Active vacations are my favorite kind. I spend so much time working out and eating right (or at least trying to) while I’m at home, and I feel like that effort is counteracted by all the glorious things I eat on the road (and the time I don’t spend in a gym). So I was happy to be traveling to Montana last month with five fellow active types, and to see everyone else was as eager to spend some time with Mother Nature as I was.
Up first on our agenda was a paddle on the Clearwater River Canoe Trail in Lolo National Forest.
I’m a bit more of an independent adventurer, and when it comes to paddle trips, I prefer not to have a guide, but rather to go at my own leisurely pace. We were in luck as local outfitter Seeley Sport Rentals rents out canoes (at $25 per boat for four hours) and other gear and will deliver them directly to your starting point, no tour guide required.
We wasted no time getting in that water, as it looked so inviting. Early June can be the perfect time to explore Montana’s vast outdoors: mild temps, blissfully sunny days, the bluest of skies, and—best of all—completely devoid of crowds.
Case in point: On our 3.5-mile paddle, I didn’t see a soul. Well, except for these five clowns I came with.
If there’s ever somewhere you want completely to yourself, it’s the Montana wilderness.
We saw some deer and a bald eagle. No bears, though I think we were all OK with that. Don’t get me wrong: We wanted to see bears, just not when we only had a paddle as an escape route.
The paddle took about an hour and a half at an easy pace. There were spots where the current flowed pretty rapidly and we didn’t even need to row that much. (Those were my favorite parts, heh.)
Eventually, the trail empties out into Seeley Lake, a perfect pool of glassy water, the dramatic clouds punctuating the blue skies mirroring back off the surface.
We landed our kayaks and left them for the sports rental company to retrieve later.
We then hiked a mile back to the car at the launch point to head further north into Big Sky Country.
Next up, we’d be exploring the mountains by horseback….