Apgar Fire Lookout

glacier national park, fire lookouts, apgar

This past weekend we decided to do our inaugural hike in Glacier Park. Knowing how incredibly lucky I am to have this wonderful place in my backyard, I was thrilled to be getting out and about early in the season. In order to ease into what will surely be a busy summer, we decided to tackle Apgar Fire Lookout over the first weekend of June. 

Apgar Fire Lookout is a 7.1 mile roundtrip hike, with an elevation gain of 1,845 feet. This hike was my second fire lookout hike (the first was to here), and a great way to begin the process of getting back into hiking shape. The trail offers spectacular views, is very well maintained, and has a gradual incline. I like to think of myself in pretty good shape, but the incline was just enough to get my blood pumping, but not so much where I felt out of breath. 

We arrived to the park shortly after 9 AM. The Apgar Fire Lookout trail is just within the park boundaries, which makes it an easy hike to do if you don’t have a full day to commit. When we arrived at the Swan Mountain Outfitters corral, we noticed that the road to the trailhead had been gated and was not currently open. Since it is still early in the season and the water tables are high, I’m not sure whether it will be open later in the year or not. But, if you do choose to go this time of the year and find the road gated, please be advised that this will add 3.8 miles to the overall trip (1.9 each way), although it is an easy 1.9 miles in, but depending on your physical ability this may make for a more difficult hike. 

It was a great hike to start out the year, and another fire lookout I can check off the list. I’m also thinking about pulling out the snowshoes and trying it this winter for a new kind of adventure.

Have you hiked Apgar Fire Lookout? 

APGAR FIRE LOOKOUT

DISTANCE: 7.1 miles (10.9 with the road to the trailhead closed)
ELEVATION: 5,228 ft
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,845 ft
WHAT TO BRING: Bear spray (which you should always bring), a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, water, bug spray, and a smile for the webcam at the top! 

glacier national park, fire lookouts, apgar

glacier national park, fire lookouts, apgar

glacier national park, fire lookouts, apgar

Biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road

 

This past weekend, I set out to do something I’ve wanted to do for years. For years I’ve wanted to make it to Logan’s Pass while biking the Going-to-the-Sun-Road in Glacier National Park.

Completed in 1932, the Going-to-the-Sun Road, is a 50 mile road through the heart of Glacier National Park. It is one of the hardest roads to plow come Spring, with the elevation at Logan’s pass being 6,646 feet. And while this can sometimes mean the road doesn’t open until early July, it’s a definite bonus for anyone looking to bike or walk the road before any cars are on it.

My friend Jay and I set off early in the morning, trying to get to the top before the peak of the day’s heat was beating down on us. We knew it was going to be a busy day on the road, with the perfect weather, and we wanted to have as much time as we needed to get to the top – all three hours of it. I’ve biked the road a few times, but generally I get a bit past the loop and give up. And while this certainly wasn’t easy, I was determined to get as far as we could. I have not been an avid biker for the past few years, so this definitely proved to be quite challenging. There was plenty of walking (#noshame), and a lot of little breaks.

So you can imagine how bummed out I was that the road wasn’t open to Logan’s Pass yet. I knew there was a good chance it wouldn’t be, so instead of dwelling on it, we enjoyed being surrounded by several feet of snow, eating our lunches on the side of the road, and having some of the most beautiful visibility you can imagine. Sure, I may not have checked that off my bucket list, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try again next year!

If you haven’t biked the Going-to-the-Sun road, here’s what to expect:

  • Oh does that area up ahead look flat? It isn’t. This entire road is on a gradual incline.
  • Expect to get wet on the way down. By the end of it, I was covered in mud splatters, my entire backside was soaked, and my white rain jacket wasn’t exactly white…..it was awesome.
  • Bring gloves – I didn’t, and riding my breaks on the way down (you’re gonna go fast and I am definitely NOT a speed demon), my hands were sore.
  • Wear bike shorts, even if you feel stupid or look like a dork, trust me.
  • Get there early – parking can be tough at Avalanche Lake, so the earlier, the better.
  • Bring water (ahem, Jay).
  • Take breaks and enjoy the scenery. Even if you’re in great shape and don’t need to stop a bunch (unlike myself), it’s such a beautiful ride.

31 Goals to Accomplish at Age 31

Every year I create a series of goals for myself. Some are academic, some are personal, some fitness related. Some I accomplish in no time at all, some never quite get finished. So naturally, this year I’ll be creating 31 goals to accomplish after I turn 31.

I absolutely love goal setting. I have since I was young. I love the idea of checking things off of a list and feeling an actual sense of accomplishment. I love to revisit my goals time and again, so whenever I’m feeling like I’m in a particular rut, I can remember that I have things to focus on. I have a direction I need to go. After flailing in the goal oriented part of my life for the past couple years (more on that here), I’ve decided to bring back the goals. I turn 31 in a couple weeks, so I thought this was the perfect time to set some intentions.

  1. Read 31 books.
  2. Hike 100 miles.
  3. Run another half marathon.
  4. Pay off all my debt.
  5. Accomplish my 2017 emergency fund goal.
  6. Get out of Montana (I do not mean this in a bad way, I would just love to visit a new place outside of the state).
  7. Get back to regular blogging.
  8. Hike to another lookout (this was my first one).
  9. Try stand up paddleboard yoga.
  10. Finish one writing project.
  11. Eat vegan for one month.
  12. Keep a journal where I’m writing at least three days a week.
  13. Begin a regular meditation practice.
  14. Get new headshots taken.
  15. Finish my chiropractic regimen.
  16. Learn an outdoor skill I haven’t learned.
  17. Purge my closet, house, etc. Simplify.
  18. Yoga teacher training (this one is sort of scary for me to admit wanting to do, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while).
  19. Learn a new piece of software/technology. I’m aiming for Autocad.
  20. Fit into my “in shape” dress again.
  21. Volunteer 20 hours.
  22. Accomplish my 1 year retirement account goal.
  23. Open a new account with money going directly towards travel.
  24. Have a successful garden – veggies and herbs.
  25. Start working on French again, le sigh.
  26. Take a self defense course.
  27. Get back into using my GoPro and editing video.
  28. The same goes with photography. Why do I have a nice camera I never use?
  29. Learn to fly fish.
  30. Find a tennis partner and start playing again!
  31. Be happy (okay, I know this one is vague, but it’s the most important one of all).

I’m Back, Bitches.

When I moved back to Montana from New York, I had big visions of what I was going to do with this blog, and in my life. Well, you know what they say about plans – they often go awry.

I ditched this blog about a year into my life here in Montana in favor of working. I had a full-time job at and office and a part-time job at a restaurant. I worked on developing what I thought would be my career, while setting myself up for financial security. I worked 60+ hours a week – because I thought that’s what I should be doing. I gave up spending time in the outdoors, getting away to enjoy the nature that brought me back to this valley in the first place.

And I was miserable. I didn’t even exactly know how miserable I was until I left my office job, and many people in my life came forward praising that decision, telling me that I never seemed to quite love it. I stuck with it because I’ve been afraid to not have that stability. I stuck with it because it made me feel like I had a direction. I stuck with it because it was what I thought should be my life path, and all of my goals had boiled down to following this job in the direction of a career.

But all of this left me worse off. Not because the job was terrible, but because the job made me terrible. I wasn’t the friend, daughter, or girlfriend I could’ve been in the past two years. My health took a huge sideline, and I had virtually zero creative outlet. A far cry from who I used to be.

I’m not exactly sure what direction I plan on going now. I know that I’m going to create a better work/life balance. I know that I’m going to take some time to work on myself (because let’s face it, we’re all works in progress). I’m going to get all the creative projects that have been floating around in my head for years off the ground. I’m going to explore, and enjoy life. I’m going to stop focusing on making money and focus on making memories.

That being said, I’m not even entirely sure what direction this blog is going to take. I can’t really foresee myself doing style posts, making cocktails, and really much of what I’ve spent the past, I don’t know? 8 years focusing on? But I know that I need it in my life again. I need to put the work in, I need to be writing, I need to be taking pictures, I need to be sharing what I love with the world around me.

So for those of you that have stuck around for these past 2 years, and those of you that may be new to this, thank you for your patience, support, and your time. I can’t wait to see what new direction this all takes.

Documentary to Watch : The True Cost

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I love clothes. I collect vintage dresses, love nothing more than a fun pair of shoes, and lately I’ve been shopping for new, low-cost, corporate work clothes.

And I’ve also been pretty vocal about my thoughts on being more green when it comes to fashion as well.

Well, lately, with my career change coming with an unexpected pay cut, I’ve been buying up cheap, poorly made pieces, as a way to build a more office friendly wardrobe.

But as part of my new “watch one documentary a week” goal, this week I picked The True Cost, and guys, I think I messed up somewhere along the way. I used to be an incredibly eco-conscious person, and while I still take several measures to keep a low carbon footprint, I have to admit, sometimes fashion is a last resort.

The True Cost talks about the fashion industry’s impact on the world around us. It discusses everything from advertising used as propaganda, to the effects of cotton chemicals in our environment, to the working conditions of workers in both fair-trade and sweatshop style production. The True Cost aims to help open your eyes to the industry that ranks second in pollution, and one of the top in revenue in the world. 

A blog that discusses a love of fashion might be a weird place to discuss a movie that vehemently opposes the ideals of mass consumption, but I think that one of the messages you can take away from this movie, is that consumption is going to happen regardless. Let’s be real, there will be times when I buy new clothes, and there will be times when I buy cheap, sweatshop labor clothing, but my consumption is going to go from conspicuous to conscious consumption.

I’ll try to choose clothes that are either used (so as not adding to supply and demand), American Made (which will be secondhand most likely), and I won’t shop just for the sake of shopping. 

The True Cost is currently streaming on Netflix. 

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