Here Comes the Snow: A Recap of Summer

This morning we woke in a snow globe. Summer has ended, and fall in the mountains is here.

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I haven’t been blogging much lately (or taking a whole lot of pictures). I’ve been working on other projects and I’ve been caught up in the flow. But with the season changing I thought it would be fun to look back over the summer we’ve had, and get my readers caught up with what we’ve been up to this past month or so.

It was a summer of car camping, playing, and getting settled in Mammoth.

Nearly the whole month of June was dedicated to packing, moving, and unpacking again. But I did find time to volunteer at the Grant Visitor’s Center, perform The Interior in Grant Village, and do a bit of exploring in the park.

Then on June 23, we arrived at our new home in Mammoth Hot Springs. We hiked, we decorated our house, and Lydia joined the local playgroup.

Our first official summer get-away came the weekend of July 14. It was the first weekend of the summer that we had zero errands and zero obligations. So we traveled up and over the gorgeous Beartooth Highway, visiting the Montana towns of Silver Gate, Cooke City, and Red Lodge. We spent the night in an Airbnb tipi, and spent the weekend having fun.

The next weekend, we discovered the Boiling River–a place where steaming hot thermal water mixes with the cold Gardner river to make a delightful swimming hole. (Lydia and I would frequent this locale for the rest of the season.)

Next came a back injury for me and a visit from my pal Sabrina. Lydia turned two and a half. We soaked in the healing waters of Chico Hot Springs.

August was busy & amazing. The first weekend of August, we camped at Fairy Lake Campground (north of Bridger Bowl) and spent our days at the Sweet Pea Music Festival in Bozeman.

The second weekend we camped at the Snowbank Campground on Mill Creek. We soaked at Chico again, and hiked the trail to Passage Falls (where I stripped down and dove under the waterfall).

After that, Kristina and James came for a visit, and stayed for a whole week. During this time, we hiked, soaked, and laughed. I got to play tour guide–driving Kris and James down the whole length of Yellowstone National Park–and hostess–cooking meals and entertaining. It was great.

Then the four of us (Kris, James, Lydia, and I), plus Rafal (who was a surprise, last-minute addition) went to stay the night in Grant Village. We made pie iron sandwiches around the fire and visited with some of our old buds. Then the following morning, the five of us rose before dawn, drove down into the heart of the Tetons, and set up camp for the day. Gradually, we watched the moon make love to the sun. We felt the air turn cool, saw the mountains turn purple, and heard a flock of geese exclaim with wonder. We were witness to a breathtaking total solar eclipse.

One week after Kris and James said goodbye marked our anniversary. Rafal and I celebrated nine years together by taking a five-day road trip through Idaho. We stayed in the beautiful Syringa B&B in Salmon. The next day, we hiked up into the paradise of Goldbug Hotsprings. The day after that we explored the volcanic caves of Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Our anniversary trip fell on Labor Day weekend, and we thought this would mark the end of summer. But we were wrong!

Another visit from wonderful friends brought another delicious dose of adventure. Kelsey, Cam, and (their dog) Janis came to pay a visit to Wyoming-Montana. With them, we soaked in the Boiling River and at Chico (again), and we camped along Mill Creek. Through them I discovered that another friend, Wyatt (with whom Kelsey and I rafted the Grand Canyon in 2013), lives just up the road in Emigrant. The morning after camping, we all met for breakfast at the WildFlour Cafe, and then went for a float on calm water (Lydia’s first time in a raft!)

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The day after that–Sunday–we all met again for a whitewater adventure through Yankee Jim Canyon. This time, another friend from the Grand Canyon trip just happened to be passing through town! Tom (aka Roach), Wyatt, and I spent most of our time on the Grand on the same boat. And all these years later, here we were on a boat together again, once against orchestrated by Kelsey (and by the universe) who introduced us all in the first place. It was hot and sunny and magical. Lydia is sure to grow into a River Rat.

Here we are just one weekend later, and our lawn is littered with snow. The temperatures are looking low in the forecast and more snow is scheduled to fall. I pulled out some of my favorite sweaters and Lydia is wearing her boots. I welcome this snow, this change, and I hope it is smothering the fires nearby.

Mammoth feels like a real home to us. I have recently joined the Electric Peak Arts Council (through I’m not officially on the board yet), so I’ll help program arts events in the area. An old friend who lives in Bozeman and I got together to hike (and hope to do so again). I go to yoga class and to playgroup. I was asked to be on the board of the co-op preschool (that Lydia can start attending in January).

I’m still writing how-to articles, and I started work on a short book. I’m still exercising and keeping the house clean. Lydia is growing and learning. We both really enjoy these toddler days–she is bright, and busy, and surprisingly chill. Rafal is working very hard and finding a nice groove with his new career. Yesterday we all got flu shots.

We are doing the family thing, but also the friends thing a little bit too.

We are a little exhausted and a little excited and a little curious about what this season will bring.

In the words of Queen Elsa, let the storm rage on, Yellowstone! The cold never bothered me anyway.

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