Our friends from Austin got married in Montana in July, and since we hadn't explored much of the state, we decided to make a vacation of it and go backpacking and camping throughout the western side of Montana.
Our first stop was in Hamilton, one hour south of Missoula where we started our 3 day, 2 night backpacking trip through the Bitterroot National Forest. We hiked into Bear Creek, over Sky Pilot, into Idaho, and then back over Packbox Pass, past Big Creek and out. This was a tough near-loop as we didn't know the condition of the Idaho side and we ended up losing the path multiple times, having to climb over huge trees that had fallen over onto the trail, and I had a minor case of altitude sickness.
I've done backpacking trips before throughout California, and while I'm hiking, I always question why I am doing it. My legs are sore, my feet are swollen, my back hurts. But when I come out of the forest, I realize I do it to reset myself and to understand what is important in my life. Backpacking keeps me grounded and allows me to focus on improving myself as a person.
The next part of of trip was the wedding! It was in an amazing location near our friend's family's cabin. On the drive up, I put and "epic soundtracks" station on the radio as each curve we made, the scenery was more and more extraordinary. We hung out on a lake, danced into the night, and savored all the lovely details of our friend's months of planning.
After, we drove to Glacier and ended up car camping for 3 days and 2 nights. We did a long loop hike around the Two Medicine area that took up most of one of our days, but was outstanding. Glacier seems to be a park you could easily spend 10 days in, so we just decided we would have to come back at some point.
We had a lovely time in Montana, and I would highly recommend visiting to anyone. It's a beautiful state and everyone we met was so warm and friendly. We can't wait to go back - maybe when we are old, have an RV, and just drive across the US visiting, camping, and hiking all the parks!