Team MoBill Part 5 – The Ambush

This post is the fifth in a series called the Team MoBill Story

I sent out the usual weekend adventure bait to friends. I was looking for an adventure with someone. Norman was the first to reply and mentioned a back pack trip with Lydia and Mo.  I was messaging my friend Lydia when it came to my attention that there was a backpack trip planned with Norman and Mo. I calmly got the logistics. It seemed impossible to join them. The biggest concern was that I could not take Friday off with such short notice. Also there was the distance from Bozeman. I inquired for more details and mentioned that I wanted to try and catch up.

Seemed absurd to chase friends through the Swan Range with the possibility to never catch them. Specially since they were doing a vague loop. I could go backwards and intercept but that seemed less likely to work. I remember what a good friend once said, “Even if it is impossible, that does not mean you shouldn’t try”. So Friday after work the plan went into action.

Necklace Lake Backpack
Helmville Lake on my way to the trailhead

I guess by now it was obvious that the goal was to ambush their trip and get one more chance to see Mo. I was in settling into my new life. The possibilities seemed endless. Good job. More money. I could finally buy bike stuff without begging and needing sponsorship. But this trip re kindled something. A desire to see Mo. I just had to, one more time.

It was like a 24 hour race. Staying up all night and hiking by headlamp. Trying to keep the sleep monsters at bay. At the very least I wanted to impress these folks. And I finally did find where they were camping. The plan worked and I quietly set up my tent near.

The next morning I told stories of grizzly encounters the night before … or was it a moose snorting near my head? I got antsy and took a hike down to a waterfall, then returned.  Still no Mo. Made breakfast, still only two companions. I didn’t want to tip off why I was there, so I never inquired. Suddenly my heart dropped. Oh no, assuming the worst … she bailed on the trip. I was just about to ask.

Suddenly one of the tents made a sound. Then started to shake. A zipper went up and Mo popped her head out. Good morning she proclaimed. My god, I thought to myself, it was more like noon. How could someone sleep so long?

I was overjoyed to see her but our conversation escapes me. Something like, “Wow, you don’t look so bad in the morning”. Wow, big fail.  I can’t remember the rest of the morning. I hope none of it was inappropriate. No matter, thankfully I did not goofball myself out of the opportunity.

The hike to Necklace Lakes was mostly chatting with Lydia as Norman seemed content to stay back with Mo and get into deep conversations. I mean good on him, I was no good with this kind of thing. I spoke Lydia’s language. Mostly discussing an extra hike that afternoon and keeping the chit chat to a minimum. I was always talking about extra mileage, going the extra distance, blah blah blah.

But there were times we did connect, Mo and I. Well from my perspective anyway. Spontaneous play broke out and everyone knows I am pretty good at that. Like the ability to make snow persons and engage in a snow slide competition. Or how long can one stay in a frigid mountain lake before succumbing to hypothermia. My favorite moment was starring into the lake for hours marveling at the life on the bottom.

The next day I was up early and knowing everyone’s morning routine, specially Mo’s, I went for a hike. And I needed to do a hike that would impress all. Heck why not go straight up to the ridge and get photos of the sunrise. And to make it appear super human do it in a hour. Then brag about it. Big show off.

The hike out was just like the hike in. Lydia and I seemed to be in a hurry, me to put in the dominating physical effort, Lydia, well I think she wanted to get it all over with. The hike was strenuous but soon we were on Holland Lake with Cold Smokes in our hands. I started to panic. It was all over. And now what? I bucked for a meetup in town for a burger.

We gathered in Seeley Lake and after burgers were standing in the parking lot saying our good byes. This is it I figured. One last adventure. Maybe the last time I would see Mo.

I turned to get back into my beetle and to drive off. Yea, the ambush was a success, sure. But I didn’t put anything on the line. I didn’t ask her what I really wanted to. Like … can I see you again? ARGH!

“MO”, I called out as I turned back towards the group. I had no clue what I was going to do. I stumbled for words.


“You must contact me … promise me … we must chat again”, was all I could come up with.

“Yea, I can do that”

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