours while he checked out some fishing around the area. Then, we stopped at the KOA for long, well deserved showers. We were feeling fresh in every way. It was a very cleansing day indeed! We had a simple dinner of backpacking food. Dave’s recipe. Chicken Teriyaki in a tortilla. No pictures, oops! More to come tomorrow!

Day Twenty Six: Trail of the Cedars & Avalanche Lake

We woke up to rain. Drizzling with a hint of depression. Just kidding, we truly have nothing to be sad about, but were getting a bit sick of the rain at this point. None the less! We perservered, made oatmeal, and put our rain gear on and headed out to do a couple of hikes before lunch. Trail of Cedars and Avalanche lake were just a short walk from the campsite, just as my grandma had told us. We did the trail of the Cedars first. A nice “forest bathing” stroll on a boardwalk as a warm up. There were plaques with poems on them along the way. That was my favorite part. Well, that and the ferns. The hike to Avalanche lake was only about 2 miles up with just the right amount of incline. The sun peeked out a bit and we shed a layer on the way up. The trail was lined with a babbling river and waterfalls , it seemed like we beat a rush of people also which was nice. When we got to the top we met the nicest family, of course. They suggested we visit a Glacier on the other side of the park so we made that our new plan! I shouldn’t even really say new because we didn’t quite have a plan to begin with, and that’s the way we like it.

When we got back to camp we made tuna sandwiches. I got a little crazy and added cucumber, sprouts and avocado to mine. It was delicious! We then hung out for a bit and read. I fell asleep.

When we (I) woke up at 4:30 Jake decided to go back up up Avalanche and fish. Crazy man! He ended up having the most incredible time and catching beautiful pink colored fish. He captured some beautiful shots as well. I stayed behind and did wifely things. Re-organized the truck, clorox wiped everything, threw away anything we didn’t need, made some overnight oats for the morning, and hung the blankets out to dry in the peek of sunshine we were blessed with.

I had tea and a very simple solo dinner, and left it out for Jake to have when he got back around 9. Leftover burrito filling and a premade salad mixture. It was delicious! And more importantly, super easy. We were both fulfilled in all the ways, and were ready for a good night’s rest. We would be up at 6 tomorrow to head over and try and get a spot at our new campsite!

Day Twenty Five: Naps and Rainy Days

We woke up early this day, jumped in the car, and headed out to grab our campsite at Avalanche. On the way though, we made a very good decision to stop into the KOA and see if we could use their showers. We were going on day 3 and I was not okay with baby wiping any longer. KOA if you are reading this somehow we apologize BUT we actually just pulled up and were able to use the showers no problem. We left without any trouble and were very grateful for the quick hot water rinse. Headed back to West Glacier, we again, decided to detour and stop for breakfast. We hadn’t eaten out for a bit and a full breakfast was just too good to say no. It was very expensive but we were happy. We picked up some bread, beer, and avocados, and then headed to our campsite. Praying the entire way there that site #63 was still available! Our prayers were answered. I set up my hammock and sat and prayed for a long time. Which led to tears. Among other losses, my grandpa had passed earlier this year and it was just overwhelming to know that they had been at this exact site. Truly special. We made some tea and read for a bit before making the usual veggie sandwich lunch. We hopped into bed afterwards to escape the rain and ended up napping. Oh, boo, what a terrible time I know.After an hour of laying, I decided to head into town to attempt to find wifi and do some work while Jake went fishing. The only place I could find was the visitor center in West Glacier, but they were so friendly, and basically just grabbed me and told me I could sit wherever. Not ideal, but you make things work when it’s important to you right? Jake would be back to pick me up at 6. They closed at 5 so I headed up the street to a nearby bar to have a beer. It was a lovely little hour waiting. When I went outside and didn’t see Jake, I decided to get a huckleberry ice cream as well. Good excuse, right? Anytime I can squeeze in the local goods I try to do so, but only when it feels right and works out that way. As all things should be done. We arrived to a rainy campsite, made an assessment of how we would cook dinner, and decided that beer and music would help. So we turned on our trip playlist, opened the beers we had gotten earlier, and started to cook burritos. I’m not sure if it was the weather that made them taste so good but they sure were delicious! I should let Jake cook more often. We hopped into bed early and read because it was raining and cold and what else is there to do?

Day Twenty Three: Waterton National Park and the day of few pictures

We woke up early and headed out. There weren’t any signs stating that we couldn’t stay there overnight but we didn’t want to hangout long enough to find out otherwise! Waterton National Park was about 2 hours away. We got there and decided to head to a campground near the edge of the park called Belly River. It was about 30 minutes from town with plenty of trees and open fields which sounded perfect to us! We went up to snag a site and make lunch. Veggie sandwiches have become our new favorite thing! After lunch I drove Jake’s truck down into town to have my weekly Arbonne meeting and catch up on some things. It was an exciting thing to drive it for the first time! He fished while I was away, but didn’t have any luck.

I arrived back (late) to the campsite and Jake was worried sick. 3 beers deep with a fire going. Poor guy! But I did pick up famous fried chicken from town so he was over it fairly quickly. We ate our very nutritious dinner and then hung out by the fire with our beer. I caught up on some writing. We walked up the road for a little bit and looked out at the beautiful flowers. We would only be here for one night, but I would definitely come back here. As much firewood as you could want and very peaceful.

Day Seventeen: Tourist Mistakes and Happy Endings

We woke up slow. The days here are so long it’s easy to stay up until midnight or later and feel like it’s only 9 or 10. Our plan for the day was to visit Lake Louise and Moraine. We made shakes to have on the way and were hyped up on this new coffee we bought. Or at least I was. So much singing and anticipation to see the views we had been dreaming of. To our surprise we of course were very late and the overflow parking for the shuttle to either lake would be a 2 or 3 hour wait. Oops. We adjusted our plans and decided to make the most of our day by visiting a park nearby until about 8 tonight when we would try again and hope for the best. Jake and I aren’t much for waiting or large crowds so this was going to be interesting. We continued up the highway and pulled off onto the Iceland parkway in Jasper national park. I was still a little bitter from the change of plans but it didn’t last too long because hello there is SO much to see. We looked at the map and decided to hike back into Glacier Lake. We made it to the red chairs overlooking the old fur trade route and had our pb and J’s and then continued on our way in the wrong direction. Oops again. By the time we turned around and found the correct route we just decided to head back and check out a few more places on the way out.

Jake was interested in seeing a free campsite we had found online. After some off-road driving we found it and were quickly filled with regret in booking the other site. This was much closer to the places we wanted to see and FREE. Ah well, next time. Afterwards we stopped by Mistaya Canyon and then pulled off into a campground by Waterfowl lake. Jake fished while I read and did yoga. Then I made us dinner. Beef burritos and taco salad. Way too much, but it worked out well! We saved the leftovers for lunch the following day. After we ate, we headed up to give these lakes another try. Having everything we need in the truck really makes things easy to make things up as we go. Especially when things don’t go as planned, which is mostly always.

Grass fed beef with taco seasoning, avocado, bell pepper, Mexican rice and a taco salad mix with cilantro

We drove through the village of Lake Louise and followed the signs to what we thought was the lake itself. We found ourselves in a long line of cars and weren’t sure if we had made the right decision or not. It was about 8:30 and we could hardly keep our eyes open. As we pulled into the parking lot the heavens opened up and there were PLENTY of spots. Hallelujah! To top it off we had actually driven to Moraine Lake instead. Oops again! This day. We climbed up to the view point and it was almost as if this entire trip had led to this moment. The water was even more blue than we could have imagined. It was truly unreal. The timing of the evening couldn’t have been more perfect either. The skies were turning purple, people were leaving, and we just sat. Staring at each detail and taking in every moment, laughing about how the seven peaks seemed like seven old and noble men. I have feeling we’ll be coming back here for our anniversary someday. We didn’t make it back to camp until midnight. We were exhausted but entirely full. Our plans to see Lake Louise were set aside for now. That was all we really needed in the end.

Day Sixteen: Arriving in Banff

We left the campsite rather quickly, as we were excited to get to Banff. We were in such awe driving in that we could hardly contain ourselves. Just a lot of “wows” Giant mountains peeked through the clouds that looks like space ships and it seemed like every lake we passed was crystal clear. We drove through the downtown area, picked up some groceries and soup for lunch in the park. I can’t wait to go back and check out the Christmas store! We might move here.
We left town to check out our campsite and see the area a bit more. The views only became more and more beautiful. We passed by lake Minnewanka on the way to Two Jack’s Main campground where we would be staying. More “wows” There wasn’t much as the campground, including no showers. It’s a good thing we love each other. We made shakes for a second lunch and headed to a hike through the canyon by the lake where we met the sweetest couple from Montreal.We headed back to town so I could get a few hours of work done and have my weekly Arbonne meeting. Jake did the laundry while I was working. He’s the BEST. When I was finished we headed back to the lake so he could do some evening fishing. I called family and enjoyed my new favorite beer while he did. This is taking work life balance to a whole new level if you ask me. We stopped to watch the sunset on the way back to camp. No matter where you are in this place, every view is just incredible. When we got back I made pesto pasta with Chicken. I tried to take a picture but Jake’s response was a hard no. He doesn’t feel I need to capture every meal. I disagree. #compromise

Day Fifteen: Tune ups and Ghostlands

We woke up at the campsite and took our time getting ready for the day. Enjoyed some coffee and oatmeal and showered. We love this place! Highly recommend. Today our plan was to find this free campsite on Forestry trunk rd right outside of Banff to stay in for the night. On the way there, we would be passing through Calgary, so we decided to stop for a tune up on the truck. Walmart was the only place open so that worked! On our way to our surprise campsite later that afternoon it started to rain, and we began to see the incredible views awaiting us in Banff.

When we arrived at our campsite I felt a strange presence. There was definitely something to these “ghost lands” as they call them. Nevertheless the spot was beautiful (and free) so we began setting up. We took a short walk around the forest and saw a huge skunk. We could tell right away that this was a different kind of wilderness than we had experienced so far.

When we got back to camp we had a simple dinner of soup by the fire. Jake fished ghost river nearby but didn’t have any luck. It started to rain again so we hopped into bed with our tea and actually watched a movie we had recorded on Netflix. Is that bad juju? Not sure but I didn’t sleep. A very Erie night it was in ghost lands!

Day Fourteen: Hidden Gem in the Hills

We woke up around 8 and had bananas and coffee before packing up and heading out for another 6 hours of driving. I made shakes for second breakfast. The province of Saskatchewan is mostly farmlands and prairies, so I focused on getting some of my work with Arbonne done in the car while listening to more Joe Rogan podcasts. Beautiful skies made up for the lack of scenery as well as having each other.

We stopped in Swift Current for groceries. Their town slogan read, “Life the way it should be” The older homes and neighborhoods reminded us of Grand Junction. As we were veggie wraps for lunch in the parking lot, a guy came over to talk to us about the truck. He loved it! It was so sweet.

We had about an hour and a half before getting to Cyprus Hills Campground. The campground looked like a good location but could only tell so much about the site online. To our surprise, it was truly a hidden Oasis amongst the prairie lands. Not to mention it was massive. It felt like the supermall of campgrounds. Our site was all the way up and in the back, and it couldn’t have been better. We had an open site with lots of light that kept us warm, and there was hardly anyone around. We changed as soon as we got there and went on a walk to explore the grounds and move a bit. It was a lovely walk filled with good and much needed conversation. We had been so on top of each other we really hadn’t gotten a chance to decompress and breathe like this for a minute. It felt so good. Having each other to lean on during this journey has taught us so much already. Both about ourselves and our relationship. There will always be kinks, but there will always be a deep love to come back to as well. At the end of the walk we came up to a snack bar that we were hoping had beer. It didn’t, but after I asked the checkout counter guy, a kid with the BIGGEST grin and squinty popped his head out and said “I could sell you some in the back alley later if you’d like eh?” It was the way he said it that just made us laugh so much. We shared a mango milkshake instead and then headed back up to our campsite.

When we got back, Jake started dinner and I re-organized everything. My favorite thing to do. The setting for dinner that night was as if a fog had been lifted. The deep conversation we had, funny encounter, delicious food, wine, and golden hour made for a memorable evening. After dinner we cleaned up and drove down to the lake to fish. I caught up on some reading and writing while sitting in awe of the view. This night. We made our way back to camp , made small fire, and finished our wine. The field behind us lit up from the thunder storm rolling in. It was unreal. We went to bed soon after, listening to the rain.