I haven’t laughed so hard in years! Texts and emails have been flying fast and furious this month. The question at hand: How to pack for Montana.
Girlfriend and I are heading there for, well, an adventure. But probably not your definition of adventure. It’s ours, though. Our adventure involves FLY FISHING and we booked that event for entertainment value because, well, here’s the truth: Girlfriend and I are both rather girly…well, maybe that’s not exactly right. Or maybe it is.
Famous and not-even-Almost-Famous
See, girlfriend is kind of famous for breaking gender barriers in her job, doing things that had only been done by males before. I mean, famous. Like in a documentary and a number of media articles. Of course, I’m not at all famous, (maybe infamous) but bashed my head against a glass ceiling in corporate America for decades. So, while we both bent gender in certain ways, I wouldn’t call us outdoorsy. No, I wouldn’t. We are the kind of women who think a dude ranch is too much outdoorsy effort. I think you get the picture, right?
So, yeah, it’s hard not to laugh at some of the things we’ve been sending hither and yon as we prepare to leave in a few weeks. So let me share some of the conversation and also some of my packing tips.
Like this, for example. Yes, girlfriend found the photo online, sent it along, asking what I thought of it for our trip. The question is, what do YOU think of it?
This fishing/sun/rain/camping umbrella is available for less than $8. I just love it. And I would LOVE for us to wear it fly fishing just to capture our guide, Phil’s, expression when he sees us. You may remember that Phil owns the fly fishing outfit and was going to assign us one of his guides, until I explained that he should consider this to be the kind of experience Lucy and Ethel would have, at which time he said, immediately, “I’ll take you, myself!” Yeah, Phil knows a good time when he sees one, right?
But here’s the problem I had with that hat: I’m now a redhead. What lipsticks go with red hair and camouflage? I know, right?
You can see the problem. To top it off, walking Riley during the day seems to have given me more suntan than I’ve had in a long time, so I’m no longer really fair skinned. So I just can’t decide. The only thing I know for sure is that it doesn’t have to be kiss-proof. Although, really, you never know, right?
Also, this is about 1/10 of my collection of current lipstick collection. I maybe wear lipstick once or twice a week. But you know, we women, we can never resist a new lipstick, even if we wear it once. Having so many brands, hues, shades, colors….decisions, decisions.
Deciding not to get the hat would make lipstick choice much easier. So, no on the umbrella hat.
Two girly-girls flyfishing need to be prepared for the inevitable. Or as my husband said, hesitantly, “I’m little worried about you two hooking each other.” With that in mind, I’m packing these:
Of course I want to be prepared, I was a Girl Scout. My mother and her best friend were our troop leaders. Neither of them had broken a sweat since their teens and neither were fans of the Great Outdoors. On our troop’s first camping trip, my father had to drive over to light the fire. So you can see there’s a genetic link, at least for me. Phil probably has a great first aid kit for our drift boat, but you can never have too much Neosporin or too many bandages.
We’re going to do a little hiking in Yellowstone, and maybe elsewhere. And while it’s true that Hot Trainer and I have a year-long program in progress and I am so much more fit than I was a year ago, girlfriend and I are women of a certain age. So, this has to be considered.
As I say to Hot Trainer at least once a week, “all of my friends have knee problems and I refuse to have one.” But then again, I could stumble on a boulder or trip over a log. It could happen, right? Old people fall all the time, and I just got my Medicare card. So I’m bringing this.
I found the heat wrap buried in my closet and think it was a conference freebie. How opportune! Because my lower back (ok, my GLUTES) like to ping at inopportune times. It’s been a few months since it’s happened, because HT and I are very careful and I have built muscle now to support that injury. However, while casting a line, I could put my back out, right? It’s coming with us.
LATE BREAKING NEWS: Girlfriend just sent a message with a photo of her new trekking pants that can be adjusted “for fording streams.” Yes, the knee support is SO coming.
Choice of footwear in Montana is seriously important. Here’s what I put on top of my To Pack pile last week.
Oh, I don’t know. Maybe not. It’s just that they are so darn cute! And we’re not going to be at Yellowstone the whole time. Or flyfishing. I’m taking a vote: yes or no?
And then, of course, I am packing these:
The outdoors is hell on a manicure. And you never know when you might want to do a color change. Like, maybe we want to match Phil’s boat colors. So these are coming along. I think I was pretty smart to think of them.
Girlfriend refuses to touch a live fish. So, these fancy rubber gloves are going to be just the ticket. Aren’t they cute? I haven’t bought them, as I can touch a live fish, but am recommending that she buy them. My problem is not touching the fish, it’s hooking one. I don’t want to hurt the fish. All I can say is that it will all unfold on video with my new Go Pro, and I’ll be sharing it here.
Now, I hadn’t really considered bringing a backpack until girlfriend sent me her latest purchase for our trip.
It’s super lightweight and she said it was a steal at Nordstrom Rack. I think it’s super-stylin’. So I zoomed online to find a new backpack. My old one is denim and the metal parts are kind of jangly. It just didn’t work. Of course, once I got to the website all I could think about is getting one that could get wet and dirty. So mine isn’t as stylish:
It’s waterproof, durable and, well, something has to balance out my golden slippers, right? Every time I look at it on my To Pack pile I feel more outdoorsy, already. Even though it’s not as cute as hers, nor is it as lightweight. So I still have a couple weeks to work on my upper body strength with HT.
So, ok, let’s get serious. The temp at Yellowstone the other day was 33 degrees at 5am. And while it got hella-hot during the day, nights can be cold. So I dug my favorite boyfriend PJs out of a drawer and considered ironing them.
Nahh. Not. Going. To. Iron. Them. But aren’t they cute? Pretty in pink. That’s what I call them.
Even though it’s summer, I have it on good authority that it can get hella cold out of nowhere. I am NOT bringing my faux fur coat to Montana in July, so I tossed in my favorite fleece hoodie.
From my days teaching adjunct at UT. Oh, I loved that department and that job! And my students.
And then, a super cool bargain for seniors:
Did you know that seniors can get one of these for only $10 and get free admission to any national park? Girlfriend and I both have our own so one of us will remember to bring it. No worries. I’ll remember. It’s on my packing list and sitting in the To Pack pile. Which i will have to move at least once for our housekeepers so there is no guarantee it’ll stay on that pile.
I have one of my nephews to thank for this:
Every writer should bring a journal on vacation and I’m bringing this compact book my lawyer-nephew got me last year. So he’ll be with me on the trip, in a sense. Actually, not really. I’ll be on the road to vacation, while he will be billing his brains out as a new associate at his law firm, on the road to success.
And in all seriousness, here’s some of the real stuff:
My new hiking shoes, which I’ve broken in. Then that horrific fishing hat in a nice neutral beige. The brim goes so low I can hardly see, but it’s just the ticket for sun protection while fly fishing. If I am not wearing the Go Pro on my head.
I know, way complicated. Maybe I should try this first.
That blue peeking out is a windbreaker. I have it on good authority that wind and showers can whip through the canyon while we’re on the river fly fishing and so I’m putting that windbreaker in my new backpack.
And of course, if you are a FB friend, you have seen my favorite fashion hat, which I will NOT bring on the boat or hiking but WILL wear when we walk around cute little towns.
So. There you have it. How to pack for Montana.
But really, this is the bottom line: my father came back from a hunting/fishing trip to Montana decades ago and said it was the most beautiful place he’d ever been. Now, he hadn’t been to that many places in his life, but I took him at his word. He’ll be with me in my heart and on my mind on this trip to a place he loved.
I’d love to hear your advice on packing, on Yellowstone or anything else. We leave in mid-July.