Francie at the Elkhorn Ranch on Rock Creek

Monday we left Greenough and drove to Rock Creek for a few more days of our Montana vacation. Rock Creek is a place Heff spent LOTS of time in his bachelor days fishing. We stopped first at the "Rock Creek Mercantile" for flies and fishing tips, at the beginning of a long windy, dirt road that parallels the river for forty miles. When we walked in to the "Mercantile" (think beers, fly fishing equipment, sun flower seeds and a bunch of old men sitting around a table in the middle of the store reading newspapers and talking fishing) the owner says "Brian Heffernan... where ya been?" and then looks at me and Francie and says "Oh, I see where you've been. Busy!" Heff spent 9/11 with these guys watching the sad coverage on their little fuzzy black and white TV during his three month post-taking-the-bar-pre-starting-real-work fly fishing/camping excursion in Montana in 2001. He has been back a half a dozen times since then and Heff says it's the same guys and their families in there, running the restaurant next door and serving the coffee out front. They gave us some advice and we drove on a few more miles to a little cabin at "Elkhorn Lodge" on a big grass flat across from the river. It was the perfect little cabin for our little family and even though it wasn't "glamping" it was a lot of fun to unwind (still NO cell service anywhere), read books and explore the area (well explore for me, Heff knew it like the back of his hand) We stayed for two nights in the "Stonefly" cabin.

"Mom... this cabin is fun but where are the gourmet S'mores and the nice people who made me bacon every morning?"

Looking for trouble

"Ohh... I see sprinklers!"

Opa would be proud of her fascination with water and water pumps :)

Silly girl

Dirty knees and a drooling "O" face :)

We went to dinner at the "HOME COOK'N" little old restaurant back by the Mercantile. Francie was SOO worn out she was falling asleep in Heff's arms (not even on his shoulder, like face planting forward with her head bobbing!) So we pulled the carseat out of the truck so she could sleep through dinner.

Knocked out under the table. We missed her presence but... it was peaceful. :)

We went back to the cabin for a head to head Scrabble game (I WON by four points:) and read our books. Francie slept with us since they didn't really have cribs on hand here and I joined Francie in bed after awhile but Heff was up in the living room reading for a little longer. SOMEHOW she woke up without making a sound and I didn't notice her moving, saw Dad in the other room where the light was on and high-tailed it out of bed over to see her dad. It was dark in the room so he didn't see her either and she crawled STRAIGHT OFF THE BED! Heff and I JUMPED up at the thud and she was screaming her head off right away... we checked for broken parts or bumps and bruises but she seemed ok. It scared us but she recovered!

She was wide awake and full of pep the next day when we went back to lunch at the same restaurant

"Did you tell them I fell off the bed mom?"

After lunch we played outside on the swingset and in the old covered wagon

It was a little cloudy and rained for a few minutes Tuesday morning so we took advantage of a morning of doing NOTHING but reading and playing with Francie in the cabin before we put on some warmer clothes and came over here for lunch (I love those days:)

"Let me outta here or my mom my get some crazy idea in her head and make me have a Pioneer Party for my 12th birthday." (Jannie... did you ever think that birthday party would result in endless teasing by my siblings and sister-in-law still to this day!)

A teepee

After lunch we went for a two hour drive all the way down the creek and saw some cute little cabins, fishing lodges and lots of trailers :) It was beautiful and fairly untouched country. I got some mom time after lunch and Dad took Francie on a hike on the river. They crossed this bridge which made me a little nervous!

Francie was obsessed with this fish on the entrance sign and we visited it a few times a day

Wednesday morning we packed up to head home. Francie and I out in front of our cabin the "Stonefly"

Staying out of trouble momentarily while Dad packs up

You can't the Montana out of the girl... in her JORTS!

Dad ready to go home with beers for the road! (Just kidding.... we gave the last of our cooler contents to the nice guy who managed the cabins but you CAN get to go cups from restaurants in Montana)

Hopefully we'll be back here again Francie!

We stopped at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation n Missoula before our 3:15pm flight

She pretty much had the "OOO" face looking at all these huge elk the ENTIRE time we were in the museum

ELK, more ELK and BEARS... OH MY!

"It's not playing with me like Ollie does Mom :("

Francie checking out some of the highest rated Elk in history