|The beautiful Beaverhead River|
We spent about eight days in Montana this year. The biggest change from previous visits is that my brother-in-law Brad now has his own fly shop!
Not only did we get some sweet deals on outdoor clothing and such, but the shop proved to be a very fun place to hang out and relax after a day just driving around, a day of nephew-watching, or a day on the river.
|Clyde (with ball) in front of the shop|
We stayed with Brad on a ranch outside of Dillon, MT. Dillon is in the southwest corner of MT. We were lucky to have fantastic weather most of the time. It was warm, sunny and no smoke from wildfires was to be seen.
|View from "Hotel Platt"|
|The ranch is surrounded by lots and lots of grass and farmland...and cows, and deer, and osprey...|
|The resident kitten - love!|
One of the best things about being in MT was getting to spend a lot of time with our 5-year old nephew Sawyer. He is a really good kid, a lot of fun to be around, and has more energy than any of us can keep up with!
Here are some pictures of a really fun half-day float down the Beaverhead River that Brad took me, Todd, Sawyer and the two dogs Clyde and Henry on. Talk about a boat load!
|On the ride to the river, Sawyer makes sure Henry's sun-protection is in place|
|Sawyer 'kickin' it' while Brad prepares the boat at the put-in|
|Brad putting the boat in - Sawyer is ready to go!|
|Five Platts fishing - how cute are they?|
|Sometimes being with adults is just boring.|
|But, Sawyer did get to get out every so often and frolic around in the water with his two dog buddies.|
|Petting the fish|
|Me being a dork taking a picture of myself because Todd never takes pictures of me|
|I love this picture of Henry! The regal retriever.|
|Took him to a Dinosaur Park in Bozeman where Uncle Todd gave him some rock climbing tips.|
|...He's a fast learner.|
|When Clyde and Henry heard we were going fishing, Clyde immediately packed himself into the back of the Subaru - Henry jumped into the back seat.|
|Clyde and Henry supervise as Sawyer helps Uncle Todd (aka Uncle Stinky Socks) reel in a fish.|
|The highlight of the day for Sawyer - by far - was catching and carrying around this poor toad for the afternoon.|
|Yep, the toad rode home with Sawyer and Henry in the back seat. (Uncle Todd is a softie.)|
Todd and I did get away to do some stuff on our own - we went on a couple of very cool drives - cool as in scenic and to neat fishing spots we'd never been to. Unfortunately, a lot of the places we went to elevation continued to affect my breathing pretty significantly, so we were not able to be as active as we liked.
I love this picture of Todd walking down to fish a small strip of river:
Spreading the AshesA big part of our Montana trip was getting together with Todd and Brad's four aunts (whose own vacation to MT overlapped accordingly with ours) to spread Todd's father Roger's ashes in the Beaverhead River.
The day we picked to do it was perfect. We all met at the flyshop in time for cocktail hour (the unofficial time between getting off the river and the shop closing at 7). Jill (Sawyer's mom) and Sawyer put together a wreath of flowers - something visual to see float down the river. The aunts had put together a 'message in a bottle' that they hoped would find its way all the way to the Gulf of Mexico - Roger's final adventure.
|The Beaverhead winds through this beautiful ranch that we got permission to be at to pour the ashes into the river.|
|Jill holding the wreath, Sawyer skipping rocks, Brad and John drinking Roger's signature drink (Bud tall-boys). The dogs are also swimming nearby. Keeping it real.|
|Roger's sister Nancy reading something she wrote for him.|
|Todd dumps the ashes (well, half of them - the other half are getting dumped in a river in Tennessee) while Brad and Sawyer look on.|
The Best Day of Fishing EverThe day after the ash ceremony, Brad, Todd, Clyde and Henry and I went fishing one last time on the Beaverhead. I am not exaggerating when I say that it was one of the best days fishing ever for me. It wasn't because I caught a lot of fish - although that may be true for Todd! - but because the weather was beautiful, we were all relaxed and just happy to be together. (Sawyer had gone back home with his mother that day.)
Here are a few pictures from that day:
|Todd catching another big fish.|
|Henry and Clyde keep a close eye on the end of Brad's line.|
|Me, happy to catch a fish.|
And finally, a brief nod to my underrepresented but not under-appreciated traveling companion, oxygen. Without you, I wouldn't have been able to do half of what I did out West - at least not without my body paying the price for it.
To be continued...