The official ROAD TRIPPING leg of our summer vacation began yesterday. We cheated somewhat by flying to our first destination, but Wednesday my dad drove us across statelines from Boise to Bozeman. Montana includes lots of nature & hiking! Sitting in a car for 8 hours isn’t exactly ideal vacationing but the views alone made it worth while, with the addition of music, a couple episodes of Gilmore Girls and of course healthy snacks of fruit & Luna bars.
I know this doesn’t have much to do with health and fitness but I am just so in awe of this beautiful country-side, I have to share :) And from a runner’s perspective, places like this are so inspiring to be outdoors in nature exploring!
Before driving 500 miles, we got up a little after six so I could knock out my last run along the Boise River Greenbelt of this summer (definitely not my last run here ever, I’ll be back!) Our hotel was in an ideal position, midway along the 9-mile greenbelt. One day I could run 5 miles upstream and back, the next day 4 miles downstream and back. I didn’t have a favorite direction; each had miles of gorgeous scenery, pretty parks and golf courses and plenty of fellow runners (friendly ones who wave “hi” and everything!)
Driving Boise to Bozeman was one of the most beautifully scenic trips I’ve taken and I couldn’t wait to get out of the car and start trekking in some of those mountains. But the weather had other plans. Five minutes after checking into our hotel, a thunder and lightning cloud took over the skies, it became so dark outside. We took shelter in Montana Ale Works until the sun re-emerged and we could explore downtown.
You know I was on the lookout for a one-of-a-kind coffee shop on our downtown tour. My family has a rule on vacations: NO chain restaurants. When we travel, we will never eat at an Olive Garden/Panera/Subway because part of the fun of being in a new place is trying their local cuisine! We usually find locally-owned breweries or eclectic cafes. Same goes for coffee shops, so no Starbucks this week ;)
At Wild Joe’s Coffee Spot, local singers were taking turns at the mike. I ordered a couple sugar-free almond americano’s and stayed for two of the artists’ performances. The first girl had a mellow vibe, great voice. I mean, she wasn’t any Phoebe Buffay but not everyone can live up to Smelly Cat‘s standards ;)
I can’t even explain today’s run through the Gallatin Recreation Area, which initially starts out as a one-mile gravel loop around a pond and picnic area from which a whole network of sub-trails heads off in every direction, eventually leading back to the same pond. It made for a spontaneous “make-it-up-as-you-go-along” route…..Turn! Straight! Left! Uphill! Over the bridge! I had to keep taking mental pictures to put in my memory bank and appreciate when I’m back to reality on 5am treadmill session.
Whoa whoa whoa, back up. Horses? Running next to pastures with grazing horses on one side, bulls and cows on the other wasn’t exactly the most delightful smelling but sure isn’t something that happens at home very often.
Good morning, Guys! :)
I’ll stop gushing about my morning at the park now, though I think the Dixie Chicks song Wide Open Spaces is an appropriate summary of my fondness for open fields, open skies and endless trails.
Tomorrow morning is filled with more Montana sights and I have one thing on my mind: Wild Huckleberries. I hope there are fields of them for picking like I’m picturing in my head…. ;)