Thanks for all the replies. Ending up hiking Livingston peak (to saddle only as still acclimating early in the trip.) Pine creek lake, great hike. Finished up with with Sacajawea Peak, our favorite with the views and goats. All in about 7600 feet of elevation over our three hikes...our training grounds back east is a 6 miles with a whopping 785 feet of gain with the peak about 1000 feet above sea level, so was a pretty good test to see where my training is with just over 3 months til the hunt.
Given the grizz attack that took place while we were out there, carrying some protection, whatever you prefer is easy insurance and a no brainer...especially once you head south of Livingston/Bozeman.
I just got back from Bozeman on Friday. Montana is amazing. We hiked Sacagawea peak, Storm Castle Peak and finished with Hyalite lake. The Hyalite lake trail was the longest hike I've done so far. It ended up around 14 miles with all of the side trails I checked out and walking around the lake at the top. I wanted to take the next leg to Hyalite peak but my wife was not having it. I've never hiked at that kind of elevation before. First couple days were rough. It felt like I had a plastic bag over my head. After about 3 days we got used to it. Biggest disappointment of my trip was the cost of real estate. Holy hell. I feel bad for people who grew up in Bozeman. I don't know how your kids will possibly afford anything. $450k for a 1 bedroom condo? Looks like Montana is off my places to retire list.
I can really see why all of you are complaining about the number of hunters. There were people everywhere. Sunday night at 6pm Axtell bridge access looked like a water park. There must have been 30 cars in the lot. Even in the Poconos where I live, all the tourists pack up and leave by Sunday afternoon. Every hiking trail we passed a bunch of people. I can only imagine the circus when elk season starts. I can see why the Bozeman area is so popular, you are a short ride from some of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Yes this is why us locals are a little jaded. Explosion in growth for the last 30 years with no sign of slowing. Having a university, ski resorts, and the great outdoors created a unique mix. I don’t think our kids will be able to afford to live here unless I build their houses like we did ours. 400-500K for a bare acre of land outside city limits is the new average.