The Countdown Has Begun!

It’s hard to believe my next big adventure is only about a week away!  I have been dreaming of this beautiful Spring trip for months.  I’ll be visiting 10 European countries in just two & a half weeks.  I’ve been excitedly researching every location on the itinerary.  Sunning on Italian beaches & hiking through the Alps are just a couple of the places my mind has been wandering.  However, the more I check the weather forecast, the more I am awakened to the fact that most of the trip may be colder than this Florida weather I’m used to.  My time in the Alps may end up looking more like something out of my winter wonderland series than a traditional Spring scene.  Instead of being disappointed that the trip may not meet my initial expectations, I am excited to see what adventure comes out of the unexpected.

Montana Winter Wonderland Giant Springs

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Warmer Weather Ahead

As the weather starts getting nicer it seems most of my friends are getting excited about beach days and which flowers to plant in their yards. I, however, cannot stop thinking about my next trip to the mountains and all the hiking possibilities. I even had 2 dreams about hiking last night! I won’t be going to Montana again until the middle of the summer, but I am hoping to get a hike or two in on my Europe trip in May. I could be happy hiking in the Alps! 🙂

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Chasing The Sun

Yesterday, a friend and I set off for an adventure day.  We love to get in the car with no agenda and no idea where we are going.  It always turns into a day full of surprises and adventure (see our last adventure day).  Well, somehow our adventure led us to a favorite shopping spot in a nearby town and the movie theater where we saw Frozen.  We had a blast & it was exactly what we both needed, but I don’t think you care to hear about how much I liked the movie Frozen. 🙂  Instead lets talk about one of my favorite adventure days last summer.

During July (and the whole summer really) there had been a tremendous amount of rain & flooding here in Florida.  One Saturday morning when I woke up I just couldn’t take another day of the waterworks.  I woke a friend up, we got in the car, checked the weather radar and drove east to find the sun!  We drove along the coast with the storm clouds in the rearview mirror as we tried to outrun them.  We ducked into a deserted beach resort where we stopped the car to talk to some guy wearing a shirt from her hometown, but we chickened out.  We blew right through the next little town, Port St Joe, because it was still quite ugly there.

Next stop was Cape San Blas and the weather wasn’t bad.  We came across a thrift shop with 2 surf boards outside and imagined ourselves spending the afternoon learning to surf.  When we inquired about them, the lady sent us to ask a woman at the café down the street.   We walked in the tiny shack and were greeted by a guy shucking oysters.  Not 15 feet down from him we saw a guy serving ice cream!  I just imagined all the ice cream flavors smelling & tasting like oysters!  We talked to the lady and bummer, the surf boards were not for sale.

We decided to keep moving and found an incredible boulder wall along the water so of course we had to stop and climb it in our dresses and bare feet!  We took a bunch of Little Mermaid inspired pictures since some little girls think I’m the real life Ariel.  We got back in the car and back on the road just minutes before the rain caught up with us again.

rock wall

Waving to my mermaid family while trying not to laugh

Waving to my mermaid family while trying not to laugh

We arrived at Apalachicola and searched for a place to have lunch.  We sat down at a cute little restaurant on main street & the rain really started coming down.  No one had even come to greet us yet, so we gave each other a quick look and decided to get back on the road in search of the sun.  We did pop in to the coffee/chocolate shop a couple of doors down first though to get something to sustain us.  We got 2 iced coffees and 2 walnut brownies to go and hurried back to the car.  We were driving along in the rain trying to figure out why the brownies tasted kind of funny.  We didn’t care too much because that was pretty much all we had eaten that day and by that time it was 12:30 or 1.  Then it hit me!  There was alcohol in those brownies!  The actual alcohol was cooked out of course but we laughed so hard because after that point all we could taste was the alcohol!

We got a glimmer of hope not long after when we could see clouds breaking ahead of us!  Unfortunately the road turned north and we started worrying we would lose our lead on the storm that was biting at our heels.  The next little town made us forget all about our race with the storm.  It was barely a speck on the map, but we kept seeing all these beautiful signs for an aquarium and of course we were intrigued.  We were just about out of town when we noticed sign for a hotel at the strip mall.  You know we had to get a closer look so we whipped into the last entrance of the parking lot and there on the front door of the shopping center hotel was a pirate flag!  After seeing that we had to go check out this aquarium.  I made a joke that it was probably just a couple of fish tanks in someone’s house.  Well, we found the aquarium and sure enough it was in a house!  Our giggles were uncontrollable at that point!  We left town & took the next road north so that we could begin to loop around home.

We came across some signs for Wakulla Springs and thought why not, we’ve heard good things about it.  So there we were at Wakulla Springs in our beach dresses catching glimpses of the sun while admiring the springs.  The moment was interrupted when some old guy called us out, “You girls aren’t going swimming are you … all dressed up with your makeup on?”  We did our best to contain the giggles as we pushed past him back toward the car.  As we were walking we noticed a trailhead and again thought why not.  Off we went into the woods for a quick hike in our dresses and flip-flops.

Wakulla Springs

Trail at Wakulla Springs

By the time we got back to the car we were starving so we headed to Tallahassee for dinner and then home.  Before leaving town we got coffee at my friend’s shop Eternal Grounds, and then followed the sunset all the way home.  We literally chased the sun all day and were so excited the next morning when we discovered that the sun decided to stay.

On To The Next Adventure

On To The Next Adventure

Finally Fall?

The weather is finally cooling down here in Florida and I am loving every minute of it!  Out of stubbornness I have been wearing light sweaters and scarves in 85° weather for about a month now.  I am ready for Fall…and for … Continue reading

Montana Dreaming

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So it’s been about a week and a half since I’ve returned from Montana and I just can’t get it out of my mind. Before I even left I was already planning my next trip. There’s just something so special and freeing about a place so wild an untouched. Every time I go I feel like a captive animal returned to the wild. The longer I’m there the more the social pressures and expectations just melt away and what is left is who I really am. It’s a place that forces you to see the nonsense in your life for what it is and to focus on what is truly important. No matter where I live, Montana will always be home for me. One of my new goals in life is to have a small rustic cabin outside of Glacier Park where I can just get away and enjoy God’s creation. I’m sure I will add things to the list more quickly than I will accomplish them, but I have started a Montana wish list. They are in no particular order.

Own a Cabin Near Glacier Park
Visit Family Homestead Again
Horseback Riding in Glacier
Helicopter Ride Over Glacier
Rock Climbing
Spend Night in a Teepee
Yellowstone in a Snow Coach Again
Try Snow Shoeing
Hike to Granell Glacier
Hike To Iceberg Lake
Hike Ptarmigan Trail
Stay at a Glacier Chalet
Stay in a Lodge at Glacier
Pan for Sapphires Again
Miles City Bucking Horse Sale
Charlie Russell Chew-Choo Dinner Train
North Pole Adventure on the Charlie Russell Chew-Choo
Visit Montana Grizzly Encounter
Sleigh Ride
Zip Line

To Canada And Back Again

Finally a slow morning so let’s get caught up on this little adventure. Waterton Park was pretty fantastic! Prince of Wales Hotel has my favorite view of any of the lodges in Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park.

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We took the two hour boat tour to Goat Haunt back on the American side of the park. Of course I spent most of the tour at the bow of the 86 year old boat. It was just more fun and free up there. On the tour we saw a black bear and three bald eagles. However, one of my favorite parts was seeing the American-Canadian border cleared out across the mountains. It is the largest unprotected border in the world!

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We finished out that chapter of the trip driving through Canadian farm land overlooking the mountains we had just left. Then my mom, aunt, and I accidentally stayed at a dive motel in Shelby, MT. All we could do was just laugh and laugh and laugh!

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Yesterday I made it to Great Falls and took a quick 6 mile hike along the Missouri River. This morning it’s off to the farmers market and then a big family get together tonight.

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The Joke

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To commemorate our trip my mom and aunt gave me this adorable Big Sky Carvers figurine. It is just so us and perfectly captures this trip. The three of us are always getting into something and cracking jokes.

While hiking in Glacier Park, we decided to each say hello to those we passed in a different language. I started it out with bonjour, my mom followed with guten tag, and my aunt rounded it off with hola! Oh the reactions we got! We just always make sure we have fun no matter what we are doing.

Going To The Sun And Beyond

What a day! My mom, aunt, and I covered a lot of ground in Glacier Park today! We started the day at the historic Lake McDonald Lodge and headed up the Going To The Sun Road.

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This road is my favorite drive in the country, but is not for the faint of heart. The narrow winding road was carved into the mountain side in the early 1920’s. It gave visitors a way to experience the park like they never had before.

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We made a quick stop for brunch in St Mary and then continued on to Many Glacier, my favorite place on the planet! On the way we enjoyed stunning views of St Mary Lake along the way. Once in Many Glacier, we hit the trails and the highlight was a beautiful cow moose grazing in a lake. I promise to post pictures of her once I find wifi.

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Ready, Set……

It’s still 2 weeks away, but the excitement is already building for my annual Montana trip.  What will I do?  Where will I go?  What should I bring?  To me, preparing for a big trip is almost as exciting as the trip itself.  There’s always so much hope and wonderment thinking of all the possibilities.

A couple weeks out I like to get a list of must do’s for the trip.  This gives me a chance to pick up any special clothing or items I may need.  This year I have a big hike planned to the ice caves near Lewistown, MT.  The trail gains 2,200 ft in the first 3 miles.  I guess this means I need to start hitting up the dreadmill on max incline!  How do you normally prepare for vacation?  Make checklists?  Go shopping?

On one of my trips to Glacier National Park, a little more planning would have been very beneficial. However, it would not have been nearly as entertaining to all around me. I didn’t realize we would be doing any hiking the first day so I decided to wear heels.  Of course my real shoes were at the bottom of my bag and everyone was talking about the family of mountain goats just up the trail.  I wasn’t going to miss those goats, so I off I went high heels and all!