A Glimpse of a Montana Summer

With a few days of cold and rain in the forecast, I am revisiting some of my favorite Summer 2015 memories and thought I’d share a handful of them here.

Before the leaves had fully popped, we spent the weekend with my husband’s parents (Margaret and Dale Vermillion) at their beautiful ranch near Greycliff. We got completely skunked morel hunting, but the kids found egg shells and other treasures instead and enjoyed chilly, “early-season” pond swimming. Our dog Dotti, couldn’t resist jumping up on the picnic table for summer’s first slurp of lemonade.

Photography by Lynn Donaldson

Photography by Lynn Donaldson

Dan is on the board of the Montana Land Reliance, and in between shoots I met him and the kids at The Grand Union Hotel in Fort Benton, where MLR was holding its annual meeting. The kids enjoyed swimming at the Fort Benton pool, riding bikes along the steamboat levee walking trail (especially circling the statue of Old Shep) and having frozen bananas at The Freeze. We were also treated to a special wagon ride and barbecue at the Lacey Creek Ranch in the Highwood Mountains. My utmost favorite memory of the summer was dancing The Virginia Reel with Dan and all three kids after dinner. They were quite the little high steppers!

Summer in Review Collage #2

My peonies popped several weeks early this year. I just love seeing their big white pompom blooms off our back deck backed by the Crazy Mountains.

Vermillion Home - Peonies JUne 2015

During the weekend of the Montana Folk Festival, many of my aunts, uncles and cousins traveled to Butte to celebrate my cousin Codi Wormgoor’s graduation from UM’s Skaggs Pharmacy School. Codi and her husband Nick organized a celebration at the Sheepshead Recreation Area picnic pavilion. What an incredible spot.

Quite a few of us headed Uptown to check out Folk Fest, which I highly recommend. Sunday morning, ten of us met Mark & Nicole Reavis (owners of Butte Urban Safari Tours & TLBP Contributors) for a raucous and informative tour of Uptown in their electric golf carts. What fun we had zipping around Butte’s steep streets, learning about the city’s architecture and history. We were even treated to an impromptu concert by Sharon Iltis of Bozeman up by the Mountain Con.  We stopped by Folk Fest at one point to use the facilities, and my kids asked if they could spend some of their allowance at the Kettle Korn booth. Their dad said no, I said yes.  And then he proceeded to stuff his face for the duration of the tour.

Summer In Review Collage 3

One of our kids’ favorite days was spent hiking in Yellowstone Park’s Lamar Valley with Dennis Duenas of Northern Rocky Mountain Alpacas. We went with Dan’s brother Pat and his family. We marched past dozens of snorting, bellering bison to the Lamar River for a gourmet lunch (cooked and served by Dennis) and afternoon of fishing and swimming.

Summer in Review Collage #4B

No summer for us would be complete without a trip to the Central Montana Fair. It happens the third weekend of July, and my kids have never missed one. Lewistown has one of the prettiest fairgrounds around—a grassy midway, terrific beer garden, modern grandstands, hundreds of shady trees. We spend each afternoon at the Lewistown City Pool and then head to the fairgrounds around 5:00pm. The kids dash from ride to ride with their Fergus County cousins and check in with us when they need more money.

Summer In Review Collage #5B


We do a lot of hiking, but I pretty much always leave my camera behind. I took a few rare shots with my phone on a trip with the Kellett-Aelbers family up Big Creek drainage in Paradise Valley. When we stopped to get gas at the Emigrant Store, the kids couldn’t resist climbing on the ol’ Sinclair dinosaur.

Summer In Review Collage #6

These are just a few of our Summer 2015 snapshots. We are tumbleweeds who don’t sit still much…already planning adventures for fall. Apple picking? Pheasant hunting? Biking the Beckman Wildlife Management Area? Pressing cider at Rocky Creek Farm?

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