I shivered from within my sleeping bag and knew it was still early before I even opened my eyes. First glance proved the sun was just beginning to rise and that, unfortunately, the fire had died during the night. Looking around the room, I could see that the others were still asleep, just before I drifted off again to join them.
We had travelled up 11 miles of trails, along narrow cliffside turns and rocky outcrops on our snowmobiles, arriving just as the sun set on the chilly March evening. We were in the middle of backcountry in the Swan Mountain range of Western Montana’s Glacier Country and would be spending the night in a traditional yurt. The warm yellow light of the gas lamp glowed in the darkening night and stretched across the fresh snow surrounding it.
Famished from our long journey, we happily accepted when our guides offered to start working on dinner. I was happily surprised when a platter of cabbage-wrapped fried pork, peanuts and cilantro appeared on the table, followed by a main course of pad Thai and a rich chocolate cake for dessert.
After dinner we all sat around the wooden table, sipping on whiskey or beer, and chatting about each of our travels. Time passed quickly and we soon called it a night, tucking ourselves into our cozy bunkbeds and turning out the gas lamp. I watched as stars twinkled in abstract through the layer of condensation on the clear plastic dome on the ceiling, and listened to the fire crackle as I drifted off to sleep.