Polebridge, MT: Horses and Courses

Finally, a toilet. We are so excited that we have a composting commode installed that we just have to share. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I finally read the operating instructions, and it turns out this contraption requires constant daily maintenance, so we’re still debating the separation of doodies.

Semi-civilized living

While Monica finishes her manuscript editing project, I thought I would post some photos (click them to enlarge). The yurt is shaping up, but it still needs solutions for better cooking, dishwashing, and bathing; more rugs; and a ceiling fan. Overall, things are progressing, though—for instance, the solar panels are operational and we now have electricity.

Courtesy of Mother’s Power Solar Co.

Yurter extraordinaire

Chris’s Montana Freezer

Cozy inside, frosty outside

Feeling homey

Last weekend, Whitefish hosted the International Skijoring Championships. Naturally, being locals now, we couldn’t miss it. For the uninitiated, skijoring is a sport of Norwegian origin that features pulling a skier behind a horse and around a course with jumps and moguls.

Practice run


Some big air

Afterward, I spent a couple days at the yurt, chopping wood, fixing and installing aforementioned toilet, ventilating the same (hopefully I read those instructions right…we’ll find out soon enough), decking the loft, chopping more wood, stoking the stove bi-hourly, chopping more wood, and hiking.

Donning the snowshoes, I trekked to the North Fork to see if I could find a hole in the ice and some hungry cutthroats. En route, I followed the trail of a mountain lion. Based on the tracks, he was big, and not far ahead of me.  When I arrived at the river, I saw his paw prints disappear on the trackless ice. My camera battery was dead, so these photos are taken with my Blackberry. Back at the yurt, starving for protein and fishless, I looked out the north window while drying my clothes. There I saw the big cat lurking at the edge of the meadow. Apparently he was starving, too.

Disappearing paw prints

Ice fishing Montana style

So many people question our sanity being out here in the winter, and sometimes we ask that same question. The hour and a half on snowy icy roads to get there can be a drag (and getting stuck in three feet of snow in the Expedition at night, while driving around the unplowed perimeter of our property wasn’t a picnic either). Still, the views we get to see along the drive are spectacular. Here are a few.

The North Fork Road

Coal Creek / bear hangout

The Livingstone Range

Sun through burned-out trees

And then, when not at the yurt, the sunrise from the condo in Whitefish ain’t bad either…

The sun also rises

Categories: Montana


  1. You guys are awesome — and I’m happy to finally hear from Chris! I admit I was questioning Monica’s sanity a little bit ;-), but honestly, you both seem dedicated, hardworking, independent and happy! Please continue to post the stories of your adventure, and best of luck to both of you!!!!


  2. Awesome – Greatly appreciate the updates and the fantastic photos – What an experience! Stu


  3. And the “sun through burnt-out trees” photo — holy crap, that’s amazing!!!


  4. Wow, fabulous. No questioning sanity here. Just a little jealous. 🙂


  5. Monica and Chris: What lovely photographs and what a lovely way to spend your lives right now. These scenes, including the magnificent mountain lion paws, serve to remind us that we must do all we can to protect this lovely Earth of ours. Thank you for doing your part. I get all mushy thinking about the silent footprints you two are leaving on the snow.


  6. Good to hear from Chris and love the pics! Look forward to the next chapter.


  7. Thanks for sharing, like I said earlier I am politely envious.


  8. Yes, totally agree about the sun through burned-out trees pic. Breathtaking. Along with the condo sunrise one. Chris, looks like you colorized that, it’s so beautiful. Confess I worry about you both with a hungry mountain lion around. Please avoid getting eaten, okay? 🙂


  9. Amazing winter beauty, but be careful for goodness sakes! It’s dangerous out there. Hate to be a party pooper, but I am wondering why you aren’t spending more time at the condo in the winter! 🙂 We can’t wait to visit next summer. Hopefully, you guys will have the hang of the toilet by then. You’ll have to whip our “city slicker butts” into shape! Maybe we will muster up the courage to return in winter. xox tina


    • Awesome pics Chris–I could spend winters like that but my darling wife would go bonkers—The white mink or weasel if you will was really what it is all about—living in the wild comfortably or seemingly so–The potty adventure is fun to follow, makes you wonder if you should have just had an outside pookie!!!


  10. I finally got a chance to read more than a paragraph of your fantastic blog. How awesome and wonderful. Ok, enough with the adjectives. Please let us know when you are back in Chi-town for a visit. Miss you!


  11. Following with curiosity about the yurt. I want one soooo bad, husband is afraid of vandals. Your location is to be envied, we’re in Missouri, on the border of Arkansas. Beautiful in it’s own way, but it’s no Montana. We’ve been to Glacier, so I have a vague idea of your location. Keep telling us about your yurt improvements, it adds fuel to my fire.


  12. I’ve been to Glacier a few times… Whitefish once… I love Montana. When I was younger I might have had the courage to do what you are doing. My husband built a cabin here in Oklahoma recently, and stumbled on your blog while researching methods of cabin building. I read a few posts last night and got hooked. I can’t wait to read the whole story and catch up to current news! What a great adventure!


    • Thank you, littlesundog. It really means a lot to us to know that others enjoy reading what it’s like out here. I would think living in a cabin in Oklahoma is an adventure too! Hope you’re enjoying the ride.


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