"Eventually all the pieces fall into place....
until then, laugh at the confusion,
live for the moment, and know that everything
happens for a reason"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We're Back From Alaska

Isn't it amazing how slowly the days creep by when you're waiting to go on vacation and then once it finally happens, it flies by so quickly? It's a cruel fact of life. Time really does fly when you're having fun!

Our 10 day vacation, 7 days of it on the cruise, came and went much quicker than I would prefer. I'm already wanting to go back.

We started off our trip by driving to Seattle from Helena and staying in a nice hotel with a lake view from our balcony. It was within walking distance to downtown and we could see the Space Needle from the parking lot. We headed out early so we had the afternoon to walk around Seattle and explore a bit. We walked to the Space Needle, around Lake Union and got a feel for the city. We ate supper at a local Chinese place and then went to a Seattle Mariners game that night.

On our second day we went to Pike Place Market, did the Underground Tour, rode the monorail and went to the top of the Space Needle.

On on third day, we spent the morning getting ready for the cruise, walking around a local park by the water and boarding our ship!! The cruise was obviously the highlight of our trip, Seattle just being a scenic stop along the way! This was the start of our REAL vacation!

The cruise was amazing. It was everything I'd dreamed and more. It was 7 uninterrupted days with my wonderful husband in some of the most beautiful places we've ever seen. We saw salmon running in Ketchikan, whales and glaciers in Juneau and wonderful scenery in Skagway. We spent a day sailing through Glacier Bay National Park where we saw a 240 foot tall section of glacier break into the ocean. We saw probably 50 whales from the cruise ship, some of the incredibly close. It was incredible.

Once again, pictures can't do it justice. You just have to see it for yourself. I hated for ths vacation to come to an end. We'll just have to start saving up for our next Alaskan cruise!!

Love and Happiness,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Elk Hunting

Hunting season is upon us.

And hunting in Montana is going to be a whole new experience. The terrain is different, the weather is different and the animals are different. They have dove and ducks and some whitetail but they also have elk, moose, antelope and mule deer.

Paul's main focus this hunting season is going to be to kill an elk. And elk hunting is incredibly different than any hunting we've ever known. It involves lots of hiking, in the snow, to go find the elk. And then, after you kill your elk, you have to figure out how to haul the meat out of the woods, the miles and miles you hiked to get there. The conditions are rough and it's a whole day thing and sometimes go overnight. Many people have told me not to worry if Paul just doesn't come home because either the weather has snowed him in the mountains or they're still trying to get the elk back to the vehicle. Talk about a sleepless night for him and me both.

But, if Paul does kill an elk we should have meat for a VERY long time. I read that the average size of a female elk is between 500 and 530 pounds. And a male elk, 710 to 730 pounds. No wonder it takes them forever to get the meat back down the mountain.

Anyways, Paul has been preparing for elk season in several ways and I've been trying to be supportive. He's started running to get in shape for the intense hikes, and I've started running with him. I hate running so this is a true testament of my love for him. :)

We also went hiking last weekend into national forest that he can hunt. There was no trail so we just created our own and climbed 1,300 feet in elevation straight up the side of steep mountain. We saw lots of elk poop, I nearly hyperventilated, and then we got lost on our way back. We ventured down a steep ravine, I slipped and fell multiple times on sharp rocks (in shorts, no less), and then we walked miles and miles for hours in the woods before we made our way to the road. And when it was all over, I offered to try it again the next weekend. That's love.

We made it to the top!

Elk poop

Hopefully Paul kills one on his first trip so I won't have to worry about him all season long. Until then I guess we'll keep trying to get in shape and try not to get lost in the mountains.

Love and Happiness,

Glacier National Park ... I Could Live There

Glacier National Park.

It's my new favorite place, in Montana at least but maybe the whole world. This could change. I'm only 23 but right now, in this moment, Glacier is at the top of my list. I could live there, theoretically, and never want to leave. Paul could build us a cabin with a wrap around porch and I'd just stay, forever.

But that's not realistic.  Instead, I'll have to settle for camping trips and an annual park pass so we can go whenever we want. That'll do, for now.

A few weeks ago Paul and I spent the weekend camping just outside of Glacier and spent everyday hiking around the park. 18 miles of hiking later, Paul and I got to see a whole new side of the park. We hiked to multiple waterfalls, stunning lake views and of course, towering mountains. We saw mountain goats, a grizzly bear, a black bear and another moose!  It was the perfect way to spend a 3 day weekend.

Isn't it wonderful? It's just another reason why we love Montana!

Love and Happiness,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rodeos and Barrel Racing

This summer, on Wednesday nights, Paul and I have been driving over to the fairgrounds to watch locals barrel race their horses. Ranching, horseback riding and rodeos are a definite reality here that seems new to me. Rodeo is a part of peoples lives and they seem to start them young. We even saw a little girl, maybe 5 years old, riding her Shetland pony around the barrels.

And summertime means rodeo time around Montana. Every weekend there seems to be a rodeo within driving distance. So, Paul and I went to two this summer. We had a blast. I felt very Montanan sitting at the rodeo, cheering along as someone rode a bull or bucking bronco. Now, all I need to do is buy a cowboy hat and a set of boots and I'll fit right it.

Love and Happiness,

Family Fun in Montana

July was a big month. But August has been even busier. There's so much to catch up on and write about and pictures to share! I just don't know where to start.

My parents came to visit Paul and I in July and we had the best time while they were here. Instead of hanging around Helena, we took a trip to one of our favorite places in the state...Flathead Lake. My mom found this awesome little house to rent right on the water with it's own dock and fire pit and porch overlooking the water and mountains. It wasn't far from Kalispell and Whitefish and most importantly Glacier National Park. We spent 4 nights in our little house and had tons to do while we were there.

We spent our first day driving to a hidden gem near Libby, MT. The park is called Ross Creek Cedars and it's one of the coolest forests I've ever been to. The drive there was wonderful, crossing mountain lakes and rivers. The trees are HUGE and so amazing to look at. I can't quite describe how enormous and majestic the trees are. After we left this park, we headed to Kootenai Falls for a short hike and spectacular views of the raging river and falls. After some huckleberry ice cream and lemonade, we headed back to our house for supper on the back porch and a quick swim in Flathead Lake. We ended every night with a bonfire and marshmallows before we headed off to bed.

The next day, Paul and my dad went fishing on Flathead Lake while mom and I shopped around Whitefish. The boat dropped the men off right at our dock and we ate fresh lake trout for supper. Another swim, another fire, another wonderful night on the lake.

On Sunday, we went to Glacier National Park. Now, I'd never heard of this park before we moved out here but I think I've found my absolute favorite place in Montana. We hadn't been yet, so it was everyone's first time. I cannot explain the beauty that is within this park's perimeter. Words can't do it justice and pictures really can't either. The mountains, the snow, the glaciers, the animals, the rivers and the lakes are amazing. We spent the whole day there, taking in the beauty of it all.

Overall it was one of the best trips we've ever taken. We were sad to see my parents go but after having visitors twice in one month, I was ready to get back to a normal schedule and back into our own bed (since all we have is an air mattress in our guest room).

Love and Happiness,