Lee and a curious calico crisscross the country in a RV, living simply and sustainably.


I was really jonesing for a contra dance weekend and jumped at the chance to attend Bear Hug Contra in mid-September on Flathead Lake, Montana. About a 6 hour drive from Yellowstone and 90 minutes from Glacier National Park, I figured I could make a long weekend out of it and see Glacier while I was in the area. Friends told me how beautiful the Flathead Lake area was, but when I spied it from the highway to the south, I exclaimed out loud “Oh wow.” Even though nobody else was in the car.

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Held at an Episcopal Church Camp, all the cabins bordered the lake. Above is the view from my porch in the “Ladies Only” cabin. First to arrive, I claimed the one double bed in its own room. Next door was a room with 4 bunk beds and upstairs were several single beds in one long room. My cabin mates brought S’mores and lit a fire in the woodstove to keep the cold night air at bay. So delicious to eat toasted marshmallows and smell smoke while warming up inside and out.

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The dance is sponsored by the Missoula Folklore Society and held every year. While I didn’t get a photograph of the dance itself, below is a photo of dinner followed by announcements before the room was transformed into an Under the Sea theme. We signed up for chores upon arrival and I helped clean up after lunch one day. The only issue I have with this dance weekend is that my feet stuck to the linoleum floor, despite wearing my felt-soled dance shoes, and I twisted my knee. This eliminated all but a few hours of dancing for this veteran, so I explored nearby thrift shops on Saturday and left after breakfast on Sunday morning. Bummer – I won’t be able to dance here again.

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The callers were very good, young Michael Karcher and Roger Diggle. The Stringrays appeared to be the headline band, a seasoned group of jazzy contra musicians. However, I really enjoyed the two young members of Celtic influenced Countercurrent. A concert was held in the chapel overlooking Flathead Lake, and Alex and Brian of Countercurrent played many tunes they had composed themselves. The acoustics in the chapel were heavenly.

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For me, the outdoor setting was the best part of the dance weekend. I walked the labyrinth one evening before the concert, asking a silent question before starting the maze and getting my answer before departing.

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While the linoleum floor here is not conducive to my body, there are other contra dance opportunities throughout Montana. In May I attended a dance in Bozeman with a friend and had a great time. There is also a new dance starting up in Billings. Click here to access the Facebook page for all Montana contra dances.

Comments on: "Contra Dance Review – Bear Hug, Flathead Lake, MT" (4)

  1. “I walked the labyrinth one evening before the concert, asking a silent question before starting the maze and getting my answer before departing.” ~~~~~ I’m curious: What was the question?? ~~~~~ I enjoy your blog messages!! I’m envious; I wish I, too, could see those vistas. ~~~~~ Best wishes from Lorraine at CARE.

    • Well, Lorraine, walking a labrinth with an inner question is a very personal thing. But I will give you a hint as to the answer I received…instead of solemnly retracing my steps from the center like usual, I simply stepped over all obstacles and confidently strode in the direction I had chosen for myself. Lee

  2. Message from one “L” to another “L.” You caught me off guard with the word ” jonsing.” So I went to an Internet dictionary and found jonesing and realize that was your intent. A new word for me and (at my age) *always very glad* to *”learn something new every day”*!!

    Very best wishes from Lorraine, at CARE.

    *P.S. If so inclined, please take a few minutes to visit my blogs at* Three Quarters And Counting * and/or Casual Approach Rejected Entirely .*

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