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Lots of miles, and a real mountain man

August 16, 2012

MIDGLEYS IN MONTANA — Outdoor Columnist George Midgley, right, and his family pose with Tom Oar, second from right, one of the stars of "Mountain Men" on the History Channel, along with Oar's wife, Nancy, third from left, and their dog, Ellie, during the Midgleys' trip to Montana last week. Photos Submitted by Paula Midgley

Our vacation is winding down, and I am, too. We have spent at least three days or nights driving 12 or more hours between locations, and have one more long drive to go. Right now, I am in Estes Park at a nice little cabin near the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. This place is awesome, and I will have some pictures of it next week.
We ended up skipping Idaho and Utah on this trip because we stayed a couple extra days in the Yaak Valley in northern Montana. That place is awesome, and the people are super nice. The boys and I caught a bunch of trout, and even had a local, Geoff Decker, take us on a two-hour fishing trip down the Yaak River in his john boat.
If you get a chance to visit the Yaak, go stay at the Yaak River Lodge. The owner, John, was one heck of a nice guy and spend some time at the Yaak Tavern and Mercantile with Dustin and Gwen Sconyers. They have great food, and are awesome as well.
Koby and Cash swam in the Yaak, and jumped off the bridge and swung off the rope behind the tavern. We have some great pictures of them, and, even though the water was cold, they had a great time. We have seen some great sights from the hidden lake on Logan Pass in Glacier National Park to all the wildlife along the way, but the best of all happened in the Yaak Valley.
The History Channel has a show on called “Mountain Men,” and it just so happens that Tom Oar, one of the three mountain men on this show, lives in the Yaak. I got directions to his house, and we headed up to see him on Monday.
After a detour which found us at somebody else’s house who told us that Tom was in Florida, we finally found his place and sure enough he was standing out on the porch. After I introduced myself, I told Tom we were from eastern Oklahoma.
Tom promptly asked me if I knew where Poteau was at. We all almost fell over from shock, but it turns out that one of our locals, Mike Duplessy, is a friend of his from when they used to rodeo.
Tom and his wife, Nancy, were the most sincere people I have every met, and we talked for a good bit. They even posed for a picture with my family and their dog, Ellie.
The last episode of Mountain Men that I watched showed Tom trap a beaver from one of his neighbor’s ponds, and I bought a knife from him that was in a sheath that was made from that beaver's tail. It was one of the coolest things that we got to do on the whole trip.
We will start school next week, and my boys will have many neat stories to tell from this trip. I just love traveling with my family and seeing many new sights, even if it leaves me pooped from all the driving time.
By the way, last week I said that we would be traveling more than 4,000 miles. Well, we are going to top the 5,000-mile mark before we get home.
Have a great week!
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Email questions or comments to gmidgley_golf@yahoo.com.

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