As many of you know, I worked on a YouTube series this summer and fall called Between the Parks. The vision of the series was to give you, the viewer, a look at some of the beauty, adventure, fun and awe you can see just driving from Yellowstone National Park at the bottom of the state to Glacier National Park at the top. When you think tourism in the area, odds are you think Buffalo and geysers down in Wyoming or mountains, glaciers and gorgeous lakes up in the northwest corner of Montana. This is an amazing part, but there is so much more than that and it took me on an adventure I'll never forget!
I set out with three of the most incredible, talented, ambitious and fun people you'll ever meet: Domenico Cianciotto, Brin Merkley and Henry Hawkins. We're all young professions, Brin and I recent graduates, so there were obviously growing pains figuring out what direction we wanted to take the series. What I learned, though, is that when you put that much creativity in one car, things just fall into place and the result is amazing (and really really strange sometimes).
The first leg of the journey took us through Bannack Ghost Town, a crazy and inspirational stop at a small farmhouse in Norris, a quick dip in the hotsprings and up and over the Beartooth Pass, complete with a snowball fight!
You'd think things would slow down a little once we got past the initial excitement, but they were only just getting started. These 3 became some of my best friends over the course of the trip. We got better at planning, better at filming and became more and more comfortable with each other every day.
The second leg found us spelunking in Lewis and Clark Caverns, 4-wheeling in Pipestone and jumping off cliffs into more natural hotsprings at Nimrod.
Home came to have a whole new meaning for us. Don't get me wrong, shooting all day from 8am to midnight every day for 3 days straight is exhausting, but it's such a satisfying exhaustion. I had countless conversations with Dom, Henry and Brin about how all we wanted to do was get back out on the road.
Despite those feelings, we were all excited to show off our home of Missoula in the 3rd leg. Nothing can beat floating down the Clark Fork on a sunny Missoula day with your best friends. From there we headed up towards Flathead lake, stopping to experience the peace of the Garden of 1000 Buddhas in Arlee and having some camping fun in Polson.
The best part of Montana is the incredible natural beauty. Lake life had us all hooked right off the bat. Even after shooting we went back up several times to go play at the places we didn't have time to due to filming time constraints.
Lake life is exactly what we got to explore in what was the last and many of our favorite legs. We saw wild horses at Wild Horse Island, experienced what felt supernatural at the Montana Vortex in Columbia Falls and, of course, got to play on the lake and paddleboard in Big Fork.
This experience was absolutely incredible. I wouldn't trade it for the world. The hardest part was deciding where to stop in the limited time we had and what to include in the episodes in the limited video time we had to pack it into. I'm sure we missed some people's favorite spots, but that's the beauty of it. You could explore your whole life and still not see all that Montana has to offer. And believe me, we're not done. We couldn't stop talking about all the places we wanted to go next. In fact, Dom and Brin just got back from the shoot for the next chapter. I'm on my own adventure in Colorado now, so I didn't get to explore with them this time, but I cant wait to see what they shot.