Montana – Day 15

Just a gorgeous day for a ride. We head out—sans Kat and Griffin—right after breakfast. I think it’s been about three years since I’ve been on a horse, and I’m looking forward to some time in the saddle.

Jenna and Indy. Photo by BW

Jenna’s our guide, and the woman who gave Kayla and Jason their fundamentals instruction picks our mounts. BW—the tall guy—gets Rio—a big, handsome blond. Kayla’s gets Indy, a chestnut, the same horse she did her lesson with. Jason draws a sweet-looking black called Oops.

BW and Rio. Photo by Nora
Kayla and Indy. Photo by j a-b
Jason and oops. Photo by j a-b

A stallion got into the mare pen one night. Result: Oops.

I have another pretty black called Rowdy.

Up we go, one at a time so Jenna can adjust cinches and stirrups. And we start off on a day sunny and bright, pure blue sky, and neither too warm or too cool.

Ready to head out.


Our guide has the lead, followed by Rio, Indy, Rowdy, then Oops. Rio’s ready to go, sets a nice pace. Indy, however, just isn’t much into it, and Kayla has to work to get him to keep going. Rowdy makes it clear there’s an invisible horse between him and Indy.

Give that invisible horse some room!

Oops, however, is very into it and tailgates Rowdy—nose firmly planted to butt. After awhile of this, since Jenna told me Rowdy doesn’t much like being passed on the trail, and Jason’s having no luck convincing Oops to back off, I pull over, pause, let Oops go by.

Rowdy’s content to more or less plod—no problem for me, but at one point I urge him into a little trot to catch up.

Oops now has his nose in Indy’s butt, so Kayla lets him go by. He did consider passing Rio, but the big guy just gave him a look like: Seriously, bro? And he fell into his place and kept a respectful distance.

It’s just beautiful, and there’s nothing like seeing the forest and mountains on the back of a good horse. All the trees, the spread of lupine, the hills and peaks and green fields, all under that blue sky.

It’s just a lovely hour, and I secretly rename Rowdy as Zen because that’s how our ride together felt. He turns when I ask, stops, starts, backs up, very cooperative, and never once tries to sneak in a snack. He doesn’t hurry even when he spots the paddock.

We send some time thanking our horses and Jenna—and BW spots the adorable pony, Cookie. She actually turns her head and poses for the camera.

BW and Cookie. Photo by j a-b

Kat sends Jason a picture, showing Griffin discovering the cookie drawer. LOL. Cookies are now up out of reach on the counter.

Treasure found. Photo by Kat.
Cookie coma. Photo by Kat.

Back home for a little work, a little hang out, and producing our annual family panorama. Griffin gets busy tidying the lawn.

Annual pano .

Since I skipped a workout, I take a walk under that big blue bowl of sky before changing for dinner.

A happy meal in our pod—Alaskan halibut—yes, I believe I will.

And ice cream.

Halibut. Photo by j a-b

Back in Scotland I gave Griffin his first real taste of ice cream—and he pretty much pulled the whole cone to his mouth. I haven’t had any luck tempting him with a spoonful this trip, but try again.

Okay, fine, but gimme the spoon. Oooh, yeah, good. And he comes back for more. At one point he’s having trouble digging in and keeping it on the spoon, so I take my spare, try to help. Great! I’ll take both spoons! Then the fork I substituted as my own spoon.

I’ve got it Nana. Photo by Kat.

Oops, some fell on the floor. Well, waste not, want not.

Germ-opposed Kayla is completely against this. The rest of us laugh like loons.

Happy fam returns home, and Griffin is full of joy—and maybe a little high on ice cream. But he finally succumbs to the magic of the Daddy Dance.

Early to bed for most of us after a long, happy day.

Happy as a boy in mud and rocks. Photo by j a-b.

Today’s our last in Montana. We’ll do a foundation meeting during nap time. I’ll do some packing so I’m not rushed in the morning. Workout done, Griffin and his dad are playing outside. I’ll have to go check out the day before we get into meeting mode.

Tomorrow’s—final—blog will likely be late in the evening as I’ll probably write it on the plane and send it off after we land.



The intrepid Kat is making yarn out of buffalo fur by washing it, drying it, then winding it on a Sharpie!

I am absolutely joined to her hip when the alien zombies attack.

Total #randomkatness. Photo by Kat. (According to my Google lens it’s a Plectopera or a stonefly – Laura)

21 thoughts on “Montana – Day 15”

  1. This blog has been such fun!! Thank you for sharing your terrific family

  2. Yikes! Coasting along, enjoying the horses, the food, the lazy day descriptions, and then the tranquility is shattered by an alien with wings and antennas!! 😱

  3. What is that bug? I assume Kat has domesticated it to be her temporary sidekick because, hey, Kat has the magic hands.

    What a fun family adventure! And we have been along for the ride. Thank you for giving your readers a taste of Montana, not to mention a slice of your family life.

  4. Hate to see this trip end, you’ve done so many fun things and kept the little guy entertained too. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I have sincerely enjoyed hearing about your family vacation. Thanks so much for sharing with us. Safe travels home!

  6. Is there anything the fabulous Kat CAN’T do? Looks & sounds like y’all had a wonderful vacation!

  7. Love the horses’ names! The pictures of Griffin are adorable. Glad he likes ice cream again; a little dirt never hurts. I, too, will be sticking with Kat during the alien invasion. Thank you for sharing another day of your Montana vacation. BTY, do you know what the bug is? I asked my husband, who was born and raised in Montana, but he didn’t recognize it.

  8. Thanks for sharing your family adventure. It was so pleasant to tag along

  9. All posts are delightful . I particularly like the Stonefly. Thank you, all.

  10. I’m so glad you enjoyed your time in Montana. I love living in this state. So much to see and the beauty of it is breathtaking. Miss living in the mountains but hope that will be fixed shortly.

  11. What a pity your holiday is coming to an end. We have all enjoyed following along each day. Safe journey home. Thank you for sharing this with all your fans.
    Big hugs for Griffin, we all hope Kat never has to put her survival skills into practice.

  12. I loved following along on your daily activities. Thank you for sharing your vacation w/ us! My brother lives in Bigfork, MT. Absolutely beautiful country!

  13. My partner rode Indy when we were there in 2018! Can’t remember my horses’s name, but there was also an invisible horse in between us!

  14. I’ve been following the blog of this vacation whole way, enjoying the wonderful adventures of the adults, and of course Griffin! Such a ball of determined energy!

    What a gorgeous part of our country and one where my hubby and I hope to spend several days on a trip across the US we are planning for 2025. I’m lucky to have a dear friend who moved to Kila, MT a few years back who actually has an RV hookup for those who visit her farm. We can’t wait to base there and do many day trips!

    I must say Nora, I’ve really enjoyed seeing the sweet candid photos of you and your family. I’ve been reading your books, many over and over (recently finished the “Born in” series, “Blue Smoke” “The Reef” “Angels Fall” “Three Fates” “Morrigan’s Cross” “Dance of the Gods” and am currently reading “Tribute”) so have seen many pictures of you on covers over the years, but each of your vcandid shots have made me smile at your outer beauty reflecting the inner beauty we all read.

  15. What a fantastic vacation y’all had a great time. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  16. Great pictures, great vacation. Kay is the best to have around for everything! Don’t leave home without her! Griffin is just irresistible, such a great age. What a beautiful place to visit with your beautiful family. Take good care and stay well!

  17. Hooray! I just knew Kat wouldn’t be able to resist that bounty. I’ve a friend who weaves amazing hangings from alpaca hair. I’m sure Kat will create something spectacular. Griffin sure changes the dynamics of a holiday in such a good way. He’s such a trooper. Hope you get a picture the first time Kayla sees him sharing a treat with one of the dogs – lol. It’s been wonderful, following your lovely vacation, and thank you for sharing. Safe travels home.

  18. Safe journey home, thank you for the Montana story so enjoyable.🤗

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