It's safe to say I'm still coming off of the wedding buzz... We had one heck of a day but an even more eventful pre-wedding week. Given that we decided to have our wedding in Montana, it meant that for more than half of our guests it became a destination wedding. I quickly learned that a destination wedding equals much entertaining! And boy did we ever cram a whole lot of Montana in just one week! It was great to share our "Treasure State" with our Midwest friends and family, though. I think it helped them begin to understand why we live here instead of there.
One of my favorite days of the pre-wedding week, however, was the bachelor/bachelorette days. My hubby took his friends on a full day/night float, fish, 'n camp on the Madison river. Apparently they schooled the local fishermen, which is really no surprise as many of his friends are professional fishermen or semi-pros in the Midwest. They even took my dad along, which made me a little nervous but ended up being a fantastic idea! I always knew Mr. N and my dad had a lot in common, but I didn't realize just how well they got along until hubby and friends came back boasting about how fun it was to have my dad along. After seeing the pictures and hearing the tall tales, it was safe to say they had a wee of a time on the river that day.
I can safely say that the ladies trumped the boys' day on the Madison with a zip & dip over and on the Gallatin river (the river on which much of A River Runs Through It was filmed). I had never gone zip lining before but am always up for a good challenge/scare. I was also excited to show my mom, sister-in-law, and best friend our Montana playground from a completely different angle. The zip lining ended up being far more serene than scary, despite my initial aversion of climbing a wobbly rope bridge hundreds of feet off the forest floor. The zip lining itself was actually very relaxing. It was nice to let go and let myself be taken by the momentum of the line. Not to mention that the English teacher in me loved the metaphorical life parallels between jumping off suspended stations hundreds of feet off the ground and the events that week! ;) My mom decided to be a camera man as the three of us zipped through the Gallatin National Forest and across the Gallatin river, but she was definitely ready to raft once the afternoon rolled around!
I've been on a few raft trips in Colorado and in Glacier National Park, most of which were okay but mostly anticlimactic. The raft trip we took two weeks ago, however, was fantastic! It was the perfect mix of slow & fast water, saftey & danger. I won't lie, when the guide told us that if we fell out of the boat during the last stretch and tried to stand up that we would die, I did feel my stomach do a little flip. At the same rate, there's nothing like a little fear to make a person stronger, and in our case, laugh and scream a little louder! :)
To top things off, my mom was wearing the most fantastic shoes. See, she had forgotten her aqua sox at our cabin in the Midwest and had to buy some inexpensive river shoes. So off to Walmart she went. She came back with a pair of navy and white tiger striped canvas shoes which she called her "tiger toes." The only thing they were missing was the handywork of a bedazzler. On the raft, every time the bottom of the boat scraped over a rock, she'd giggle and say, "ooh... that one tickled the tigers!" Trust me, between her cute little tiger toes and her curls curling out the sides of her seemingly too small helmet, it was a rather amusing ride! It was one that made me love my mom just a little more and proved yet again how good of a sport and adventure buddy she can be.
After our raft we raced back to my house to get ready for the bachelorette party downtown... It was fairly tame given that three of us were totaly wiped out from a day over and on the river, but we cowgirled up, put on our pink pearl snap shirts, laced up our boots, and headed down town. My friends had arranged a sort of scavenger hunt/challenge course that involved several very Montana tasks... and to protect their identities (they too are teachers with reputations to keep) they wore bandanas... My reputation, however, was only given the protection of the cowboy hat they had made me for the special night on the town. It's good things didn't get too out of hand!
At the end of the night, I slipped into my bed (still safely snapped in my adventure shirt) with a grin from ear to ear. It was such a fantastic day. I was surrounded by my best friends and family, plenty of Montana adventure, and lots and lots of laughter. What more could a girl ask for? Little did I know that it was only an omen to how great the week would end...