Montana Love

Hello happy human beings. It’s a magical day here in Missoula, Montana!

People surf in rivers here!

I’m enjoying an iced tea and some black licorice at an amazing apothecary called Butterfly Herbs in order to kill some time before my flight back to Denver this evening.


I’ve been in Missoula for a few hours now, and I’m thoroughly enjoying all that the town has to offer! However, I didn’t wake up in this wonderful city this morning; I spent the past two days 55 miles east along Highway 200 in the pastoral paradise Seeley Lake.

Nothing like horses at twilight for a true Montana experience!

My dear friends from graduate school Other-Sam and Katie tied the knot yesterday. I packed my suit into panniers and rode a rented bike from Missoula to Seeley Lake Friday afternoon, arriving with just enough time to set up my tent, rinse myself off and attend the welcome dinner, which was a delicious southern-style pig roast with Montana Huckelberry ice cream sundaes for dessert!

I piled my plate HIGH!

Saturday morning I woke up early and shook out my legs with a slow, scenic run along the banks of Seeley Lake.

Key word: SLOW
Run happy!

I’m definitely feeling the effects of almost 1,500 miles of cycling and a grand total of 15 miles running during the month of June on my pace. I’m still stoked to get out and pound the pavement; I appreciate every chance to meditate during my morning mileage, even if my Garmin mocks my glacially slow splits. It’s not about how fast you run, all that matters is getting outside and moving forward!

It’s hard not to run happy with views like these!

After I finished my gentle jog, Catherine (my grad school classmate and camping companion) and I headed into the adorable downtown Seeley Lake in search of coffee, souvenirs, and local character.

Sam and Katie gave us maps in the gift bags! So thoughtful!
Check and CHECK

We eventually made our way to a cool local outdoor gear shop. We were pondering the paradox of why anyone would purchase a GIGANTIC specialized serving spork, when Catherine’s super-cool boyfriend Jeff rolled into town on his motorcycle.

For when you need to pack extra-light, but you also need an entire separate set of serving utensils?
Hi Jeff!

After easy-riding from Spokane in blistering 90 degree heat, Jeff was craving a place to cool his heels. Catherine and I had exhausted our itch for retail therapy so we made our way back to the campsite to search out some SERIOUS leisure with a side of aquatic activities.

Relaxation is a highly abundant resource along the shore of Seeley Lake. We lounged in the limpid, lapis waters on high-performance pool-floaties.

Yes, PhDs do know how to relax, sometimes…if given the proper reagents and reaction conditions

I added a few specimens from Montana to my rock collection.

SAM- you have to BIKE all of these back to Missoula!

I contemplated abandoning a career in science writing in favor of pursuing a fabulous high-fashion life, but realized that the world might not be ready for my dirtbag-haute-couture “pigtails and beards” look. I got OUT of academia because the job market is too cutthroat and specialized; those models would eat me alive!

What would Tyra Banks do?

After a few hours of fun in the sun, we needed to scrub ourselves fresh and change into formalwear for the wedding. We availed ourselves of the the poolside showers at the resort playing host to the reception.

I unrolled my suit from its gallon-sized ziplock-bag pannier packing job. Somehow through the magic of steam and synthetic fabrics my dress-duds weren’t a total wrinkled mess after three days balled up in a plastic baggie!

I have a PhD in mocrobiology and a black-belt in pannier-packing
Surprisingly not-so-wrinkled!

The camping crew cleaned up pretty well, eh?

You’d never guess these dirtbags spent the last few nights in a tent!

Katie and Other-Sam’s wedding was absolutely lovely. I’m so honored that my two fine friends invited me to share in celebrating their love. They make a perfect couple; it was so great to meet their friends and family, to hear childhood stories about both of them, and watch two genuinely amazing people affirm their deep and abiding love for each other. Out of respect for my friends I put away my cotton-picking phone for the majority of the ceromony and the reception. It’s not my place to broadcast their special day through the series of Internet tubes; not to mention the fact that the official photographs that they bought and paid for will turn out WAY nicer than my iPhoner’s measly 8-megapixel lens. However- I MUST share two tiny details that perfectly exemplify why my two friends are awesome people who have a long, loving, life ahead of them.
1) The reception featured lawn games!

The epic saga of our bocce match will be retold for generations hence!

2) The food was freaking incredible!

The absurd amounts of eating continue! When asked if you want salmon or prime-rib, the answer is YES

The entire wedding was a beautiful blast! Before I knew it the sun was setting, signaling that it was time to tear myself away from the dance floor and score some shut-eye in preparation for my ride back to Missoula in the morning.

 Biking back to Missoual was a breeze. I hit the road early to avoid traffic and afternoon heat. Some lovely stratus clouds shaded my journey, and the 2,000 feet of descent down the Blackfoot river sped my journey along at a respectable clip.

The whole way down I kept saying: “did I REALLY climb all this on Friday?!”

I crossed the Clark Fork River on the outskirts of town right at midday.

Love Locks!

I returned my rented bike to Open Road Cycles sufficiently early that they only charged me for two days! The guys at open road are SO friendly, knowledgeable and just all-around great, I highly recommend checking out their store if you find yourself in the area. I the proceeded to make my way downtown to investigate what Missoula has to offer.

I’m hip!

I stumbled upon a local arts and crafts fair and spent some time perusing the various sundries and trinkets on display.

Recycled bike-tube accessories and gemstones oh my!

Missoula seems like a truly happening hamlet! I’d love to spend some more time exploring this city, but I should sign off on this blog post, pick up my panniers and hoist my heinie onto a bus bound for the airport!

Sorry this ended up being such a lengthy post. I have trouble self-editing when my brain is brimming with endorphins and love-vibrations. I hope you had a wonderful weekend!


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