Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Big Sky Adventure

As I write this, the blue reflection of the Mission range on the laptop screen is taunting me, water from the glacier-fed alpine lake on which our family's cabin lies is lapping against the rocks thirty feet from where I am huddled under the stairs, hunched over the computer, and my family is discussing a hundred different things that I want to get my two cents in on.  So I'll try to be uncharacteristically concise.

Getting to Montana was fairly painless, despite a two hour delay in our flight from LAX.  We got off to an inauspicious start when I ran into the men's room at the long-term parking garage, Cobra strapped onto me in the Ergo, and upon leaving the filthy facilities, found myself in a maze with identical doors in every hallway.     

Naturally, I chose the wrong door and found myself in a small chamber with two more doors.  I turned to go back out the first door just as it locked behind me.  Door #2 was also locked, and Door #3 was an alarmed emergency exit.  I had to call my wife, who had already loaded our gear onto the shuttle, and have her follow the sound of my kicking and hollering to set us free.  

Then, while checking in at the airport, we realized that the girls' birth certificates (originals, not copies, per the airline's instructions) were back at the park garage, on top of the car.  I will gallantly refrain from pointing the finger of blame regarding this mishap.  The two-hour delay in our flight gave us plenty of time to retrieve the documents.

We kept the girls entertained in the airport by watching planes take off and land.

The twins did really well on the short (thankfully) flight.  Cobra fell asleep in her mom's arms right after take-off, and Butterbean played happily with the emergency instruction pamphlet and air sickness bag the whole way.

We spent the first two nights of our Montana trip at my sister's place in Missoula, where we were feted  with a great barbecue (authentic southern style, prepared by my transplanted Mississippian brother-in-law), taken on nostalgic tours of landmarks from my very early childhood, and generally pampered and catered to.  My sister managed to procure, from her friend who also has toddling twins, all the cribs, highchairs, car seats, and toys we needed for the kids.  I don't know what we would have done had we needed to carry that stuff with us.  Stayed home probably.

My brother-in-law moved to Montana mostly for the hunting

On Monday, we piled into Big Sis's truck, filled with baby gear, and headed to the lake, stopping for a diaper change and a huckleberry shake at one of the little towns on the Reservation.  If you've ever seen the movie, "A River Runs Through It," you're familiar with the scenery we enjoyed.

Since we got here, we've been going for walks, paddling around in the kayak, eating, drinking, visiting with relatives who drove here from Washington and Oregon, and playing with babies.

The girls' accommodations at the cabin

My mom demonstrating how to properly use bear spray

Big Sky Country

View from the living room.  On the other side of those mountains is grizz country

Our cabin from the kayak. Oh yeah--also the 5,000 sq. ft Alpine lodge that some real estate baron from Phoenix just erected where our old neighbor had a little metal fishing hut.  Ours is the modest spread to the right with the green roof.  The one that is nestled into, rather than looming over, the forest.  

We started building it in '73.  It's almost done.  My parents swear that I nailed the plywood down on the second floor when I was six.  Our cabin used to be typical of the houses on the lake, and even a little nicer than a lot of them (especially after I rebuilt the deck in '97), but now there are ever more of these multi-million dollar monsters dominating the shoreline, most of them owned by damn Californians.  But there are still plenty of relics from the old days.

 The "haunted boathouse" that hasn't changed much since we were little kids.

Cobra in her new Montana Grizzlies fleece


  1. Lovely pics, the lake looks beautiful!

  2. I hope you are enjoying your trip. I am glad the babies handled the flight well. The lake looks beautiful. While you were away, I cleaned up Stella's dog poop at the park only to discover--too late!!--that the bag had a hole in it. You. Owe. Me.

    -You Know Who It Is

  3. Oh, I LOVE Montana. Clean, open spaces.. and oh, I HATE that monolithic 5,000 sq ft. THING next to your cabin. When I first saw it I was like, what cabin? Is this guy nuts... so good for you for clarifying your homestead. have fun - traveling with littles is always such an adventure!

  4. The haunted boathouse, huckleberry shakes, Aunt Joan with bear spray, the cabin...put your stinkin' laptop away and DO NOT get it out again until you are at the airport, man! Are you outta yo mind?

  5. That's some beautiful countryside.
    Just... don't... go... in.... the... haunted... boathouse!!!!! YAAAAHH!!!! I said don't!

  6. Oh wow - it looks fabulous! It reminds me that I need to go back up that way. Have fun!

  7. GREAT PICTURES! PS I commented on another of your recent postings but the computer pooped out on me and it didn't get posted. I was too lazy to re-write it. I know, it was the thought that counts. ha! Enjoy your adventures!

  8. fantastic cabin and property. too bad about the mccabin next door.

    i'm a cabin-owner-wannabe, and until i can afford one, i drown myself in a book called 'cabinology.'

    enjoy that beautiful lake, sky, mountain, trees, cabin, for us cabin-less!

  9. That sounds like a ton of fun. I love Montana, and I know exactly what you're talking about when you speak of A River Runs Through it. Just beautiful.

    I hate those huge houses people put up like that of your neighbor. It's insult to injury then to pretend like it's fitting in by making it out of logs (or at least rustic looking -- I can't tell). I'd like to see our ancestors build a house like that out of felled nearby trees! HAHA! That's a lot of root pullin'!

  10. I'm glad you had an easy time on the plane with the girls. My kid did pretty decent for her first time too.

    Beautiful pictures!

    (Please excuse the commenting storm that's about to happen. :) I'm trying to catch up after the vacay.)


Don't hold back.


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