This morning my knee was a little sore from the horseback riding but we were determined to hike. The backpacks were full of sandwiches, fruit, chips, water, cookies and the sunblock and bug spray were applied liberally. We heard about a trail that the locals like to hike so we set off on some cool, gravel back-roads. We lost service on our cell phones. Yeah, we were REALLY experiencing the wilderness! Rivers! Waterfalls! Mountains!
The sign at the trailhead warned us what to do if we saw a bear. It also mentioned having food stored in a special bear-proof container. I sort of remember seeing bear repellant at a gas station. There were about 50 cans of it and I thought, “do people around here buy this? Is it needed?” Nah, I’ll just buy my bottle of water and call it good. I’m sort of a cheapskate.
So off we went down our adventurous and nature-full path. It was single file and the further we went, the more thoughts of bears snuck in my head. Pictures of grizzlies snatching food-filled backpacks attached to our bodies was making my pulse race. I was doubting whether we could make the 2-mile, 3 hour trek.
After about 30 minutes, we came upon 2 people heading in the opposite direction. “Did you make it all the way?” I asked. “NO, we turned around because we kept seeing snakes”. Wide eyed and gripping a can of bear repellant, they smiled and said, “but I’m sure you’ll be fine!” This couple was in their 20’s and from Los Angeles. They had no food or water with them. They didn’t even have hats or sunglasses. Rookies. But they did have bear repellant.
“We don’t have any of that bear repellant.” I say. “Do you think we need it?” Eyes widened. “Oh, YES! We borrowed this from our camp guide. He said there’s no way we should hike without it! But, (smiling), I’m sure you guys will be fine”.
The 30-minute hike out took about 20 minutes to hike back. JD did see a small snake but no bears were spotted. Or waterfalls. Hike fail. But we didn’t die.
We took a dip in Chico natural hot springs after lunch. It was basically a resort with a pool that was heated by mineral water flowing directly in it. The temp was around 96 degrees. Pretty neat but not a great way to cool off on a hot day.
Tonight was an exciting night at the rodeo! The Bozeman Stampede had real-live cowboys and cowgirls and our boys were entranced watching their roping and riding skills. No one seemed to be seriously hurt before our eyes but CT was so worried the animals were scared and might possible be hurt. He’s a huge softy.
The rodeo clown threw a few things to the audience. T-shirts (CT caught one!), frisbees, other things. JD did not catch one and, bless his 5-year-old sore-losing heart, he screamed and cried for no less than 20 minutes. Good times. The fireworks were great and so were the people.
Montana is full of friendly, patriotic people. We really loved the small town living of Livingston, MT. It has nothing to do with the fact that John Mayer lives here. But, he lives here for a reason, people. It’s pretty amazing. And yes, I went to the Albertson’s grocery store at 10:30pm after the rodeo and he wasn’t there. What? I needed yogurt.