Category Archives: 2019 Montana

GO WEST YOUNG MAN

This summer’s grandkid trip features Logan at fifteen, and–by his choice–Montana.

He and his posse–BW, Jason, Kat, Griffin and me–head off to Paws Up for five packed days. When a boy’s never been west, you can’t have a much better intro than Montana.

The flight out’s smooth–thank all the gods–and the weather when we land a LOT cooler than Maryland. First stop, a bite to eat which includes Griffin’s favorite treat, french fries.

His Nana’s grandson.

Then it’s time to fulfill Logan’s first request. The boy needs a hat and boots. This offers a nice walk–stretch those plane legs–and a chance to see some of the horses in the paddock before BW checks Logan in for his first activity.

A guy can’t go west without testing his skills on the rifle range.

I plop Griffin on the grass. He is very entertained grabbing it, yanking it, talking to it.

He’s also thrilled to gut laughs by the tether ball play.

Kitted out.
Sunny afternoon with Nana + grass!
The spellbinding tetherball.
Can’t look at the camera right now because: HORSE!

Grandda takes Logan to the range, and the rest of us head to our cabin to unpack, settle in. It turns out Logan has a keen eye and steady hand with a .22. Those endless hours of video games likely help there. Montana Logan shoots the crap out of the targets for a solid 90 minutes.

Call him DeadEye.

Logan has the loft room in the cabin, so I join Kat and Griffin to show him his space. As he’s well pleased we leave him to unpack then clean up before his first western barbecue.

Kat, Griffin and I decide to walk over to the Village, and while the road–pitted, horse poop, rough–is a challenge for the stroller, we manage just fine. You can smell the burgers and dogs and brats before you get there, and hear the music from the live band on the outdoor stage.

Griffin likes the music, and shows his own keen eye every time a pretty girl walks by. The men join us for the feast, the view, the music. You don’t go hungry at Paw’s Up. And, oh, that sky.

Dinner al fresco.
Full plate.

But our body clocks are still on East Coast time, and we unanimously agree to call it an early night.

We (except Griffin and me) have a hot air balloon ride booked for the morning. But the weather up there looks iffy, so that’s called off.

I head up to the living area of the loft for my workout while Logan catches more zzzs in his bedroom. I hear Jason and Griffin down below, go to the rail to say good morning. It’s rewarding to hear Griffin’s happy babble when he sees me. Jason brings him up, puts him in the pack and play. He’s well entertained watching his Nana jump around for her cardio section before the rest of the crew stir and all but Nana head out for breakfast.

Since they won’t be gliding up in the clouds, we vote to hike down to the obstacle course. The Grizzly Man isn’t for wimps. I have to give Kat major kudos for hiking it with an extra twenty pounds of Griffin strapped to her in the pack.

The trail’s steep. I’m talking feel those quads sing steep. Logan handles the obstacles like an American Ninja champ. Nothing stops him. And he instantly becomes Griffin’s favorite cousin, bringing on gut laughs as he climbs, swings on ropes, jumps and balances.

Logan the Magnificent.
Hidden high above the course.
The conqueror

I’m in pretty good shape considering, but I’m winded more than once on the climb. That’s okay because I can take time to admire the wildflowers. We’ve never been here this early in the season, so I haven’t seen the bitter cress or wild lupine in bloom. Makes me happy when I catch my breath.

And I only had to wince and close my eyes a couple of times while Logan performed.

Lunch!

Well earned and much appreciated.

The gang–which does not, again, include Griffin and me–have a river float booked. After Daddy entertains his boy with tosses and rubbing his belly on Daddy’s head, Griffin and I are happy to wave them off. We have some play time, then a nice rock on the porch when he gives Nana those I’m Tired tells. I’ll take rocking a cuddly baby on the porch with a fabulous view any day over riding the rapids.

The crew.

Team Logan returns, wet, cold, triumphant.

Logan’s favorite cousin status is only more solidly cemented.

The whole river gang hits the hot tub.

Time for dinner.

We thought to play a game or two after, but the energetic day’s taken its toll all around. So goodnight!

Workout for me in the morning, then breakfast for the gang. And we’re off for a guided tour of Garnet Ghost Town.

Our guides point out the beargrass along the way. Fascinating starry white puffs on stalks. Each plant only blooms every three to five years. The woods and hills around Garnet are loaded with them.

Beargrass
Up close
Ghost town pose.

We do our tour on a gorgeous morning walking around and through the old log buildings of the once thriving mining community. Daddy hauls the baby, Mama hauls the baby, everybody eventually hauls the baby who loves looking at everything and every one.

And before you know it, lunch!

My two boys really pack it in. No fussy eaters here.

Logan, Jason and Kat are off to ride ATVs. Time for another porch rock, and some down time while the baby naps.

ATV adventurers

Our adventurers come back coated with dust and success.

Clean up time before our Chuck Wagon Dinner experience.

We now have two cowboys as Kat and Jason scored a bandanna and boots for Griffin! He is seriously dressed for Chuck Wagon time.

Serious cowboy

They shuttle us over to yet another gorgeous area of the resort by the Blackfoot. Food’s more than plentiful, but first Montana Logan heads to the river. I watch him and Kat skipping stones.

Kat wins this one, hands down.

Pretty, pretty evening, lots of kids running around, some cowboy poetry. And more grass for Griffin. I swear he’d sit for hours in the grass.

OOOOH! Grass. Thanks Nana.

But there’s horseshoes, and I spot Logan taking on Grandda. We have to go watch this. Kat, Jason and I play pass-the-baby. The score stays close, but it looks like experience will triumph over youth.

But then, Logan, steely-eyed, lofts his shoe. It’s a Ringer!

I wish I’d had my camera out to capture that look of surprised delight on his face. I did get the aftermath. And he takes BW by a point.

Good form.
The ringer.

Back home. And some Reverse Charades.

This again has the baby in squealing with joy. Look at all those crazy people!

Logan thrashes us.

Night!

BW to read, me to sleep, and apparently the rest to hang out awhile. During that time, Logan’s favorite cousin status reaches new heights–as they demonstrated for me in the morning.

Logan meows. Griffin: Hysterical!

Logan shakes his hair. Griffin: Gut-busting!

Logan makes a face. Griffin: I think I cracked a rib!

Kat, being one smart mama, now enlists Logan every time she needs to change Griffin if he’s fussy. All Logan has to do with shake his hair or make noises, and Griffin’s squealing with joy.

I love, seriously, how engaged and patient Logan is with him. He’ll get down on the floor with him, or take his hands for Griffin’s favorite walking practice. And the little guy will walk endlessly if you can keep up. They’ve bonded hard over these days to the point Griffin just has to see him to break out in grins and excitement.

Morning time. Breakfast for them, workout for me. Then BW and I have massages booked.

Ahhh. A trip to Spa Town’s just what the doctor ordered. Blissed out we return for Logan’s Aerial Adventure Course. I’ve seen him take on those types of courses before–he’s like a monkey. But this one is bigger and more complex.

He handles it like freaking Spider-Man. And again has Griffin lost in hero worship. He swings, he climbs, he balances, he walks the tightrope, he belays down from–I don’t know how high a platform–then climbs up to the second part of the course.

We find grass for Griffin. Logan finishes the 90 minute course with 20 to spare, and is invited to do any part of it he likes again. But he’s satisfied. And hungry.

I like grass that’s THIS high.

Lunch is welcome, followed by a little down time. We have a jigsaw puzzle we’re working on. Progress made.

It’s Griffin and me and the rocking chair. And the rest off for a trail ride.

When the gang returns I learn they had the kind of excitement you’d rather not. Jason says he noticed his mount seemed a little testy, kept putting his ears back. Then about ten minutes away from home, he spooked. Turned straight into Kat’s horse, spooking that one. Had Logan’s horse shying.

Logan got his under control, Kat managed to pull hers up from the gallop he’d launched into. But as Jason pulled back, his horse turned again, and tossed him.

Before.
Just about to head out.

Fortunately–as best as you can be fortunate–he took the brunt of the fall on his hip and shoulder. The wrangler was quick, and they called out the EMTs just to be sure. The group’s a little shaken, and Jason plenty sore on top of it.

He’s got ice, has a long hot shower, some Advil. He’s moving slow, but okay. Still we opt out of that night’s BBQ. The rest head off–and they’ll bring us food back. I’ve pretty much hit a wall activity-wise and take a solid nap. That with a minor break, turns into 10 solid hours of sleep.

Human enough in the am for my workout. Jason’s better, but his main deal now seems like a pulled inner thigh muscle. Some stretching, some ice, a spin in the hot tub. Improvement.

Better yet, he and Kat and Logan have massages later in the day. Perfect timing for Jason. Kat and Griffin go rappelling. Jason’s in no shape for that! But Kat rediscovers her love for it, and Logan has a great time.

Another day, another rope.

They head down after lunch for a good rub while Griffin and I have that floor and porch time.

Logan, Grandda and Kat head to the go-cart course. Though he’s doing better, Jason opts out. The report is, once again, Logan wins the day.

Logan and and his Granda.

We’d planned to have dinner and a movie in the cabin for our last night. Our timing is perfect. As we wait for our food delivery, a storm–a whopper–rolls in. It’s dramatic and fabulous–especially since we’re all cozy indoors. (Logan’s become our official fire starter.)

The wind blows, the rain slashes, and the hail shoots like bbs. I have drama, wine and a fire. It’s pretty great.

It blows out again while we eat.

Up to the loft for movie time. How about some Captain Marvel? Griffin doesn’t make it through, but sleeps peacefully on Kat’s lap.

It’s a nice, relaxing end to our many adventures.

Miscellaneous photos from the trip:

Quick morning workout, pack it up. Breakfast, happy Griffin who watches Logan with adoration all the way down the loft stairs.

Back to the airport on a–thankfully–clear day for the flight home.

Have to say goodbye to Jason and Kat–who remain the best traveling companions ever–and the happiest baby in the world of babies.

We’ll see them again soon as we have our full-on family spa week coming up in no time.

Drop Logan off at his mom’s, and his two siblings actually come outside to see him. Absence makes the heart grow, after all.

Home to the dogs, to unpack, to just chill.

Those cowboys wore me out!

The boys.

But nothing makes a nana’s heart smile more than having her teenage grandson tell her this was his best vacation ever.

Happy trails!

Nora