Sunday, August 26, 2012

26 on the 26th

I've been fortunate enough to cross a many number of things off my Life List this year; Westminster Dog Show, New York City w/ my Momma, running the Missoula 1/2 Marathon, Lion King on Broadway to name a few. Today, I was fortunate to mark not only one, but two more off my list.

Today I was able to cross off: Live to be 26 and go skydiving. These are both pretty big events to me. See, I want to live to hit triple digits, 100 years old, so by turning 26, I have passed into the 2nd quarter of my life. As for skydiving, who hasn't held their hand out the car window in the wind, or watched a bird gliding through the air and wondered what it would be like to fly? I can now say that I know.

My alarm clock started singing a little earlier than I care to be up on a Sunday morning, but I jumped out of bed anyways. I had big plans today! After a three hour drive, I found myself in the Middle-of-Nowhere, Montana standing on an air strip. After the introductions were made, the papers were signed, and the instructions given, I was suited up in a cloud print jump suit & stuffed into a little Cessna 182 w/ 4 guys (including the pilot).

Two of the guys in the plane w/ us were working on their solo certifications & jumped at lower altitudes than us. Soon enough though, it was my turn and I was willingly stepping my feet outside of an airplane at over 9,000 ft onto a tiny metal step. Next thing I knew, I was airborne & flying! There are no words to describe this feeling. Fear is what you would think to describe the kind of lunacy that it takes to jump out of an airplane, but complete happiness and a sense of peace are more like what overcome you as your arms outstretch in the wind.

You may need to clean your computer screen for this picture, b/c if there are dust particles on your screen, you may mistake them for me, who is actually the dust looking particle in the top right hand corner. The bigger looking dust particle is the plane. The smaller one below that is me. My tandem master, Mike, & I freefall for 30 seconds, or approx 4,000ft.

At around 5,000ft Mike deployed the shoot and we floated back down to the earth for another 5 minutes or so.

With my feet firmly on the ground, I hugged Mike (he's truly a pro at his job), thanked him for the safe ride, and like a good daughter, called my Momma like I promised her I would upon a safe return.

After Lost Prairie I headed into Glacier National Park for a hike. What better way to end a birthday than heading to one of the most beautiful places in the world? Unfortunately the smoke from the surrounding wild fired made the mountains heavy w/ smoke & limited its views. My cell phone's camera will never do this place justice, but here's a taste of today's hikes.

Followed by watching the sun set at Wild Goose Island. Perfect end to a near perfect day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Had to Share!

I unfortunately have no pictures to go w/ this post tonight but I had to share!

As a friend & I were descending from the top of Blue Mountain after doing some star gazing (I love August's meteor shower!) we ran into not one, but TWO juvenile mountain lions!!!

*mini freak-out moment here*

OMG! Neither my friend or I had never seen a mountain lion in the wild, so we were both pretty excited to say the least. We were also pretty thankful to see them in the comfort of our vehicle while they played on the road for a minute, before meandering off into the woods to let us continue our travels home.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Boys are Back in Town

I had the pleasure of spending a few hours w/ my Dad, Brother, & Uncle (dad's brother) this past weekend. Living on difference ends of the country unfortunately doesn't allow for spending much time together, so even just spending a few hours on a Sunday afternoon means the world to me.

Their annual fly fishing trip took them to Bozeman, MT to fish the surrounding area. I was able to talk them into coming into Rock Creek on Sunday (my only day off for the week) so that I could bring them lunch. After spending some time near the river, I was able to convince them to drive back into Missoula w/ me for some dinner at my dad's favorite restaurant in Missoula, HuHot.
The trip to Missoula wouldn't be complete w/out a little visit to the Big Dipper for some of my family's favorite Huckleberry ice cream. Although to be perfectly honest, I'm not entirely sure the visit to Missoula would of happened at all w/out the promise of Big Dipper.

Just as soon as they came, they were packing back into their car to return to the streams that fill their dreams at night. I hugged, and kissed them all goodbye (tears included) then headed to Missoula's Symphony in the Park.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Clearwater Lake Loop

Clearwater Lake lies beneath Ptarmigan Mountain at the foot of the Swan Mountain Range. The 120-acre lake is completely surrounded by a lush, old groth forest.

This lake was one I was trying to complete in my "Day of Hikes" but was unable to do so before the sun went down. So after work today I headed out into the forest w/ Bosco at my side to hike the trail around this beautiful lake. The crystal clear waters do nothing compared to the beautiful view of the mountains that surround it. I think I'm going to have to come back here some day & camp at one of it's hidden sites next to the shore.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Weeknight Ride

As I've been struggling w/ some personal conflicts recently I've learned that sometimes there's nothing better to do to feed the soul than good conversation w/ great people on the back of a horse.

I am very fortunate for the people I have in my life.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Western Montana Fair

Having not been to a fair in years, Shane treated me to a date night at the Western Montana Fair. Our night was filled w/ some horrible (for you, not tasting) food, lots of Bingo! & some of the cutest animals around.

If you don't love the picture of the baby llama, you may just be a communist.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Floating the Clark Fork

Grabbing an inflated inter-tube, some friends, and a few beers on a hot summer day to float the Clark Fork River are about as Missoulian as you can get. A day doesn't go by in the summer that the river isn't flooded w/ tubers floating the rivers all around Missoula.

I look forward to summertime for hiking as much as I do for floating. On the days when it's to hot to be out on a trail into the late hours of the afternoon a dip in the river is the next best thing. Anyone that knows me knows that Bosco is rarely never by my side. Floating the rivers for a few hours on end is no exception to this.

On my latest trip down the river I ran into my friend Ryan on a paddle board. Bosco was more than happy to try his hand at this as well. Perhaps this is my next sport?