On to the 'Dude Ranch'

Trip Start Mar 15, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We had such a great time in Missoula. It's a beautiful part of the country, but we really enjoyed meeting up with some friends even more.
Today, before we pulled out of town, Kelly took the boys on a field trip to a 'Smoke-jumper" school. These are the guys that parachute into fires to put them out. Today was graduation, so they saw some demonstrations and ran into a producer that is shooting a movie about the jumpers. While they were on their field trip, I got us packed up, then we met in downtown Missoula along the river. Every Wednesday they have an event called "Out To Lunch," with all kinds of food vendors and live music. It worked out perfect, because we met Leslie(our Dr. friend from NC) and her kids there and also met my friends Tim & Cheryl(from south Florida) and their family. After the event, I went to workout at the college and the boys played with their friends.
We pulled out around 5pm for the Dude Ranch in Ovando, MT. At some point along the way, I think we entered another world.(I think they call it Gods country) We've seen some incredible parts of this country, but I think this beats them all. The words that come to mind are inspiring, humbling...it's spectacular. When we arrived at the dude ranch, it was just as spectacular. Dinner was just being served in the main lodge and the owners, Greg and Julie came out to greet us. They and their staff couldn't have been any more accommodating. Our cabin is right next to the lodge and right in front of us is a huge lake and beautiful mountains. Words don't do it justice.
Tonight, after dinner, we got set up in our cabin and then walked down to meet everybody at the bond fire by the lake. The boys and I brought our fishing poles and took a canoe out on the lake. We didn't have any luck, but we did stay dryJ.  We had a great time meeting some of the other guests around the fire. One of the families is from Ft. Lauderdale.  It was amazing to hear Greg, the owner, talk about all that goes into running the ranch. What's more amazing is that in the off-season he doesn't rest. That's when he does his 9 day elk-hunting trips. We're already in the middle of nowhere and he takes hunters another 23 miles, on horseback, into the woods. They stay out there for 7 days and hunt elk and deer. He and his wife are the perfect hosts. After everyone went to bed, Greg sat out at the fire with Kelly, the boys and I until about 10:30pm.
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