This article was sponsored by Montana

They came to Montana hoping to see mountains, lakes, wildlife and small-town charm. But when sisters Gale and Laura Straub hit the open road, they also found a rekindled connection with each other.

On the first day of their Montana road trip, they woke up to this view of Flathead Lake. And it only got better from there.

Lost in the City

Gale (better known as @she_explores on Instagram) and her sister Laura had been dreaming of a reunion road trip since briefly visiting Montana when they were 16.

As it does for a lot of people, Montana lived large in the girls’ minds, acting as a sort of mascot for their deeply held spirit of adventure. As they battled through windowless basement office jobs, they somehow knew that if they could get back to Montana they would have a chance to rediscover a part of themselves in danger of being lost.

As Laura had never been to a hot spring or even swum outside of a man-made pool, they settled on water as the driving force of their trip.

Finding Montana

They met in Missoula, loading their van for a week of adventure. Gale was excited to share the road with Laura. Twins are never very separate, even when they live far apart, but they both felt nervous and excited about spending so much uninterrupted time with each other.

Their first stop was the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, Flathead Lake. They decided to start their trip with a statement and jumped into the cool morning water.

From there, they explored as only road trippers can, stopping and detouring whenever the urge struck them. With no appointments or agenda, they were free to melt into the landscape, fully experiencing everything Montana had to offer.

Their first warm soak was at Quinn’s hot springs, and as they settled into the pool they knew they had made the right choice—this was just what they’d needed.

With an atlas in hand and obscure off-the-beaten-path springs on their mind, they set off in search of their next Montana find.

Finding Each Other

The mountains and lakes and rivers were awe inspiring, and the locals amazing to slow down and talk to. But what was most surprising was how close they felt to each other.

They hadn’t felt like they’d grown apart exactly, but there’s something about the shared experience of travel that brings people closer together.

See more Montana adventures, and what awaits you, at