We decided not to drive down the Bitterroot to meet our friends (and go ice fishing) because they had no phone reception and the last message I received from my friend doubted the ability of our car to reach the cabin. We own no winter gear - no cross country skis, no snowshoes and the potential walk with the kids to the cabin seemed overwhelming. So instead I turned to the internet to try and find something we could do without cross country skis or snowshoes.
I found this: A few years old post about a place called Renova Hot Springs. They were there in February and it looked fun... so I googled directions. We packed lunch and off we went.
We stopped to eat our lunch in Butte, MT and wandered around the historic section of town. The buildings are beautiful. Intricate details that speak of a wealth that once was.
We cross the continental divide. Now all the rivers flow east - to the other ocean.
The mountains were beautiful.
The air warm for February and a wind whisked around us.
The pool was drained a warm trickle of water running in and out again through open drain pipes. We plugged the holes and hoped for a quick fill.
We explored the river bank and when we returned the water level had risen by - oh - an inch?
We will go back. When we can pitch our tent and camp and hike and fish and wait to fill the hot spring. But for now, we resigned ourselves to having had one massive misadventure. On the way home I tryed not to think of how much gas we wasted, on how much I could have done at home or in the studio and my never ending list of personal failures.
We crossed the continental divide into driving wet snow. Now all the rivers flow west and we are still hours from home. The car is crawling, the kids are singing and I am glad we spent the day together.