Christmas in January – Big Sky, MT

Late Christmas with Serena

We left cold Austin (temps not much above freezing during the day and well below overnight) and flew to even colder Bozeman, Montana to spend a long weekend with Serena. She is again working in Big Sky this winter; this time in the Reservations department. The girl gets “ski breaks” – she is very happy.

As Serena currently is “borrowing” our Honda Civic, she had a friend drop it off at the airport the night before and we found it conveniently parked near the terminal, ran a few errands and drove to Big Sky – about a 40 minute drive from Bozeman.

She had arranged for a room for all three of us in the Big Sky Resort and we checked in and waited for her to get off work then took her for dinner and caught up. Saturday morning after a lovely breakfast in the lodge, we went to the apartment she shares in the village and celebrated Christmas with her. Her roommate had not yet taken down the Christmas tree so that was a nice touch.

We went for a scenic drive south into a corner of Yellowstone and then on to Quake Lake (where the worst earthquake in the Rocky Mountains took place here in 1959 and the result was a new lake. 28 people who had been camping on what is now the lake were killed by the landslide and rising waters of the river – very sad). The site is well marked with historical and geological markers. The day was beautiful and the drive was lovely. We saw bighorn sheep in a few places; one herd was over 30 in number. The snow glistened and the ice crunched under our feet. Brrrr! That night Serena cooked us dinner in her apartment and we watched a movie.

Sunday we awoke to cloudy skies, a bit of fog and it was snowing some. We went to Lone Mountain Ranch and rented some cross country skis and went out for a few hours with a beer break in the middle. It was hard work and we all took a couple of tumbles but it was fun. Then we hit the outdoor hot tub at the resort and enjoyed a few cold ones while relaxing.

Sunday night was our Christmas present from Serena: an outing on a snow cat up the mountain to a yurt with a three course meal and some sledding. What a fun experience. We sat on top outside in the snow cat and it was a cool ride. The meal was good: soup, main course and a chocolate fondue. It was BYOB so Serena and Fran shared a bottle of wine and Doug brought some beer. We took a turn on a toboggan altogether and boy did we fly!

Monday morning, we let Serena sleep in and we “borrowed” our car and drove to Tacoma in just under twelve hours. While Serena had taken care of the oil change for us last week, there were a few other things needed doing and we found a place to take care of them in the early evening before checking into a hotel.

Next morning we drove to our storage unit to put a few things in and take a few out before heading to our former dentist in Renton for a cleaning. Then it was on to Canada. We spent one night on the mainland with our friends, Marg & Claude, then 9 nights on the island with family where we saw both our mothers and celebrated Doug’s mom’s 75th, some siblings, Doug’s uncle, aunt & cousin and a few friends. Weather was mild but the latter half was wet – welcome to Victoria! At least you don’t have to shovel it.

After one more night on the mainland visiting with Fran’s sister, Sandra, and our friends, Pat & Therese, (hope your basement is dry now!) it was back to Big Sky via our storage unit. Doug’s laptop had died while in Canada and after three IT guys looked at it, London Drugs, got it up and running again but we needed to be able to software back on, which of course, was in storage.

We had a lovely dinner with Serena and gave her “back” the car before flying back to Austin. It was a good trip but nice to be back in our “home”.

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