Last week when it was -10 degrees in Livingston, MT a colleague from our Hawaii office asked “why would anyone live in Montana?”.  There are days when I wonder that also.  And then you go snowshoeing in the Gallatin National Forest and you remember why;  oh yeah it is freaking beautiful!!!

Hyalite Canyon Gallatin Mountains

I signed up for one of the guided snowshoe trips from the Montana Wilderness Association.  I was very excited about this trip because I haven’t spent much time down Hyalite Canyon, and there are a TON of adventures waiting for me there.

Just over the hill from Livingston, MT, where I live,  and just south of Bozeman, Hyalite Canyon offers great hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, ice climbing, snow shoeing and cross county skiing.

I was joined by 9 others on this trip, including this great guide who is in his 70s.  He was a great role model for the rest of us, a reminder of how I hope to be when I’m 70 years old.

pk snowshoeing in the Gallatin National Forest

Also, whenever you wanted to whine about going uphill for so long,  you thought about him and kept your mouth shut.

The canyon received about 12 inches of fresh snow last week, so the trail was great and the weather was mild.  Conditions were great to be out there enjoying the beauty and being grateful of the wonderful, spirit lifting opportunities for fun in the middle of winter.

The hike was identified as “moderate” and I agree with that rating, but it was quite a bit of work breaking trail through the new snow.  My butt was adequately kicked.  Perfect and exactly what I was hoping for.

What I learned about the Forest:

Gallatin National Forest does not have any grizzly bears, only black bears. The trails are dog friendly and pretty well used and marked.  The mountains down the road from me where I usually hike have plenty of griz, so going over the hill in the summer to hike the Gallatins is very inviting.

What I learned about myself:

I don’t often look for group activities like this.  I usually just hike or snowshoe/ski by myself, really just because I don’t take the time to organize anything  It was really fun to be with new people and find new hiking partners.  Also a lot of them have a TON of beta on hiking and other activities around Bozeman.  I am looking forward to new adventures with my new friends.

Some thoughts for you:

It is sometimes easy to think that it is just a lot easier to stay inside during the winter, or maybe it just becomes a habit.  I encourage you to find something you like to do (hopefully outdoors) and do it even just a little during the winter months.  It might help to lift your spirits, lessen the winter blues and keep you in good shape.  Also, surf the web and find a group doing something fun, and be brave and join them.  When I do, I am often very happy with the results.

Share your thoughts:

What do you do for fun in the winter?

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