Bike Packing Bozeman

Bozeman has been on my list of places to check out ever since two of my friends in CT told me about their time living there. It sounded like my kind of place, so when Melissa and Sofie suggested going to Montana to learn how to fly fish I was all in! 

Let me preface this post by saying that we did not learn how to fly fish on this trip. But we did make it to Bozeman and we spent some quality time by rivers and reservoirs. 

Our Bozeman adventure consisted of taking in the town for a while and then packing up our bikes and riding out of town and up into Hyalite Canyon. 

On the eve of our arrival in Bozeman we tested out some local brews and met some interesting folks, friends of the fellow adventurer who let us camp in his back yard for the night. Then we got to planning our next overnight. 

Decisions were made before going to sleep, the plan was to get up early and start our ride. 10 am rolled around the next morning and we rolled into Bagelworks on Main St. to get some much needed breakfast and coffee. 

We finally packed our bikes for the night and took off at approximately 2:38 pm. This wasn’t the early start we had planned on, but as I mentioned earlier, very little about this trip went as planned and it was perfectly spontaneous. Adventures like these are my favorites because it reminds me to “be like water,” as my wise Uncle Mike would say. 

Anyway, we rode out of Bozeman’s city limits and started the climb up to Hyalite Reservoir. This was a 10-mile climb surrounded by canyon walls, pine trees, and a roaring river. The view made the climb totally enjoyable. We got to the first campground at the reservoir in an hour and a half. We were beginning to realize how full the campgrounds were when a hero on a motorcycle rode up to us to ask if we were looking for a campsite. He had made a reservation, but needed to cancel it. We followed him to the host, Louise, so we could take his campsite and she let us know how lucky we were. Apparently the sites had been reserved since January 1st. Talk about good timing! 

This was my first bike packing trip so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I LOVED it! I borrowed some panniers from a friend and was able to carry all of my camping gear for the night. I strapped our tent to the top of my back rack, along with my sleeping bag. Melissa and Sofie divied up our food and cooking gear because they have slightly larger panniers. 

​Here’s the view of the reservoir from the last stretch of pavement! 

You don’t need a kickstand when you’ve got great touring buddies!


I love traveling in low key ways such as by bike or backpack because it seems that people can sense your good intentions. It’s inspiring to encounter the kindness of strangers, like Vance who gave us his campsite, or Louise who wanted to be sure we were safe, or Karley and friends who let us store our food in her car overnight to save us from the bears. 

Set good intentions and then let ’em ride, my friends! 

xoxo

E

P.S. Thank you for the Beartooth Pass suggestion, we decided to check it out for our last night! Check back soon for road trip challenges and stunning campsites!

Wild About Wildlife

We started the wildlife viewing off on the drive into Grand Teton National Park and it just kept getting better from there. 

Our first sighting was a grizzly bear running along the side of the road. I hate to say this bear was cute, because it’s a GRIZZLY BEAR!, but it was very exciting to spot one. 

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Check out this video of the bear!

Being “Bear Aware” is no joke in Bear Country. We were informed by a ranger that bears in the Tetons and Yellowstone aren’t going to break in to your car to find food. If a bear is found breaking into a car, it is euthanized to avoid generations of bears teaching their cubs to find food from humans. You can be proactive against future problems, and to save the bears, by making sure you lock anything that smells – think chapstick, toothpaste, sunscreen, I mean anything with a smell – in your car or a bear box.
While hiking in the park, we spotted a moose munching along side the trail. Then on our drive out of the Tetons, we saw a black bear and a fox! This fox was white with a big bushy tail, and seemed to be posing for pictures for all the tourists that had pulled off the road.

Our next stop on the road trip was Yellowstone National Park, where we saw countless bison grazing in the meadows. We also saw elk lounging by Mammoth hot springs and three moose with huge antlers chowing down on the side of the road.

Yellowstone is an absolutely beautiful park. It was the first national park, established in 1872, before Montana was even a state! While many people go to see the geothermal features such as Old Faithful, I personally felt lost and found in the river landscape that runs boundless through the park. 

The park’s campsites were full when we arrived, so we drove through to the West Entrance, pit-stopping to see Old Faithful and grab some ice cream!  From the South Entrance to the West Entrance was 69 miles, this park is HUGE! 

We left the park and drove into Galletin National Forest where we found a gorgeous campsite to call home for the night. Here we encountered more wildlife in the form of miniature vampires, more commonly known as mosquitoes. Does anyone know why mosquitoes bite some people more than others? Melissa and Sofie got eaten alive and I managed to get out without a bite. 

The next morning we saw a few more neat things in Yellowstone; Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Tower Falls, oh yeah and more ice cream, and then made our way to Bozeman. 

Mammoth Hot Springs

Grand Prismatic Spring

Tower Falls

Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for our bike packing adventure from Bozeman. 
xoxo

E

Awestruck

Summer is finally here which means it’s time for long adventures! Melissa, Sofie, and I started this summer off with a road trip from Fort Collins to Bozeman. I’ve wanted to see Montana and there are some beautiful National Parks (kinda) along the way. 

Our first destination was Grand Teton National Park. To say this park is beautiful is an understatement. The Tetons are completely majestic. As you’re driving towards them they’re hidden somehow and if you’re anything like me, you’ll continuously point out every mountain range in the general direction you’re heading and ask Sofie, “Are those the Tetons?” But you should know, you won’t have to ask if you’re looking at the Tetons. You’ll just know. If you’re anything like me, they may even move you to tears with there immense, commanding beauty. 

Here’s a video that won’t do them justice, but you can at least see what I mean when I say they appear out of nowhere. 

Once we entered the park, we decided the best way to have a look around would be by bicycle. So we found a place to park and became acquainted with the bike lanes. We rode along the shore of Jenny Lake, a stunning, freezing lake that holds the reflection of the Tetons better than any picture could. And of course, we couldn’t resist jumping in! 

We left the park around 5 to find a campsite for the night. A friend had given us some beta on a campsite with great views, so we had our sights set on that. We drove out into the national forest just outside the park and really put the Subaru to the test trying to make our way to this spot. Our first attempt brought us to a “Road Closed” barricade so we tried a different route. The second attempt also turned out to be fruitless, and treacherous. Just as we decided to turn around and pay for a site at the Jenny Lake campground, we came across the perfect spot. With the Tetons draped in gold as our backdrop, we set up camp and made dinner then spent some quality time enjoying the view. 

Thanks for stopping by, if you enjoy wildlife, check back soon! 

xoxo

E

Storage Loft Style

I’m working on the aesthetics of my Tiny and trying to make everything look as “put together” as possible without losing function. The place proving to be the biggest challenge is the storage loft. I want to be able to access everything up there, but I don’t want it to look like it did before. It looked messy before. 

I tried using uniform milk crates and adding a piece of art, but it’s still not perfect. I’m thinking a macrame curtain might look nice draping over it and would just solve the whole issue. However, then it’d be difficult to get things down. 

Spray painting the milk crates

The finished loft, don’t mind the shoe pile, again…I don’t have a better idea!

 

Please, let me know if you have any ideas!

xoxo

E

Settling In

Here’s a quick update for you! The house is nestled into its new spot, leveled, and good to go! It’s hanging out in a beautiful little cherry grove, surrounded by green, it’s so happy here! My neighbor and good friend, Jonathan, is just a quick walk down the path and Melissa is two plots over! It feels good to be close to friends. 


The house feels more organized than the last time around, though I’m still waiting to get a few big projects finished. I’ll write individual posts about each of those to keep them a bit shorter. 

My cozy bedroom loft 🙂


A few changes can really improve a space!



I had forgotten how inspiring the Tiny can be in terms of projects. It’s almost overwhelming, but it’s teaching me patience. My newest lesson is that it’s okay to leave a project unfinished for a short time. I haven’t finished painting yet because it’s been nonstop between finishing up the school year and getting the Tiny and myself up here. I was going to try to do it this weekend, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Especially not enough sunny ones and I don’t have the electricity working yet. I don’t think painting in the dark would be a great idea, do you? Anyway, instead of painting I spent the time getting everything unpacked, using what I learned from my last go about where to store things and what I use a lot, etc. I’ll finish the paint job when I get back from my upcoming adventure!

Check back soon to hear about it 🙂

xoxo

Ericca

Let’s Try This Again

The itch to change things up started a few months ago,  but the decision making process was a bit bumpier this time than usual. I’ve been working at my current job for two years and have been teaching for about five. I’m ready for a new adventure! So I have decided to take a break from teaching and try something different. I don’t know what yet, so let me know if you have any ideas. 

In bigger news, I’m trying the Tiny again! I found a beautiful spot to park among friends and repainted the inside for a fresh start. I have to say I’m VERY excited! Prairie life was so harsh and lonely, let’s try again, at “the compound”!


The last piece of big news is that I’ve purchased my domain name so I’m going to really try to make something out of this blog! (tinyhomegrandadventures.com) I’ve got a great feeling about it, “I believe in the good things coming”! 

Let me know your thoughts and questions, I’ll try to answer them all in my coming posts.

xoxo

E

It’s All About the People

I consider myself lucky because I am surrounded by people that truly make me feel like I’m living the absolute best life I could ask for. My life is good because of the good people in it.

Is that the case for everyone? 

People are the icing on the cake, sort of speak. They make or break the cake. They are the difference between living an ordinary day and living “the best day of my life.”

This past weekend I was lucky enough to spend my time with wonderful people, doing fun things, in a beautiful place. And I have plans to do the same again, in a totally different beautiful place, this coming weekend. Oh, and all week I spent time with 47 of the coolest kiddos on the planet, not to mention a pretty amazing teaching partner. I’m overflowing with gratitude over here! 

Getting back to this past weekend…I saw a new area of Denver and totally fell in love with it! My dear friend and I took advantage of the beautiful Sunday weather and walked through this neighborhood. We made our way to Denver Biscuit Co., a scrumptious little joint with a menu that will make your mouth water. 

*If you find yourself in Denver, do yourself a favor and look up this biscuit-focused restaurant. I would recommend the shrimp and grits biscuit plate, but I’m sure everything else on the menu is just as good! 



I digress, the food was wonderful, but this day was made with company. Walkin’ , talkin’, even took a little pause to swing on a neighborhood tree swing! It was a casual, urban adventure, but an adventure all the same! 


I hope you’re all planning to surround yourself with smiling friends this weekend! Enjoy!

xoxo,

E

P.S. Stop back soon because I have a question for you guys! 

The Bright Side

Always find the bright side. This is the single most important lesson I’ve learned out of all the lessons.

I told you I had some sad news, but keep in mind it’s not all sad. You can always find a bright side. 

Annie is no longer with me. Her wonderful daycare owner has adopted her. This is terribly sad because I miss Annie and I feel a bit like I’ve let her down. After all we’ve been through together, I couldn’t take good enough care of her. She had been getting increasingly aggressive and finally moved from nipping and barking to full on biting. I didn’t know how else to help her than what I’d already been doing. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to socialize her and get her out among people in different environments, but she just wouldn’t lighten up. I finally realized she would be better off somewhere she can run around with lots of other pups all day and somewhere more constant. 

It turns out I was right. Like I said, there’s always a bright side. Annie is doing so well at her new home. Of course this news brings me so much happiness for Annie and her new family. It also brings a couple tears for me missing her, but at least I know that I did the right thing for her. She hasn’t been barking at the males in the house and is even cuddling with them! 

Anyway, that’s the sad news. When it rains it pours, but don’t worry…I’ve got my eyes peeled for the rainbow, I know it’s just around the corner!

xoxo

E

Lessons Learned…The Hard Way…Again.

“Take it slow,” they said… “Think it through,” they said…

If anyone has ever known me to listen to the advice of my elders, or  learn from someone else’s mistakes (or even my own mistakes), raise your hand. Anyone? Didn’t think so. 

I prefer to learn my lessons the hard way. To make my own mistakes, suffer the consequences, learn from those consequences, and then maybe miss a few things and make the same ones all over again. I’ve been learning this way my entire life. My teachers would have told you that I’m an experiential learner, and they were correct and that was never limited to the classroom. 

For example, how do you learn boiling water is hot? You hear your dad tell you, “That’s hot, don’t touch it.” No! You hear that, and then you touch it! And it burns, so then you don’t touch it again. 

Anyhow, you may have guesssed by now from the bitter beginning, that I no longer live with Kyle. It’s true. I no longer even speak with him, which is pretty crazy. It’s been a bit of time now, the whole thing was really short-lived. And I can sit here and tell you all how it was a mistake and I totally misjudged the guy, but in all reality I was just being true to myself. I was happily following my heart and I hope to continue doing so. Luckily for me, Life had another lesson for me and I think it may have stuck this time, by golly! 

In fact, I’m not sure if it’s the progression of lessons or just my age and maturity (hold your snickers folks), but I think this may have been the most multi-faceted lesson I’ve been dealt yet. I think I came out ahead in a few different areas actually! Some gems that I’m working through as a result:

  • Patience is a virtue – I know, I know. I’ve been working on this one for a while.
  • It’s not what happens in your life that defines you, it’s how you handle each situation that really shows your character. – This one is a lesson in optimism and the power of positive thinking, you know. Finding the bright side. 
  • Life is only ever now – I think this one is so hard for me because I’m a planner, I have to have a plan at all times. However, my plan typically changes about 8 or 9 times a week. Sure, I’ll cycle through plans for a while…revisit ones that are pretty good, maybe even follow all the way through on some that aren’t so good. But I also have no idea what my future holds and I really love that freedom. So how do I find a balance between those two things? 
  • Listen.

The “life is now” one is the one I’m really focusing on right now. Pun intended. Go ahead, throw your suggestions at me. I’ll listen to them. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll even learn from them 😉.

“It’s about being fearlessly and relentlessly true to yourself” ~unknown


More to come shortly, I’ve got some sad news for you all, but I didn’t want to spoil this bright post with it so check back in a bit.

xoxo

E

Snow?

I’ve been crossing my fingers for a few months now that Annie would love the snow. She isn’t a huge fan of heat and gets quite lazy on hot, sunny days. Surely, that means she must really do well in the cold, right?!

This past weekend we finally got to test out that theory. The hiking trail I chose was unexpectedly covered in snow and to my happy surprise, Annie loved it! Hiking in the snow is my absolute favorite, and now that I know Annie enjoys it too, nothing beats snow covered pines and puppies galavanting through powder!

The pines were not covered in snow on this section, but that peak behind me is!


Annie and her pal, Abby, loved the snow. They both did great on a longer-than-expected hike up in the mountains. This was Annie’s longest hike to date and she was happy and energetic from start to finish. 

Although, she crashed pretty hard as soon as we got back in the car.


Our adventure really has me looking forward to winter and all the snowy explorations to come! 

Check out this adorable video of the above mentioned galavanting! 


Happy tails and happy trails! 

xoxo

E and A🐶