Thursday, June 2, 2022

Weekend at Big Sky, Montana, full of fun, snow, and grand memories!

Spending time with family is a precious thing! When you spend time with them over a four-day period in Big Sky, Montana, it is an incredible time, no matter what the weather might have been.

For Christmas, Anna Rose and her family gifted us a trip with them to stay in Big Sky. On Wednesday, we began our journey at 8:00 p.m. Yes, that was a bit late for us, but Joanne had to work until then. We drove to Pocatello, Idaho, and stayed the night.

The next morning we attended a sealing session in the Pocatello Idaho Temple, a beautiful building sitting on a hill on the eastern side of Pocatello. We had not been to this temple, and we were excited to do some vicarious work for some of Joanne’s ancestors. We arrived early, so one of the sisters in the temple took us on a mini-tour of the temple. It was so peaceful inside!

Once we finished and then did a bit of food shopping in Idaho Falls, we headed to Big Sky. The closer we arrived at our destination at the bottom of Lone Mountain, the more snow we saw, piled close to the road and into the trees.

Once we arrived, Joanne and I did a little exploring and took some pictures of the snow and the stunning landscapes of the surrounding area, thinking we might not get out because of the forecast of rain and snow the entire time we were going to be there. Anna Rose and her family arrived late. 

The next day, there was a break in the weather, and we hurried over to the Ousel Falls Park Trail, a 1.6-mile hike that meanders along the Gallatin River that was gushing and swirling with dirty brown water all the way up to the falls. The trail was a pretty easy one, for the most part of it. We stopped frequently and took pictures of the beautiful surroundings.

When we arrived at Ousel Falls, we were greeted by an overflowing, loud waterfall. A huge amount of water was spilling over the edge of numerous rocks with a huge pine tree stuck in the middle with one end jammed into the side of the mountain, making for even more gushing flow over the top.

There was a scary walk down—at least this time of the year—to the bottom of the falls. Of course, it was cold and slippery on the way down, but a few of us walked down the steps, clinging to the iron rod on the side of the trail to the bottom. What a gorgeous view with tons of water just gushing over the top, splashing blatantly in the gorged river below, and spewing mist and droplets of water everywhere. We loved the view, and we took a bunch of photos and videos. The power of water is amazing, for sure.

We started back and stopped at a picnic table. Anna Rose and I walked back to the car to pick up the sandwiches and chips. It wasn’t that far back. We had a nice talk, grabbed the food, and headed back to the picnic table. We had a delicious PB&J sandwich with chips meal as we listened to the pounding Gallatin River to the side of us as it rushed by.

On Saturday, we drove over to Bozeman, had lunch with Elise, one of Anna Rose’s friends from high school, and then toured the Museum of the Rockies. It was fun to wander through the various exhibits. The dinosaur section was spectacular. The Museum of the Rockies has a wonderful exhibit of all sorts of dinosaurs, including the T-Rex that Kathy Wankel, a colleague of mine and the former nursing director at Miles Community College, found on BLM land near her ranch in Miles City. We drove back to the resort in a rain storm. But the ride was beautiful! There is something about rain in the mountains in the spring.

For the rest of the weekend, we ate more food and snacks than we should have, played games, drew and painted pictures, wrote and read poetry, chatted, and watched the rain and snow tumble out of the sky, but we were safe and warm inside.

We did attend Church at the Big Sky Branch on Sunday morning. What a wonderful and dedicated group of saints. We sang hymns and listened to two great talks. Afterward, we had a delightful conversation with the branch president and members of the branch.

We all arose early on Monday to ready ourselves for the trundle home. Much to our surprise, over five inches of new snow covered everything at our level. Joanne and I went outside and began cleaning off the vehicles and shoveling the snow away from them.

The scene was actually beautiful to behold. Think of your favorite white Christmas and the dazzling snow and drifts. That’s what we saw: snow that covered the ground, the trees, the bushes, vehicles, buildings, everything, all quiet, and a giant hush spread across the valley and the mountains as the snow continued to fall. You almost wanted to break out into Christmas carols.

Soon, after breakfast, cleanup, and packing the vehicles, we all headed down the hill to less snow and rain but still beautiful as everything was covered with a blanket of snow all the way through West Yellowstone, Mack’s Inn, and Island Park. We loved our weekend with Anna Rose and her family!