Surfing in Montana

January 13, 2016


My father was an avid hunter and outdoorsman, but me? Not so much. In fact, not at all. I’ve always considered myself the family intellectual, which really means that I’ve always enjoyed the sport of lounging with book and bon-bon, a genetic trait that comes from my mother.

It’s true of vacations, too. Fortunately, my husband enjoys and even requires vacations to be on the luxurious side, so it’s been a long time since I’ve had to do anything approximating “roughing it.” I used to say I’d visit India if I could go in a bubble, and in fact, my husband made that possible, the bubble being a luxury trip provider.

You can see how that would be for me a marriage made in heaven. We both like the great outdoors but without the risks of, say, rock-climbing.

But when girlfriend said she wanted to see Big Sky country, I was in. Dad always said that Montana was the most beautiful place he’d ever seen. It’s true that he wasn’t that well-traveled, but still, I wanted to see the place that had awed him. A Montana vacation would be just the ticket.

I Do Not Camp

Now, I could only take a trip like this with certain of my girlfriends: those who will roll with my requirements. Chief among them: There will be no camping. No sleeping in the wild.

No glamping, either. I “glamped” in India with that luxury travel provider and let me tell you, it was camping. Despite the air conditioner in our large tent. Of course, that was India and not the cushy U.S. But still, I was taking no chances. I glamped in Morocco, too, in the Sahara. Umm. I think the “G” and “L” were silent. It was camping.

It’s true that my gym and training regimen along with the come-to-Jesus that my doctor, “Mean Mommy” had with me at my annual physical have given me more physical capability than I’ve had in a few years. Still, I’m really not all that interested in breaking a sweat on vacation. Nor will you see me wearing NorthFace gear and purifying stream water to drink. I won’t be climbing mountains or paddling rapids.Nope. So any travel companion has to swing with that.

I’ll stand there and admire all that nature and maybe ponder an essay or two, and then wander back to my hotel, plump up some pillows, grab a few carrot sticks and write about it. Yeah, you thought I was going to say “bon-bons,” right? No. Mean Mommy has my feet to the fire on that.

I Do Have Requirements for my Montana vacation

For me, a terrific vacation in the great outdoors must include activities guaranteed to provide great hilarity in the moment and in the later telling. And one of those things is fly -fishing.

“Let’s do it!” girlfriend responded to my question. “It’s a little out of the norm for both of us so it’s bound to be fun.”

Girlfriend, you see, is rather an intellectual. She’s retired from a field in which she’s quite accomplished, famous even, for a major historical accomplishment that was not climbing Everest. Her rather refined sense of the ridiculous matches mine. So I knew I would be in good company.

I was once married to an outdoorsman (well, actually twice, but only one was a fisherman) and so I have actually used a pole and rod, if only a time or two and from the relative comfort of a boat. It wasn’t a big boat and it wasn’t all that comfortable. But I was much younger then.

All of that is to say that I am familiar with casting a line and I’ll have to confess, it was not pretty. That little flick of the wrist that makes a line snap forward in a smart whoosh? It eluded me. My line would get caught behind me or would fall limply two feet in front of me.

And doing this with a husband who liked to fish was not ideal for marital happiness. We finally came to an agreement that I’d wear a bikini and read a book in the boat and he’d fish. That worked out just fine.

Montana-vacationIn Montana, though, girlfriend and I will engage a guide and pay him or her to be patient with us as we learn to cast. I can pretty much guarantee that I will be the one behind the curve and that there will be laughter.

Waders, though, those will be new to me, as will standing in a stream where bears might come down to feed. Although I am a firm believer in gun control my views do not extend to the guide who will take us out into the great outdoors. I will expect that professional to be armed to the teeth with weaponry that will save us from being Bear Lunch.

I’m certain we’ll do other things that will make for a laugh a minute but fly-fishing stands out as something with great potential for Lucy and Ethel moments.

The only question now is how we bring a camera person along. Maybe we could wear body cams.

So, we’re locked and loaded for our Montana vacation. The trip is booked for July and ends on my 65th birthday. I’m not exactly sure how I got so close to 65 because the years have zoomed by awfully fast, but here I am and I’m grateful. I love that this trip will honor both my father’s love of the outdoors and my mother’s love of comfort.

Not to mention my own love of laughter.


Yeah. Probably a more accurate depiction of our Montana vacation.

It seems pretty clear  that’s how I got to 65: riding wave after wave of laughter.

I look forward to surfing those waves in Montana.

19 comments on “Surfing in Montana
  1. Barbara says:

    My idea of camping is a Holiday Inn. Good luck with the fishing trip!

  2. andrea says:

    God Bless You for a trip to Montana of any kind. For me, it would be shopping and spa treatments and sleeping… 🙂

  3. Sandy says:

    Haha–like you, I don’t care for camping. The idea of it sounds fun, but the actuality of it–well…you know. LOL! I like a cushy hotel suite! 😉

  4. Haralee says:

    My husband has family in MT and we visit often. It is a state where people reinvent themselves so I find it big on ‘Don’t Ask’ attitude. I always think everyone is a descendent of someone who was in witness protection. I am sure you will have lots of fun and it really is beautiful ‘Big Sky’ country!

  5. Can’t wait to follow your adventures. I love glamping, hate camping. By the way, it was hard for me to get past that first picture because I am now craving bon bons. At least one in each hand.

  6. Montana is amazing! Wishing you and your hubby an unforgettable time in the wide-open spaces!

  7. Lee Gaitan says:

    I am soooo your ideal travel companion. For me, back to nature means drinks on a deck made of redwood. I do love the beauty of nature, but all the moss makes it hard to find an outlet to plug in my hair dryer. I can’t wait to hear what you catch fly fishing. BTW, my friend caught his son’s head with his line!

  8. Liz Mays says:

    I’m not even remotely capable of roughing it. I’ll do it all during the day, but give me my plush mattress, electricity, A/C (or heat) and a shower at night.

  9. Camping sounds fun, but it’s not for me. I hope you have a wonderful time.

  10. What a fun trip. We went in 2010 with our best friends in a 2 week cross country, but we didn’t rough it either. We stayed in log cabins in the different parks. I hope you get to see Glacier NP its amazing.

  11. RaNesha says:

    I work from the Girl Scouts so I have a clear idea about camping

  12. angie says:

    would love to have a chance and get out there just to see what is out there. WE love to get our hands dirty and have a good time exporing

  13. Anna Palmer says:

    I love those images Carol. I read a book once that described its main character as a “great indoorsman.” I have always loved that. I’ll take a puzzle (crossword or jigsaw) over an oar anyday. You do make a compelling case for a bit of the outdoors though.

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