I try to use any excuse I can to visit my old stomping grounds of Montana. It’s where I grew up, the population is under control, the scenery is gorgeous and it’s where my eldest daughter lives when she’s not with me.

The occasion for this visit was her dance recital. It’s such an honor for me to watch her build up the courage it takes to perform in front of an audience. The many months paid off and she did really well.

Cassidy performed her spring recital at the Flathead High School in Kalispell, Montana. Having been in dance for a few years now she wants to expand her horizons and tap into other sports. She has shown so much growth and we are excited to see what’s next for her.

Parents bring their little dancer flowers at the end of their performance.

Afterwards, we were hungry and headed up to Whitefish for an excellent Italian dinner at Ciao Mambo. When I was in my early 20’s my friends and I ate there when it was called Mambo Italiano’s. I’m still getting used to the new (to me) name.

The hotel we stayed in had a beautiful lobby. I love the signature western style Montana possesses.

I was in love with the lobby but Cassidy was in love with the swimming pool. She convinced me that I had to stay at this hotel because they had a water slide. Say no more.

Me and my little partner in crime. Of course I had to try the slide too.

Huckleberry wine and a book of C. M. Russell artwork makes for a relaxing Montana evening.

One thing we’ve done since she learned how to walk was feed the ducks. She has many stories about getting chased by cranky birds. It’s a wonder why she still enjoys feeding them.

We made time to visit the Conrad Mansion built for Charles Conrad in 1895. If you’re a Theodore Roosevelt enthusiast (as I am) you may be interested to know he and Mr. Conrad were friends and even went hunting together one time.

An exhibit at Lone Pine state park.

It was windy at the top of the hill but Cassidy was a trooper and gave the best smile she could.

Overlook of Kalispell from Lone Pine state park.

At the top Cassidy decided we were going on a hike. “We are?”, I asked. “What other reason would you come to Lone Pine?”, was her response. Well alright.

It was a much needed mini vaca. Seeing my eldest daughter is always a gift but I also had two other girls I was starting to miss in Washington. Time to go back.