Took a Friday off from work and hit the open road toward Whitefish for a weekend far from the city. I needed a bit of a recharge and this is the best way I know how. Denali and I were on our way by 0630, cloudy start in Seattle but once we made it over Snoqualmie Pass, it was sunshine all the way to our final destination in Montana.
We hit the mountain road at Whitefish and I opened the windows. That fresh mountain air immediately rushed in and that fresh, spruce, smell was amazing. Something I hadn't had in a bit of time and something I certainly need to find space and make time for.
With no real plan for the weekend, we opted to do a bit of exploring. Denali had a couple of firsts on this trip, much like the last. He had his first mountain hike and he experienced snow for the first time. Huge success on both fronts.
We drove up to Werner Peak (elevation 6960ft) on Saturday morning. The snow line was probably around 5500ft and there wasn't much snow on the ground, really only in the shaded, north facing areas. With myself, two friends, with their two dogs, we walked out in search of a cabin that could be used as a base camp for some winter ski touring trips.
Parked the trucks here and started our hike
View to the north from Werner Peak
We had a few waypoints and rough guidelines to follow with the hiking trail that traversed the ridge line, but we could have done without those as we found the cabin no more than 10ft off the trail in a nice flat area. We had a quick snack, took some photos, made some notes on the location and how to get there with several feet of snow and no trail, and started to trek back to the trucks. The hike in total was probably about 5 miles, a lot for Denali at the time, he was encouraged by the two other dogs to keep moving and he did well. He for sure ate his lunch and had a good nap once he got back in the truck.
Denali's first time in the snow!
A beautiful and cold Montana day for a hike
Post-lunch, Denali was ready for a nap
It was about noon when we got back to the trucks so we decided to check out another area near Whitefish Peak, out near Red Meadow Lake. Denali stayed in the truck for this quick hike, I didn't want to overdue it for him. Whitefish Peak looked almost skiable.
Whitefish Peak, there was almost a line to ski from the top
View to the north, Red Meadow Lake to the right side and Glacier in the distance
We spent a good amount of time sitting on my tailgate after this second hike, just talking and eating some food. I was incredibly content spending time in the mountains like this. The smells, sights, sounds, everything was calming. There wasn't that hustle and bustle that comes with living near a city, there was nowhere to be, no timeline, no agenda to follow, it was refreshing and revitalizing. A few photos here to trigger some of those sense and feelings for you:
Extra dirty truck = successful day
And just like that, we were on our way back to Seattle on Sunday morning by 0800. The 9-hour drive is not ideal, but it is what it is.
Getting back into Seattle, I was greeted by the salty ocean air which was welcoming in it's own way, just as the mountains of Montana welcomed me a few days before.
Ski season is here and with that I should be getting more consistent with these posts! Stay tuned!