Thursday, August 11, 2011

Girls Gone Wild!

One weekend in early summer, my friend, Mer, came home from a weekend at her family cabin with a most splendid idea: a girls weekend. I'm not entirely sure how it all went down, but she asked her father-in-law and he offered little protest (that may have changed once he was informed he probably wouldn't be invited ;-)). Mer posed the idea to many of us but as summer commitments, unforeseen circumstances, and just life in general got in the way, the final number before hitting the road was four: Mer, Breyon, Tara, and myself (Mer and I met working for the law firm I'm currently at, Breyon before they wore trainers, and Tara in college). Each of us was in charge of one major meal for the day - mine being breakfast - some snacks, and booze. Otherwise, the plan was to park ourselves away from civilization and just.....sit there.

As we climbed into Mer's Pathfinder that we crammed with the current US supply of junk food and alcohol, it became startlingly clear how much-needed this weekend was for everyone involved. We drove for the better part of 2 hours, just passed Bozeman to scoop up Tara, and we didn't turn the radio up once. As we got closer to the cabin and no cell service, we all called or text-messaged our husbands then off they went for the remainder of the weekend. We saw a lot of elk scattering the dirt road, a mom with her teen boys, then a giant buck with a huge rack. He looked at us, then gracefully sauntered back into the woods. After that, we were ampt to see more animals but the only thing we ever found was a lone deer, and what Tara thought was a deer but turned out to be just a rock.

We did do some hiking (well, we were pretty big princesses so we'll just call it hiking for argument sake) up to an old cemetery, occupied by most everyone wiped out by the 1889 dysentery plague. At any rate, the oldest person in the cemetery was 80. But, mostly, there was a lot of talking, laughing, napping, and sitting and staring for long periods of time (by us, not the cemetery inhabitants).

 Mer's cabin. The cemetery is just over the foothill behind the cabin. We discussed having a seance but, ultimately, we didn't have the energy. And we didn't have any candles so our circle wouldn't have been safe.
 The cabin has been girl-ified!

 Someone must have picked up shortly before I took this picture; it's the least packed with food I saw all weekend.

 One of the views off the front porch.

 The other view off the front porch.

Tara, Breyon, Mer, and myself slowly getting started on our walk, eating dill pickle flavored sunflower seeds and waiting for the rain to stop. It rained off and on every 30 minutes or so. But as we made our way to the cemetery, the sky opened up and it was finally done raining. Wait, no, it rained two more times, then it was done.

 The other views we spent most of the weekend enjoying. :-) This is off the back deck. Amidst the abandoned, decrepit buildings were other semi-occupied cabins. From what we understand, one person lives in the town year-round.

 The view we spent the most time looking at - off the back deck. We found ourselves here first thing in the morning, and through the early afternoon until Breyon said, "Should we move to the front porch, maybe get a different view for awhile?"

Off in the distance from the front porch is the abandoned mine. 

 In between rain storms, we set off on our walk. These are some of the buildings that are just next door.

 Breyon and Meredith walked on while Tara and I took pictures, she with her fancy camera, me with the camera on my phone. I'm so techy.


 Breyon surveying the land with her mug. She'll tell you it's coffee, but it's not.


 The history of Elkhorn, once a booming mining town that mined gold, silver, and lead, but was reduced to what it is today thanks to disease, and a hit to the mining industry.

 The rain turned from a sprinkle to a downpour so Breyon and I waited it out in a shed of a nice, old man whose family helped settle the town. Breyon and Mer are mere spots just left of center, and just slightly left of the house where the old man's mother was born.



 The old saloon and dance hall is on the left, and the old fraternity house is on the right.


They are absolutely monstrous!

 Marker where the barber shop used to be. The sign reads: "The only place you could get a bath in Elkhorn from 1889-1890."

 Shoemaker Shop

 The first doctor's office. It was later the cabin belonging to the mine watchman.

 Low and behold, across the street was the mine. There is talk of getting it running again.

 Sun finally shining, Breyon and Tara hoofin' it up the road that circles the town.

Mer and the mine.

 Some random buildings that pepper the town.


 An old garage close to the cabin. I took this picture thinking of Jacob, his love for old buildings, and love for garages in general.

I took this 100% thinking of Jacob. There is no one on the planet who loves or appreciates old cars more than him.

 What the town of Elkhorn used to look like during it's boom-days.

What the town of Elkhorn looks like now.

 The old Elkhorn cemetery.

 Breyon, chillin' with the dead people. ;-)


 Most of the cemetery's residents are from late 1800/early 1900's, but these are relatively new. In order to be buried here, a relative has to have preceded you.

 Breyon, Mer, and Tara checking out the graves.

A picture to prove I was there just in case I got ghost-napped (and, ok, I found it slightly weird to ask someone, "Will you take my picture in front of this here gravestone?" Tara totally would have, but not without calling me a creeper first.).

 Mer walking back after our jaunt, taking is up through the hill so we ended above the town. I don't much like anything that resembles hiking, but this trip was very cool.

 Breyon and Mer making their way back to town.

 Breyon and Mer deep in conversation as we reached lower ground, most likely over what drink and snack they'll have upon their return.

When we did return, we once again sat on the front porch, chatted, napped, read, spit sunflower seeds, and otherwise fit in with the locals. What was great was that we'll most likely end up doing something very similar as old ladies. Getting older, we realized, makes going out and getting shit-faced that much more unpleasant and unappealing. As we struggle to keep up with life and life's priorities, it's sitting in the woods, far removed from civilization (or contact with civilization) that we consider "partying." But don't get me wrong, there will be plenty of wine-fueled outings in the future (can you say wine tasting for charity? Yes please!)

We packed up Mer's Pathfinder with considerably less food and considerably less alcohol; our three coolers consolidating into one. We chatted on the drive back as we bid farewell to Tara in Belgrade (just outside Bozeman), Breyon on the west end, then us Heights Bitches (Mer and I) headed home. Jacob was relaxed and satisfied as he'd gotten a lot of work done on his car, and Zoey was her usual, happy, baby self. Louis, apparently sat in front of the door that lead to the garage and cried his dog eyes out until I came home, and didn't touch any of his food until that morning. We spent the evening laughing, playing, and watching the requisit Nick Jr. programming until it was time for Zoey to hit the crib. I didn't last much longer than she did.

Last weekend was exactly what I needed , when exactly I needed it. A HUGE thank you to my friend, Mer, her father-in-law, Breyon, Tara, my mom, Jacob, Zoey and all of the wonderful people in my life who make it wonderful!

(Maybe I should escape to ghost towns more often; I seem to be a much nicer person afterwards)

"I think you're all fucked in the head. We're ten hours from the fucking fun park and you want to bail out. Well I'll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much fucking fun we'll need plastic surgeory to remove our godamn smiles. You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of you're assholes! I gotta be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy Shit" - Clark Griswold in Vacation