LETTER TO AUGUST

If you don’t know what this “Letter to…” series is check out my Letter to July post!

This picture was in my last post, but it is by far my favorite picture from the month.  I really think it captures the contrasting feelings I felt all month... attempting that inner peace with yoga, but seriously needing a beer.
This picture was in my last post, but it is by far my favorite picture from the month. I really think it captures the contrasting feelings I felt all month… attempting that inner peace with yoga, but seriously needing a beer.

Dear August,

To be frank, I’m pretty darn happy to see you go. It’s strange because I don’t remember feeling particularly unhappy while you were here. You were just a strange month: the parts I wanted to go slow sped by, the parts I wanted to just get through drug on forever, there were times I felt like I had absolutely no responsibility, there were times I felt completely overwhelmed with what I had to do. To be fair, any of those descriptions on their own would be alright with me, but handling them all together just made me feel unsettled. It was a bit much to take, August.

When I was younger I really hated when adults would talk about time moving too fast or too slow. I mean, time always moves at the same speed. That’s kind of exactly the point of time. Out of all the different months I’ve been through in my life, you made me understand what all these people were complaining about, August. My camping trips were short. My meetings were long. The mornings sleeping in went by too quickly. The chores drug on. You get the idea. August, you were just a big ol’ confusing mess. And I do not like messes. I can hardly sleep if I leave dishes in my sink. I like things tidy at all times.

So, I’m making this short and sweet. I can’t say I’m upset to see September come and take your place. You didn’t do anything remarkable to warrant me pushing you out the door, but you certainly didn’t do me any favors. Maybe next year, when I get better at balancing this whole real-working-teacher-business with my do-nothing-go-wherever-I-please summers, I’ll be less jumbled when you come along.

For now, see you next year August and bring on the fall.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

END OF SUMMER CAMPING

Sun

DCIM101GOPRO

Finally, Brady and I were able to get up to the mountains for a little bit of camping to squeeze in the last little bit of summer, and get ready to head back to work.

If you are looking for some epic camping tale, this is not exactly the place for you. It wasn’t an exceptionally long trip. We didn’t travel to some world-famous camping area. We didn’t brave any terrifying elements. We didn’t forage for our own dinner. In fact, we just drove up, in my air-conditioned SUV, to the near-by Snowy Range Mountains, and stayed for the night.

But, it was exactly what I needed. For the upcoming week, in particular. Brady and I are both teachers, and for whatever reason I have been a bit hesitant to say that outright on this blog. I blame it mostly on last year being my first year teaching. I was (and still definitely am) trying to get my feet under me. But, I am sure some of you may have been wondering how on earth I had all of this time to leave my home for extended periods of time: visiting Montana for over a week, or driving all the way to Lake Tahoe. 100% not things that I could pull off during the school year. Blogging is my hobby/work I’m trying to grow/creative outlet. MoutainGirlyGirl is clearly not focused on teaching based content, and I really don’t see it going that way.

And that is all ridiculously off track… long story, short: Brady and I wanted to fully enjoy our last weekend before work.

GatheringThis was my favorite trip we have taken so far. I think a big part of that has to do with the fact that we were in a National Forest area, rather than at a campground. This way both of the dogs, Ellie and Teton, were able to be off their leashes and explore the entire space. Teton also took this exploring opportunity to roll around in some sort of watery-disgusting-feces-mud-gunk, which did not make me nearly as happy as it did him. Still, letting them roam around made it drastically more enjoyable for all of us; they weren’t whining about being tied up the whole night and we weren’t constantly untangling them.

Also, I no longer feel entirely useless when we go camping! It’s a bit embarrassing, but the first time I went camping with Brady was my first time camping without my parents, and I had no concept at all of what I needed to do. Which is funny because I remember feeling incredibly helpful/busy whenever I went with my family. My best guess is that I was given all of the “essential” jobs, like gathering wildflowers, to make me feel pretty important. So, Brady had his hands full. But, this time I had my other trips with Brady and my Tahoe trip with Stetson (where we made and broke camp A LOT) under my belt. I could help Brady pitch the tent without feeling like I was slowing him down. I got our sleeping pads, bags, and the dog beds all ready to go in the tent. I knew what to look for with the firewood I gathered. And I set up our crackers with goat cheese, chips with salsa, and beer appetizer. All actual essential jobs. Yes, the apps were a bit fancy, but we ate staple camp food, too. Dinner was brats with baked beans and breakfast was pancakes (I pre-made the batter at home—it’s quickly becoming a favorite, so I may share that recipe soon) with eggs.

Apps ElliePancakesThe night did get a tad chilly. Well, really chilly enough for me to put on my Patagonia leggings and SmartWool socks at 6 o’clock (which may be a little extreme, but I am an admitted diva about being cold). It’s still August, but the mountains of Wyo don’t exactly take note of that. So, Teton (an even bigger diva about being cold) wiggled his way off of his flannel bed and all the way to the very, very bottom of my sleeping bag in the middle of the night.

Regardless, I woke up on Sunday morning and seriously contemplated why we don’t do this every weekend. I mean, I know camping always takes more gear and planning than I anticipate, but the feeling of waking up outdoors is nearly impossible to beat (I realize that I say that about quite a few things I’ve talked about on here, but let’s be real: outdoors always gets the win). Now, as I am sitting here, stressing about the upcoming year, and dreading giving up my leisurely summer schedule, I can almost, almost remember that feeling I had waking up Sunday morning. It’s not the same, but it absolutely helps me relax at least a teeny bit. I’ll definitely need to get back out there before the frigid Wyo winter sets in.

Tree PoseCamping doesn’t have to mean you take time off from work, or you buy enough supplies to survive a small natural disaster, or you grow a mountain man beard. Just a weekend, or even one night, is really good for the soul. Even, just typing ‘good for the soul’ I can feel my inner hippy bowing and saying “Namaste.” There isn’t any other way to put it, though. Camping is good for the soul.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

MY MOM’S WEDDING!!

Being in my 20s, I am right at that age where it seems like just about every weekend of the summer is taken up with one wedding or another. And it’s a freakin’ blast. Funnily enough, I remember absolutely dreading weddings as a little kid. They were the worst: you had to dress up, you had to sit quietly, you had to politely pretend to remember people who hadn’t seen you since you were “just thiiiis big,” and you had to watch people kiss… gross. Now they are the highlight of my summers. Turns out they stop being painfully boring once you are actually friends with the people getting married. It’s hard to beat buffet dinners, beers, and busting out my killer dance moves.

This summer though, I got to attend my favorite wedding of all time. Ever. In the history of all weddings.

MJMy mom got married!!

Now, I know parents talk about watching their children get married and it being one of the happiest days of their life. But, not many kids get to experience that feeling in return. It’s completely indescribable. As a kid, it can be super difficult to look past your needs for Mom to drive you to practice or pick up your favorite kind of ice cream or teach you how to shave your legs, and see her as an actual person. Getting older, and having that relationship begin to shift is pretty special. So, seeing her at her absolute happiest is just about perfect.

I’m going to keep this fairly short and sweet (well, as short as I can be to fit in all of this excitement). In fact, I have gone back and forth on whether I even wanted to post about this at all. This doesn’t necessarily fit into the whole mountaingirlygirl niche I am working to create/figure out what in the heck it is. It’s difficult to find that balance between sharing too much—where this site begins to feel a bit like a journal– and not sharing enough—where this site feels cold and impersonal. So, I’ll aim for a happy medium, with just the right amount of sap thrown in.

Just for a tiny bit of background: my parents have been divorced ever since I was a very, very small child; my dad remarried and my step-mom absolutely rocks (yes, their wedding was also incredibly exciting, but seeing as I was still more into climbing trees with Stetson than the actual ceremony I wasn’t quite at the age to fully appreciate it); my mom had been single for much too long. For my brother, and myself we were completely ecstatic when Mom found gruff, mustached Jerry.

Even on her big day, doing her part to make sure Stetson is all put together.
Even on her big day, doing her part to make sure Stetson is all put together.
Stets and I walking Mom down the aisle.
Stets and I walking Mom down the aisle.
Mom with Papha, who happens to be a pastor and married the happy couple.
Mom with Papha, who happens to be a pastor and married the happy couple.

My mom and her husband J, Jerry, chose to have a very small ceremony at his cabin up on the West Boulder River. And I truly mean very small. It was just their immediate family. In fact, Brady was one of the only people not yet ‘in’ the family, and somehow he got stuck with the job of grilling all 20 steaks for the rehearsal dinner. Thankfully, he survived, and was still invited to the ceremony, but it was a pretty high-profile job. Originally, I was pushing Mom pretty hard to at least have a bigger reception. She is ridiculously social, and everyone was so unbelievably excited for her to get married I was sure they would want to celebrate too.

But, it turns out that the small ceremony was actually perfect. My mom’s hopes for the week were, “A family vacation in the mountains, where there happens to be a wedding.” And we got exactly that. We were able to fish. We were able to hike. We were able to camp. We were able to four-wheel. It was perfect.

The Newly-Weds enjoying the Natural Bridge on their first day of marriage.
The Newly-Weds enjoying the Natural Bridge on their first day of marriage.

I know the wedding of a parent can bring up a ton of different emotions for a child. There’s always a background story that has a major effect on how they feel about Mom or Dad tying the knot. And I completely respect that. For me, the overwhelming happiness of my mom no longer living alone in her house or attending get-togethers solo was just about too much to take. Of course, she was never one to complain about those things or throw herself a pity party, which is exactly why she deserves this happy ending. And using her wedding as a way to get the entire family together for a full week of outdoor adventures is pretty awesome, too.

The whole crew, together!
The whole crew, together!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

FLY FISHING DISPLAY FRAME

Selfie TiltMy family is incredibly sentimental, and I like to pretend I am immune to it, but that’s just not true. And it has spilled over into fly fishing. I have all of these flies that I have gotten attached to. I don’t want to fish with them and risk losing them to a vicious tree snag. I also don’t want to just leave them sitting in my fly box. So, I decided I needed to make a way to display them!

I am not an exceptionally crafty person. I do go on the occasional crafting binge, where I get all of this inspiration to make my tiny, little rental look like Pinterest threw up all over it. But, I usually run out of steam midway through ‘step 7 part E’ where I need to go buy 2 dozen mason jars and 3 different styles of lace.

I need simple projects. And that’s exactly what this is. By the time I had all of the supplies, it literally only took me 10 minutes to finish the project. Of course, picking where to hang it and how to center and level it took another hour and a half, but that’s neither here nor there.

This is by no means a full on crafting tutorial. Because it’s so simple it doesn’t need a tutorial… I’ll just explain what I did while watching The Office and drinking my last Moose Drool from the fridge.

FP Supplies 2Materials:

Picture Frame

Burlap

Scissors

Super Glue

Flies

Directions:

  1. Remove glass from picture frame.
  2. Measure out your burlap. Make sure it is long enough to cover the entire matting. Depending on the width of your burlap and the size of your picture frame, you may need to use more than one piece (I used 2 for mine).
  3. Wrap the burlap around the matting.       Once in place, secure using super glue. Allow glue to dry.
  4. Place matting back inside of the frame and add the flies wherever you feel looks best!

As you can see, I added a picture of myself and Brady and a dried daisy from the first flowers Brady got me (so lovey-dovey and sentimental it makes you sick right? If it helps I didn’t get those flowers until well over a year and a half into dating).

FPB 1
Ok, I had to include just a bit of the painting my step-grandma made for me. My family is pretty great all around, right? I can’t wait to find the perfect spot to display it in my house. And hang it with my pink tool set of course.

I love this project because it was incredibly easy and fast. But, my favorite part was how cheap it was! Usually those “simple” Pinterest DIY projects end up costing way more than I expect—seriously, I could just buy the lace/mason jar/burlap concoction on Etsy for less. For this project I used an old frame that didn’t have any pictures (you know those frames that have some sort of inspirational quote written on the matting—as a 20-something year old female I receive tons of gifts chalk-full of those quotes and sayings, but they aren’t really my thing, so I repurposed it). Then, I had super glue, scissors, and the flies. So, all I had to buy was the burlap! Plus, I desperately needed some more decorations hanging on my wall.

The flies I chose to display belonged to my great-grandpa, Grandpa Pug. I’m lucky enough to have memories of going to the fishing lake in Gillette with my Grandpa Pug and Grandma Neuma. At that age Stetson did most of the fishing. I would clap and squeal from the shore and intently watch the little fish Stetson caught swim around in our pail, before returning it to the lake. Then, we would head home where Stetson and Grandpa Pug would play checkers (Stetson getting very annoyed at how long Grandpa took to decide where to move his piece) and I would eat caramel candies in the kitchen with Grandma Neuma.

I also put up a few of the first flies that my dad tied for me. When I was younger my go-to gift for Dad, whether it was Christmas or Father’s Day or his birthday, were flies for fishing. But, I always just picked the prettiest ones. So, he ended up with quite a collection of neon pink streamers… To his credit, each time he pretended to be surprised and thrilled with my selection. Then, when I was about 11 at church camp, I decided to skip the dance class that all of the other girls signed up for, and take a fly tying class. That’s where I tied my first (and as of now only) fly for Dad. See? These silly flies, that I pop off about every 4 casts, are full of memories.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

AUGUST BOXYCHARM

ABC 1It is BoxyCharm time! Once again BoxyCharm totally blew it out of the water and sent $117 worth of beauty products for the $21 that I paid. Seriously. It baffles me every single time. However, I’m worried my love affair with BoxyCharm may need to take a break. I need some help deciding what to do. But, I’ll get more into that at the end of the post. For now, let’s get into the products!

SO SUSAN STATEMENT SKIN

Stick HighlightI have found a new favorite highlighter. Yes, my last favorite highlighter also came from BoxyCharm (The Beauty Crop Lighting Crew Highlighting Cream from the JUNE BOXYCHARM), but honestly this one blows that out of the water. I love that this highlighter comes in stick form. It’s super easy to apply, doesn’t leave a chunky/glittery look, AND lasts all day. It’s everything I want in a highlighter. I like to use it on my cheekbones and under my brow bone, but really it can go wherever your heart desires (it would even make a cute eyeshadow for summery makeup days). Completely worth the $20, in my opinion. Plus So Susan is a completely cruelty-free brand– a win-win.

MICABEAUTY GEL EYELINER

Mica I had not delved into the gel eyeliner world quite yet, but this may change my mind. I was always nervous that gel eyeliner would be too hard to apply—I have enough issues with regular eyeliner. To be honest, I usually skip eyeliner all together or will use just a bit of black eye shadow smudged on the lash line. Surprisingly, this eyeliner is super easy to apply, but still is forgiving with the many mistakes I make. It is a true black color, without looking too harsh. It doesn’t smudge or flake throughout the day. Overall, I am incredibly happy (though I have yet to master the cat eye…).

This is something that I will reach for on days when I am doing ‘fancier’ makeup. You know, those big events in my life like attending weddings and walking around the Farmer’s Market (I’ve said it before and I still totally consider every Farmer’s Market Friday from July to September to be a “big day”). This does cost $35, which is a pretty penny for eyeliner. Not having tried any other gel eyeliner I can’t fairly say if it’s worth the price or not. But, I do know I love this and have no complaints with the product.

SETA EYELINER BRUSH

Seta Well, thank goodness this brush came, given my new-found-love for gel eyeliner. The tip on this brush is teeny, tiny which makes it very easy to apply the product. I can get right up to the lashline, and avoid the over-the-top-intense-liner circa freshman year Sydney. Along with being small, the brush is also really firm. I thought I wasn’t going to like this, thinking it would perhaps hurt my eyes (I envisioned it like applying eyeliner with a toothpick). In actuality, the firmness just makes it much easier to keep my line precise and clean. This brush is $16, and I couldn’t have upped my liner game without it!

NIOS SHIELD LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER

SPF Leave-In This product was really interesting to me. With my hair type I love a leave in conditioner, and I know that SPF is important all over, including your scalp. But, I usually concentrate my leave-in hair products to the ends of my hair desperately avoiding the scalp. I hate washing my hair (I’m currently rocking a Day 4 hair messy bun), so I need to avoid grease at all costs.

This product can be used on wet or dry hair, can be applied to the scalp, all over the hair, or just to the ends according to the product directions. That’s a lot of uses for a $26 product. I have toyed around with all of the different application methods and I completely prefer using it on wet hair and just in the ends (like all of my other leave-in products). When I used it on dry hair—even just in the ends—my hair looked and felt extra greasy. On wet hair I could apply it to the scalp without it looking greasy, but I felt some buildup at the roots and the next day was a grease fest (so much so that Brady, who is pretty used to my unwashed hair mess said something). Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this conditioner, unless you live in an area where you are at the beach or pool all the time. Seeing as I live in Wyoming that isn’t really the case for me.

COASTAL SCENTS REVEALED 3 PALETTE

Revealed 3 Another palette!! Literally doubling my collection. I must admit: I saw that this was one of the items we would be receiving on a Sneak Peak that BoxyCharm did, and I was actually a bit disappointed. The reason being: we already received the Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette a few months back. The 3 palette has a few more matte, neutral colors than the 2, but otherwise they are super, super similar. Especially for someone like me, who rarely uses eyeshadow, other than a neutral shade right in the crease.

Because I am still undecided as to whether I want to keep this palette, or give it to a friend and keep rocking my Revealed 2, I have not swatched the colors. I am assuming they will be very similar to the swatches from my current palette (good pigmentation, easy to blend, bit chalky on the shimmer shades). It retails for $39.95, but is on sale for $19.95. Which is a stellar price for 20 shadows! If you have the Revealed 2 palette already, I don’t think you need the 3 as well. But, if you are in the market for a palette that will work well and won’t break the bank, check out all of the Coastal Scents Revealed Palettes and find the one that suits your style best. They are affordable and good quality.

***

So, this box was full of products I definitely enjoy using and can see myself using on a regular basis. However, over the past few months I have been debating if I should continue with BoxyCharm or not. I have noticed a bit of a stockpile of my BoxyCharm products that aren’t really getting the chance to be used up before I get a new/different version to replace it. They don’t really repeat items, but they do send lots of similar products (I have more highlighters than I could possibly use). That’s not exactly what I’m wanting with my beauty collection. I love, love, love trying new products and hate shopping. So, I’m glad that BoxyCharm does all of the shopping and product research for me, but I don’t want to have a big makeup collection just for the sake of having a big collection. That being said, I am pretty much positive as soon as I cancel my subscription they will send out the best box ever…

I even did the math, and I have saved LITERALLY hundreds (YES HUNDREDS!!!) of dollars by using BoxyCharm.

Here's my Makeup Math if you're interested from January to July.  I paid $147, have received $846 worth of products, I used $561 worth of products, and couldn't live without (yes, I'm that dramatic) $310 worth of the products.
Here’s my Makeup Math, if you’re interested, from January to July. I paid $147, have received $846 worth of products, I used $561 worth of products, and couldn’t live without (yes, I’m that dramatic) $310 worth of the products. Ugh! The decision is so hard!

BoxyCharm has been so fun for me and they pride themselves on sending out full size products. That’s exactly why I was attracted to them. But, I don’t want to keep stacking up full size products I won’t finish. What are your thoughts? Other subscription boxes out there that may fit me better? I would love your help!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

 

 

BETWEEN THE LAKES FISHING

I would definitely, definitely still consider myself to be at the beginner-level of fly-fishing. Of course, I am incredibly proud of the improvements that I have made, mostly with casting because I get to practice that all the time. I have been very upfront about the fact that I fish to spend time with the people I love and be able to share that outdoor time in a way that is much more rewarding than just tagging along. That being said… if I fish a spot and it skunks me, you can bet that the next time I’m there I will stick it out until I catch one (or I get eaten alive by mosquitoes/too hungry to think straight—whatever comes first).

I’m not an exceptionally competitive person. In fact, my complete lack of athletic ability ended my competitive sports run, pretty early on in life. Which led me to cheerleading and forced me to come up with witty one-liners to use whenever I was asked what sports I played in high school (which I found was a go-to conversation-lull-question for my entire college career). Surprisingly, I have found that I’m pretty competitive with myself: if I ran 3 miles yesterday—I want to run 4 miles today; if I read 10 books last summer—I want to read 11 books this summer; if I ate 6 slices of pizza yesterday—I want to eat 7 slices today. You get the idea. It’s all about the small, personal victories for me.

Here I am my first time fishing Between the Lakes.
Here I am my first time fishing Between the Lakes.

In my FISHING IN BIG SKY, MT post, I mentioned fishing in an area referred to as ‘Between the Lakes’ up near Big Sky. And I got skunked my first time fishing there. Hardly even a bite if I remember correctly. So, when Brady, Stetson, and I found ourselves back in that neck of the woods, I had the perfect opportunity to redeem myself.

Now, I would love to say that because I had many more fly fishing trips under my belt this time, and I had Brady and Stetson both there helping me, and I was in a much better fishing state of mind, that I completely slayed it up there. However, that was not exactly the case. I had to put in some serious work. But, I would say that this trip I was able to learn quite a bit.

Stetson with one of his many trout from the day.
Stetson with one of his many trout from the day.

First of all, I realized that size does actually matter. Yes, it’s completely true. When picking out flies, I generally just follow exactly what whomever I have roped into helping me at the fly shop says. Usually in those instances a lot of information is being thrown at me at once… they toss out crazy fly names while talking about the water temperature and pressure and this hatch that happened last year but was late this year… and my head just gets to crammed. I am starting to learn tons more about all of those things, but my comprehension comes in much smaller doses and slower speeds. So, I have found that I try to key in to the color and general pattern of the flies that they are discussing. At least that I can remember.  Size was definitely one of my last concerns. But, I found that in this particular stretch of water it clearly matters a lot. The flies that I started out throwing were simply too big. Not one fish was even sniffing at it. They were all hitting on theses flies that looks just like mine, except miniature. So I switched to a size 18. That was my first improvement.

This trip, I am attempting to set what I believed was a trout, but ended up just being a ripple that tugged at my indicator.
This trip, I am attempting to set what I believed was a trout, but ended up just being a ripple that tugged at my indicator.

Second, I was told that strike indicator placement is not something to ignore. I generally just eyeball about where I think I remember I had the indicator last time and plop it right there again. No matter if I am fishing in a stream that has water barely reaching my shins, or if I am up to my bellybutton in a massive river. Same indicator placement. I realize that may seem ridiculously dumb to the seasoned fly fisher out there (and believe me, when Stetson realized where I had that indicator placed he thought the same thing—and didn’t even attempt to hide his giggle fit), but I really work hard to keep up with the others that I am fishing with as I set up m rod.  Meaning I try to keep my questions to about 1 every 30 seconds rather than 1 every 5 seconds. This water was incredibly deep and we wanted our nymphs very close to the bottom, and once I moved my indicator about 4 feet, I had exactly that going.

Brady trying to get a picture before the dogs completely tangled his entire set up.  Yes, Teton is in what I affectionately refer to as his "Hannibal mask," which he kept on until he quit attempting to scale every tree to grab a little squirrel snack.
Brady trying to get a picture before the dogs completely tangled his entire set up. Yes, Teton is in what I affectionately refer to as his “Hannibal mask,” which he kept on until he quit attempting to scale every tree to grab a little squirrel snack.

The last, but probably most important thing that I learned, was managing my line. There was a ton of room out there and next to no one fishing near us, so we had loads of room to really let of line drift and stretch out before recasting. While that sounds lovely in theory, it simply meant I had more line to try and keep from tangling into the world’s biggest and most frustrating knot. I know that I want to keep the fly looking as natural as possible in the water, so I try to limit all of the jerky line movements to a minimum. But, with this much line pooling around me as I stood in the water and attempted to mend it without disturbing the drift, I was just a full-on-jerky mess. From downstream Stetson noticed this, and took a bit of time off from reeling in trout after trout to come help me. He showed me a way to feed a lot more line into the rod in a shorter amount of time. Basically, I was working my butt of trying to feed short, little chunks of line, while the rest of the line sat in the water around me, getting tangled together. But, if I used my entire wingspan (all 2 feet of it) to get as much line going in as possible, it was much smoother.

Yep.  Again, I landed the fish with a quiet grace and dignity of a seasoned veteran.
Yep. Again, I landed the fish with a quiet grace and dignity of a seasoned veteran.

Once I had all of those components working together, and after about 4 hours of fishing I finally hooked into a fish! I tried to play it cool, but I immediately got into my power-squat-reeling-stance and started to pant like Teton does when he sees a cat (or squirrel, or bunny, or child on a tricycle) walking along our fence. Not the most graceful of fish landings, but it worked. I desperately wanted to catch a trout, but it ended up being a white fish. So, I started the whole process over again. I ended up catching another white fish before the day wrapped up.

Going into this trip, I told myself I just wanted to catch one fish. That’s it. Just one. Then I would go explore a bit with Teton and Camden, and get some pictures of Brady and Stetson. But, as soon as I caught my “one.” I told myself I just wanted to catch one trout. Then, I would be able to call it a day. Seriously, I feel like that can go on forever and ever with fishing. That’s why it’s so addicting. You can be positive the next time we head to this stretch of water I’ll keep going until I get a trout, then I’ll want a different kind of trout, then I’ll want a bigger trout. It’s never-ending, but still so satisfying. I beat my old record of 0 from my first trip, and set a new goal for my next trip—no complaints here.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

NATURAL BRIDGE

DCIM101GOPROCamping, fishing, backpacking, and just being outside all day—that’s definitely how I love to spend my summer. But, I also really, really love hanging out on my couch, reading, and eating frozen cookie dough with Teton. So, sometimes a short little hike is just perfect for me. I get in my outdoors fix and I get to embrace my inner bum. It’s a classic win-win.

While up visiting Montana, there was lots of time to relax and take in our beautiful spot on the West Boulder River. But, there was also a ton to get done. I mean: we were up there for a wedding! So, this mini-hike to ‘Natural Bridge’ was the perfect break.

Everyone in my mom’s family was able to check out the Natural Bridge from the lookout point without any hiking. Then, all of the cousins decided we wanted to hike down to the pool at the bottom. My aunt and uncle decided to come along as well. Now, my aunt will be the first to tell you that she is not the world’s most outdoorsy person. A fact that she fully admits to and she really owns her stake in our family as “the high maintenance one.” I think she legitimately enjoys her title, and I definitely admire how she embraces it. However, another claim that she has in our family is that she is the youngest ‘adult’ that is closest to all of the nieces and nephews ages. So, naturally, when we all decided we were going to hike, she and her husband jumped in with the ‘young group’ (of course, when the ‘young group’ all had to sleep outside in tents for the Wedding Week she decided to opt out of being included with us).

DCIM101GOPROThis was a hike that was definitely more about the destination than the actual hike. Those are my favorite. Yes, I can appreciate when the hike is exceptionally beautiful, or intensely challenging, but I love when the hike is enjoyable, and the destination is somewhere that you can spend hours exploring before making your way back out. The Natural Bridge hike in wasn’t anything spectacular. It did have some downhill spots that were a bit tricky with a group as big,, and with such different levels of outdoor experience as ours. Still, the hike was relatively quick, and the end location was super rewarding.

DCIM101GOPROWe were able to splash around a bit in the freezing water. Which, not everyone loved… but I did think it was a welcome change from the insane heat (because I have been living in Wyoming for the past 5 years “insane heat” means anything above 80°). And the sight of the ‘bridge’ opening with all of that water gushing in was pretty impressive.

So, it may not have been the most difficult, or longest, or most uphill hike I have ever done, but it was so worth it. We were able to spend a couple of hours together and still got to go back to the house and enjoy rootbeer floats. Not a bad day by any means.

***

I know this is a shorter post– and I realize that is alright every so often (I do try to spare you from my ridiculous-over-the-top-and-uneccessary-wordiness when I can)– but the idea behind it is something I seriously value.  Just get outside. You don’t need to be the best at it.  You don’t need to spend an entire week in the wilderness.  You don’t even need to do a yoga tree pose at the top of every mountain you see (even though I do really want ONE of those pictures).  Just try it out.  The whole idea with this blog for me is trying.  “A little bit girly.  A little bit outdoorsy.  Mostly, just a whole lot of trying.”  There is still so much I want to work on and grow with this site, but I am really happy that I’m trying.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

LETTER TO JULY

I’m going to be starting a new series on the blog. “Series” makes it sound incredibly official to me, which I love, but really these will just be posts I will do at the end of each month. It’s called Letters to… and then fill in whatever month just finished. I first heard about this as I was washing dishes and watching one of my favorite YouTubers, EssieButton talk about her monthly favourites—with a ‘u’ because she lives in London and is fancy.  She had done a Letters to July video for another channel and shared it as one of her ‘favourites’ this month (here’s her Letters to July video). The Letters to July originated—as far as I know from the extensive research I did by listing to what EssieButton said and taking it completely at face value—on Emily Diana Ruth’s channel. And, honestly, I thought it was such an interesting idea, I wanted to create my own version of it.

I have toyed with the idea of doing Monthly Favorites posts of my own ever since I started MountainGirlyGirl. And even before, when I was in the obsessive planning/will-I-ever-bite-the-bullet-and-do-this? phase. Monthly Favorites are some of my favorite blog posts to read and YouTube videos to watch. But, the posts from other individuals tend to be more product centered, and I have found that I don’t actually change up the products that I use very often. I will definitely try out new things and think it’s fun to play around, but when push comes to shove I stick with what I know. So, it seemed like my Monthly Favorite posts might turn into more of “Here’s The Same Stuff I Liked Last Month, But I’ll Talk About It Using Slightly Different Adjectives” posts. Not exactly the most riveting stuff.

These Letters to… posts seem to fit me a whole lot better. It will be just a quick reflection on that month. Plus, with how I sign off on each post, “Thanks for reading, Sydney,” it already feels like I’m writing a letter with each new blog entry. How perfect? It can be serious, or witty, or sarcastic, or introspective, or funny. Just however that particular month left me feeling.

And from here on out, these letters won’t come with a massive intro like this one. I’ll just hop right into the letter!

Each month I will also include my favorite picture from that month.  Maybe one that you have seen before and maybe a new one.  This month I picked one from my Montana trip, because it represents lots of things I love: Montana, exploring,  and family.
Each month I will also include my favorite picture from that month. Maybe one that you have seen before and maybe a new one. This month I picked one from my Montana trip, because it represents lots of things I love: Montana, exploring, and family.

Dear July,

I think you are the perfect month to start this series with. Everyone’s expectations for you, are just ridiculously high, and it’s not fair. June and August are summer months too, but you get most of the burden. In June, people are just warming up and getting used to the idea of summer; they’re excited about all of their plans, but don’t feel pressured to rush and get them done. In August, people are in full-on summer mode; they have the relaxing part down pat, and are trying to soak it all in and appreciate it before fall hits. But, you are left being that month where everyone is trying to jam pack you with action and adventure and fun, like you see in teen movies about summer. You’re the work horse of summer, and it seems you don’t get the recognition you deserve.

But, I want to say thanks. You were such a fulfilling month for me. I attribute most of that to the time you allotted me for family. I got to spend probably the most continuous time with my family I’ve had since I finished high school. I got to spend time and celebrate with Brady’s family. And, though it wasn’t for any reason I ever would have hoped, I got to spend time with the family that appears in most of my childhood memories. As I get older, and busier, my time with family has become a lot more limited.  I’ve never really been a person who ventures home a ton after I moved out.  Not for any negative reason, actually more of a positive one– I’m just incredibly happy with my life here.  Unfortunately, that means I make the drive to Montana less often than I should.  Though, thankfully, it makes me appreciate those trips that much more.  This month I got to take full advantage of extra time with my families.  That’s all thanks to you, July.

So, yes I still have my ‘Summer Activities’ list that has quite a few things yet to be checked off. But, I’ll let August take that burden. July, you did your job and  to expect anything else out of you just wouldn’t be fair.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney