(A letter home from a recent Glacier County Honey Co. guest)

Dear Mom,

It’s a little strange, this land up here. The buttes and dry prairie rolling on for miles and then suddenly a breaking peak signals a new landscape is upon you. Not just a single peak, no, your eyes see that they continue on, seemingly unendingly into a great new land, where the air is crisp and clean and your fears of a great grizzly seem a little more real and you whistle a little more loudly at night. It is not the South. Not the comforting South of Carolina football, sweet tea and your biscuits and gravy. Nor full of the night trains, pulled pork in small shacks and the churches on every street. It is more than strange, it is wild and beautiful and untamed. Thankfully, it always will be.

But the hardiest people manage to make lives in the hardest climes, and I have been privileged to meet a few of them. Up here in this wilderness, the Beekeeper’s wife and her family live in this wilderness, not taming it, but thriving by loving it. And sharing their piece of the wild with those who don’t have it in their backyard. I trekked more on this visit than I expected, and every view was worth the miles. Better than returning to a campsite though is the return to the Ranch, where Loons call from the pond and the cattails rush to the edge of the pond and are caught by aspens to the back. Layer after layer reveals itself as the land rises and brush gives way to tree and they to rock as the mountains rise and catches the skies.

They work hard up here, preparing for the long harsh winter that is curiously beautiful in its sparseness. As I write, the Beekeeper and the Woodworker are racing to finish their building in time for harvest with the threat of freeze in the back of their mind. It is a pressure I do not envy them, but their spirits are buoyant and the work progresses. The hospitality they show as their deadline looms is amazing. I think that this land is tempered not by the might of their arms, but by their kindness.

It is an amazing place, I know you would enjoy it. I cannot wait to tell you about more, like the schoolteacher in a tack barn and the campfire in the field where the stars are too close to distinguish.

The Traveler