Daily Reads


Montana - Paradise Valley (Part I)

Absaroka range, Paradise Valley, a few miles from our cabin
Mallard's Rest, Yellowstone River

It took us most of the day to drive from Glacier, south through the Flathead Valley, through Missoula, south and east and over the Continental Divide and into Livingston. From there we turned south onto highway 89 through the Paradise Valley - a gorgeous two-lane road that follows the sparkling Yellowstone River dotted with fishermen in their boats, beside pastures of cows and green fields watered with giant sprinklers, and the Absaroka mountains looming up beside us. We opened the sunroof and the windows for the final stretch of our drive, and tried to take in every bit of the beauty and the sweet air. When we arrived at the cabin and got out of the car I could have cried with happiness - it was a quiet little spot on the country road of my dreams, and just beyond the cabin, winking at us in the afternoon sun, flowed the Yellowstone river. We immediately trekked down to the water to start exploring.
driving south throught the valley / our view from the porch
exploring "our" little piece of the Yellowstone / ice cream on the porch

It was hot and sunny when we arrived at the cabin, but as soon as the sun dipped below the mountains (around 9 at night!) the air turned cool and crisp. The mornings were so refreshing - open windows, sweatshirts, hot coffee, warm little guys in their warm pajamas. Some of my favorite things!
 waking up and showing me the river - the boys always wanted to get outside right away! me too!
 happy Sam - he picked out this mountain lion in Glacier and named him Bomp
quiet, happy morning by the river

On our first day we packed up and headed south to Yellowstone for a half-day trip. We wanted to minimize time spent driving and/or sitting in Yellowstone traffic, and of course find some activities that would be fun for the boys, so we drove a short distance into the park and spent the morning hiking and playing at the Boiling River.
hiking along the Gardiner River / the Gardiner and Boiling Rivers meet

a beautiful day in Yellowstone - by the end of the hike we were hot and ready to get in!
playing in the Boiling River (it turns out there was a snake coiled up in the rocks right next to us)

 It was a perfect activity for little ones. The hike was flat and pretty, about half a mile in each direction, with the Gardiner river running along beside the trail, and wildflowers to pick along the way. The trail ends where the Boiling River empties into the very chilly Gardiner River, and where the rivers meet the water temperature fluctuates between hot and cold, but it's comfortable enough to swim! The boys protested when it was time to leave, and I forgot to bring them dry shoes for the hike back, but otherwise we had a really good time!

Park County Fair in Livingston / dinner at the Rib and Chop House, one of our favorites
having some ice cream at the fair

That night we hit one of the highlights of our trip - our precious friends Lance and Elsabe joined us!! We met up at the Park County Fair in Livingston, had a fun dinner at the Montana Rib and Chop House, then spent the rest of the evening back at the fair before heading home to the cabin. We stayed up late every night visiting, using the hot tub, having a campfire, trying to photograph the stars, and always laughing. It was so special sharing this trip with them! I wish I had more pictures, but as is so often the case (in my life, at least) some of the best times go un-photographed because I'm just enjoying myself too much to worry about pictures! I suppose that's the way it should be.

More to come....


  1. So beautiful!!! I can almost SMELL it through your photos. I laughed out loud at "Bomp"! That's really not a bad name for a mountain lion at all.

    1. Haha! He calls him that because he likes to swing him around by the tail and bomp people. True story.