a camping we will go...

Forest Service cabins are sprinkled throughout Montana.  Most of these were built during the New Deal and were places for members of the Forest Service to live while in the field.  Now they are places for us common folk to rent out (year round) to rough it a little bit and enjoy the outdoors.

Several weekends ago a group of friends rented one out for an evening.  Fortunately the weather cooperated and we had an amazing time.  Here are some of the highlights.

First things first, we had to ford a river.  Fortunately, there was a nice bridge that made the crossing quite convenient.

George spent all day out in the sun and was starting to get a serious base coat for his summer tan.  He and mom celebrated a successful crossing of the river.

We had to "hike" in about a 1/4 of mile from where we parked to where the cabin was. I carried some of our gear on my back pack. I look like a big nerd, I realize this.

Ashley, Chelsy and Abby.  Apparently, if your name doesn't end in "y" you weren't invited to the cabin. (I had to go by "Davey"... j/k).

Yes, I was the founder of the fire.  There is something still so fun about creating a fire, even if you are using one of those coleman fire wands... or whatever they are called.  We were seriously roughing it.

Tyler made the 1/4 mile trip back and forth between the cabin and vehicles to truck some of the gear in, and he was very dismayed that he had to bring his motorcycle up.  The boys each took turns riding with Tyler.  George was in serious heaven.

Here's a shot of the cabin. About 20 yards behind it was a babbling brook.  To the left were the firewood sheds and storage units.  The inside of the cabin had two rooms with three, two bunk beds each.  There was a kitchen with a fire stove, and a main room with a wood burning stove.  If some people were comfortable sleeping on the ground with sleeping pads, I don't see why you couldn't sleep 20+ people in there with relative ease.

Ashley and I pause for a moment to reflect on fine big sky living.  Just prior to this we saw a small herd of big horn sheep.  Very very cool.

A family photo that started off as a joke and ended up looking pretty nice aside from George's tongue acrobatics.

George & Jackson had so much fun with ample room to explore and play.  It is such a nice feeling to be able to let your boys wander and explore. I feel like it must be overload for their little brains.

Although Tyler and I are posing for this shot, I can assure you that the awe our sons had for us was very real.  It was fun being able to chop wood for the fire outside and inside.  It awakened the deep urge in me to revisit my high school vocational dream of being a lumberjack.

George hangs out by the campfire, we had a delicious meal of hot dogs, beans, sausage, cheese, crackers, and smores.  Hot dogs really do taste 1000 times better when cooked over a fire.

Here we are with our next door neighbors and friends, the Barnwells.  We totally hit the neighbor lottery when moving to Bozeman. Our experience would be completely different if we didn't live next door to them.

I must confess, there is a hidden agenda to many of our posts about the Montana adventures we get up to... we're trying to sell you on the excitement that awaits you if you come to visit.  Want to rent that fire service cabin with us?  C'mon up!

We hope you are all having a splendid Memorial Day weekend...


yellowstone, revisted

Several weekends ago we went to Yellowstone National Park with our friends the Christiansens.  Really, if you are planning on going to "the Park" as Scott (Christiansen) calls it, there's no better person to go with.  He works for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and is literally a walking encyclopedia Britannica of Yellowstone ecology/wildlife knowledge.  He's like... that encyclopedia britannica kid but with a cooler haircut.

We all piled up in the Christiansen's swagger wagon and headed for the park.  Of course, before we really hit the road we needed to make a pit stop for diet cokes and miniature cowboy hats.

We saw so many buffalo and elk it wasn't even worth taking a picture of them.  They were everywhere. We also saw antelope, coyote, deer... and something very cool which you'll see at the end.

 Here we are under the Roosevelt Arch.  Yellowstone was the first National Park in the world, and it does have a special feel like few places in the United States, that I've been to.  It is very difficult to resist the beauty and grandeur of the place.

Here's a better shot of the fam.  Ashley looks so beautiful, and she's knocking on 7 months pregnant.

 Here's Scott trying to explain the intricacies of geothermal activity to George (with Abram's curly locks in the foreground).  I was afraid that maybe it was a little over his head, but George seemed to take in all in.  I cannot emphasize enough how much fun it was to go with the Christiansens... we had such a fun time.

 Ashley, modeling the mineral deposits.  I can't really remember anything else about these.

 I had to take about 15 pictures of George before I could get a cute one of him smiling.  Despite running his hand along the wooden rails and filling his hands with splinters, he was still in pretty good spirits.

 Here's me and George... this was one of the few pictures of me and George. Even though my glasses make me look like an idiot, I wanted some documentation that I was actually at the park.  This is also one of my last pictures with a mustache... it has now gone away for the next forseeable future.

 George and his good friend Abram worked really hard at the park.  So hard, that they fell asleep and were totally exhausted.  They laugh and entertain each other so well.  They are really great friends and it is so fun to watch them play together.

Just as we were leaving... we saw one of the crown jewel's of the park.  Nature/wildlife enthusiasts! No... if you scan just past them, you can see a grizzly bear.  Yellowstone tip - if you see a bunch of people with their cameras out... you'll probably see something cool.

We have yet to see a wolf and moose, but we were so jazzed to see the grizzly.  We love being close to the park and hopefully we can continue to see incredible things.  If any of you want to come up... we'd love to show you around!


in another life...

A life that didn't involve health risks, or the risk of alienating my wife with the constant threat of heart failure and obesity, I'd be a competitive eater. I think I'm really good at eating fast.

In the mean time, like every good parent - I'm training my child to accomplish all of my unfulfilled dreams.


wedding fever

Our good friend Alison did a post last week in the midst of Kate and Will's wedding euphoria, wherein she asked others to share their wedding stories & pictures. We thought it was a great idea so I dusted off some of our old wedding photos to share with y'all.

In case you don't know the story... we got married amidst one of the great blizzards of recent Colorado history. We even had to move our date up a day to beat the storm. In true fashion, we showed mother nature who's boss and did not let her stop us from our destiny.

Ashley on the way to the Denver LDS Temple

Me, reflecting on our white knuckle, two hour drive from the mountains to Denver.

My dad, reliving the mayhem that transpired.  We were inches away from a severe car wreck.  Mother nature, car wreck... nothing could stop us.

Fastforward an hour and a half later... we emerge from the Temple legally married!

The rest of these are a bunch of us kissing and posing in front of the Temple.  Did I mention there was a blizzard?  See for yourself.

My first test as a husband.  Do not drop your bride on her wedding day.  What's funny about this picture is that this was also a fulfillment of one of Ashley's initial misgivings about my husband CV.  When we met, I was suffering from a pretty big back problem and she remarked to her mother, "I'm worried that if I marry David he won't be able to hold/lift our children."  I passed with flying colors - Hiyo!!

Lessons learned:

1.  Marry a beautiful Colorado girl
2. Trust your dad to drive you your wedding, his years of experience behind the wheel will serve you well.
3.  Consider the ramifications of a winter wedding carefully

Anyone else want to join the wedding nostalgia train?  Post your links in the comment section.