only in montana: camping, a wedding and prison art shopping in one weekend

Last weekend we went back to the Big Hole valley for a little camp adventure/wedding/hiking/patagonia outlet shopping/crazy people watching.

Seriously, people who camp down there are nuts. There was the lady last year who had a dog named Hitler who she spoke to in German. This year, the looney couple with the metal detectors who spent the Entire Weekend searching for pennies and nickles and lots of can tops and sometimes a ring or something and the belchy guy in the fleece sweatshirt with a buck and doe painted on the chest. But then I wonder, do all of these insane people with generators running all day and big spectacles from 1987 and ill-fitting clothing and bad late-night manners think we are looney? Us with our coleman camp stove and a tent and down jackets and a spayed dog on a leash? Probably they are writting on their blogs about how how *crazy* we are.

Anyway. The Big Hole is one of my favorite places to run and I had packed my stuff. On Saturday morning, Andy took bug fishing and I took Alice out on the dirt road the two of us know so well. The air smelled of skunk and sage.

At first I felt hurried. I guess just because I have been so hurried for a few months now but, seriously, why in the hell did I feel so tense? I decided to hike instead of run. I was able to let it go thanks to Alice and her frolicking-I-live-in-the-momentness. She always teaches me important lessons when I pay attention. It was like the old days. It was great.

And, my Amazing Dog can cross a cattle guard like nobody’s business.
We had a great time at Claire and Luke’s wedding on the most gorgeous river in the whole world. And only in Montana do you get to pack fur-lined boots, flip flops and heels for the same trip.

It was really effing cold at night. And bug’s first camp experience. She rocked it save for a two hour stint that was no fun at all. And, of course, we made the jaunt to Dillon for the pati outlet and didn’t find a damn thing so I bought a hat that bug can wear in like seven years just to prove to Andy that the extra jaunt was so worth it.

And then! We finally hit the Montana State Prison Arts & Crafts Hobby Store when it was open! I have been yearning to patronize this establishment in Deer Lodge for years and never ever been there between the hours of 11 and 4. It contains jewelry, knitted and crocheted items, drawings, paintings, metal work and tons and tons of horse hair belts, belt buckles, bridles, etc. made my those imprisoned. I think the idea is that the art making is a positive outlet for the prisoners and a way for them to make some cash in the big house. They get 75% of the sale. I scored some gorgeous earrings. I wish I had bought the crocheted monkey for bug. It did feel strange to hold items made by people who could have committed horrible crimes. That part was weird, spooky and kind of exciting.

15 Responses to only in montana: camping, a wedding and prison art shopping in one weekend

  1. Heather says:

    Mmm, what a sparkly lookin’ weekend.

    Hey, I read this and thought, “I know someone in Montana!!”

    Slimy slimy slimy. Keep rockin’ over there, you Montana Obama Mamas.


  2. Katie says:

    Camping always brings out the best in people. NOT!

    I read that old post about Alice and it made me laugh because that was literally days before you figured out a little Bug was coming into your life – you were busy with getting into grad school.

    Isn’t it funny how quickly (and wonderfully) the universe can change our lives?

  3. FinnyKnits says:

    1. That looks like a great weekend minus the crazies at the camping site.

    2. Why are there always crazies at the campsites? Even when you’re way out in the woods! Annoying. We had one family shooting off paintball guns INTO THE RIVER FROM WHICH I WAS FISHING one time. TO KILL.

    3. Alice is, of course, totally adorable.

  4. Jean says:

    You got more than I did at that store. I got nothing.

    I never thought about the crime aspect of it. Yeah, creepy is the word.

  5. Patia says:

    I liked the prison art store. Yeah, a little creepy, but cool, too. I liked how old-fashioned a lot of the crafts were. I didn’t buy anything, but I covet some of the horsehair stuff.

  6. Kelle says:

    oh that prison art store is hilarious. love the montana landscape…makes me want to run too. gorgeous.

  7. TRB Holt says:

    Did you ever think that these are not crazies at a campsite, but rather you camping at their home site?

    ALICE THE WONDER DOG….I love you!

    Great photos too.

    xo, Mom

  8. Katie says:

    Beautiful photos as usual! They make me miss MT. I thought of you the other day when I read a review in a magazine of Bernice’s :)

  9. Can’t remember how I found your blog…but I like it.

    Great photos – especially of the dog muzzle :)

  10. joan says:

    I love the pic of Andy and Margot going fishing. I love the comment” it was just like old times” coming from a youngster like yourself. And to think I almost came to Missoula that weekend to surprise you. XOXOXJ

  11. Anonymous says:

    this link is to a neat store started by my colleague’s wife out here in California that made me think of you.


  12. Kelle's dad says:

    As Kelle’s Lainey’s Poppa, I think it would be cool if all the DOB’s (Daughters of Bloggers) met someday…perhaps on a talk show in 2035 when they share their childhood trauma of having their mothers share their stories on their blogs. JK…blogs make us baby boomers want to just rewind and start here. Enjoy your blog…just never comment!

  13. LeLo says:

    I love prison art. It’s like my secret. I went to a prison art store in Mexico. All of the hammocks were woven by prisoners. I couldn’t bring myself to buy one though. I know I couldn’t get a good nap in one of those knowing someone was suffering in a Mexican prison. Your earrings are lovely though.

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