-Posted by Isaac
This past week we found Montana.
The Montana we know- mountains and trails, bees and trees.
We're in love with this state.
We love it, and we miss it, and we get back any time we can.
Big Sky Country!
The mountains, the forests, the rivers, the water, the snow, the air, the people, the wildlife. All magical. All lovely.
And love was certainly in the air on this trip.
So was music.
Jayne was quickly in her element at the Red Ants Pants Festival. This was in White Sulfur Springs, a summer music festival that attracts thousands. One of the headliner bands was her latest favorite- Shovels and Rope.
I kind of think the whole trip was planned around seeing these guys. Jayne has been a Shovels and Rope groupie of late. And I'm happy to tag along. Next stop, West Virginia.
But we'll say we did it for our kids. This trip, I mean. We'll say that we planned it specifically for them to experience the wonderful west. And to get them off those damn devices for a while.
We dumped the youngest two on Grandma and brought the oldest, Mason, 10 and Maizy, 8.
We thought they were old enough to handle some real hiking.
And real camping.
As you can see, they're slackers.
So Mama led the way.
We hiked just about every day, camped just about every night. Each morning, I'd take a run and almost always come across some beehives.
Sometimes it was worth coming back for a photo.
As you may know, beekeeping is an industry out there. And as you may also know, I worked in the industry for about a year.
In fact, I got so excited seeing a commercial bee truck rumble by, we stalked the guy several miles until he pulled in to the extracting facility.
By this point, Maizy was so mortified that I was planning to jump out and talk bees, we decided that we'd just pass on by and leave them to their work.
But we still kept finding the same company's bee yards scattered throughout that beautiful country. Worth at least another picture.
It was obviously a big operation. Surely multi-thousands of hives.
When I worked in the Bitterroot Valley for Wayne Morris, we had a smallish operation- around 5000 hives. This was in 2005.
While I labored away in the bees, Jayne was getting her masters just north in Missoula.
We of course had to pay the university a visit and show the kids. We secretly hope we have some future Griz in the litter.
But we didn't linger. The mountains and trails of Glacier Park were calling. I have to say, the kids handled it as well as could be expected. One day was a twelve miler. Not bad for an eight year old.
Mountain hiking wasn't the only thing on the menu. A couple days after that monster hike, we were scrambling up to some hidden hot springs.
Perched high and dry in the hills, these springs were a favorite of ours in 2005. It was romantic... a bottle of wine and a tent.
Bringing two kids has a way of dulling the romance, but it also presents an opportunity to discuss Rocky Mountain geology and the bedrock configuration that leads to these geothermal processes. Maizy was spellbound.
Not to mention the opportunity for a geothermal selfie. (Not bad for a 38 year old.)