Back to it…

Summer has ended for me. I moved back into Pi Phi, my sorority, last Friday, and since then it’s been nothing but busy days! In Pi Phi, we’re preparing for recruitment, which starts next week. It’s been buzzing with energy here as everyone catches up on each others lives and has fun before they get too busy with school.

At work, I’ve been helping with Catapalooza, Orientation, and preparing for Fraternity/Sorority recruitment. I have never felt so slammed for time because of the amount of people coming in and calling the Dean of Students office with all kinds of questions while I try to get my other work done!

I have barely had time to post on here because I’ve been trying to get everything done that I need to before school starts, and because I wanted to have a relaxing weekend before this coming Monday hits and I’m really back to it!

Next week I’ll do a post about what the first week of school is all about for me! For now I need to get back to focusing on relaxing…

Backpacking: Gorge Lakes in the Pioneers


Backpacking trip #2 was a success. Well, mostly,

I headed out on Friday with a couple of friends at about 4:30. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive to get to the trailhead in the pioneers that goes to Gorge Lakes, our intended destination.

Warning: the road up to the trail head is not at all maintained, only meant for cars that can handle going over endless rocks and potholes. It’s a painful ride.

The hike was supposed to be about 3 hours at most, 3 miles, and not too much elevation gain.

Climbing down to the lake

Climbing down to the lake

The beginning was tough for me though, so one of our friends went ahead to get there before dark and set up camp, and I and another person were supposed to meet him there. Two hours later, we realized we were very, very lost. We were supposed to get there around 9, but at 10:30pm we were still bushwhacking in the dark with our headlamps on, and we decided it was time to call it quits. We set up camp in a rockfield we had climbed up, ate a cliff bar, and went to bed.

Warning: The trail is not maintained at all, so you need to have maps and be very careful about the route you take so you don’t end up lost like us. And stick together,

The next morning we were able to orient ourselves in the light and got to the lake/campsite in about 30 minutes. It was gorgeous! And well worth the adventure.

We spent Saturday and Sunday hanging out in the sun by the lake. My friends all did some fishing, and the lake was so full they caught a fish with just about every cast. It was a relaxing and well-spent weekend.

What adventures will you have when you’re out here?

When Flying is No Fun

Wondering what it’s like to go to college somewhere far from home? Like, flying distance far? Well then, read on. (Disclaimer: this is not what every travel experience will be like, but this is one you should be prepared for.)

This past week, I flew home to attend a few important family events. I flew out at 6am from Bozeman on Wednesday, and got in to Manchester, NH around 5pm. After a whirlwind five days, I checked in at the Manchester Airport on Monday to get on my 5pm flight out, which was supposed to get to bozeman at 10pm after a short connection in Chicago.

And so began my most miserable flying experience thus far.

I sat at the Manchester Airport for about an hour before my flight was supposed to leave, when I heard the dreaded announcement: Our flight was delayed due to some bad weather in Chicago, where my connection would be.

I checked my ticket and saw that I had a 90 minute layover in Chicago. So, if my flight got delayed by any more than an hour, I might have a tough time catching my next flight. After consulting with the flight attendants, I decided to wait it out before committing to rebooking to fly out the next day instead. Just as an hour passed and I decided I would need to rebook, the flight attendants told us we could head out if everyone got on to the plane quickly. I asked if they thought I would make my connection and they told me to get on the flight and hopefully I would. So I did. Instant regret.

We sat on the plane for another 30 minutes before it even took off, because it needed to be refueled. Once we took off, we were told we got re-routed and the flight would be a little over 2 hours instead of around an hour and a half. At this point, I knew I wasn’t making my connection if it left on time.

Once we landed and I looked up my next flight, I was relieved to see that it had been delayed by an hour, so I would make it just in time to board. When I got to my gate, however, I found that the flight before me hadn’t even taken off yet. I sat there as my boarding time passed, and we were delayed over and over. At about 11pm, they finally just canceled the flight. Knowing what the lines are like when they cancel a flight and everyone has to rebook, I ran to the United Airlines customer service station… and got in line.

After about an hour of standing in line, I finally just called customer service from my phone, and they rebooked me for a flight out of chicago the next morning at 9:45am. Awesome, I’m booked. Not awesome, I have to stay overnight at the Chicago airport. After debating whether to try and get a hotel and having a slight breakdown, I found a place to curl up in the airport and tried to sleep at midnight. At 6am, I gave up sleeping, got some food, and sat in my gate waiting until my flight’s time.

Finally, 9am, the flight was getting ready to board. I went up to the help desk to get my boarding pass like the woman on the phone had told me to do the night before when she booked me, and… they had no record of me being on the flight. Turned out, after I hung up with customer service, she booked me for a totally different and random flight than the one I was supposed to be booked on.

After another small breakdown and everyone had boarded, the flight attendant got me the last open seat on the flight. The one bonus to this whole experience: I flew first class. Free drinks, food and leg room for days.

So, there you have it. If you have to travel to and from school via plane, I would be careful in choosing your airlines, airports and connections. Buyers beware.

Back in Bozeman, Finally

Back in Bozeman, Finally

Cliff Jumping in Ennis

Before beginning a successful night of camping, I headed out with some friends to the cliffs on Ennis Lake in Ennis, MT. The images you see are not the cliff I jumped off of- the water was too cold for me to swim across. The cliff I jumped off of was much lower and probably less scary. If you’re looking for something fun to do, this is about an hour + drive away from Bozeman. I won’t tell you it’s the safest activity, but a lot of people do it. It seemed to be the local spot for high school kids when we were there…

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Hot Spring Adventures

So, if you do a little googling, you’ll find that Montana has quite a few hot springs. Some you have to pay for, like my personal favorite, Norris Hot Springs, and some you have to find, like my new natural favorite, Potosi. Potosi is a natural hot spring in the woods, filled by the hot water P1000750bubbling up from the ground.

My friends and I ventured out there from a camping site we were staying at, it was about a mile walk in the woods, nothing too treacherous. We headed out around 9, since it’s way too hot during the day to hang out at a hot spring and because we wanted to be there at night- way cooler literally and figuratively. Someone had built a nice little fence/deck thing around it, which gave us a place to hang our towels and such. No one was there when we got there, so we had it for about 20 minutes to ourselves, and then a couple of people showed up and we stayed for another 40. When we left, we must have passed at least a dozen people heading there, so we were lucky to miss what was about to be a crowded soak.

If you’re looking for a mini adventure while your here, try this one out with some friends. It was pretty awesome.

Gone Floating

This summer, I’ve become a bit of a floating addict. I even bought my own tube, which is kind of a big deal. It’s just so perfect for those hot and lazy summer weekends.


Here’s what I suggest you bring to a float trip:

  • Sunscreen. A lot of it, and a high SPF. If you have some kind of river shirt you can wear, I would suggest bringing it along to protect your skin a bit more. A few hours sitting under the sun can really wreak havoc on your skin… (Sidenote: don’t forget to sunscreen everywhere, like your armpits and your knees. Those are some painful sunburns, I speak from experience)
  • A hat. Protect that scalp.
  • I don’t bring sunglasses since a hat is just fine with me, but it seems like everyone else does so maybe those..
  • A big bottle of water
  • Snacks, depending on how long you will be there
  • Shoes you can wear into the river (it’s a little rocky)

You do not need your phone or any other electronics.

Where can you go? I’ll speak from my experiences:

  • Madison River. Takes about 2-3 hours. No rapids. Lots of people on the weekend. You’ll need two cars, one where you start and one where you end (it’s too far to walk). A lot of people hitch hike back to their cars, but I really wouldn’t suggest it..
  • Jefferson River. How long it takes depends on where you stop. We decided to forego the first stop, which took about 2-3 hours to get to, and made it to the next stop in another hour. The current was pretty strong so we actually missed the stop and had to get out and walk back. And stop for a little bridge jumping on the way if you’re interested..


The Rents Visit Montana

My parents finally decided to see what life was like in Montana, and came up this week for a fun filled four days.

Here’s some stuff we did, if you want to get a little touristy yourself out here:


  • Hiked the M
  • Lunch at Ale Works (parents fav dinner place)
  • Went to Hyalite Canyon, to hike Palisade Falls (short and easy) and check out the Reservoir (cold)

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  • Checked out the local breweries (great for parents, not good for underagers as none of them serve dinner except Bridger Brewing)


  • Went to Norris Hot Springs (my favorite hot spring)


  • Breakfast at Nova
  • Floated the Madison River (don’t forget to sunscreen). This was my parents favorite thing we did.


  • Went to Mackenzie River (good lunch or dinner place)
  • Went to the Bogart Farmers Market for some food and local swag.


  • Went to Yellowstone for the entire day

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  • Went to Chico hot spring (my least favorite)


  • Nova again (they really like it for breakfast)
  • Flew out of Bozeman

Need any ideas for when you or your family visits?

Help Center/211, This is Madison

At the start of the summer, I went through a 16 hour training to join the amazing group of staff and volunteers at the Help Center in Bozeman. After completing the training, I did four different 4 hour shadow shifts, where I was able to work with the staff to learn the ins and outs of the Help Center, and what I would be doing. You can now officially call me a Crisis Intervention and Referral Specialist (Crisis Line Volunteer).

What does this mean? What is the Help Center? Here’s a bit of a break down:

  • 24 hour crisis hotline
  • 24 hour referral service
  • part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

As the Help Center website says: “We accept calls from a variety of clientele with issues ranging from suicidality, depression/anxiety to relationship/family problems. Our extensive database of resource information allows us to give appropriate referrals to inquirers on the hotline.”

I am thus far trained in answering the crisis line and the 211 line, but have not yet had training for suicide calls so am unable to answer the Lifeline until the Fall, when I will be trained.

I am blogging about this because I feel that it is important for people know that the Help Center, and therefore a place to get help in Bozeman if you need it, does exist. We all struggle at times with feeling overwhelmed, stressed, depressed- or anything that you may have felt or are feeling. It’s nice to have someone there to listen to you, regardless of what it is.

Save the Help Centers number so that if you or someone you know ever needs it, you have it ready. Again, referring to the Help Centers Website:  “All concerns are welcome, we listen without judging and all services are free and confidential.”


And if you’re passionate about this stuff like I am, consider volunteering with the help center in some way!

Do you know where to get the resources you need in Bozeman?

Backpacking in the Beartooths

This past weekend, I headed out on Friday for my first backpacking trip. I was all geared up with my new REI swag and all kinds of other stuff I probably didn’t need to pack into my brand new Osprey brand women’s backpack.


We headed out on Friday at 5pm and drove three hours to the beartooth mountains. We found a campsite close to the trail head for the hike we were going on, which was one to mystic lake/island lake, and camped there for the $9 fee. Right by the campsite I saw my FIRST EVER MOOSE!! Which was pretty amazing. It was just a yearling, which wasn’t quite as awesome as an adult moose would be, but I was s till fairly speechless.


The next morning, we packed our backpacks, drove up to the trailhead, and hiked our way up to the lakes. The first part of the hike was difficult, I lost heart pretty quickly that I’d be able to do it, but by the time I made to Mystic lake and saw the views 3 miles later, I was up for doing the other 3+ miles to island lake.


For Saturday night, we stumbled upon this sweet campsite at the end of mystic lake, that people before us had built. It would be a good place for a large group of people to hang out, since it had so many benches and seats and a table right in site, all around a big fireplace.


Sunday morning, we packed up and hiked back out, which was much easier than the hike in. We decided to drive through the beartooth highway, which was well worth it for the amazing views. We also went through yellowstone and had the good luck to see two black bears while we were there.


It was a long and tiring weekend, but I loved learning something new and felt great after. I can’t wait for my next backpacking trip!

REI Swag + Camping

This past weekend was the REI Garage Sale, something I had never heard of. Basically, if you’re a IMG_6439member, you get to shop all the returns from the past few months, which due to being returned are marked down huge amounts. I was a little wary that the items would be low quality, since they had been returned, but it turns out almost everything was awesome quality, almost brand new. I picked up:

  • a headlamp that had been returned because the original buyers didn’t like the way it glowed
  • a Big Agnes sleeping pad that had been returned because the original buyer couldn’t fit it back in the bag it belongs in….
  • some running tights that the original owner returned because they thought the stitching was coming apart (it’s not)
  • the “cats meow” north face sleeping bag. Full price though, not at the garage sale. Well worth it I’ll add.

Anyways, after the sale on Saturday, we packed up and headed out towards West Yellowstone. We set up shop at the campsite and checked the river out, where some of our friends were fishing, and then drove around and explored the area- it was beautiful. After talking around the fire for a while, I had a chilly and semi-miserable night due to a cold that I’ve been fighting off and a lot of congestion. The next day we drove home through west yellowstone and saw a grizzly- the first one I’ve ever seen! It was awesome!