Doesn't time fly?! Already we are in Montana for a brief visit. Stopped by here last year and thought it was great. Once we knew our route for this summer we had to stop back. First and foremost it has GREAT beer - Big Sky Brewing is the local brewery which has a great tap room where you can get very generous samples of the beers - up to 4 a day in a real funky pub type environment. So we went today, and will be stopping back tomorrow no doubt! Also got our 'Growler' filled up - a big 64oz glass bottle (we were told today by a woman at the bar there that they came about in the days before Montana became a state the men used to hang out at the bars a little too much and the only way the landlords could get rid of them was to send them on their way with a take-out beer - the growler. Now brewpubs often still sell beer to go in these Growlers - $5 a go - and why not!!) (Loved this sign at the brewery - "Beer - so much more than just a Breakfast Drink"!! - oh yes!)
Spent the last week in Idaho. What an amazing place!! Loved it! The Sawtooth National Recreation area in particular. Lots of mountains, the Salmon River winding it's way through, green fields and lots of hiking (40 miles in the last week!) and we even managed a spot of easy going river rafting (not the white water variety this time!). Also discovered the joys of camping in the National Forests and Recreation areas - as well as all the 'developed' campsites they have plenty of freebie places too - basically anywhere that has already been used for the purpose! Bizarrely one place was pretty much a campsite to us - it was an overflow area for the popular Redfish lake and there were well marked sites, firerings and a toilet and it was free - 200 yards down the road was the turning into the 'real' campground costing $11 a night!! (OK so I realise we're not talking big bucks savings here but even so!!). We camped out at some beautiful spots right next to the river (such a great sound to lull you to sleep!), in real solitude. Watched a wild storm come over the mountains in the distance one afternoon but we got lucky - it never reached us. The Sawtooth area is also a hotspot for natural hot springs - discovered a couple along the roadside and along the river the day we went rafting - a good way to warm through after being in the chilly river water for a while!