Smokey August •

There are wildfires raging throughout the western states… Montana, Idaho, Washington, California, etc. In MT we've had bad fires close to home, & lots of smelly smoke from Idaho has been blowing in - it's been obscuring the mountain views for days…

Tonight I took a drive (with visiting family) up into the Beartooth Mountains to try & escape the smoke - it turns out it's just as thick at 10,000'ft as it is down in the valley. Normally (as I'm sure you've noticed if you've even been in high country) mountain air is the coolest, purest & clearest there is. So it was disappointing that there was so much smoke in the atmosphere… . but it made the sunset look pretty awesome.

If you haven't driven over the Beartooth Highway - you NEED to put it on your bucket list! It's been dubbed "America's most scenic highway" - & I vouch  for it 100%. I've driven the highway 7 or 8 times this summer, & will probably be up a few more times before it closes for the season, usually in October, when the snow starts falling…

'alpen, glo/
"the rosy light of the setting or rising sun seen on high mountains" 

Pictured above left: feeding the chipmunks! On the way up to the top, there is a lovely vista point / road side pull off - & there are LOTS of greedy little rodents who beg for food. right: my 6yr old cousin, & my 11yr old brother dancing (on the edge of a cliff). Love these weirdos.

I had fun exploring — I'm up in these mountains so often, but I always talk lots of pictures whenever I'm there. It was extra special tonight, because my family went! We spent the afternoon in Red Lodge, ate a Bogarts, drove the Beartooth Highway, stopped at Beartooth Basin, went to the "top of the world" store & visited the fire tower… From the firepower we could see Pilot & Index peaks & a herd of elk down below… The views are AMAZING. I'm so thankful for & blessed by family. Thankful that we can talk, laugh, live & explore together for a few days.

ALSO - very thankful that "my" mountains aren't burning up, that the smoke is from elsewhere - & very thankful for all the hard working firemen & women who have fought hard, & are still fighting to preserve our wild lands!


Glacier Lake, Beartooth Mountains, MT

Today I hiked a moderately strenuous, but short hike to Glacier Lake! Total roundtrip was about 5 miles. The trailhead elevation is 8,680ft & the lake is at 9,702ft, but the hiking trail actually climbs more then the difference (1,022ft) in the 2ish miles to Glacier Lake. There's a ridge in the middle thats about 800ft higher then the lake. So at the peak of the hike the elevation is about 10,500ft, then you descend to the lake from that point.

Hiking was a breeze, & the landscape was beautiful. You could almost always hear the sound of Moon Creek gushing in the drainage to your left as you hike up to the lake. There is also a nice bridge about 1/2 mile into the trail where you cross over the creek. Once at Glacier Lake, you inevitably will cross over the state line of Montana into Wyoming. This sorta "no man's land" I (& other locals) like to call Wymont.  

The hardest part of this hike & getting to this lake, is actually getting to the trailhead. A high-clearance vehicle (truck or jeep) is needed. The 7.6 mile dirt road is very rough. I wasn't keeping track of time, but I'm guessing it took us about 50min to drive it. A long, slow, bumpy drive, but totally worth it.

Even though the lake sits at 9,702ft (above the timberline), there are some large trees along the shoreline, & around the trials near & below the lake. There were large wind-blown dead trees, & some very hardy pines. When we hiked, we veered off the trail & explored quite a bit of the surrounding areas just before reaching the lake. There are amazing views & vista points along the way. It's totally worth it to hike off trail once you are at the high point & boulder field. 

The mosquitoes were not bad, but be sure to take bug repellent just in case!
There were many pools of still water along the trail closer to the lake.  
Ok, now that you've read & looked at the pictures, take another look at the top picture. On the island, there is a human! My friend SWAM out to the island. This would not be recommended for everyone to do. The tempature of the water is around 43ºf. I took of my shoes & dipped my feet in the lake & nearly froze. I can't imagine making the long (55 yards) swim out to the island. Go look at the pic! Small human standing on the right side, atop a rock. ^^ 

This would be a fairly easy trail for kids. We passed a couple hiking with kiddos in backpacks. My 11 year old brother had a blast hiking up to the lake. He is not an experienced hiker, & did have to take a few little "breather" breaks along the way, but overall did great. 

Allllllrighty! Summer is gonna be over soon. In the past 2ish weeks, I've hiked 40+ miles in the Beartooth Mountains - The Beaten Path, Mystic Lake, & Glacier Lake. It's been super fun & I'm hoping to pack in the miles before school starts later this month.  Mountains are awesome & summer is going by too fast!!!!!! Wanna go hiking with me?!