Saturday, February 23, 2008

Montana Trip '08 [helena, mt -> seattle, wa]

we departed early to head back home to seattle, wa. it's weird to spend a week away from home, and head the opposite direction of cincinnati, oh. but we've quickly learned that seattle is feeling more and more like home.

we hit the road hard, only stopping in missoula, montana. even though 'a river runs through it's' story is based around the missoula area, we didn't find anything that would bring us back again... although it was interesting how many anti-meth billboards were hanging over this western town. after we grabbed a bite to eat we hit the road again.

we had a great trip: good skiing, great friends, ghost towns, and so much more! we'll definitely head back to montana again, and have even entertained the thought to packing up and moving to bozeman....but maybe in a few years :)!

it was a relief seeing our cascade mountains again, and bellowing down the mountain-to-sound greenway towards our studio apartment!

studio apartment sweet studio apartment!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Montana Trip '08 [helena, mt & marysville, mt]

we arrived in helena late, after two days of skiing. we were tired and sweaty, but happy to see old friends again! andrea worked with annie back in cincinnati until annie, husband kevin, and newborn sammie relocated back to helena. we got the royal tour of old downtown helena & carrol college and treated to dinner in a ghost town. they know our hearts :)!

one of the old down town trolleys.

sammie in cupcake hoody.

marysville, mt. an authentic ghost town that once
boasted a population of 10,000! now, only a steak-
house with hand full of locals reside here.

"that freaks me out!"
- annie at andrea's double exposure.

to tell you the truth, it was a little unsettling, entertaining,
but unsettling none-the-less.

marysville steakhouse. probably one of the best steaks i've
ever had!

andrea and annie. annie asked for a to go box and the waitress
brought her a zip-lock bag. is this a half-assed establishment, or
a just ghost town steak house? you can only imagine the comments
about the bag of meat we walked out with!

brooke, kevin, annie, andrea
sammie stayed at home and read 'gossie.' a must have!

in the morning we depart for seattle.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Montana Trip '08 [bozeman: bridger bowl]

after two days of snowshoeing in yellowstone we headed up to bozeman to visit one of our favorite towns and to partake in some prime montana skiing. we woke, blurry-eyed, and thought a stop to get re-charged on some wake-up drinks [mocha and energy smoothies] would be a grand idea.

we saw the bozeman food co-op and couldn't resist!

it blew our minds! we're fans of small, local grocers.

when our breakfast drinks were ingested [side note: i highly recommend the global warming smoothie!], we rambled up the road to bridger bowl. bridger bowl is a great local ski resort about thirty minutes north of bozeman. it had great skiing, sun, and emil's mile.

beautiful montana skies and mountains could be seen from

bridger bowl has some great skiing, with a fairly decent
distribution of difficulties. each selection [green,
blue, and blacks] had multiple runs of varying degrees.
andrea and i skied together most of the two days. she kicked
butt on every run she took! i think i held the record for falls:
two. she stepped out of her comfort zone and tackled bigger
and bigger runs; everything to her success!

looking up at emil's mile. don't be fooled, it was a steep
blue run. i am so proud of andrea knocking this mountain
up-side-the-head. her skiing progressed rapidly with every

andrea getting ready to embark on emil's mile.
she rocks!

route selecting.

we couldn't have asked for a better two days of skiing.
time to pack it in and head up to helena to visit kevin, annie,
and sammie.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Montana Trip '08 [yellowstone national park]

two days were planned for snowshoeing and wildlife viewing in the first national park: yellowstone. andrea and i have been to yellowstone before... and hated it. it was during the summer, and everybody and their bother was there. [yellowstone is the second most visited national park, only falling behing the great smokey mountains...that's because gsmnp is free and yellowstone is $25] we left two days early. one day after a michigan woman fell to her death in the grand canyon of yellowstone while taking family photos and the day after we saw parents telling their children to get closer to the grizzly bear for a photo. [notice a pattern here?!]

we were a little hesitant, but had heard nothing but great things about yellowstone in the winter. our opinion of the park has changed. we will return...but only in winter.

wildlife was easy to see. here is one brooke's favorites!
they remind him of his parents dog.

although the park was quite empty, we still saw plenty of
impatient humans pushing the wildlife around in 'their' park.

our first snowshoe hike was 'the lost lake trail.'

a controversial topic in the outer yellowstone area is the
reintroduction of the wolf. they are there. we saw them. and
a lot of prints!

heading back through the 'canyon' into the lost lake region.

little did we know that lost lake would be filled with bison.

just doing what they do best: hangin' out!

it was an eerie feeling snowshoeing on top of three feet
of snow, knowing that there was an undisclosed amount
of water below it.

we thought a hot lunch would hit the spot halfway through our
six mile hike. so we packed our trusty msr whisperlite stove
and some backpacking food.


on the way back. guided by dusk.

the whole trip we couldn't get over the sun...
we don't see it a whole lot in seattle.

and the sunsets.

roosevelt arch.
6 second night exposure.
no photoshop.

our second day in yellowstone we snowshoed around the upper geyser basin loop trail.

for my friend mike who loves moss.

winter is the time to see the geothermal features.

i think we only saw about twelve people our entire visit.

after the upper geyser basin loop trail we head out to the tower ranger distric to hike out to tower falls.

we saw this guy on the way. what majestic animals!

calcite springs is streaming on the left.

mid-hike photo-op.

andrea was excited to hike on to tower falls!

tower falls. it's not everyday you see a waterfall
frozen solid.

we saw a pair of coyotes destroy a small animal.
blood. everywhere. :)

towards the end of our hikes we always talk about what
would taste the best. on this occasion we couldn't get
pizza and a pitcher of beer off our minds. lucky we found
K-BAR! the only bar-pizzeria-casino-private dining club
in gardiner, mt!

stay tuned...more to come about this trip!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Montana Trip '08 [renton, wa -> gardiner, mt]

winterbreak?! seriously, who gets a winter break?! who gets a week off in february?! we do!

so for this inaugural winter adventure week, we decided to be proper. here's how the trip will unfold: seattle, wa->coeur d'alene, id->gardiner, mt [yellowstone np]->bozeman, mt->helena, mt->seattle, wa

so hop aboard the inaugural winter adventure week train and enjoy the ride!

we've always wanted to check out coeur d'alene, id, so we were happy to see that is was a nice five hour drive from seattle. although coeur d'alene is more of a summer-lake town, we thought it would provide something interesting for us... little did we know they had a huge mardi gras celebration!

andrea with the mardi gras band in coeur d'alene, id
one of three acts. the other acts included a horse & carriage
and jugglers. we found a good huckleberry brew at
coeur d'alene brewing. after the parade, us and the other ten
folks went back to our respective hotels and called it a night.

if there is a buffalo in town, i want my photo with it!
if there is a buffalo in your town, please let me know!

on the way to gardiner, mt we saw signs for historic wallace. being the inaguaral winter adventure week, we thought it right to stop. although i'm sure a lot of folks call wallace their home, there wasn't much to this old mining town except some cool old buildings.

i present to you, 'the ryan hotel.'

i wish i had picked up my copy of 'the wallace miner.' it's
probably as interesting of a read as the put-in-bay gazette.

many of the things we find while traveling are derived from the navigator giving the drive an option. here's how this played out:

andrea: [looking at our war torn and tattered rand mcnally] so do you want to go down to livingston [mt] to get to gardiner, or would you rather take exit 316?
brooke: what is exit 316?
andrea: it looks like it cuts a corner, and has the potential of being a cool road.
brooke: how long is it?
andrea: like 32 miles.
brooke: will it save us time?
andrea: maybe.
[we both see the exit sign].
brooke: trail creek road.
andrea: trail creek road? we gotta take it!
brooke: i know!
andrea: there's just one thing...
brooke: what?
andrea: it's gravel.

trail creek road.

one day, we'll live on trail creek road.

although we had to stop and ask a farmer how to get back to the main road, trail creek road was well worth it.

once we found the main road the sun started to set. a pull out later we were taking photos.

nothing beats evening sun for photo lighting.

i think this is included in a song. purple mountain majesty?!

although i believe that cincinnati has the most beautiful
sunsets, this is a close second.
[ps: cincinnatians, don't take it for granted.
look up into the even sky once in a while.]

all the way to gardiner we saw wild life. but the majority of them were antelopes.

these are our evening antelopes.

we arrived in gardiner around 8pm. blurried eyed and tired, we thought it would be nice to refresh ourselves with a nice fresh, crisp two mile walk through the town of gardiner and to the original entrance to yellowstone national park.

stay tuned...