Category Archives: Domestic

The Continental Divide Trail

Living near the Continental Divide I was always aware of the Continental Divide trail but for years never hiked a portion of it.

Here is the portion I hiked

continental divide trail

This past weekend some good family friends came for a visit so we decided to hike a bit of the Divide. We entered at the MacDonald Pass trail head off of Highways 12 in Helena and Hiked in about 2 miles or so. It was a extremely small portion of the trail in comparison to the thousands of miles it encompasses, but it was really neat to be on such a massive trail.

The Continental Divide Trail

It was a rainy/smokey day so the lighting was pretty interesting and the wildflowers were stunning.

Continental Divide Trail Continental Divide Trail Continental Divide Trail Continental Divide Trail Continental Divide Trail

 

It sounds lame and I know it does but I felt like I was part of something so huge and It was humbling. My tiny journey on the Continental Divide put into perspective just how small our worlds are which is also my reasoning for wanting to travel the world. I want to be able to see as many other “worlds” as I can in order to better grip what the rest of the world is really like.

I would love to be able to one day hike this trail in its entirety and maybe the Appalachian trail as well but for now I have a little taste.

Craters of the Moon National Park

I had never really knew this park existed before about a week ago when I learned it was on our way to Sun Valley Idaho where our family reunion was going on. I was actually really shocked to learn that a. astronauts use it as a training ground for the actual moon and b. that there was that much volcanic activity in Idaho. When I think of volcanoes Yellowstone and Hawaii are what immediately pop into my head. I learned that the a hot spot had traveled across Idaho all the way to Yellowstone where it resides today. Driving into the park is like entering another world. If you drive the loop (which I highly recommend) you can see much of the park in about a half hour or so. I would have loved to go on some hikes but unfortunately we were just passing through so there wasn’t much time.
Craters of the moon

Craters of the moon

Craters of the moon

Happy Birthday America

Sure this is a tad belated but stay with me.

I have always loved the fourth, perhaps it has something to do with my birthday being the third, but I truthfully think its a lot more than that. I would consider myself a very patriotic person for many reasons but mostly the pride I have for the United States military and for those who serve. I spent the better part of growing up living near Colorado Springs so I came to really appreciate our nation’s brave men and women who serve. Military homecomings will always bring me to tears and my heart goes out to those families with mothers, brothers, husbands, fathers, sisters, and wives who are deployed. I could never imagine how nerve racking every single moment would be until their return months later.

Sure the main purpose of the fourth of July is to commemorate our independence from Britain but I also think its about celebrating our amazing service men and women for continuing to fight for America’s freedom and safety. I think the fourth is about looking back to the beginnings of this country and seeing just how far we have come and where we can go. It’s about celebrating freedoms, the birth of this country, creativity, free speech, voting, democracy, and most importantly the people’s voice. It’s a time to remember our duties as citizens and how lucky we are to have all the freedoms we do. Even though it often doesn’t feel like it, we choose our government and our government is one for the people. Despite all the hard times and frustrations of our time, the fourth gives people continued hope, it renews patriotism, and for at least one day of the year people are proud about the country they live in.

and the fireworks just make me happy. I don’t know maybe it is the pyromaniac within me trying to escape or my constant wonder of what make them work the way they do and the chemistry behind the scenes. I guess it has something to do with the tradition behind them and how this is how people have celebrated the fourth for much of this countries history. Maybe it is also their beauty and how they light up a night time sky with so much color, so much noise, and so much joy. Maybe its the hiking to hills to watch them fly over valleys, lakes, or neighborhoods. Maybe its the memories from my childhood when this was the one night I could stay up super late just to watch explosions streak the sky. Maybe it has something to do with how the weather always seems to cooperate for fireworks. The night of the fourth is often one of the best of the summer.

I had probably one of the greatest birthdays and fourth of Julys this past weekend and I have had some pretty wonderful fourths in the past. This one was spent with so many amazing people and many many adventures. The memories will last forever.

Chicago (senior trip)

Its a tradition after a high school graduation to go on a “senior trip”. This trip is different from any others because the traveler has an entirely different perspective on their life. They have the privilege to see what there future could be like. They see the world through the eyes of a new hungry adult who has any dream at their finger tips.

My grandma (Tutu : Hawaiian for grandma) generously took me to Chicago, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have never spent so much time in a city and and it was incredibly exciting to experience the inner workings of cities.  At the end of this experience I realized that the windy city would be an incredible place to live. Who knows maybe a future job will call me there.

Our trip started a few days after my graduation festivities had subsided.

waiting in the airport

we arrived in Chicago around 1:30 or so and took a cab to our hotel and checked in a got acquainted before our dinner out.  We stayed at the Embassy Suites Lakefront and this hotel had the most misleading name. It was not actually lake front real estate because Chicago’s lake front has been left for parks which is actually a very interesting aspect to the city. The parks all around the city make it feel open and far less intimidating.  They add a much needed contrast to the harsh lines of the skyscrapers. So props to you Chicago.  From our hotel we had a pretty niffty view at a rooftop garden. These are common all around Chicago and I am sure in other cities as well. I thought the tennis courts were also pretty interesting. I can’t help but wonder how many cars or people have been hit by tennis balls from there.

roof top garden

 

I explored around our block for a little bit to get a taste of the city before dinner. I thought this mural was really interesting.

mural

That night we ate dinner at an incredible French restaurant, Henri. It was a really different experience. I had steak tartar, bacon wrapped rabbit and a bananas foster souffle.  The steak tartar was not quite what I expected. I knew it was raw but I thought it would be cured or something so it was an interesting culinary adventure. The rabbit was delicious and I must say it does taste like chicken. Nothing could have beat the souffle though. It was creamy fluffy and amazing all around.

The next day we got up early and took a mini bus tour around the city.  I highly recommend this because you really get a chance to see most of the city and get some bearings for the remainder of the trip. Here are some sights we saw.

Clock tower trump tower Wrigley field

 

Afterwards we ate at Pizzeria Due for the most incredible deep dish pizza I have ever had. No one does it like the Chicagoans. The crust was buttery and flaky and insides were even better. My grandma and I each got individuals which explains the small size.

Pizzeria Due

We then spent the remainder of the afternoon at the science and industry museum. This may be the best museum I have ever been to. The exhibits were all incredible and I only got to see a small portion of the whole thing. I may be somewhat of a museum nut but I embrace it. I have worked in a local children’s museum for almost two years so this trip was almost a research endeavor as well.  I’ll be sharing the exhibits with my coworkers to inspire future exhibits here at home.

They had the entire city scape of Chicago to scale

mini chicago

 

Afterwards I was treated to a surprise evening out to the whites sox game in a box.

white sox game white sox game

I had no idea that any of that night was going to happen and I had such a blast.

The next day we went on the Chicago Architectural Society’s river boat tour. This is another can’t miss thing to do. The tour went through centuries of history about each building and it was really interesting to learn about everything. We also got a great view of the p of the trump tower being assembled and other interesting feats of engineering.

trump tower

Sears (Willis Tower) partial skyline

We then went to more museums including the Natural History Museum where we met Sue. The most complete T-rex skeleton ever found.

Sue the T-rex

 

That night we went to the Blue Man group and I don’t have any pictures from there because no photography was allowed. It was such an amazing performance. They were hilarious and I would highly recommend going to a performance if you have the chance.

Friday was our last day in the city so we went to the Sky Deck on the Willis (Sears) tower. The view was amazing and going out on the decks was a lot less scary than I imagined it would be.

The Skydeck The Sky Deck The Sky Deck

Afterwards we cruised up the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue to hit all the shops.  We speed shopped for sure but it was fun to go into the Burberry store and others and look around.

Our last moments in the city were at dinner with some family who live in a suburb of Chicago. We went out to fondue and just had a wonderful time. Afterwards we traveled back to their house were we spent a few days. One day we went into Wisconsin to go to an outlet mall where I scored some amazing deals. The crown jewel of the day was a north face coat originally 300 which I got for 120. I was pretty darn tickled. We also (with the help of my Aunt) picked out good Wisconsin cheese to bring home to my parents.

This trip was so amazing and I have a whole new perspective on what living in a city is like. Sure I was in a hotel and living the tourist life but I could really imagine myself living in Chicago in the future. The city wasn’t suffocating and I would still have the comfort of family near by.

Chicago is a place completely worth seeing.

The Island Life

Over spring break this last year I went to the beautiful state of Hawaii. I truthfully didn’t know what to expect from such a trip, but I can tell you, it definitely changed me. The whole trip started off on a Sunday, boarding the plane in cold winter stricken Montana. From here we flew to Salt Lake City and practically had to run to our next gate to avoid missing our flight to Los Angeles. The worst part of the trip had to have been the 5 1/2 hour flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Then from Honolulu, we flew to a little airport on the island of Maui, arriving at 10:30 local time, 2:30 am Montana

 

The next day was the most beautiful day I’ve ever seen, 80 degrees by noon and the sun was out. The first day we spent on the beach, getting groceries, and catching some Z’s. The second day, we took advantage of still being jet lagged and went to watch the sunrise from the top of Mt. Haleakala. We had to wake up at 4 in the morning and drive the winding road up the side of the dormant volcano. The wind was piercing and it was dark.  It was completely worth it.

 

The adventure to see the more remote places of the island of Maui was calling us, next thing on our plate was the road to Hana. 40 miles of winding road through the rainforest of Maui.  Those 40 miles consist of 59 bridges, 49 of which are one lane,  and around 620 curves in the road. If you don’t stop along the route it will take you about 2.5 hours to complete. If you don’t stop though, you’ll be missing some beautiful sights.

20140327_095514

20140327_103206_Richtone(HDR)

20140327_111004_Richtone(HDR)
20140327_111109_Richtone(HDR)
20140327_111319_Richtone(HDR)
Those trees are naturally that color, it reminds me of something out of Dr. Suess.
The last days we were there we spent on the beach, either snorkeling or just relaxing. We did go up for a zip lining tour, which was my favorite part. However, I don’t have any pictures from that adventure to share with you guys. On that trip I did meet two of the coolest people I have ever met. Joe, was one guide that was from California and he was the stereotypical beach bum. Our other guide, Loki, was half Samoan and half Navajo Indian. He was a giant of a man and could be a comedian. Those two made the experience that much more fun.
This trip really opened my eyes to how truly beautiful a place can be without needing the frigid mountain air and the high altitudes. The people of Hawaii are some of my favorite people I have ever met and I highly recommend visiting. I can’t wait to go back. I love it there.