All Posts By


Genuine Montana Stories

Ice Raft Snowman by Avbird August 2017

By | Blog

Hitting the Grinnell Glacier trail at sunrise requires an early start but also ensures several hours of solitude since the water taxi isn’t running at that time. Although this adds several miles to the trail length, for my friend’s first time on the trail, it was totally worth it. Shortly after reaching the banks of Lake Josephine, only a mile into the 12-mile day ahead of us, we found fresh bear scat on the trail.

We had bear spray which we immediately took off our packs in favor of having them ready. I had been followed by a griz on this trail several years earlier. After another 100 yards, we saw them, two grizzlies in the meadow several hundred yards above us. They were too busy harvesting huckleberries to acknowledge us. After putting several hundred more yards between us we stopped to watch them busily eat the ripe berries.

We finished the climb up the Upper Grinnell Lake by 8 am and had the whole place to ourselves. Hiking along the shore of the Upper Grinnell Lake, you can reach the Glacier as it hits the lake’s edge. Large plates of ice break off here and float in the lake, powered by the wind. One large ice float was near the shore so we hopped aboard for a ride. It was a good spot for a short rest, knowing we would have to swim back in the 30-something degree water.

We even scraped enough snow together to make a small snowman to man the ice raft once we left. We were back on the trail by 9:30 only passing a dozen hikers or so on the way down. We stopped at the Lake Josephine boat dock where we jumped in to knock off the trail dirt. If you find a Kershaw lock-blade on the shore there, hit me up on Instagram, its mine.

Glacier Pirates

The Glacier National Park Pirates by Avbird July 2017

By | Blog

If you find yourself in Central Montana, buying or renting a kayak is a great investment. The region has amazing water, both lakes and rivers.

We enjoy visiting Glacier National Park in the summer. Although not nearly as busy as Yellowstone, Glacier can be busy. The east side of the park has some of the best scenery and seems to receive a fraction of the visitors. A crazy thought had come up around the campfire the previous evening. We had kayaked in Glacier a lot but had never really thought of our kayaks as transportation. The forecast called for very warm temperatures the next day and we were close to Saint Mary Lake and it seemed like the perfect time for some fun in the lake. We had noticed on the park map that there was almost no access to the south side of the lake.

The next morning we drove our kayaks and two little ones to the boat docks near Rising Sun and set out across the lake. The lake is incredibly beautiful and fairly thin making it easy to paddle across. We coasted along the south shore with no one in sight; we couldn’t hear the road or see another person. We drifted by several amazing beaches where we saw animal tracks and tried to guess what they were from.

After exploring by water we decided to come ashore in an amazing little bay with a fun rock just offshore that was perfect for jumping in. It was the perfect picnic spot. There were at least a million good skipping rocks. The kids explored along the shore looking for treasure while drying out from a swim. It was the perfect crowd-free day in Glacier.

Snow Day

Snow Day by Avbird March 2016

By | Blog

Winters in Central Montana can seem long. The best remedy is to learn to enjoy them. The crowds are gone that time of year and many of the easily accessible areas that are normally crowded with people offer great backcountry experiences.

On this Saturday morning, we drove up to the campground at Marias Pass across from Glacier National Park. There are forest roads here that make perfect backcountry ski trails in winter. I pull my daughter in an enclosed ski pulk that we affectionately call “the nap maker”.

Immediately after hitting the trail we crossed moose tracks and then wolf tracks. We stopped to investigate the tracks and discuss predators and prey. Climbing the ridge back to the south gains enough elevation for great views of the park.

When naptime finally came to an end, we stopped for a winter picnic. The nice thing about pulks is that it’s easy to pull plenty of gear so bring supplies to have a small fire, some hot water for chocolate and enjoy. It was unusually warm this day so we skipped the fire and built a backcountry snowman.