HIGHLANDER made its grand debut in the heart of Montana, Kalispell, and delivered an unforgettable adventure. Do I need to repeat for the umpteenth time how much pleasure it is to be a part of historical events that remain forever recorded somewhere behind us. That’s exactly what happened with HIGHLANDER in Montana. After Big Bear Lake and California, the second HIGHLANDER in the USA was in one of the most beautiful states – Montana. Like many other events of this type, nature creates unique moments that are rarely repeated creating a dream for every outdoor photographer. The beginning of autumn and the amazing colors only confirmed that this is definitely the most beautiful part of the whole year. So that I wouldn’t be too long on my part, read the whole report below and enjoy at least in some way, imagining that you are part of this kind or similar photography projects around the world.
THE HISTORIC EVENT – HIGHLANDER MONTANA
This historic event welcomed 200 participants, a diverse crew of adventure enthusiasts & nature lovers aged 13 to 71, who boldly immersed themselves in the HIGHLANDER experience. Remarkably, participants journeyed from more than 35 different states, uniting for a common adventure but also to make a positive impact as they removed more than 1,200 lbs of litter from Montana’s public lands – or in this case – trails.
After nearly two years of dedicated preparation, our vision became a reality. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our local partners, with special thanks to Discover Kalispell, whose unwavering support was instrumental in making this event possible. We also express our deep appreciation to Right On Trek for their valuable contributions. Additionally, our volunteers, through their dedication and hard work, played a pivotal role in bringing this incredible event to life.
HIGHLANDER Kalispell was not just about the thrill but also the breathtaking routes that showcased the spectacular flora and fauna of Montana. The participants had a chance to choose between two event formats: Hercules (54 miles, 5 days) and Pegasus (38 miles, 3 days). No matter the format they chose, both groups encountered exciting checkpoints along their journeys.
On the Hercules route, participants hiked 54 miles of wild beauty, from valleys to mountain summits, through alpine meadows and lush forests. A particularly magical moment occurred on the second day when participants at Aspen Meadow Farm were welcomed by a herd of wild horses, creating an unforgettable memory for all of them. Meanwhile, for our Pegasus participants, the adventure spanned approximately 38 miles over three days and two nights. They had the unique opportunity to camp beside cascading waterfalls, a sight that left everyone impressed. At HIGHLANDER events, we believe in providing a well-rounded journey that combines adventure with education, relaxation, and fun.
One of the standout moments during the event was Garrett Tovey, the Director of Education at Glacier Institute, taking the stage. His presentation on Bear Safety was nothing short of extraordinary. It was hailed as one of the best presentations in HIGHLANDER’s seven-year history, opening participants’ eyes to nature and safety in ways they had never imagined. In addition, the Zpacks team delivered an insightful talk on selecting and using hiking gear for backpacking trips. But it wasn’t all learning; participants also had yoga workshops, soul-soothing music, and relaxing massages for a final touch to the overall HIGHLANDER experience.
Arguably the most important aspect of HIGHLANDER lies in the fact that our participants are not just adventurers; on the trail, they become our partners in creating a positive impact. Through engaging presentations during our journey, by visionaries like Benny Braden, founder of Responsible Stewardship, they not only gain knowledge but also the motivation to leave a lasting, tangible mark on the environment. Our participants wholeheartedly embraced the “Erase the Trace” ethos that our event promotes in collaboration with Responsible Stewardship. This commitment was vividly demonstrated as they collectively cleaned up and properly disposed of over 1,200 lbs of litter, a testament to their dedication to preserving the natural beauty of Montana’s public lands.
Additionally, HIGHLANDER proudly donated $1 for every mile covered by our Hercules participants to the “Folds of Honour” veteran charity, exemplifying our commitment to giving back and supporting important causes.
Together, we are taking meaningful steps to preserve and cherish nature, ensuring its beauty endures for generations to come.
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES IN 2024
HIGHLANDER Kalispell 2023 has successfully wrapped up, but our adventure doesn’t stop here! We’ve learned so much, and we’re already gearing up for an even greater event in 2024. Get ready to dive into another adventure with us – September 10th to 14th, it’s a date you won’t want to miss! Stay tuned for updates and be part of the excitement!
More info on HIGHLANDER Kalispell 2024 can be found here: https://highlanderadventure.com/en-us/kalispell