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…
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 bubbling 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.
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..
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)
- 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
- 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?
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?
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!
This past weekend was the REI Garage Sale, something I had never heard of. Basically, if you’re a member, 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!
Trying to set the tent up
Fishing on the Madison River
This past Friday, my friends last minute decided it was a great night to go camping. So, at 7pm we loaded up and headed out to some national forest land just off of trail creek road, about an hour away from our houses. We got there and set up, started the fire, had some dinner, and talked around the campfire for a while. We made some friends from a nearby campsite and stayed up, then headed to our respective tents and went to bed. The next morning we had intended to maybe stay until lunch, but it was pretty rainy, so we headed out.
It was a perfect mini-trip, exactly what I pictured myself doing when I first moved out here. Took three years but… better late than never?
The pups. (not mine).
My tent (well, not mine, but the one I slept in.)
Packing up to head out
Cloudy day driving out
This weekend, due to memorial day, was a three day weekend. I spent it at a friends condo in Flathead. On Friday, we got in later and headed to bed. Saturday we ventured to Glacier National Park, which wasn’t entirely open, but just enough to see some neat stuff!
We stopped and checked out some rapids- you can’t tell from the pictures, but that is some intense water!
We then headed to the Avalanche trail and hiked to the Avalanche Lake. It was beautiful at the lake to say the least!
We hiked down and drove over to Lake McDonald, and sat outside enjoying the nice weather, wishing it was just a bit nicer so that we could rent some boats and cruise around.
The crew, minus me. Yes, they are all of age.
On Sunday, we headed to Bigfork to check out the WhiteWater festival. It was awesome to watch the competitors in the white water kayaking/rafting race! The town of Big Fork itself isn’t too bad either.
One of my first big weekend adventures of many, I hope! If you get the chance to check out Glacier, or anywhere in Montana for that matter, don’t pass it up! But if you can’t, and you’re looking for something to do, you can always invest in a good puzzle. It seemed to be quite the challenge for my friends…