Glacier National Park: Part 3

Noah’s and I spent our third day in Glacier on an all-day, ranger-led hike to Piegan Pass. The hike started at 10am, and the trailhead was along the Going to the Sun Road at Siyeh Bend. We got up early to do the drive and make sure we were at the trailhead with plenty of time to get a parking spot. It turned out that parking wasn’t an issue that morning because it was cold, windy, and rainy. While we were waiting for the ranger to come, we stayed in the car to try to get some last-minute warmth. At one point, we even wondered if was too cold for the hike (it was supposed to take about 6 hours!). In the end, we decided to stick it out. It was definitely a good choice! The hike was amazing and, although I was freezing when we finished, the weather wasn’t really that bad until we made it up to the pass. PLUS, we came upon some huckleberry bushes!

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Fun fact: huckleberries have never been successfully cultivated, so you can only pick them in the wild!

The hike itself crossed through several different landscapes. There were forested areas:

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Flower fields (check out how foggy it is!):

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And it became more and more rocky with snow-capped peaks in the (nearer) distance as we approached the pass:

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When we were in the forest/flower fields things were a bit wet but we were all smiles:

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About 3 hours later after we had been exposed to the frigid winds/snow (yes, snow!) past the tree line, we were still smiling but were a little worse for wear. 🙂

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By the time we made it back down the peak and to the car, the rain wasn’t as heavy but it was still quite foggy. Vision on the road was pretty scary!

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Fortunately, Noah was able to build a fire back at the campsite to warm us up (note: the pic below is just the beginning stages 🙂 ):

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The next morning, our fourth day, was our last day in Glacier. We were only planning to spend a few hours in the park in the morning before driving to Ennis, MT for the wedding of two friends. Noah suggested we do the Avalanche Lake Trail for our last Glacier adventure, and the hike worked out perfectly. The hike was an out-and-back 4-mile trail, and it took us about 2.5 hours – perfect for a quick hike on our way out of the park! At the beginning of the hike we followed along a small stream:

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and were completely surrounded by HUGE trees:

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BONUS: more huckleberries!!

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While we were hiking towards the lake, there was still a bit of fog covering the mountains, so we hoped the view would clear before too long:

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After a little more than an hour of hiking, we made it to Avalanche Lake. Holy cow, it was gorgeous:

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Fortunately, the clouds were just disappearing as we headed back towards the trailhead:

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At the end of the hike there was a short loop called Trail of the Cedars. Trail of the Cedars followed a boardwalk that crossed over the water a few times:

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Noah and I learned from a ranger that the unique appearance of the water at Glacier is a result of rock flour. Rock flour is – just like it sounds – the fine flour that is made when rocks scrape against one another (i.e., what is formed at Glacier as the glaciers move). The rock flour gives the water a bright turquoise-ish tint and also makes it very transparent. When the water is shallow and the color is less intense, it almost looks like the rocks are right at the surface!

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After the hike it was time to say our goodbyes to Glacier and start the 5-6 hour drive to Ennis. Goodbye, Glacier!

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I can’t complain about the drive though – the views from the road were still pretty spectacular:

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Eventually, we saw a sign for Ennis!

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Pretty much as soon as we got to Ennis it was time to celebrate:

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The wedding celebrations went by in a blur – so many hugs, smiles, laughs, (happy) tears! Before we knew it, we had ranched:

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We had decorated:

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We had rehearsal dinner-ed:

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And the last dance was danced:

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It was definitely a happy/wonderful/moving weekend that I won’t forget. ❤

And that concludes our Montana vacation – what a trip!

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My Best Friend’s Wedding

I’ve waited a long time for the perfect chance to reappropriate this movie title, and I think the opportune time has finally come. I am en route home from 5 weeks working at camp in California, and I finally feel like I have the time to work a blog post about the event of the summer: my best friend’s wedding!

At the end of May, Noah and I went to New York for three glorious days to celebrate one of the greatest people (and a wonderful couple!). The wedding was held at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club, and since I was in the wedding party, Noah and I stayed for two nights at the Club, making it super easy to get to all of the wedding-related activities.

We left to drive to NY during the late morning on Friday and arrived in the early afternoon. We checked into an adorable room with a very cute welcome note and goody bag:

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Between wedding guests and golfers, the parking lot was starting to fill up:

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Before too long it was time to head out to the lawn for the wedding rehearsal. Noah and I went over a little early to check out the beautiful views of the Club and golf course:

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Smilin’ 🙂

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Set-up of the grounds was underway and we went through the choreography of the ceremony pretty quickly:

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Next up…the real fun started with the rehearsal dinner!

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Dinner was fabulous: delicious food, a very sweet slide show that the father-of-the-groom put together, and many smiles.

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We got back to the Club pretty late and wedding preparations were scheduled to begin quite early the next morning, so I tried to go to sleep right away once back at the room.

I met up with the bride and other bridesmaids bright and early, and we headed to Vaza Salon to get our hair and makeup done.

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While we were waiting to get started, Becca (very thoughtfully) gave me a banana bread cake – it happened to also be my birthday. 😉 What a great friend. ❤

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Once the appointments started, we were all being shuttled through hair and makeup stations pretty quickly. Although we were there for hours, it honestly was a ton of fun and didn’t feel too tedious.

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They went bold for my lipstick…

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The cutest sisters in the world (giving me sister envy!!!):

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Eventually, our transformation at the salon was complete and it was time to head back to the Club for lunch and to change into our wedding clothes! Lunch was a buffet of fruit, mini-sandwiches, and assorted beverages (primarily, champagne).

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Dressing was an adventure unto itself:

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Once the wedding dress was out in the free world, the photographer went to work:

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And we all swooned over the beautiful bride:

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Stunning, right?!?!

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We laughed…

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We cried…

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We hydrated…

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And then it was show time! The ceremony itself was beautiful – everything went on without a hiccup and several family members and friends were involved with the ceremony in some capacity. It was truly beautiful, and I think everyone in attendance cried at least once.

After the ceremony, the reception was an event all its own…

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Noah and I sat at the bridal party table and were right across from the VIPs – best seats in the house. 😉

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I don’t have that many pictures from the reception because I was too busy dancing with extreme enthusiasm – but I managed to snap a few pics of the blueberry cake and dessert cupcakes!

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Wedding favors were fill-your-own candy jars. So cute!

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And like any good party…there was an after-party! Once the band (which was great, by the way) played their last song, all those who still had energy walked over to the bride’s parents’ house for more snacks, smores, and a night-time pool party:

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Yep. It was basically the best. day. ever.

Eventually, Noah and I walked home – exhausted! – to our room at the Club. In the morning we stopped by the bride’s parents’ house again for the after-after-party. There was a delicious smattering of salads and snacks:

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More pool time:

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And (the best part!)…a grilled cheese food truck:

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Wut. ?! Noah and I shared two types of grilled cheese – both were delicious and I was too busy eating to take pics. Needless to say, it was such a joy/blessing to be part of this wedding celebration. Love you, Becs!

 

Bridesmaid Bonanza

My best friend is getting married!!

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And lucky me gets to celebrate with her! A couple weekends ago I went to NY to celebrate a “triple threat” bachelorette celebration weekend: 1) morning bridal shower brunch, 2) afternoon bridesmaid limo winery tour, 3) evening bachelorette party.

The bridal shower honestly could not have been more perfect. Everyone helped out to plan different parts of the day, and it was so touching to see how much everyone there loved the bride, chipping in to make it an extra special event. From personal experience with my parts of the planning, however, I can say that the real planning star was the bride’s sister who put in a huge amount of effort to make everything absolutely wonderful. Such a labor of love and so, so beautiful. If you can’t tell, I got a bit emotional!

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After time for eating and drinking, we played a few games together as a group (there were a lot of female family members present as well as the bridesmaids/friends):

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After many stories were shared and laughs enjoyed by all, it was time for the limo to arrive! The gals grabbed our bachelorette goody bags (complete with brightly colored lipstick, party beads, crowns, and “team bride” wine glasses) and headed out for an afternoon of wine tasting:

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The first winery stop was at Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery. The winery was seriously crowded, but the area was huge and there was a lot of open grass to spread out on.

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In addition to wine, Warwick Valley also had beer, cider, pizza, and live music that people of all ages seemed to be out enjoying. After having some lunch outdoors on blankets, we went to the bar for our first wine tasting:

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I loved the Harvest Moon wine from the list above!

Wine me:

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Stop two on the tour was Clearview Vineyard. Clearview had a completely different feel from the first stop – it was much smaller, much less crowded, and had a much more intimate feel. The owner greeted us when we arrived, seated us, and personally introduced each of the wines in our tasting menu. He also gave the bride a special cork – very sweet.

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There were originally plans to go to a third winery after Clearview, but we were all exhausted and had been at it for almost 5 hours already, so we decided it was best to go back to the house and relax a little before the bachelorette festivities continued.

After a rejuvenating dinner of pizza, everyone headed upstairs to reveal the super-secret party room to the bride:

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Her reaction was amazing when she saw all the decorations – and I can’t blame her because I had the exact same feeling when I first saw the room. It looked incredible! She was immediately instructed to put on her new “feyonce” shirt…

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…and then the games began. Don’t worry though, the games were pretty tame – mainly involving a “guess who bought the lingerie” game, bride trivia, and some B-grade karaoke:

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But just in case you think things didn’t get rowdy…don’t worry. There were penis cookies.

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