In Awe of the Beartooths

Another weekend of glorious backpacking is in the books.  For this particular backpack trip, we adventured to the Beartooth Mountains in Montana and Wyoming.  We planned and packed for a 3 day, 2 night adventure.  This year, Aria turned two, and we were hopeful she would be able to hike at least half of the way.  This proved to be true.  She did, however, require more fruit snacks than we anticipated.

As we were driving to our starting point, we got stuck in road construction just before we got to our destination and during that time, a hail storm filled the sky.  We took it as a sign this would be an exciting three days.  When we parked the truck and started our hike into the backcountry, we were stepping over piles of leftover hail from the storm.  

We set up camp a little earlier in our journey than we had planned on because another storm came rumbling in.  Needless to say this is when being able to set up your tent quickly comes in handy.  The kids were thrilled to hear the thunder.  We hung out inside the tent for a few minutes while the rain pelted the ground, cooled off the air, and stirred up the lake.  We were at 10,000 ft above sea level, and it was beautiful.  When the storm passed we started a fire with wood we sheltered from the storm, filtered our water, and began cooking dinner.  The sun popped out in front of the ominous clouds and we all cheered with joy.  Dinner consisted of three Backpacker’s Pantry meals.  Our go-to favorites are the Chicken Alfredo, Pad Thai, and Lasagna.

Day two greeted us with a frosty bluebird morning.  It was calm and the only movement in the sky was a bald eagle soaring above in search of breakfast.  Off in the distance, we listened to two elk talking to each other, reminding us the rut is near.  Then, we foraged for wild huckleberries and placed them atop our oatmeal for breakfast.  Our bellies were full, so we packed up, filled our water bottles, and began our hike.  We headed in another few miles with all our gear, arriving at a new lake in which we were the only guests.

The kids set up their fishing gear and headed to the creek while Bryan and I set up camp.  Bryan also surprised the kids with a backcountry swing he made from a log and an extra rope.  The kids went wild for it, squealing and giggling with every push.

We spent the warm afternoon fishing and exploring the lake.  A few brave souls even went for a swim in the clear, heart-stopping water.  When the sun started dipping low in the sky, we made our way back to camp.  Dinner consisted of a few fish we caught, along with supplemental dehydrated meals.  We went to bed only after reading several chapters in The Little House on the Prairie under our twinkle lights.

Our last day started with hot coffee, along with a fire to warm our chilly toes.  The kids found themselves in a giant giggle fight and we found ourselves laughing along with them.  Laughter is so contagious.  We did a little more fishing before packing up to head back to the truck.  Every step back made us so proud of these kids – never complaining, and always exploring.

Where should we explore on our next backpacking trip?

For tips on backpacking as a family, click here.

For a backpacking gear list, click here.