Hello hello! I've missed y'all so much! I've been home for full week now and am finally settled back in with the family and really able to start processing the amazing trip I was on.
For those of you who don't know, I was in Montana for a week with just my dad. We stayed at a ranch up in the mountains and filled our days with the glory of God's creation, amazing 5 star meals and lots of rest. The final day there was our cattle drive, an adventure I have been wanting to do with my dad for years.
This trip with my dad was a long time coming. Back in high school he started a tradition by taking each of his children on a graduation trip. My brother went to Alaska on a fishing trip, my sister did a guided mountain lion hunt in Arizona. Epic adventures with my dad, memories that will last a lifetime. So why did mine come 11 years after graduation? Well, let's just say I wasn't in the best place at age 18. I am certain my parents have huge rewards stored up in heaven for putting up with me and all the pain I caused them. Thankfully they never gave up on me, never turned their back on me, constantly showed me love and I am where I am today because of God’s grace and their faithfulness to me. Maybe one day I’ll share the whole big story with y’all. My parents are pretty incredible :)
So when my dad emailed me a few months ago with a link to the ranch and one sentence that said “what about this?”, you can imagine my excitement and joy! In fact I’m certain that this trip couldn't have come at a more perfect time and that I was finally at a place where I could really treasure this time with my dad.
The two weeks leading up to the trip were filled with crazy sickness and when Bill came down with Hand Foot and Mouth disease we had to accept the fact that I was most likely not able to go. I wont lie, I sobbed on my bed. The ticket would have to be switched to my mom’s name, she’d have to go on the cattle drive and we would have to try again some other time. Heartbreak.
Four days before the trip my mom called me and told me that I should go buy my boots as an act of faith. I love her! And sure enough boots were purchased, my bag got packed and my little family started to heal.
Boarding that first plane was full of mixed emotions. This was the first time I’ve ever really been away from the boys and I worried that the time apart would be hard on them (it wasnt ;) And I was elated at the fact that my dad and I were finally get this time together.
So how do I write about or describe the time I spent in Montana? Honestly it intimidates me. I’m not the best writer to begin with and trying to convey the sweet moments I had with my dad, the memories we made, the rest I got, the laughter and fun we had, I will never do it justice. All I can say is that the mountains were so good for our souls. The main reason I wanted to go to Montana is that I know when my dad goes out into the wilderness he becomes a different person. I love being there with him. To hear him talk about the land, to watch him take in all of God’s creation. It’s my favorite place to be with him.
When I was younger my first memories of my dad are out in the wilderness. I’m so thankful that he instilled an appreciation for the land in me. I remember being in college and as an ice breaker a teacher had us share a special/random talent. Mine was that I know how to walk quietly, almost silently in the woods. My dad taught me that :) He had us scouting with him when my sister was under 3. I took my first elk at age 12. He showed us the difference in animal tracks, how to tell if the trail was fresh. I love that this is part of his legacy and I hope to pass some of this along to my boys.
So, Montana stole my heart. To be there with my dad brought back a flood of memories from growing up. It was a healing and refreshing time that I will hold dear in my heart forever.
The pictures may not do it justice. The hikes left me speechless, the fly fishing trip reminded me of the power of God’s creation, and the cattle drive gave me a vision of what I want for my children and my family. An incredible trip that I will forever be grateful for.
The cattle drive especially was the most awe-inspiring part of the trip. 400 cattle rounded up from the land, moved into the valley and herded in the coral, then sorted for medical treatment and re-pastured....whew! It was exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. It pushed me in so many ways and by the end of the day I felt confident that I could move those cows anywhere I darn well pleased! Ha! I cant tell you how impowering it felt! All I can say is that if you ever get a chance to go on a cattle drive you MUST!
And dad, if you are reading this. Thank you. Your quiet presence speaks so loudly to me. I am thankful for the time we spent together, for the love and perseverance you have shown me. You are an incredible Godly father and I am honored to be your daughter.
If you would like to see all of the pictures feel free to click on the link below. There were just too many to share here on the blog :)