Tonight, June 10th, 2008, there's a snow advisory for Missoula, but recently it was mild (50s and 60s) with the occasional scattered shower. My wife and I took most of last week off to see the nearby Belt Mountains and Little Belt Mountains a short drive away.
First stop was Hanging Valley. I'm a huge fan of the various national parks in Utah, and so when some reviewers compared this 12-mile hike to the absolutely surreal Bryce Canyon, I had to see it. Not quite the same, but certainly worth the hike and gorgeous (click images for a closer view):
Late that day, we resupplied in Townsend, Montana and carried on to a large (and utterly deserted) Forest Service campground just south of Mt. Baldy, which was mostly invisible due to swirling blizzards near the summit.
The next day, after a hearty breakfast at Dori's in White Sulphur Springs, we headed north, back into the mountains. On a high plateau, we briefly encountered one of the locals:
After a harrowing drive down a crater-filled, nightmare-switchbacked forest road, we finally arrived at the Logging Creek Campground -- also totally deserted -- and, upon starting dinner, quickly made friends with the neighbors.
Logging Creek, perhaps despite the name, was idyllic, perfectly clear, ice-cold, flower-lined, and I spent much of a sunny afternoon enjoying it. (I even brought a gallon home to brew beer with.)
Here's another shot of the campsite:
As we descended from the mountains the next day and into Belt, Montana, how could we resist this sign for the Harvest Moon Brewery:
It was only 11 in the morning, and the workers were in the midst of bottling, but one of the brewers took the time to give us a tour of the brewery and pour us fresh samples of everything on tap. Delicious!
Next stop was Great Falls, a (relative) metropolis in Montana, and the home of my wife's parents, Jim and Helen. We didn't tell them we were in town, and so the visit was something like a surprise party (which included a freshly-filled growler from the brewery). After a few hours socializing, we headed west over the Continental Divide, through the briefly-famous Lincoln, Montana, and back to Missoula.
It's easy to be consumed, even overwhelmed, by the technical details of your job. Those details are, in fact, infinite. So it's important to, from time to time, look around, see what's nearby, enjoy it... and relax. Here at Modwest we are surrounded by an outdoor paradise of mountains, rivers, and wildlife, and so there are ample opportunities to get outta town and enjoy it. But even a local park, a creek, a shrub(!) offer these opportunities. Soak them in, enjoy.
And don't worry, we'll keep improving and fixing server stuff as needed.