There was a local beer I tried, called Moose Drool, that I believe is absolutely delicious. We found out their brewery, Big Sky Brewing Company, is a Harvest Host in Missoula, MT. Excitedly, we made arrangements to go and stay a night there.
We needed to run some errands, and on our way, we saw some flowers that looked like Scottish thistle on the side of the road. This flower is significant to us because when we met, we watched the TV series, Outlander, a show based upon a couple’s undying love for each other. Eric, being part Scottish, adopts that he is Jamie and I am Claire, and he even calls me Jamie’s pet name for Claire, Sassenach. One of the imagery items of the show is the Scottish thistle. I felt we needed to get close-up pictures of the purple flowers, and, since I was driving the car, I forced these pictures. Eric was thrilled. 😊
This brewery was the first location that it was not a comfortable 75 or so degrees all day, so we welcomed the air conditioning of the brewery. If you ever find it, try the Huck It beer and the Ginger Lemon Basil seltzer, they are so refreshing on a hot day! We watched the sun set and enjoyed our giant front lawn for the evening.
After the brewery, we headed to Holland Lake, about an hour or so North of Missoula, MT. The drive was breathtaking. The trees were easily double in height of the trees in Colorado and Joe and I mentioned how small it made us feel. This world is such a big place and we are full-heartedly grateful to be able to see sights like this.
Once we arrived at the lake, I was thwarted into happy memories of my childhood at our camping spot. It reminded me of the mountain camping I did with my parents as a kid in our pop-up camper. Although we did not have hookups, we were right next to (ultra luxury at this point) flush toilets, a potable water spigot, and had a Bob Ross style view from the lake. After we were set up, I took my book down to the water, read and disconnected from everything electronics.
Surprisingly, the mosquitoes were less abundant at the lake than at our campsite. After talking to a local, we learned the mosquitoes started late this year, but when they did decide to show up, they came HUNGRY. Wearing clothing and spraying DEET barely helped. Speaking of bugs, caterpillars kept falling from the trees. Joe, Ethan and Jill decided to adopt this cute one and even named it.
We ended up looking up what kind of caterpillar it was, and it turns out its little spines are actually poisonous, and this caterpillar shouldn’t be handled. Oops. No rashes, so we were okay. It looked perfectly blended on the tree so that became its home. It didn’t move the entire time we were there.
And sad news for Jill, the caterpillar was going to be her favorite animal, a moth. ☹
In our bag of baby carrots from the store, Ethan found a teenager carrot and all the kids thought it was hilarious.
Ethan is still refilling and using his vintage store find teacup most days.
Joe and I went on an expedition to find the “huge waterfall” near the lake. We took a couple wrong turns and never ended up finding the trail head, but we did find this sign at the edge of a private driveway and thought it was a hysterical way to ask for people to turn around.
The next day we spent mostly just swimming down by the lake. There were several people on SUPs, canoes and kayaks, motorboats towing skiers, fishing boats catching trout, and jet skis. It was a busy spot and felt like a big summer party.
There were sooo many fish in this lake and they seemed completely desensitized to humans. If you got in the water and stood still for even a minute, you were swarmed with fish. I attempted to record it around my legs but the reflection of the water made it tricky, so here’s the best I got.
Ethan and Jill attempted to catch the fish by smashing them with rocks, grabbing with their bare hands, and scooping them with a bucket, but instead, they caught a little frog and decided to adopt it for a few hours. We have no idea how to sex a frog, so Jill just decided it was a girl. We named her Dottie.
Joe decided to ‘lay down’ and it was too great of a photo op to miss.
We had some foam rubber band rockets that they decided to launch at each other. The close-up of Ethan’s face should probably be checked out, it’s a good one.
When Eric came down to join us, he lay down and attempted a nap. Of course, when you have teenagers, they don’t let you sleep in peace. Instead, they conspire against you and draw smiley faces out of lake water on your belly.
The cloud cover made it comfortable to hang out down by the lake all day, and the fog rolled in all day and then would clear, which made it look like something out of a movie scene.
Eric and I communicate through walkie talkies while backing in and pulling out of spaces and use them in areas where there is no cell coverage while we’re caravanning and want to communicate. We have quite a bit of fun with these sometimes, cracking each other up with our commentary. Joe found a rockie talkie and decided he will now be part of the walkie talkie shenanigans. It now lives in the door of my car.
On our way out of the lake area, we stopped at the closest little restaurant around. It was literally the worst service I’ve ever experienced and they were short staffed in the kitchen so half the menu was not available, but the outdoor area had cornhole and was a great way to spend a couple hours waiting for food. The kids also got to run laps when they were getting ansty, it was a nice open space and they did good. Amazing how running laps made them turn their attitudes around, Eric may be on to something.