The Week I Met My Cousin In Glacier National Park

Wow is it August already?

August 2022



  • Captured the one photo I’ve been dreaming of
  • Got the van stuck for the first time
  • Had the best work day I’ve ever had
  • Chatted from the soul with my cousin
  • Explored Glacier National Park for the first time and saw a bear cub


  • Stanley, Idaho
  • Missoula, Montana
  • Glacier National Park

Last Day In Stanley, Idaho

I woke up not knowing what I wanted to do. As I was leaving my campsite, I decided to turn right instead of left because Stanley Lake was right there. It turned into a relaxing half-day 🙂 I went swimming (it was cold!) and read a bit (made it about halfway through Dopamine Detox : A Short Guide to Remove Distractions and Get Your Brain to Do Hard Things).

After getting jealous I didn’t have an inflatable kayak or paddleboard (one of these days!), I headed out and into town. I stopped by the town square (super cute!) and the library to brain dump all my journal notes I had accumulated the past couple days.

Then I headed north! Next stop, Missoula, Montana. And boy was the drive gorgeous!

It’s hard to describe. The drive was like a mixture of huge Utah-like mountains with flat valleys, winding river roads, kind of like northern Wyoming, but then it became this southern Utah dry desert-like plateau mountains. And THEN it turned into green forested mountain roads (Montana!).

The Photo I’ve Been Dreaming Of

Outside North Fork, Idaho, I drove past the Moose Fire (over 50,000 acres burned so far 🤯). I could see the smoke blowing east for miles as I started to drive towards it. But, here’s a question for ya: What do smoke and mountains create?

Layers. And I absolutely love layers.

I was driving pretty slowly through the windy roads until I looked over to the left and bam, I saw it. I turned around at the next pull out to go back. I’ve been DREAMING of a shot like this.

All I did in Lightroom was basically darken it and add more contrast to remove some of the brown texture in the foreground. I love that minimalist look.

This one’s getting framed, for sure. I don’t have any space in my van though… so one day… one day it’ll get framed, haha.

And Then I Got The Van Stuck

Ahhh man this is so embarrassing… I’ll keep it short.

I saw this other shot, but I kept driving. It wasn’t turn-around worthy. But then I started to second guess myself. Maybe it WAS turn-around worthy… A couple miles later of back and forth, I finally caved and turned around.

I got the shot…

But then I backed up into the ditch on the side of the road… 🤦‍♂️

I SWEAR it looked flat in my mirrors…

Here, just enjoy 😂

5 minutes later of rocking back and forth… (unlike when I got stuck in At What Point Are You Too Independent, fortunately)

I’ll just leave it at that 😂 It’s always more funny looking back than it is in the moment.

Anyyyyyyways we made it to Missoula, Montana!

A Super Flowy Work Day

Wow. This day was literally perfect.

I spent the morning in Clyde Coffee – super hip coffee shop, I loved the vibe. I put out a couple blog posts and did some journaling.

After lunch and a little walk, I spent the afternoon in the Missoula Public Library.

I caught up on my budget, did a monthly finance update, posted some photos, and caught up on some little tasks.

Then finished the day with a van-made pizza and a walk.

I felt like I played my focus and attention perfectly this day. Thinking, writing, journaling in the morning – stuff that used a lot of focus. Then in the afternoon when my focus died down, I did stuff that required less intentional thinking – budgeting, editing photos, making calls, etc. I think today was the most I’ve worked in a day so far and it went really well.

Meeting Up With Colleen

Colleen (my cousin) is also on a road trip and we’re both coincidentally following the same route (counterclockwise around the west). She called a week ago and we decided to meet up in Missoula to do Glacier National Park together.

We met up for dinner (at Top Hat – super good) and ice cream (at Big Dipper Ice Cream – also delicious).

After some great soul-enriching conversation we decided to see if the van would fit us both overnight. I was very skeptical, but there was just enough space to fit us side by side and Troubadour (her dog) on the floor. I wouldn’t have called it comfortable, but it worked… sort of.

We camped at a park (mistake, haha) and wow that was probably the worst sleep I had in a long time, but they were both fine, fortunately. It was interesting, I kinda felt like a new dad on his first night with his newborn. I worried over every sound, every car that passed by, checking to see if they woke up, checking to see if they were scared. I didn’t want them to be afraid. After a couple hours… I finally fell asleep.

Morning Coffee And Conversation

We got coffee at Clyde Coffee and chatted for hours – about life, passions, people, jobs, everything. We also met some other people there! One woman was also on a road trip living out of her highlander working remotely from the coffee shop – respect 💪

In the afternoon we left for Glacier National Park!

The Canadians

Outside Flathead Lake we got stopped in standstill traffic for about an hour waiting for an accident to get cleared.

Troubadour made a new friend.

We met this family on a road trip headed north back to Calgary, Canada with their amazing kids. The dogs played, we chatted, and they gave us some (more like “a lot”) of their freshly-picked cherries – there were TONS of local cherry stands along this road.

All I could think was wow, people out there are so friendly and nice. I feel like there’s SO much more to life out there in the people you can meet.

Glacier National Park

It’s impossible to do this place the justice it deserves. It’s 100% one of the top parks/places in the U.S. alongside places like (for me) Yosemite, Zion, the Tetons, etc. Just absolutely awe-inspiring beauty.

I need a little longer to go through my camera photos, but I’ll just dump some of my phone photos here.

Thursday Night

We just drove the Going-To-The-Sun road just up to Logan Pass and back.

We saw a bear cub on the road… 🤯


Jumped in the river at Redrock (frigid! but refreshing), drove the Going-To-The-Sun road all the way to the other side of the park at St. Mary and back.


Drove all the way across the park to St. Mary, then up into Many Glacier, stopped at Lake Sherburne, saw a grizzly bear, then drove all the way back.

Meeting Other Nomads

We camped at the Blankenship Bridge campground (free open shoreline). It was a super popular spot for other van lifers and nomads.

We met Phil and Lynn, a couple in their 60s from England camping in their incredible self-built overlanding truck on their way to drive the Pan-American Highway (from Alaska down through South America).

And boy was Sunday a bunch of fun. Stay tuned for next week’s life update post.



  1. Wow, your photos are exceptional. You captured that incredible light and well, the views. Magnificent.

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