Daily Reads


Montana - Paradise Valley (Part III)

in my life I've probably taken 100 pictures by this bridge, but this one is my favorite

On Sunday morning, bright and early, we turned south on Mill Creek Road up into the mountains, past where the paved road ends, along gravel road that follows Mill Creek, and eventually across a beautiful old wooden bridge and into Yellowstone Bible Camp. We were only about 10 miles from our cabin, but I felt like I had stepped back in time to my childhood. I attended the camp from 1993-1997, as a camper and as a counselor (I basically went as often as I could). To this day some of my happiest times, greatest friendships, times of purest worship and deepest contentment happened here. It is sacred ground to me, and returning with my family and our friends to worship and play for the morning was the high point of my trip. My heart could have burst with joyful memories and thanksgiving.

 Mill Creek / driving up the gravel road with the windows down

It looked a little different, but the place still smelled just like it did all those years ago - the fresh piney air, the smell of the creek, coffee and hot breakfast and smoke from the fireplace coming from the lodge. Kids played basketball and adults sipped coffee around the campfire. We were welcomed so warmly, and when it was time to ring the bell for worship Michael and Sam got to do the honors! We packed into the chapel and worshipped together. It was such a special morning.

Hyalite Reservoir (photo by Elsabe)

On Monday Tim and Lance spent the day fly-fishing and Elsabe and I took the boys on a hike to Palisade Falls in the Gallatin National Forest south of Bozeman. It was a fairly long drive (about 90 minutes from our cabin in Pray), but it was so worth it! The views were beautiful and the hike itself was gorgeous and good for kids too. The trail is steep, but it's paved so I was able to push Sam in the stroller, and Michael ran along ahead of us most of the way. 

Palisade Falls

At the top of the trail is this beautiful waterfall. Also, some really cute, really bold chipmunks. I didn't get any pictures, but the chipmunks were obviously used to sharing food with the hikers and they hung around us the whole time we rested and snacked by the waterfall. Later that afternoon after we returned to the cabin and the boys had napped, we went out for a walk in the neighborhood and I fell in love with it all over again. I even found my dream house (see below).

home of my dreams
 picking wildflowers and gathering rocks. always gathering rocks.
big sky and mountains at the end of our street

On our last day we all went to Bozeman. We shopped for souvenirs, had some lunch, and played at the park until it started raining. Then, we had the treat of driving back down the valley in a huge thunderstorm - it was so beautiful. I had forgotten how quickly mountain storms come in, and how quickly they move on...

walking down main street in Bozeman
enjoying Lindley Park
Lindley Park / the storm completely hid the mountains
after the storm, headed home on highway 89
 stormy afternoon view from the cabin / last night out in Livingston

That night we drove back into Livingston for one more meal at the Rib and Chop House. It was hard to enjoy it, knowing that we had to leave the next morning. I was so sad and then, that night when we got back to the cabin, God blessed us with one last spectacular sunset over the river. It was so, so beautiful. It was quite a gift to all of us. 
I'm so very thankful for our time there. 

sunset on our last night at the cabin

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