It’s funny to think of Wyoming as in the south. From our scenic cabins at Lightning Creek outside Big Sky, Montana we will head south for the rest of the semester. Our first stop south, in state #2, south will be outside Jackson, Wyoming.
Our one-month anniversary was a big deal. Everyone counts up to our weekly anniversary’s, not down. It’s a sign of how much the group values every moment on semester, we celebrate the joyous weeks that have passed instead of counting down the days that have yet to pass. On our one-week anniversary we wore dresses, on our two-week we had brownies in the backcountry made by our amazing river guides who we all called Pumpkin and Marmalade since they both had the same given name.
Here’s just a few more river photos…
On week three, we mastered type-2 fun. An evening of camping in the rain and a compliment circle that showed how much each person was cared for and valued even for the things they did for others when they thought no-one was watching.
Last week we had a big milestone- one month together. (We do still celebrate Stellaversaries since Stella arrived 5 days late. Stella’s anniversary is not forgotten.) To celebrate we had a soiree full of dancing, sparkling water, gowns made from sleeping bags, and a platter of cookies to end the festivities. Everyone was dressed to the nines. The group agrees that we all feel like we’ve been together for many, many months. Teachers and students alike are in awe and almost disbelief that we are over 1/3 of the way through the semester. Midterms are almost here, aspen trees are turning the hillsides warm and creamy yellow, and in a quick blink we’ll be in Utah. Wow. Time truly does fly when you’re having fun.
Lightning Creek felt like the stereotype of what Montana is like for many Americans who have never been to the Rocky Mountain West and only know it from shows like Yellowstone and the movie Brokeback Mountain. This facility used to be a family-owned hunting cabin and former horse ranch called “Trappers Cabin”. The logo TC, with the T stacked above the C, is visible everywhere – on hooks above the fireplace and branded into chairs and tables from when the logo was as an identifier to brand horses and a symbolic unifier for this ranch to differentiate it from the myriad like it that line Taylor Fork Canyon. Crosscut Mountain Sports Center, a Bozeman non-profit, recently purchased the ranch and re-branded it after Lightning Creek which flows through the property. We couldn’t be happier to be here (and among the first groups to stay!). In the main cabin where we ate, slept, and learned; the fireplace was crackling almost 24/7. Students sat holding steaming mugs of tea and honey that they drank round the clock. They were often found cradling our new mascot- a bread-loaf sized plush bison toy that goes with us everywhere and likes to clap it’s hooves after good presentations and participates in our “Thumb-o-meter” check in before dinner to see how much water we’ve drank that day and how we feel mentally and emotionally on a scale of thumbs down to thumbs up. The inside walls of our log-cabin are exposed curved logs forming an inner-skeleton that has delicately balanced pieces of art. One wall has a wrangler’s lasso made into a circular dried flower wreathe with tiny western hats and miniature horse stuck in, a photo of the cabin from the 80’s hangs nearby showing the ranch blanketed in snow with only the tiny rocky tips of the nearby peaks exposed and not enveloped into the thick, white, Montana winter that pulls in skiers for almost a 1/3 of the year.
Photos from Lightning Creek…
For many students this cabin time has been an oasis of cozy. Fall in Montana is here. The crisp air made the corduroy couch, and the glass oil lamps feel like a gifted respite from our outside environment. Some described the space a feeling like Christmas. Emma called our cabin a family vacation. Wyethe feels like it’s warm and woodsy.
Today, we leave you with a poem. In Literature & Composition we just finished our first unit of study- Poetry- and have a small group-written piece about what it is like to be on our TTS semester. (Using rhyme scheme and enjambment as our chosen poetic tools, as any good poet would do.)
Our Friday festivities are a fun time for all
Sometimes we do a game- other days a Ball!
To be in our group is to be able to stand tall
Regardless of days when we fight or we fall
We know there’s support through this here long haul
From the Montana high peaks to the Arizona border wall.
Inside our group we laugh and we call
The bird songs we’re learning to model(?)