Category Archives: Travel

Sierra Buttes Lookout

Well, Carly and I finally made this hike, which I have been meaning to do for 2 or 3 years.  Unfortunately, there is smoke on the horizon in pretty much all directions right now (’tis that time of year.  Thoughts and prayers to those who battle these blazes!).  Therefore, the views up on top weren’t as epic as I’m sure they can be.  Smoke or no smoke, it was still an amazing hike!  I was only able to narrow the images down to about 45 (I shot 186 and Carly grabbed some with her GoPro) so bear with me.

We got to the area a bit early so we stopped by Packer Lake to take a gander.  It is one of many pretty little lakes in the area…
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Yep.  That little house up there is where we’re going!  What have we gotten ourselves in to?…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_012

Gaining a little ground but already huffin’ and puffin’ and still a good way to go…DCIM188GOPROG0420727.

Just an incredibly scenic hike, all the way up…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_015

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There are several “teaser” looks at the lookout, just to keep you wondering what you were thinking!… 20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_024

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The breaks certainly got more frequent, the farther we got.  Carly lives at 500 foot elevation.  SEVENTY five and ultimately EIGHTY five hundred weren’t her favorites!…

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One of the treats of this hike is the frequent views of these three lakes.  Closest to farthest in this view are Young America, Upper Sardine, and Lower Sardine Lakes…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_022

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This sign, literally translated, means, you still have a ways to go…lol…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_025

Finally getting close.  At about this point, I told Carly, “Oh, by the way, there are 200 spooky stairs to climb at the end.”  This is the first glimpse at those stairs…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_033

Just about…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_035

Great view from near the base of the stairs…shows the smokiness in the air though…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_034

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Just a cool rusty old tank below the base of the tower…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_031

Time to head up!…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_037

Definitely, not for those with height phobias.  If the stairs aren’t enough, you get to walk on expanded metal at the top…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_038

Judging from the fairly modern stove and fridge, I’d say it was in use not all that many years ago…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_039

Absolutely spectacular views and I got 4 bars on my phone so I could check in on Facebook while up there…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_032

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Gotta have your nourishment! (and take plenty of water!)…DCIM188GOPROG0430778.

Yep, Carly loved the stairs (Don’t worry.  They’re only slightly more scary on the decent than the accent)…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_040

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We were treated to some wonderful “golden hour” light and a rising moon on our decent…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_043

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We made it back to the grocery-getter just in time for the end of a beautiful sunset (one advantage of all that smoke, I suppose)…

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I certainly want to try this one one more time in some crisp, clean air (which may be easier said than done as the fires could start pretty much any second after the snow melts off the trail). But it was a wonderful hike and we’re only a little sore today! If you’re a hiker and haven’t done it you need to add it to your “to do” list!

If you’re interested there are pretty good directions on how to get there available from All Trails HERE.

Josh, over at California Through My Lens, has a great post related to this hike as well.  It can be found HERE.  His blog is worthy of a look/subscription for lots of other great recreational/travel ideas around the state as well!

 

 

 

2016 Montana Trip – Part 2 (Glacier)

On the morning of July 13, I got up and drove into Glacier National Park.  My plan was to launch my kayak at the north end of Lake McDonald, which sits just inside the west entrance, and fish for a bit before taking a drive.  However, the spot I planned to launch on the north end of the  lake was out of the question due to higher water than I expected to see in McDonald Creek.  I didn’t want to double back to the boat ramp at the south end so I just drove on, hoping to perhaps launch in Saint Mary Lake but the winds were too high once I got there so the kayak stayed atop the car (probably owing to the downpour that kept me awake in my tent all night as well). I did snap a few shots at McDonald falls just above the lake though.  It is difficult to access to photograph in its entirety but I did what I could.

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There is lots of moving water in the park.  As you might expect though most of the examples near the road are quite crowded at times…

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The Going to the Sun Road is the main drive through the park…according to the sign it is a nice drive…

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According to THIS sign there is a mountain in there somewhere (Going to the Sun Road was Going to the Clouds Road on this particular day)…

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Just your basic roadside waterfall…

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Just a few more views from the roadside…

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Last but not least, as I mentioned, that kayak never left the roof while I was in the park.  However, I DID get the bright idea to use it as a camera mount as I drove through the park.  The video below is the result.  I ended up having about 2 hours of footage so I trimmed it down and tried to sort of “time lapse” through some of it which got it down to a shade over 22 minutes.  Footage from a cheap action camera can’t do justice to the sheer splendor of the place but it gives a rough idea to anyone who hasn’t seen it.  Watch as much or as little as you’d like…

 

2016 Montana Trip – Part 1

Well, I just got back from a week on the road.  The primary mission of the trip was to spread my mom’s ashes, per her instructions in north central Montana (more on that in a later post).  I decided to work my way up there in pieces, camping at a couple locations along the way.  First stop was at Lake Coeur d’Alene where I camped at Beauty Creek Campground, near Beauty Bay.  It is a pretty little campground, with only 19 spaces.  I had a couple visitors in camp my first morning…

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After a couple evenings there, a wonderful visit and hike with a dear friend, it was time to move a few miles east.  My next stop was Flathead Lake where I camped near Bigfork Montana at Wayfarers State Park, near the north east part of the lake (which is huge).  I caught a great sunset the first night (well after 9pm at 48 degrees north latitude)…

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Of course, no trip would be complete without the shameless selfie…this was the best I could muster…

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The next day I took a little spin up the Swan River where I played a little peek-a-boo with this eagle (a GOOD eagle photo is still part of my bucket list)…

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I also took my kayak to a little lake called Echo Lake that was supposed to have good bass fishing but that only resulted me getting jostled around for a few hours by the endless stream of wakeboarders.  It was still a nice paddle and if I wasn’t so lazy I’d post a video clip.

As always, clicking any of the images above will allow you to view them larger.

More to follow from this little drive.