Flying the coop!

West“I’ve been waiting for a phone call like this for a long time,” my mother stated.  A bit confused, I asked what she meant.  2-3 weeks is our usual call interval, so it’s not like she was waiting to hear from me any longer than usual.  “You finally sound happy and relaxed again,” she clarified.

Sure enough, she was correct.  For me, a person living a semi-nomadic lifestyle, spending more than half the year in one place leaves me feeling a bit stir-crazy, even when that is the place I call home.  There were many solid reasons why I spent a bit more time at home this spring, and finally getting out on the road has been amazingly liberating in a way I had not previously appreciated quite so much.

The first 4 days of travel encompassed running last minute errands in VT and driving steadily and consistently across the east and mid-west.  I’ve been cross-country a few times, and have found some great places east of the Continental Divide,

Grasshoppers in the Field
Grasshoppers in the Field, Enchanted Highway, North Dakota
North Dakota Badlands
Badlands of the Missouri River, Teddy Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

but my heart lives in the mountains.  So, after taking a few quick side trips in Minnesota and North Dakota, I bee-lined it for Glacier National Park.

I arrived at the Cut Bank Campground to find my good friend Helicopter (aka Lisa) huddled in her tent.  She wasn’t expecting to see me until maybe the following day, and my arrival was a most welcome surprise.  The next few days we gallivanted around the GNP frontcountry, finding a few quiet spots slightly off the beaten path.

“Helicopter, doesn’t it seem like we ought to be hiking away from here instead of driving?” Lovely lunch spot on the porch of an historic cabin on the west side of GNP.


Helicopter & Pounce on Scenic Point, Two Medicine, Glacier National Park


Helicopter decided to extend her vacation by a day, so we secured a bike rental for her (I have mine with me) at the Whitefish Bike Retreat, an amazing place owned by my friend Cricket, and then proceeded to tucker ourselves out on the beautifully maintained Whitefish Trail.  Being accustomed to the more rocky/rooty/narrow trails back east, this was a stupendous singletrack experience for me.

Biking the Whitefish Trail, Whitefish, MT – Photo credit: Lisa Seeley

After dropping Helicopter off at the airport, I returned to the WBR to chillax in the hammock for the afternoon.  It was the first real rest I had taken since setting off over a week earlier, and quite a welcome bit of do-nothing time.  Eventually, a rumbling belly and the promise of margaritas, fabulous Mexican food, and engaging conversation roused me from my reverie, and Cricket and I set off for dinner in town.

Many philosophers have stated that there are no coincidences, but I often wonder about this theory during travel, as, time after time, the most amazing twists of fate materialize.  My next stop was Yaak, Montana, to meet a good friend from home for a short backcountry hiking trip.  John has been adventure motorcycle touring out west for the past two months, and just happened to be less than a hundred miles from Yaak at the perfect time.  I mean, really, what are the chances?!?

Yaak is situated in the middle of nowhere of northwest MT and boasts a general store and a saloon, but no cell phone service.  So we went old-school, leaving notes on the general store bulletin board in order to locate each other.  “Cath, I’m heading out in search of swimming and will check back around 2:30.”  I dare say it was easier than texting, and definitely more fun.  The good times carried over into the next several days, spent hiking a cross-country route in the Northwest Peak Scenic Area, finding some great campsites and creeks, and generally dorking about in the woods before parting to continue pursuing our individual summer adventures.

John surveys the route from Northwest Peak to Davis Mountain.

Now I’m settled for the next week or so at a friend’s fledgling homestead in eastern Washington, helping him cut firewood while taking local hikes and bike rides and organizing myself for the next stage of my summer travels.

Cougar Mountain, Republic, WA

I’m planning some exciting human-powered adventures for the next few months, so stay tuned!  Also make sure to check out my Instagram feed for some additional photographic tidbits between blog posts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s