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Montana Play Day

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April 10, 2013 by PO.P Press

By Melynda Harrison, Traveling Mel

Fridays are field trip days. My boys (4.5 and 6 years old) and I head out to explore somewhere new, or already loved, in Montana. Sometimes it’s a nature center or museum, but more often it’s somewhere outside.

We fit outdoor playtime into our schedule most days. But field trip days are special. We go a little further afoot. Weather in Montana can be challenging—think 50 F and sunny one day and blowing snow and freezing temps the next day. As long as we are prepared with the right gear, there are very few things Mother Nature can throw at us that we can’t handle.

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On this Field Trip Friday the young men and I headed west to my favorite Nordic Center–Homestake Lodge. Despite the passing of the Equinox, it’s still winter here (sort of, it was nearly 50 degrees F for this field trip).

There’s 37 km of groomed trails through aspens and huge rocks, winding around marshes, and up and down hills. We didn’t bring our pup this time, but there are dog trails and lighted trails for night skiing. We cover very few kilometers of trail, but love the view of the mountains and looking for animal tracks.

Homestake is the perfect place to ski with kids. You can stretch out in the lodge after a long drive (almost two hours for us), and change into ski clothes. Of course, we immediately dive into our snacks upon arrival.

Then, we headed out the door for a little ski. Thanks to my six years of parent training, I had no expectations for our ski. Well, very few expectations. We skied a bit, took a snack break, and skied a bit more. We may have been out there for a full hour. The boys really loved gliding down the hills while I held then up between my skis.

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Even when we are done skiing, we like to stay outside. We bring sleds and careen down a few hills. Finn digs, throws snow, and talks a big game about building a snowman (almost impossible with the dry, dry snow here). Anders creates a “mystery path” for us to follow.

By the time we head home, everyone is happily tired.

Melynda is a writer, naturalist, wife, mom, cross-country ski enthusiast, hiker, reader, knitter, jungle gym, napkin, Malamute lover, kid hauler and head over heels about being outside with her family. She is also a Polarn O. Pyret Brand Ambassador.


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