Hike: Beehive Basin, Big Sky, MT

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When I heard that Beehive Basin in Big Sky, Montana is considered, by some, to be one the world's best hikes, I knew I had to check it out while I was in town. The reviews for the hike all said it was easy and suitable for all levels of hikers. At about 4.5 miles round trip I figured it would be an easy jaunt up a path to a nice view where I could enjoy a PB & J by the lake at the top. I hit the trail in running shoes and my day pack and was pretty much immediately blown away by the scenery.

Big Sky is breathtaking from the road, and even more so from the little cabin I'm staying in on one of the many ski slopes that have been abandoned for the summer. However, on foot, it is unreal.

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Due to a late melt off and an unusual amount of snow still on the ground, the wildflowers that I had read so much about were not out in full force as they should have been. As I got up higher, it quickly became apparent that running shoes were a bad choice (see the post 'Rookie Mistakes'). There were some pretty big snow fields to be crossed, and the closer to the basin I got, the deeper the snow got. My running shoes kept getting sucked off my feet as I sunk into the snow up to my calves. Before long, my socks were soaked and my feet were freezing. About a half a mile from the top I had to call it quits - my pride hurts to admit it, but my feet thanked me. I snapped a few pictures before booking it back down the mountain. I will definitely be doing this hike again in better footwear, and hopefully when the wildflowers are all out. (I'm a sucker for flowers!)

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Recommendation: DO IT! Beehive Basin is a beautiful hike with incredible views. It's fairly easy (I'm sure even more so when there isn't so much snow) and it makes for a fun day in Big Sky. Just try to hit it when the majority of the snow is melted...and opt for hiking boots!

3 Ways to Keep Up Your Summertime Momentum!

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It's easy to fall into a gloomy funk once the warm, adventure conducive days of summer begin to fade away. How is an outdoor enthusiast supposed to survive an icey, cold winter, deprived of camping, hiking, or backcountry adventure?

Well, the answer is that you don't have to, my friend! Outdoor exploration is possible in the cold winter months. You have to be a bit more hardcore, but snowy adventures can be the most magical and can make for some of the best stories.

Not everyone is into the idea of camping or backpacking in the snow. I don't blame you. It's cold. But there are other ways that you can get your nature-boost in the wild during the winter without sleeping on icy ground.

So, bundle up! Here are 3 ways to keep up your summer time momentum all the way through the coldest of months:

  1. Lace up your boots, throw on an extra layer of wool socks, and hike! Don't let a little snow stop you. One of my husband's and my favorite hikes was an entirely new experience when we did it in the snow. The hike winds up a steep, switch-back path to the top of a mountain. At the top, there is a beautiful lake, surrounded by jagged peaks. When we did the hike in January, the way up the mountain was completely empty. No other hikers dared to attempt the snowy, icy climb. When we made it to the top, the lake had been transformed from when we had seen it last during the summer months. It was magical, and it became a fond, special memory for us. [I'm not like most bloggers...I'll let you in on a secret: if you live in Washington, check out Lake Serene off of Highway 2 for a beautiful, challenging day hike.]
  2. Snowshoe... cover snowy ground in a fun, efficient way. Explore a new silent, snowy world, blanketed in white. Snowshoeing is great exercise and it is such a good way to wander over otherwise tricky to traverse, snow drift covered land.
  3. Sled...and I don't mean that little old wooden thing from when you were a kid. I'm talking about snowmobiles, which are often referred to as sleds by those who are in the know. And now you know. You can rent sleds at many different resorts and shops during the winter time. They are an excellent way to get a fix when you have the need for speed. You can also cover a lot more ground than you can on foot or on snowshoes. My husband was a snowmobile guide one winter. We took sleds out together for the first time a few years back and it was such an incredible rush! There is so much power in those machines and you can glide over the snow and charge up icy mountains like it's nothing. I highly recommend giving it a try. You'll be hooked.

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Don't let the shorter days and cooler temps keep you huddling, defeated indoors. Try something new! Go have a chilly adventure and breathe in the cool, fresh air! It will thrill you!