El holo grande is what my friend, Pam, calls the Big Hole Valley and River in southwestern Montana. And since I didn’t post on her birthday because I was too busy celebrating her existence, HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAMCAKE. We left late on Friday and arrived to John making a fire, a pack of excited dogs and our friends pulling in their lines after an afternoon of epic fishing.
We visit this super secret fishing spot every fall. I am not eight months pregnant every fall, however. My man made a luscious bed in the back of the truck (I whispered that because I feel guilty for driving our non-fuel efficient vehicle). Our resting place involved an air mattress, feather bed, flannel sheets, down comforters, and several scrumptious pillows.
On Saturday morning we woke at 6:07. The boys were anxiously scrambling to be the first ones in *the hole* and at *the tracks*. They were first. They always are but I think the race is part of the fun. I hung out in the darkness, drank dark coffee and waited for the rest of the crew to rise.
The morning was lazy and perfect. Marge, Maggie and Marge’s 15-month old, Logan, Maggie’s 10-year old, Alex and I headed out to catch some irresistible items at the Patagonia outlet in nearby Dillon. I scored with a coat that zips over my belly that rung up $45 cheaper than the listed price. The day was complete. And it was only noon.
Alex shot beer cans with his new bee bee gun (a gift from his Uncle Mike that his mom was less than thrilled about) and Andy lifted him to swing from the thick aspen branch. Every 20 minutes or so someone would comment on how incredible the sky was. Old pick up trucks stacked with men in hunters orange drove too fast down the washboard dirt road. A crazy lady with a dog named Hitler came through our camp more than once. She only spoke German to her rottweiler-lab mutt.
The fishing gang had a great day. It was the quintessential Montana fall afternoon–perfectly blue sky in blinding contrast to the curry-colored aspen leaves; If you moved around a lot you quickly stripped down to a t shirt and flip flops but as soon as you paused for 1.5 minutes or more, you scrambled to grab a hat, mittens, down coat and ski socks.
I mentioned that the Big Hole is one of my top five runs. Alice and I hiked on Saturday afternoon and it was exceptional. As soon as we left the aspen-and-grass-clad river, we entered the high desert of sage, clay and big bugs. I did run a few times on our walk. Like up to the top of a hill or to the next cattle guard. It makes me laugh out loud to run because I am sure I look hilarious. I was in a sports bra and spandex because of the aforementioned fall weather. When we returned Alice napped for a few hours; the day of frolicking with all of her canine friends (there were nine dogs) and walking with her ma did her in. And that is hard to do.
Saturday night was a more typically freezing Big Hole night. Andy made tenderloin fillets, baked potatoes and a salad with purple cabbage, carrots and cilantro. For dessert we had espresso cheesecake and tiramisu. I am spoiled. Several of the group walked to one of the two restaurants in town for dinner and when they returned it was hard not to notice the kid divide. All the couples with kids or preggers were at one fire and the rest huddled around another. I am sure it was so Logan wouldn’t wake to drunken yelps should she fall asleep but it bummed me out that segregation is the answer. Everyone says it is inevitable. There is just more of a tolerance for kids if you have kids. On occasion, I plan to make drunken yelps after my child is born. Just in case you were wondering.