10 things to know about the Hiawatha trail

 #1. It’s a real thing

Opened in 1998, the Hiawatha trail is a 15-mile-long bike trail that operates out of Lookout Pass Ski Area right off of I-90 at exit 0. All amenities such as trail passes can be found at the ski area that opens at 8 a.m.  The actual main trail for the Hiawatha is actually located 7-miles east of the ski area at exit 5 in Montana. The trail is open roughly from the end of May and closes at the end of September every year.

untitled-2

#2. You don’t need to own a bike to ride the Hiawatha Trail

Okay, that’s a lie, well only slightly. You do need a bike to ride the Hiawatha. However, you do not need to own one personally because you can rent one from the Lookout Pass ski area. Not only can you rent from two choices of mountain bikes for both children and adults, but you can also rent helmets, bike lights and bike trailers.

#3. You will never know what actual time it is

Because the Hiawatha trail main trailhead starts in Montana, but Lookout Pass ski area where you buy your ticket is in Idaho, and Idaho and Montana are in two different time zones it can get very confusing. Now you may be reading this and thinking that it’s logical to just reference Montana time because that’s where the trail starts. But actually half of the trail is in Idaho time because the first tunnel you bike through sends you straightunnamed-1 into Idaho from Montana. But then again be warned, I still don’t know this to be 100% because after riding the Hiawatha many times I still am very confused by the time concept.

#4. It’s fun for the whole family

Or in my case my best friend and I because we’re out of state college students.img_2858 But nonetheless, the Hiawatha trail is a perfect weekend outing for all ages. The 15-mile trail is mostly all downhill so it’s not as strenuous as 15 miles’ sounds. Along with this there are many pullout spots along the trail to take a break, take in the view and have a picnic.

#5. The views are incredible

I personally struggled with staying on the trail because of how pretty the scenery is. If you go later in the season, you’ll be able to see the trees begin to change color. So if you’re somebody who likes to look at everything but where you are going, go slow to avoid a spontaneous trip off the side of the trail.

2015-09-19-12-35-09-1

#6. There is a light at the end of the tunnel

One of the very cool things about the Hiawatha trail is that it use to a continental railroad system, and contains 7 sky high trestles along with 10 train tunnels. Right out of the gate, bikers will bike through the St. Paul Pass Tunnel which is 1.66 miles long. You will be totally consumed by darkness in this tunnel and it gets very cold. Unless you are Bane from the Dark Knight rises, it’s essential that you have a reliable and bright bike img_2848light, and no your IPhone flashlight will not suffice. It may sound scary to some, but the tunnels are one of the main attraction on the trail and an experience you don’t want to miss. Also, the acoustics in the St. Paul Pass tunnel will convince you that you should’ve auditioned for American Idol.

#7.  Make sure you pack the essentials

As a veteran of the Hiawatha trail I will tell you that it is much more fun if you pack the right things. Some of these necessities for ultimate fun on the trail include a helmet (everyone loves to be safe, also it’s required), gloves (the tunnels get very cold, so gloves come in clutch), a backpack (to hold all your snacks of course), snacks and a sack lunch (to fill your backpack of course. I also recommend img_2901packing a pb&j because it’s the one sandwich that taste best smashed), a bright light (if you have one, if not you can rent one), first aid kit (because better safe than sorry) and water (you’ve got to stay hydrated!). Also I recommend dressing in layers because some parts of the trail are more shaded then others which causes some to be colder than others.

#8. Always buy a shuttle pass

A shuttle pass is not required to buy because it’s possible to ride the 15 miles down to the bottom of the trail and then back up, and some people do this. However, from experience the 15 miles back up to the trailhead is a lot harder than the way down because, well, gravity. But when planning ahead purchasing a $9 shuttle pass so that you have the option to ride on the bus back up to the trailhead is never a bad idea. Better safe than sorry right? You never know what may happen to you on your 15-mile ride to the bottom. You may have plans to be an animal that day and go down and back up, but then realize you’re much more tired after the first half of the ride, or realize it took longer than you thought and you’re short on time. Like I said, it’s better safe than sorry, and also who doesn’t love fun facts and stories about the area provided to you by your very knowledge Hiawatha shuttle driver?  untitled-4

#9. Angels do exist on the Hiawatha trail

I recently learned on my past trip on the Hiawatha trail that angels exist. I was about 5 miles into the trail when tragedy struck and I popped a tire. I realized I was probably SOL because I never planned on popping a tire, because who plans on that? With ten more miles to go I began pedaling my sad self down the now extremely bumpy trail. After a mile or so on my embarrassing flat tire, a red haired angel pedaled up next to me on a blue bike and asked if I needed a replacement. Her name was Emma, or as I call her Angel Emma and she was one of the patrols on the trail that assisted the distressed like myself.  She quickly worked her magic and replaced my tire and sent me on my way. Thankfully Lookout Pass who operates the Hiawatha trail plans for people to have misfortunes down the trail.untitled-3

#10. Take your time on the trail and enjoy the ride

The Hiawatha trail has been dubbed the “crown jewel of rail to trail adventures” and a crown jewel of an adventure it is. Not only do you get to be outside exploring beautiful Montana Idaho but you get to be amongst other friendly cyclists! So enjoy the ride and take the whole day to experience it.

             2015-09-19-19-11-20

Sad you missed your chance to ride the Hiawatha trail this season?

Because I know I would be if I missed it, but thankfully I didn’t! And because I didn’t you can experience parts of my ride in this short video.

Enjoy and visit www.ridethehiawatha.com for more information and to plan your trip next season!

 Have a hidden adventure you want to share?

Tell me about it!

Advertisements

Lace Up: Anyone Can Be A Runner

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 2.51.02 PM The amount of times I have heard “I’m not a runner” or “I’m not built like a runner, therefore I can’t run” has really started to piss me off and honestly, whoever I walked by this weekend saying these things, thank you for the inspiration to prove you all wrong.

I’ll start by being completely candid, I am a bit biased to the whole physical activity hoorah. I grew up playing competitive soccer up until the day I left for college. I mean, yes, it’s a lot of running and disciplined conditioning, but I never had to run longer than 3-4 miles at a time in those 15 years of playing. I should also add that each of those miles had to be in 7 minutes or less (the struggle was totally real).

Once college started, all concepts of physical activity went out the window and I was now struggling to run 1 mile, on a Sunday, while trying not to gag over the smell of Captain Morgan and Fireball seeping through my pores. Cool.

Freshman year ended and those attractive 15 pounds needed to go (this isn’t where running saved my life, I just got cut off of my campus meal plan when I moved out of the dorms). Exercise became important again and I was back in shape but I still couldn’t run more than 2 agonizing miles, maybe 3 on a good day.

IMG_8584Come Junior year I accepted an offer for an internship in Seattle and decided I should find things to do that would let me see the city in a unique way. This is where running made my life great. I signed up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Seattle, by myself. Turns out I wasn’t alone, a few of my friends had already signed up and planned on taking a road trip to run as well. Training became fun as we increased our distance by one mile each Sunday and spent the majority of our runs singing and talking in very breathy sentences. Come race day, 13.1 miles never seemed so doable.

To make a long story longer, I caught the running bug. Since my first half in Seattle, I have completed two more half marathons, improving my time each time.

The point of this was to show that anyone can lace up some shoes and hit the pavement. I can’t lie like some Pinterest post and say it’s as easy as that. Running is an investment in your time, your body, and your wallet. Ugly running shoes changed the way I felt about running. YOU MUST INVEST IN UGLY RUNNING SHOES. My GPS watch complimented my competitive drive by keeping my pace (so that I wasn’t trying to run 7 minute miles for 13.1 miles straight) and my running belt was crucial for holding my phone, keys and ID. Looking the part makes performing the part so much easier.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 3.15.13 PMI’m not saying go sign up for five half marathons or to start out running 9 miles at a time. I challenge every one of you to start by going outside (weather is a horrible argument), plug in some pump-up tunes or grab a friend to distract you, and start off slow. If 1 mile is all you’ve got, then it’s one more mile than those sitting on the couch. Happy Running 🙂

*Serious about it? Comment below for more tips and help on joining a world wide community.

My Seven Awful Tinder Dates

FullSizeRender

  By Rachael Fuson

Nope

The modern world of dating is a god damn war zone. It’s hard enough to meet a decent person in real life, but trying to meet someone online is a whole different realm of chaos. For those of you that don’t know, Tinder is a mobile dating app that allows losers like myself to “swipe” yes or no on other, equally as pathetic people. If we both swipe right, it’s a “match” and the floodgates of communication open. Basically, this app allows you to waste your time sifting through profiles, hoping to stumble across someone who seems relatively normal and is half way decent looking.

When I moved to Portland this summer, I thought Tinder would be a great way to put myself out there. I had just gotten out of a relationship and it seemed like a fun, easy way to meet new people. Boy, did I have no idea what I was in for. Of course I always took the proper precautions when I went out (talking with them extensively beforehand, meeting first in public, etc.). but nothing could have prepared me this. After much thought and deliberation, I give you seven very real accounts of the worst dates I’ve ever been on, no thanks to Tinder.

#7. The Guy Who Was Actually Nineteen

In my defense, he definitely seemed to be a few years older. He was smooth, mature, intelligent, and seemed to have a lot going for him. That is… until he started talking about his football team. I asked him if he played for a college, and he got red in the face and quickly changed the subject. It was only after a few minutes of prying that he finally blurted out that he was  a senior. In high school. As I got up to leave he tried to justify that he “only told me he was 22 because he thought I would never go out with someone who was younger on my own accord.” You were correct, sir.

highschool

 

#6. The Guy Who Was 2 Hood 4 Me 

When I was greeted with, “Aye! Wass good lil mama!?” I immediately realized that I’d made a grave mistake. I smiled back and weakly replied that I was fine, thank you. We had met up for ice cream at Salt N Straw on NW 23rd Ave in Portland, and there was a long line. The next forty-five minutes were agonizing as the sun beat down on my forehead and I internally cringed at almost everything he did and said. His poor grammar, the lack of manners, the fact that there were small children scattered all around and he cursed every other word. As we moved further up the line, he told me about his life growing up in the projects (his language, not mine) and how he aspired to “make enough dollas to neva eva go back.” I, too, aspire to neva eva go back.

gangstas

 

#5. The Guy Who Photoshopped His Profile Pictures

I should have really looked into this one more before I agreed to meeting up. First of all, his name was Leonardo, so that’s problem number one. Second, he talked about his looks a lot (like, a lot) which should have been a red flag that there was something wrong.  He told me all about how tall he was, and how much he weighed, etc. but I thought nothing of it, because they seemed to be normal measurements and I am not too concerned with that in the first place. What I am concerned with is when someone extensively photo shops their own pictures in order to make themselves look taller and not morbidly obese. Well guess what. Leo was approximately 5’6” and at LEAST 200 lbs. He even wore those god awful tight skater pants that exposed just how out of shape he was. I was really irritated that he had lied about this, but then felt bad and thought maybe he could be a nice guy who just really needed a date. Nope. His personality was just as awful as his photo edits. I’m not proud of the fact that I sat through four beers with Leonardo because he was buying, or that I agreed to go to a future Trailblazers game that I knew I’d never attend, but hey. At least I was honest about who I was.

photoshop

 

#4. The Guy Who Only Talked About Work

First of all, I have to say that I truly appreciate when people are passionate about what they do. As a graduating senior this may, I hope to find a job that I love and want to share with others. But I could never live my work like this guy does. Now, I thought we would get along great because we were both Greeks and both business students. I am studying marketing, he went into sales. I don’t even remember what the hell it was that he sold, although I should remember. I should actually be an expert. Why? Because he spent the better part of two hours explaining the logistics of the technology behind it. And that is what we talked about. The entire time. He then begged me to come out with him for a night of dancing, and I should have stopped while I was ahead. But he was cute, and I thought maybe I could save the date. So while we were out, he got a phone call from one of his “best clients”, aka some rich old man who frequently bought speakers for his fleet of Malibu boats. My date then hung up the phone and exclaimed, “I’m so glad you’re dressed up! Steve is coming out with us tonight! I need you to impress him!” Um, what? The rest of my evening was spent with my date and a sixty something year old man getting black out drunk downtown and talking about boats accompanied by a slew of weird comments about my dress. I called an Uber home and never looked back.

salesguy

 

#3.The Guy Who Only Talked About His Mom 

Again, I think it’s great when a man is family-oriented. It tends to be attractive when a guy has a great relationship with his mother. But everything is only good in moderation. It is difficult to explain the insanely creepy obsession this guy had with his mom. To say she was his best friend would be a gross understatement. They got coffee together multiple times a week. She came over to his house to cook for him, do his laundry, bring his groceries etc. (by the way, how dependent CAN YOU STILL BE at 24 years old?). In short, he spent our entire date gushing about how wonderful his mother was. And when he asked me things about myself, he’d say things like “oh! My mom does that too! You have so much in common.” Please, no. It was such a bizarre experience. Like, I get it. I love my mom too. But you need to make some other friends. By the end of the date I felt like I knew his mother way more than I knew him. Oh and by the way she didn’t even sound that great. But I didn’t have the heart to tell him that.

guy with mom

 

#2. The Bastard Who Stole My Favorite Book

Oh, Michael. I really thought we had something special. We had such a grand time gallivanting through parks, exploring old dive bars and bonding over the fact that we both know an absurd amount about Greek Mythology. Yes, Michael was excellent. Until one weekend when he had to travel to California for work. I suggested he borrow my favorite book, The Alchemist, because I thought he would enjoy it on his flight. Well, I drove him to the airport and waved goodbye. And that was the last time I saw Michael. Weeks went by and I became incredibly offended. Not because I was distraught over his absence but because I wanted my god damn book back. It’s about self-discovery for crying out loud. Anyways, I never heard from him again, but a few weeks later connected that his ex-girlfriend lives in the part of California he was visiting. My theory is that she was so overwhelmed with his new view of life (that he clearly derived from MY book) that she took his lame ass back.

book

By the way, if you haven’t read much Paulo Coelho, 10/10 would recommend.

#1. The Guy With The Sith Lord Tattoo

There are some very strange people in this world, my friends. And the terrifying thing is that more often than not, they disguise themselves as cute quirky nerds and then lay wait for you in places like Powell’s Bookstore. I’m not usually into the sci-fi scene, but this guy was a very rare breed of cat and somehow made it all work. We hit it off surprisingly well, and spent the whole afternoon together walking around downtown and chatting. During this conversation we somehow got on the subject of our mutual love of Star Wars (by somehow I mean I guessed that he liked it and I slyly brought it up because my flirt game is just that strong) and we delved into a long discussion over the classics. During this time he made an offhanded joke about how he was a Sith Lord, which I thought nothing of at the time. He added me on snapchat a few minutes after we left, which I thought was a bit over eager but nothing that strange. Then I saw his username. Sithlord199-. Then he sent me a snapchat: “want to see my tattoo?” This was strange, since it was completely out of the blue and we had just got done hanging out less than an hour ago. I should have said no. I should have just said no. IF ANYONE EVER ASKS YOU IF YOU WANT TO SEE THEIR TATTOO, JUST SAY NO.

So I said sure, and the picture I received is still burned into my frontal cortex to this day.

Image a giant tattoo that covers someones entire chest and stomach.

Now imagine the tattoo is of Darth Mauls face.

IMG_5600

I’m not kidding. It covered his entire body. The worst part is that he then went on to explain to me just how much he personally identified as a Sith Lord. As in, he psychotically associated himself with the dark ways of the force and was completely freaking nuts. He proceeded to go 0-100 and let out all the crazy, all at once. I think the reason it was so traumatizing was because we had just spent an entire day together and he had totally hidden this side of him. Needless to say, this was not exactly what I had in mind when I hoped to meet someone who shared my love of Star Wars. To this day I still don’t understand why he felt the need to share his terrifying chest tattoo with me, because it was something straight out of the nightmare zone. In fact, after I blocked his phone number I kind of just went home and crawled underneath my covers.

Although I’ve been on some of the worst dates of my life because of Tinder, I’ve also met some great guys. I certainly have a love/hate relationship with this app, and let’s be honest I’m probably going to continue using it. In fact, I actually have a date set up for later this week. Let’s call him The Guy Who Might Be As Sassy As I Am.

Details to come soon! In the mean time, happy swiping!

tumblr_static_tinder_hearted_header

If you’ve had a funny dating experience, from Tinder or just in general, please leave a comment below and tell me about it!

 

5 St. Patrick’s Day Snacks That Will Leave You Feeling Lucky!

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner! The day of green beer, good luck, and everyone is Irish! I am going to help you make your St. Patrick’s day a little tastier with these fun, festive, and delicious treats.

Disclaimer: these are what the treats REALLY look like. I’m not a professional Pinterester so they may not be perfect, but that gives you a good idea of what they will realistically look like!

 

ONE: Little Lucky Bars (gluten & dairy free option)

Just like your traditional Rice Krispies Treats but with Lucky Charms.

IMG_2288What you will need:
– 8 cups of Lucky Charms
– 1 bag of mini marshmallows
– 1 tsp. of vanilla (optional – I like to add it)
– 3 tbs. of butter (I use vegan to avoid dairy)
– Green food coloring

 
Instructions:
1. Melt butter in large sized pot on stove
2. Add full bag of marshmallows to IMG_2304melted butter. Continue to stir         consistently to avoid burning the marshmallows until fully melted.
3. Add vanilla and about 5 drops of green food coloring and mix evenly.
4. Remove marshmallow mixture from heat and mix in 8 cups of Lucky Charms.
5. Once cereal is mixed in pour the mixture into a grease 8×12 inch cake pan and press down the top lightly until flat.
6. Let the mixture cool, then cut and serve!

TWO: Luck of the Irish Mix! (gluten-free) 

Have you had Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies? Make those ordinary treats a little more lucky with this Luck of the Irish Mix recipe!

IMG_2287What you will need:
– 1 bag of white chocolate chips
– 8 cups Chex cereal
– ½ cup peanut butter
– 1 tsp. of vanilla
– ¼ cup of butter
– 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar
– Green candies – I chose mint M&M’s
– Green food coloring

 

 

Instructions:
1. Combine chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter in a medium microwavable bowl.IMG_2303
2. Microwave to melt the contents, stirring frequently to avoid burning mixture.
3. Add green food coloring and vanilla
4. Place Chex cereal in a large bowl and add melted mixture.
5. Stir thoroughly to make sure all pieces are coated
6. Add powdered sugar and mix well. This works best if you have a lid for your bowl so you can shake it.
7. Let the mixture cool.
8. Add sprinkles, M&M, Lucky Charms, or any other green candies!

THREE:  Irish Jell-O Shots (for the adults)

It’s not St. Patrick’s day without at least a little bit of alcohol. You can solve that problem with these Jell-O shots that are the colors of Ireland’s flag.

What you will need:IMG_2290
– 1 box of orange Jell-O
– 1 box of lime Jell-O
– 4 packets of unflavored gelatin
– 7 oz of sweet and condensed milk
– 1 1/2 cups Vodka of your choice
– Whipped cream (optional)
– Plastic cups to make your Jell-O shots in. I like to use the cups with lids for easier storing.

 

Instructions:
1. Start with the box of lime Jell-O. Combine 1 cup of boiling water with contents of Jell-O packet. Stir until dissolvedIMG_2306.
2. Add ¾ cup of vodka and ¼ cup of cooled water
3. Fill 1/3 of shot glass with green Jell-O.
4. Place in fridge to set.
5. Combine contents of four packets of unflavored gelatin with 1 cup of boiling water, mix until dissolved.
6. Add 7oz of sweet and condensed milk to unflavored gelatin mixture.
7. Fill the next 1/3 of your shot glass.
8. Place in fridge to set.
9. Finally, with your box of orange Jell-O, combine 1 cup of boiling water with contents of Jell-O packet. Stir until dissolved
10. Add ¾ cup of vodka and ¼ cup of cooled water
11. Fill 1/3 of shot glass with green Jell-O.
12. Place in fridge to set.

FOUR: Leprechaun Hats – my personal favorite!

Every little leprechaun will love these special treats! Perfect for making with the kiddos.

IMG_2283

What you will need:
– 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
– Circular cookies of your choice
– 1 bag of marshmallows
– Green frosting
– Yellow sprinkles

 

 

Instructions:IMG_2305
1. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Stirring every 30 seconds to avoid burning the chocolate.
2. Coat the cookies and marshmallows with semi-sweet chocolate chips.
3. Add a little extra drop of chocolate to the bottom of the marshmallow and stick on the center of the cookie.
4. Put in the fridge to set.
5. Use frosting to add a band where the marshmallow and cookie meet.
6. Use yellow sprinkles to make a buckle.
7. Ready to serve!

FIVE: Shamrock on a Stick  

Mix sweet and salty to create these decorative treats!

IMG_2284What you will need:
– 1 bag of white chocolate chips
– Pretzels
– Lollipop sticks
– Green food coloring
– Green sprinkles

 

 

 

Instructions:
1. Melt chocolate chips in the IMG_2313microwave. Stirring every 30 seconds to avoid burning the chocolate.
2. Add green food coloring to the chocolate.
3. Dip pretzels into the chocolate and set on greased baking sheet in groups of three to form a shamrock.
4. Place the lollipop stick in the center of the pretzels and add a small amount of extra chocolate
5. Add sprinkles if desired.
6. Let the shamrocks dry and then serve!

Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day treats! There’s a recipe for everyone!

This blog was written by Anne Hagerty. 

Top 5 Things You Miss About Home

College is great, don’t get me wrong, you have freedom to do as you please but you take for granted the little things from home. As a senior in college there are definitely a bunch of things that I miss about being home and you really learn to appreciate all the things your parents did for you!

5. Your Pets

pugYour dog is just something you can’t take with you to school. Sometimes you might miss your pet more than some family members (shhh.) It’s like leaving your best friend behind and you’re not able to talk to them at all! Your mom lets you “facetime” the dog, but come on, that dog has no idea what’s going on.

4. LAUNDRY

laundry

I absolutely despise doing laundry. I’ll put it off for as long as humanly possible and there are clothes all over my floor. Being home your parents will just throw it in for you and you have no worries about it. (side note: laundry detergent isn’t free and we have much more important things to buy!)

 

3. Home Cooked Meals

food

Being someone who, frankly, sucks at cooking, one of the biggest things you miss is mom’s cooking and dad’s barbecuing. After a while you just get tired of ramen noodles and Taco Bell (crazy concept right?) and you just want a substantial meal. Not to mention, mom isn’t going to make you pay her for the meal, thanks mom!

 

2. Your High School Friends

friends

Chances are, if you don’t go to school with a bunch of your high school friends you’re going to drift apart. Everyone gets busy with either school or starting their careers and everyone seems to go different ways. You reminisce about fun and crazy times you had with the people you grew up with!

 

  1. Your Family

family

No matter how old you are you always miss your mom and dad when you leave home! It doesn’t get easier leaving and you’re always counting the days til the next time you get to see them. They’re your main supporters and have helped you throughout your whole life so it’s scary when you get out into the world by yourself! You might not admit it, but you even miss your annoying siblings! Leaving home really makes you appreciate the time spent with your family, so to my family: thank you for everything!

 

Post by Shane Monsen, Senior at the University of Montana.