Sunday, June 30, 2013
With only a little bit of notice, I raided my paypal account to afford a beautiful gown. My horses must have gotten wind of it, because two days before I went shopping, my mare went through a barbed-wire fence. Her vet bill ended up being exactly the amount I had saved for the dress! Oh well, I said, money is no object: credit cards are there for “emergencies” like this. About a week before the wedding, I went into town with two requirements of my dress: nothing strapless, and it must fit right off the rack (no time for alterations here!). The dress I found is a lovely satin gown with 1920s-style beading.
Our move to Montana has been an important catalyst for the two of us. Leaving everything familiar, from the guest ranch industry to our families and friends, behind us, we struck out on a new venture in a new place, and feel we have succeeded. While hiking on the ranch where we live and work looking for shed antlers, we came across a particular spot on top of a ridge that was pretty spectacular. Surrounded by a few gnarled pines and an old abandoned seeder with wooden wagon wheels, it had a backdrop of Red Lodge Mountain to the south and Granite Peak to the west, while the Crazy Mountains and the Pryor Mountains lined the opposite horizons.
Levi was away for work all week, so I was absolutely crawling with anticipation. He arrived home on Friday, just in time to travel up into the mountains and pick out the perfect site for our “honeymoon” tent. He had a place in mind, but when we reached it, he declared it all wrong and we set up on a little saddle between a field full of wildflowers and a mountain lake. I spent the afternoon at the wedding site, hanging ribbons on our ribbon tree: one ribbon for every person we wished could be with us at the ceremony. As the wind lifted all the ribbons, I felt so much love would be surrounding us on Sunday. For dinner, we had a special meal: champagne, hard salami, prosciutto and salmon, cheeses and fruit. We ate in the grass looking at the twilight sky over the mountains, and generally got lost in one another's eyes. Scotch must have felt quite neglected, because when we finished eating and lay back in the grass, he darted in and scooped up all the prosciutto!
After we changed into more appropriate camping attire, we hopped in the Toyota with the dog, motored out to a rough trail more suitable to a horse than a truck, and drove up to our little campsite on a mountain lake. On the way, we spotted a beautiful, healthy-looking cow elk, certainly hiding a little calf in the trees. We arrived at our campsite about 9:30, and by ten had our tent set up complete with flowers, candles, a little banner reading “Just Married,” (the world's best) s'mores, and champagne. We sat around the fire together, took a walk to the lake to watch the stars, and talked about what a beautiful day it was. In the morning, we prepared a huge, luxurious breakfast of champagne, cheese, eggs and bacon over the fire, coffee, frappuccino and tea. We spent most of the day hiking in the backcountry, where we were blessed to find two incredible treasures: a winter-killed 4 by 5 elk skull, and the largest set of whitetail antler sheds we've ever found! Although our ultimate goal was finding moose sheds, we took the other two as a fair trade. We packed up camp around 2 pm, just in time for a thunderstorm to roll through. We stopped at the river to catch a few fish, and then headed into town to our favorite bar for some impromptu dinner.