Big Sky Country

On April 23rd, we loaded the family and my grandparents into the Suburban and headed for Montana to accompany dad on his bear hunt. The last time I stayed at a quaint, remote cabin in the middle of nowhere Montana was when I was in my mom’s belly! This time, however, Dad promised much nicer lodging, with indoor, functioning plumbing.

First, we had to drive through Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming until we found a hotel with a pool! And that’s when we learned that my sister is actually a mermaid… completely fearless in the water! And by “in the water,” I mean, she obsessively bobbed her head underneath the surface so much and for so long that mom didn’t know if we should all be impressed or call for a lifeguard. I guess Genesee’s YMCA swim lessons have had an impact!? Luckily, we all survived to enjoy a delicious Applebee’s dinner in the comfort of our hotel sheets.

Eventually, after 11/2 days of driving, we arrived at our final destination and Dad did not disappoint!

Once we got settled into our home-away-from-home, it was time to get serious about hunting by scoping out 12,000 acres of wildlife paradise. Then, after learning the lay of the land, we made a game plan to wake up at 5:15 a.m. every morning to search for a bear that didn’t want to be found.

Not all was lost, however, because we won the hide-and-seek contest against the elk cows and bulls, turkeys, mule deer, prong horns, porcupines, gophers, long billed curlews, and Clark’s Nutcrackers… all discovered against the breathtaking backdrop of snow-capped mountains. But, in case that wasn’t enough to call the trip a success, Dad and I also caught a nice rainbow trout at the fishing pond and, just to keep the ladies happy and fed, we harvested a turkey on our final hunt!

My favorite part of hunting was shooting Mountain Dew cans with my BB gun and playing chauffeur for Dad and Grandpa by driving the Honda across the rugged terrain. Still, some of the best memories made happened outside of hunting hours when we enjoyed movie marathons with buttered popcorn (Genesee’s new favorite movie is Flicka 2, particularly the kissing scene), played Chutes & Ladders championships, practiced our golf swings and soccer moves, learned how to play Euchre, caught up on lost beauty sleep, went on long hikes, took joyrides on the 4-wheeler, ate LOTS of food, and just enjoyed the peace and quiet of limited internet connectivity.

Thanks for a great trip, Montana! We love your wide open spaces, but you can keep your steady 25 mph winds.

Until next time…