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Montana in August

Barely five weeks later and we are already back in Montana! This time we brought along our friends Karina and Evan to visit with Gail and Darryl. Max, Karina and Evan spent Saturday and Sunday exploring Apgar and West Glacier, hiking the Johns Lake Trail, beginning the great fridge clean-out of 2014, and blowing up swans (with air, not explosives). Kristan arrived on Sunday night (having been very happy to watch her best friend get married in Oakland), just in time for eat and get ready for the highlight of the whole trip: a full moon bike ride down Going-to-the-Sun road from Logan Pass.

This was really incredible. Going-to-the-Sun is usually a very slow drive, because of all the cars on the road, but late at night, there were almost none at all and those were all full of bikers. We left the house around 10:30pm and drove up the dark road, with our bikes in the bed of the truck, waiting and watching for the moon to fully rise as Karina and Evan got their first glimpse of the park’s major vistas. By the time we got to the top of Logan Pass, it was around 11:30pm and the moon was shining so brightly we didn’t need the bike lights we had brought to see… we only needed them to make sure any cars on the road saw us. We started biking and stopped a few times, to make sure all was well but mostly to just enjoy the view and let Max take photos of us. With the long exposures, the only way you can tell it isn’t daylight are the stars in the sky!

Actually biking down the road was sort of like jumping off a rock into the ocean. The first time you do it, you’re a little unsure and take it slow… but by your fourth or fifth jump you’re sprinting like a maniac to launch yourself into the air. Kristan became a speed demon very fast (carefully watching for rocks in the road, of course.) Overall the ride was incredible and we’d love to do it again… next time we might even try biking up from The Loop instead of just going down!

The rest of the week was action-packed with “swanning” on Lake McDonald, hiking to Avalanche Lake for a picnic, hiking with goats a little past the Hidden Lake Overlook for a hot backpacker’s meal with our Jetboil, testing our mettle on the first section of the Highline trail (a small trail cut into the rock above Going-to-the-Sun that you don’t want to meet a bear on), whitewater rafting the Middle Fork of the Flathead river (pretty tame in August), and tubing and boating on Lake MacDonald. A great trip!

 

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