A while ago we received an invitation to the wedding of one of JB’s hunting buddies, and JB said he thought he’d like us to go. I said sure, if you’re positive the kids are invited. Oh yeah, kids are invited, JB assured me. And it sounds pretty kid-friendly since it’s outside. At a ranch. Near Missoula, Montana.

He had to work on me for a bit on the idea of road-tripping to Montana with the boys, even though Montana is one of my very favorite places (multiple trips to Glacier National Park as a kid = best childhood memories ever, at least until I read Night of the Grizzlies in 5th grade and had the description of what a sucking chest wound sounds like burned into my brain-folds in a special place that apparently grows more vivid and dramatic with age), because I couldn’t quite picture how a vacation filled with lots of driving would be enjoyable just two weeks after our last epic drive to and from Oregon, but oh, I was so wrong.

I usually have a great time on our trips to Oregon, but they’re awfully exhausting. We’re always staying with family, which I think gets hard on everyone after a while. It never really feels vacationy, you know?

The three nights we spent in Missoula over the weekend were completely different. I mean, yeah, there were some challenging moments with the kids, of course there were, but overall it was just amazing and relaxing and everything I thought a trip with kids couldn’t be. I loved the beauty of the drive, I loved exploring new places, I loved the unique and fun wedding we attended, I loved being cozied up in a hotel room at night with my little family.

And oh, Missoula! What a spectacularly gorgeous place. I can’t wait to go back.



























68 Responses to “Montana”

  1. Alli on July 18th, 2011 6:01 pm

    I get what you say about trips to see family being not so vacation-y. We took a trip to Jacksonville a few weeks back and it was our first ever trip where extended family was not involved. It was awesome. We had a lovely time just chilling and going to the beach. I really hope we don’t wait a long time until the next time we get to do something like that.

  2. Anonymous on July 18th, 2011 6:07 pm

    Oh, what lovely pictures. I love Montana so, so hard. My brother went to school at Missoula and has trying to get back there ever since.

    So glad your boys are growing up in such a way that makes trips like this fun. You all look fantastic.

  3. LizScott on July 18th, 2011 6:08 pm

    Um, hi. that was me. I kind of had hoped my first anon comment to be more… horrible and bitchy.

  4. Heather on July 18th, 2011 6:22 pm

    You have such a beautiful family. I totally get the road trip blahs… Taking our 4 year old & 2 year old anywhere in the car makes me want to jump out the window if it’s longer than 2 hours.

  5. lindsay on July 18th, 2011 6:27 pm

    Sakes alive, Dylan is looking so grown up. Great pics!

  6. Sharon on July 18th, 2011 6:36 pm

    Montana is one of my very favorite places. Unfortunately we are on the east coast and it’s a little more involved and expensive to get out there as much as we’d like. Beautiful pictures.

  7. Em on July 18th, 2011 6:49 pm

    Beautiful pictures! What kind of camera do you use?

  8. H on July 18th, 2011 6:50 pm

    Family vacations like this are priceless. I hope you have many more like it ahead of you.

  9. Liz on July 18th, 2011 6:55 pm

    Beautiful! My dad grew up in Montana and I always loved going up there…in the summer, that is.

    Looks like a great wedding too–is that a band of camouflage on the bride’s neckline? Awesome.

  10. Linda on July 18th, 2011 6:57 pm

    Liz: yes, the camo trim was awesome. I’d heard the entire dress was going to be camo, which had me doing that RCA Victor dog head-tilt, but the result of adding just that bit of trim at the neck, bottom, and back lacing was really kind of amazingly cool. (Both the bride and groom are bigtime hunters.)

  11. Amy on July 18th, 2011 7:05 pm

    my husband needs some hunting buddies

  12. Danell on July 18th, 2011 7:08 pm

    You just keep getting more gorgeous every year, Linda. No fair. *pout*.
    Really lovely set of pictures, too. That one of Dylan with the river in the background looks like a professional portrait!

  13. Connie on July 18th, 2011 7:13 pm

    I want more details! And? When did your children grow up? These photos are amazing.

  14. Starr Anderson on July 18th, 2011 7:16 pm

    The light there is amazing! What great pictures of you guys! And the boys’ headshots look like professional studio shots – that’s nuts and awesome at the same time! :)

  15. Heather on July 18th, 2011 7:22 pm

    I was born and raised in Montana (Kalispell) and this post made me miss home. Glad you guys had a good time.

  16. Heather on July 18th, 2011 7:23 pm

    Whoops, wrong blog up there ^^^ ;)

  17. operation pink herring on July 18th, 2011 7:53 pm

    Those pictures make me want to up and move to MT this very second. Which my husband has been trying to convince me to do for years, but I was too scared of the winters. But if I could get a picture of myself looking as great as you do in that photo, the winters would be worth it!

  18. Belle on July 18th, 2011 8:23 pm

    Your boys are so dern handsome and adorable. I just love how Riley has his arms wrapped around the neck of you and then JB in the photos.

    Montana is rather bittersweet for me. My dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness in Boseman while on vacation there. What was supposed to be a big family reunion turned into a very sad time. While the mountains and crisp mornings were quite fabulous in October, the memories unfortunately will always be of the hospital.

    But hey! You all look refreshed and wonderful. Vacations are a good thing.

  19. Courtney on July 18th, 2011 8:30 pm

    Gawd damnit woman, you’re letting the secret out!!!:) I was waiting for a post about your trip. I’m glad you guys were able to make it fun. Montana in the summer is a pretty extraordinary place, but I highly recommend visiting over a weekend in the winter before moving here. -38 degrees isn’t something to snivel at.

  20. Sarah on July 18th, 2011 9:12 pm

    So gorgeous. Thanks for sharing! I was waiting all day to see this post. :)

  21. Jessica on July 18th, 2011 9:36 pm

    Your trip pictures always make me want to go camping, even though I HATE camping.

  22. Jen on July 18th, 2011 9:42 pm

    Ah, Missoula. We have family there, and visit every summer. It is magical! I’m glad you had a such a wonderful time.

  23. Victoria on July 18th, 2011 9:46 pm

    Fantastic photos!

  24. bree on July 18th, 2011 10:26 pm

    That haircut is totally working for you! Lovely tale and pics.

  25. Jennifer on July 19th, 2011 12:10 am

    Hang on, why wasn’t the groom the one in the white hat?

  26. Cheryll on July 19th, 2011 1:28 am

    Looks like you hiked up to the “M” on the big hill east of town. My husband and I lived in student housing at the base of that hill about oh … four decades ago!

  27. Thursday on July 19th, 2011 4:57 am

    My knowledge of the States is limited to a handful of business trips to Chicago, Boston and NY. Your pictures show the America that I’m sure all British people envisage when they think of the American country and I would so like to see it.

  28. Pam on July 19th, 2011 5:20 am

    gorgeous photos! Montana’s one of the last four states I need to visit and you’ve definitely made me want to go to there now! (subtle Liz Lemon reference for ya…)

  29. Stephanie on July 19th, 2011 5:29 am

    WOW! Just WOW…

  30. Jodi on July 19th, 2011 5:40 am

    Wow Linda, BEAUTIFUL! So many perfect shots to comment on them all, but LOVE the one of you and boys by the road and the one of Riley with his “catch!” Thanks for sharing!

  31. Ericka on July 19th, 2011 6:16 am

    I lived in Missoula for about 10 years ago. You captured it beautifully! The picture of your boys ahead on the trail above Missoula ( Mt. Jumbo or Sentinel, I wonder?) is just perfection.

  32. Jessi on July 19th, 2011 6:18 am

    Thanks for the beautiful photos. It makes me miss living out west.

  33. LC on July 19th, 2011 7:52 am

    Swoonworthy photos! Such love and beauty radiating from the amazing wild west. A gorgeous vacation gallery keepsake. Like commenter Jessi, I, too, miss living out west. Thanks for the peek.

  34. Elle on July 19th, 2011 8:13 am

    Linda, you look like you stepped out of a catalog. Great pictures.

  35. Sara on July 19th, 2011 8:29 am

    So glad you enjoyed Missoula! We’ve loved living here and you came during the best time of year. July in Montana makes up for the rest of the year (although September and October run a close second). Sorry, I didn’t see you around town – that would have been a trip – but it looks like you enjoyed some of my favorite places.

  36. Artemisia on July 19th, 2011 8:42 am

    Oh, I loooove Missoula! It is one of the most beautiful places on this planet, indeed.

    I am so glad you guys had an awesome trip. It would have been a shame to miss any of that spectacular landscape due to meltdowns or exhaustion.

  37. Rachael on July 19th, 2011 10:14 am

    The colors in that photo of John are STUNNING.

  38. Veronica on July 19th, 2011 11:24 am

    cause i love photography – those pics were full of such vivid colors! The golden hues, the blue skies contrasted agains green hillsides. “beautiful” just isn’t enough of a descriptive word to describe what you captured on film. great job with those.

  39. michelleJ on July 19th, 2011 11:46 am

    Love the joy on Riley’s face when he caught that fish, and that photo of him in hat & bandana is a keeper!

    Will definitely think about visiting more of Montana!

  40. cara on July 19th, 2011 1:24 pm

    Every time you post something that remotely involves somewhere I’ve actually been I get all OMGIHAVEBEENTHERE!, but yeah, it still hasn’t gotten old. [I'm from Florida, if that helps this make any sense.] Your pictures brought back so much of what is wonderful about Montana. :)

  41. Keaton on July 19th, 2011 2:16 pm

    And that is why my parents started road tripping up to Montana while pregnant with me, and we have never stopped going back. :)

  42. A. on July 20th, 2011 5:41 am

    This isn’t news, obviously, but his picture just struck me this time. Dylan is so big! Where did the BABY go?!

  43. Lisa on July 20th, 2011 5:59 am

    Just wanted to say you have a beautiful family! I look forward to the day I can have a peaceful vacation with my boys…at 2 and 4, we’re just not there yet. My nerves can barley handle a trip to the grocery store with both of them!

  44. Chelsea J on July 20th, 2011 10:13 am

    Glad you had such a lovely time! My dad lives in northern Idaho and that neck of the woods and Montana is just so. pretty. It’s totally true that the sky is bigger there.

  45. Marje on July 20th, 2011 11:20 am

    Gorgeous photos, and glad the trip was better than expected.

    My favorite herbal tea ever is named Evening in Missoula.

  46. telegirl on July 20th, 2011 3:38 pm

    Looks like you escaped our crappy summer here in the NW for just a little while, I’m so happy for you. I so need a vacation… guess I’ll have to live vicariously through your beautiful photos.

  47. Josefina on July 20th, 2011 6:26 pm

    This makes me so happy.

  48. Heather on July 21st, 2011 4:51 am

    The beauty and ease in these pictures makes me ache to see them. You really captured beautiful moments that are as good as any ad campaign out there. We recently took our boys up to the dunes on the shores of Lake Michigan and it had the same sense of release/adventure/beauty. I think a Lake Michigan beach trip is in our future on an annual basis.

  49. Sonia on July 22nd, 2011 1:21 pm

    Beautiful photos! Also…what’s with the person in a wetsuit in the river photo? Surfing the current? I’ve never seen such a thing done, and I’m very curious.

  50. Maria on July 27th, 2011 4:13 pm

    Augh. My overall response is “man, Florida is ugly.”

  51. Karen on July 30th, 2011 5:32 pm

    Your pictures are beautiful! I love the one of your three boys and especially your son wearing the hat. Can’t wait for my daughter to be old enough to enjoy traveling.

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