As the year comes to a close, a time of reflection overcomes me. The goals I set, the things I hoped to accomplish, and the unknowns that are now known all water under the bridge. Fellow outdoorsmen and acquaintance Dave C. gave me a good idea to record my thoughts on 2014 in a blog post entitled “Twelve Months and Twelve Great Trips in 2014” and a similar post from him this year spurred me on yet again. So in this time of reflection here are twelve photos that represent a highlight of each of the twelve months of 2015.
January:Â TheÂ birth of onesÂ child can probably not be topped by any other event. Â The first week of January was not particularly cold and was actually quite forgiving. Â Bringing this beautiful little girl into the world and stepping outside for the first time a few days laterÂ was as empowering a thing as my wife and I have ever been through and each and every month of this year has been an amazing journey watching and participating in her growing process.
February:Â With a newborn life tends to slow down a bit. Â Sneaking off for even a quick jaunt to the hills above town on the bicycle during myÂ lunch hour provided much needed fixes of adventure.
March:Â I took my first real trip away from town for the entire day in March, joining two good friends for a day of splitboarding in the Gallatin Range. Â We explored a micro-zone located next to a very popular spot and had fresh tracks from top to bottom.
April:Â Snow continued to fall into April and while we awaited for the warmer temps of Spring we holed up inside as a family, enjoying each others company and watched with excitement and curiosity as Maeryn grew and learned.
May:Â In my childhood in Minnesota, Memorial Day weekend marked not only a time to remember our veterans, but also the beginning of the camping season. Â I had reserved a campsite at Holland Lake up in the Seeley Swan for the maiden voyage of our new camper trailer. Â This coincided with the start of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Open and I chatted with a number of the participants prior to their journey into the Bob.
June:Â I managed to get out on something in the range of 20+ mountain bike rides during the summer of 2015 and that felt really, really good. Â Long hours of sunlight and driving back into town from the trailhead after dark allows for some very solid post-work rides. Â Photo’ed was a stellar evening with three other friends when we drove far enough North of town to leave the rain toÂ find tacky trails and distant rainbows..
July:Â I felt comfortable enough to take anÂ overnight trip away from the family in July. Â I left home late, riding from town into the forest to a nice saddle that overlooks the lights of the city. Â I packed a small shelter, some grub, and a couple tall cans of beer. Â I sent a few text messages to my wife as night approached making sure everyone was safe and sound. Â I awoke early, around dawn, donned a warm jacket and barreled the downhill back into town in time to have breakfast just as our child was awaking.
August:Â The infamous GORUCK Selection event took place in Bozeman in August. Â As the resident aficionado of the wide open spaces in our fair city I was consulted by the Cadre in planning the event. Â Having a hand in how the weekend would pan out was extremely rewarding for me and much more so when participant Stony from Canada performed solidly and finished.
September:Â A car camping trip into the Gravelly Range is quickly becoming an annual tradition for our crew and this trip in September was no exception. Â We didn’t do huge miles and we only stayed one night but man what a solid group of people and location.
October:Â I skipped hunting opener because it was a goal of mine to get our little girl out on a backpacking trip sometime in 2015 and the weekends that would qualify as “warm enough” to do that were essentially gone. Â We loaded up the car, headed for Yellowstone and made the short hike to Ribbon Lakes. Â I packed the woodstove and tipi to make things reasonable and we had a stellar time.
November:Â General rifle hunting season was a bust for me in 2015. Â I spent 30 hours in the woods hunting deer but didn’t take one home. Â On the last day I had one doe in my sights and I hesitated a crucial 1/4 second and she stepped behind some trees leaving me a bit disgusted. Â Missing out on a deer was easily made up for by many sights like the one photographed wherein I enjoyed beautiful sunrise after beautiful sunrise (albeit some in below zero temps) onÂ the Bridger Mountain Range.
December:Â With the general rifle season come and gone and our family freezer without venison I set out with a neighbor to hunt cow elk in the Castle Mountains in the last few days of the month. Â We found ourselves withinÂ 450 yards of a herd which was simply too far for either of us to humanely take a shot and as such were unsuccessful in the hunt. Â Once again though the views made up for it and the day was still a success. Â Gazing south to the Bridgers and Crazies as well as the generally good feeling of a day out in the mountains can not be written off as anything but excellent.