makayla crist


Earth Day 2018

It's more like Earth Weekend. But if it was up to me, every day would be Earth Day. Or at least treat it like so. I don't know where I would be without this colorful earth and everything in it. Obviously not alive, and probably mere space dust. 


 I had the chance to summit East St. Mary’s Peak in the Missions, then fly over the Rocky Mountain Front a day later. While all of this was going on, I was asked why do I like hiking- so in addressing this question I think the reason why I hike, is that I actually really don’t like it. It’s rough mentally and physically, breaking down your body consistently. Waking up to the hairs on your skin sticking up because you realize you’re 50 miles somewhere in the backcountry, where anything could happen.

And I think that’s why I do it. You can see more of the world then where your car can take you- where the reward is so satisfactory. It forces you to be in your head constantly without anyone else’s vision of who they think you should be/act. Something that’s so simplistically raw, while walking towards whoever you want to be. It’s quite an undeniable feeling that would take years to try and explain further. 

Hudson and our mountain guide Chris, summiting to the very top of St. Marys Peak.

Hudson and our mountain guide Chris, summiting to the very top of St. Marys Peak.

We started the morning off with annoying alarm clock sounds at 4 AM, and a cheap latte from one of the kiosks in Missoula- which was an okay latte, not the best. But we were excited to meet Chris and Caleb (Chris being our mountain guide and Caleb being his friend) at the end of Orange Street and hopefully get this show on the road. 

We finally got to the trailhead around 7 am and started hiking right away. The beginning was pretty steep- and the end was even steeper. I started sweating probably 5 minutes into the hike, and it continued until the end. It was pretty funny because Caleb kept cracking dad jokes- more jokes came when we all started to get frustrated and tired, which made the trip even better.

When you have a collective energy, or maybe just that one person that makes everyone smile and laugh about anything- really is what hiking in a group should be all about. Ya, nature is great, and views are awesome, but without some whole-hearted fun and joking around, it can really make the trip go on forever, and in a bad way. 

When I could finally see Greywolf Peak, I was automatically drawn to this idea of being absolutely intertwined with these mountains. To think what would it be like to live amongst these giants that held so much of my attention- over the pain my feet were currently going through. I've never seen a beast quite like that. It was inspiring to say the least.

Overall, the trip was amazing, the hike was very intense. A short distance but very, very hard. But in the best ways.

24 hours later-


I found myself flying again. This time, I had the whole backseat to myself. I saw the sleeping giant ahead through the window, as we took off. Nerves settled in after the small wheels finally let go of the earth. I've been here before. Not quite anywhere in particular, but this plane, hovering over this same land. White, speckled with trees and such things. Things that roamed the earth, and things that stood still in such a beautiful silence. I fell silent too. Drifting I guess, listening to the engines rumble. And thinking back to the last time I felt this way. It's been almost two years.


I couldn't quite grasp that I was thousands of feet up in the air. There's power to feeling like this. Looking down like the billboard in The Great Gatsby- Gods eyes, right? Holy shit, I love the metaphors and symbolism in that book. I love shit that means other, deeper shit. Haha, but I felt so alive in this little plane. Just so in love with whatever I could think of. 


Damn, what a beautiful world. 


And with that final thought- cheers. And happy Earth day.





makayla crist