December 23 - 28th
Since I enjoyed last year‘s Christmas visit to Yellowstone so much, I made plans to do it again. Yet this year brought a new twist: I was also going to spend time in Bozeman in order to continue my search for a home to buy for my eventual retirement. Then, on December 1st, things took a dramatic turn.
When I looked at the latest e-mail sent by my Bozeman realtor, Ray, one listing just popped out. It was one of four units in a quiet, 20-year-old neighborhood, with a classic, dignified design, well-built and well maintained and, best of all, well within my price range. I called Ray. He said he was not surprised that I responded to it; he agreed it had just about everything I said I had wanted. The next day I made a bid and my bid was accepted. A tentative closing date was set for late January, but I had yet to set foot in it!
I had planned to spend a full day in Bozeman at the start of my trip, looking at a dozen other listings, but now this one took priority. I arrived on December 22nd to a foot of snow on the ground and a balmy 45 degrees. I met Ray and Ballpark Frank and we went to see it. Long story short, I am now the proud owner of a sweet two story condo with views of the Bridger and Gallatin mountains. There is nothing inside it except a pair of boots and my hiking poles, but I intend to add to that, little by little, as the years go by.
Someday I will have time to reflect on the progression of events that has led me to this point. But I have long dreamed of having my own place in sight of mountains, within easy reach of what I consider wilderness. On this trip, my dream got closer than ever.
Thanks, as always, to John Uhler for starting it all; to Doug Dance for his original inspiration and help in my creating these trip reports (P.S. BUY HIS BOOK!) and Special Thanks this time to Ballpark Frank whose advice and friendship made a Really Scary Decision a lot easier.
And finally, in this report I refer to “the spirit of Allison”. Allison was a shining-light of a woman, my friend and the Queen of the Loons. She passed away suddenly in December of 2003. Her loving family arranged for her ashes to be scattered on Kite Hill above the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in June of 2004. Many of us were in attendance at that ceremony. Thus, each time I visit the Park I feel her presence, and I hope always to share my trips with her.