Ouzel Peak, Montana
A lot of the joy, and also stress, in doing railpass has come from my lack of planning. I get how hard it is to just let yourself go to the (dons hippie-spiritual cap) ebb and flow of the universe, but its incredibly rewarding and, admittedly, kind of a rush when things work out.
Stepping off the train at 8am in Montana with my new travel partner Jana, I once again had no friggin’ plan laid out for what to do. Originally, yeah, there was an idea. Our stop was in Glacier National Park, so much as I had explored other cities and other parks in the past two weeks, I’d just do the same here: hike, follow my gut, take pictures.
You can imagine how upsetting it was when the US Government decided to shut down, along with it all national parks. The plan, then, was to just sneak in to the park! If it’s shut down, then there’s not gonna be very many staff, so it shouldn’t be too hard to avoid them.
It was the last stop of the trip, and it was very cold that morning already, so I decided to treat myself to staying indoors that night. Jana had no objections, so we walked down the street from the train station and got a lodge. But, after putting our stuff down and choosing beds, a quick talk with the staff alerted us to the risks of sneaking in: getting picked up by the cops, and a possible $500 fine. More importantly, they had a suggestion for an alternative activity: hiking Ouzel Peak! They said it would be hard, and take all day, but they would drive us the ten miles of the trailhead in the old, lodge van and then we could hitch hike back.
It was perfect.
The scenery and microclimate changes that occurred as we climbed the trail are so amazing, I have to show off a lot more than ten photos. This set is of our morning, and the beginning of the trail, I can’t wait to show you the view from the top in the next set.
More photos, and sneak peaks, on instagram.
Thoughts and other nonsense on twitter.
Of course, you can always send an email.
That's all the planning I do.
Traveling around the western US, I started Railpass as a 15-day train trip to circle western America, have surprising adventures by bike or on foot, and document the experiences.
Taking only a few cameras, a bicycle, and a change of clothes, each stop on that route was a full day's worth of adventure. The train rides between destinations offered a chance to talk to other rail-travelers, recuperate, and (of course) blog here.
This blog started as a photo-journal of that trip, and I've fallen in love with seeing where all I can go and what all I can do. Since then I've continued those adventures every month with new journeys biking, hiking, and exploring cities, small towns, and the amazing wilderness... Anywhere the train can take me.
My name is Brent Knepper.
I'm a freelance photographer from Chicago, IL. My first train trip happened when I skipped class in high school and took my bmx bike with me from rural Virginia to New York. My parents have since forgiven me.