With my mind full of anticipation and wonder, I could hardly sleep on this particular Wednesday night. I laid awake knowing I have so many things to pack in my car to leave for this very impromptu adventure in the morning. I had to prepare for a wedding celebration 8 hours away and a week away somewhere? Who knew where the wind would take me after that. What I did know is that I was camping (possibly tent-less? under the roof of my little hatchback) and somewhere cool in the mountains after leaving Utah…
I have wanted to see the Palisade Peach land for a while and to check out the Colorado vineyards, so that is exactly what I did on my way out of this colorful state. Just hours later I was dropping in for my cousin’s Mormon wedding reception in Salt Lake City on BYU Campus. Boy did that experience make me feel old, not just being the old lady on campus but attending my cousin’s DAUGHTER’S wedding. Did I mention that I sprayed bear spray all over my bag with all of my underpants (someone forgot to put on the safety ring)? Maybe this is TMI, but there was definitely a fire burning down below the next few days…even after washing every pair that were not even directly exposed to that bear spray! That is some strong stuff that sadly ruined many pairs of my favorite undergarments. Makes me think it could at least save us from a potential bear attack. Suffice it to say, it was nice to see my dad’s side of the family and YOUNG LOVE.
I did not camp out in Utah; instead I stayed with my cousin Adam and his long time friend Mario whom I also knew from our Dallas days. We visited Park City the next day and chilled by the posh pool. After a day of relaxing in the city in Utah, I had to get going…the mountains in Montana were calling.
I decided to head up through Idaho. I have wanted to see Sun Valley for some time now. After exploring this charming little town, tasting a bit of Sawtooth Valley (through their brewery), I spent the night at a primitive no name campground right on the river just between Sun Valley and Stanley. This little gem was fee free and allowed campfires! Good thing I brought my awesome little all natural fire starters for ease of getting the fire going.
The next morning, I went where everyone in the area went for breakfast, the famous Stanley Baking Company and Cafe; I even saw my camping neighbors. I chose a cinnamon roll as big as my face! I took it away to eat it in the comfort of my car with my homemade cold brew coffee I brought along the way. I actually got the BOCHA one liter size carafe, but a size up might be better since the mesh takes up so much room. It makes a great concentrate for camping (just add ice!) and pairs quite nicely with my lightweight Toaks Titanium 450mL Cup aka camping mug (see picture below of mug at sunrise on the beach) that nicely folds up in a transportable orange bag–that also helps keep it clean. I thought it was a good idea to have good coffee readily available on the path unknown. The drive along the Salmon River “The River of No Return” was a gorgeous one. Fun fact: Lewis and Clark trail went through Salmon and is also the birthplace of Sacajawea.
Still traveling North and not sure when I would stop, I headed into Missoula to find it raining. I made two stops there: Kettlehouse Brewery to try a few tasters and the grocery store to pick up some Kettlehouse and Bitter Root beer to go. I kept on driving after that and decided I wanted to pay another visit to one of my favorite lakes. After being rejected by 4 “FULL” campgrounds, I finally found Blue Bay Campgrouond nestled in a scenic tree dense spot right on the shores of Flathead Lake.
I quickly settled in with Nora Roberts’ latest mystery novel Come Sundown accompanied by a very delicious Bitter Root Huckleberry Honey Ale.
This campground even had running water for the small price of $20, but that evening I saw a sunset that was priceless.
At first I thought it was too smokey from the forest fires and too overcast; however, just around the lake, the sunset that started out weak had a tremendous climax! I enjoyed it until the watermelon ball of sun disappeared behind the hazy mountains in the distance. Today was my favorite day.
Forest fires were still burning in the distance even though it had been raining quite a lot. It was sad to think about the tragedy for all those animals up there, but I hoped most fled in time without too much of a panic.
I got up in time to watch the sunrise the next day and decided for breakfast in Big Fork my last day in MT.
Love my Toaks Titanium Cup pictured above! If you are really fancy though, you might prefer the one Cyrus has at a pricier rate that is the Japanese brand, with double wall and colors to choose from, called Snow Peak Titanium Double Wall Cup. I just couldn’t afford that one so chose the next best thing.
It was time to head back down (once I had some fresh huckleberries in hand and this stuff to take home) after 6 days on the open road. I really wanted to buy some of this Huckleberry Taffy too after having a sample, but I thought I should satisfice for Huckleberry beer, Huckleberry preserves, and the luxury of scoring fresh Huckleberries. Although it was quite liberating and fun being out on my own, I was starting to feel achy and a bit exhausted. I was getting excited at the thought of sleeping in my own bed and kissing my honey goodnight. I don’t think scrunched up car sleeping many nights in a row can be that good for my aging bones, and I had to be back to Colorado by Wednesday afternoon. I planned my trail home through Yellowstone NP for one last adventure.
I stopped in Bozeman at the local Co-op for a some soup. To my surprise, nothing else was open yet, so I kept on truckin’. I finally made it into Yellowstone around 5 and entered from the west, heading right through the center up and over to the east side that I didn’t get to explore last visit here. Right when I thought I wouldn’t come home with any exciting wildlife to report I hit a traffic jam and BOOM! There was a GRIZZLY ahead! I saw the bear from a distance just after an kill. The fierce animal took down a huge elk and was just lying back on the bank of the river napping while hoarding his prize. Then there were herds of bison, a bald eagle, deer, a herd of elk, and a herd of wild mountain goats. I hit the jackpot my final day! I was very content with my trip.