Our vacation in Montana started with a bit of excitement.
Excitement that I am not sure I need to experience again. Ever!
Lance and I were hiking with the kids, my brother, my sister, my brother in law and their kids. Let me preface this story by saying how anxious I am when we hike while at the ranch. I worry about seeing certain wildlife such as bears or mountain lions. Lance has reassured me year after year that we are fine hiking these marked paths.
It was a beautiful Sunday and we were enjoying our hike up into the mountain. Stopping to let the kids climb on rocks and throw rocks in the water. It was very relaxed and the kids were having a great time. As we were coming down the mountain, my brother calls my name and waves me over to where he is standing. Lo and behold what do we see a BEAR!!! At first I wasn't particularly nervous. I ran back up the path to tell Lance, my sister, and brother in law. I was whispering to them and we were sneaking down so we could try to get pictures. I know, it was dumb but at first we were just in shock. Then the reality of the situation set in when we saw the bear had three cubs. The mama bear realized we were there and was looking right at us. We were probably only about 75 feet from the bear and her cubs. I was internally freaking out while trying to hold it together for my kids. Morgan was terrified. None of us really knew what to do. We picked up rocks and pounded them together to make noise. We sang. We stayed put for a bit not sure if we should hike back up or continue down the path. There were no other hikers in sight! There came a point when the bear and her cubs were moving up and we had a chance to get down the mountain. We moved, loudly, as fast as we could off that mountain trail. I am all about nature and appreciating nature but that was a bit too close for comfort. Next time, we will read the signs at the trailhead about what to do when you see a bear!
If you look closely in these photos, you can see the bear and her cubs walking around.
On Monday morning, my older sister and I went on a walk, staying away from any mountain trails. As we were coming back to the ranch we met two real life cowboys who were moving cattle. That's right, we were caught in a cattle drive. Oh brother! They had us stand next to a fence ensuring us that the cows would leave us alone. The cowboys left. The cows came. The cows stopped. The cows mooed and stared at us. The cows would not move. I had Mauryn in the backpack on my back so climbing a barbed wire fence wasn't an option. Eventually, the cows decided to move on but I think each one stopped to stare at us. We finally made it back to the ranch where the older kids were waiting, filled with stories of watching the cowboys round up the cows we had just met on the road.
The rest of our trip wasn't near as eventful as the first few days. We spent time visiting a historic town near the ranch, taking a train ride, watching musical theater, going to Yellowstone National Park, riding horses, playing in the creek, and taking in a rodeo. Our days were busy and full but our evenings were quiet and relaxed.
We had an amazing week of vacation. I needed this time with my family. My kids needed this time with their aunts, uncles, and cousins. The time together went far too fast, as it always does. I realized it doesn't get any easier to say good bye, it gets harder each time (mostly because we don't know when we will see each other again). But it definitely makes the time we have together all that much sweeter.