SINGING WATERS: ART IN THE WILD
Since 2018, I’ve had the honor of being an art teacher in Mimanagish Camp, a gorgeous little summer venue located just at the edge of the Absarokee Wilderness. Hailing back to the 1930s, Mimanagish has become a crucial part of the Montana summer memories for many generations. Located just 25 miles south of Big Timber and nestled between two imposing mountains, Mimanagish offers the true “American summer camp” experience. Quaint wood cabins reside among the ancient pines, whose fragrance fills the air during warm evenings. The Boulder river is just a few feet away, brimming with all kinds of fish and lulling the campers to sleep at night. Delicate and colorful flowers embellish the many walkways, and elusive mule deer often walk through the property. Every so often you’ll catch a glimpse of a moose, elk, fox or even a black bear! S’mores and bonfires are a solid tradition, so be prepared to overdose on sweetness during your stay here! Mimanagish has something to offer everyone, and they pride themselves in being an all-inclusive organization. I love this place, it’s one of Montana’s best kept secrets.
Mimanagish is a wonderful camp, and here are some tips to fully enjoy your stay! First, be prepared all kinds of weather!! Early summer in the area is very unpredictable, so make sure you pack raingear such as a parka, waterproof shoes, thick socks, gloves and warm layers! Leggings work better than jeans, especially those fleece-lined ones. Also pack a few tank tops, hat, water bottle, shorts, sneakers, SPF and insect repellent. It gets hot during some days and being close to a body of water attracts bugs. Also, make sure you don’t have any food or flavored beverages in the cabins to keep the critters out. Any kind of food and drink are to be kept in the kitchen at all times. Also, this camp is BYOCG: bring your own camping gear! The cozy cabins are outfitted with bunkbeds and basic twin mattresses. You need to bring your own bedding, the website suggests bringing a sleeping bag, but I personally can’t stand the feeling of being constricted. I bring a fitted sheet, a couple of pillows and a few thick blankets to make it feel like home. I also suggest cozy pjs that you can walk around camp in, since the bathhouse is a separate building in the middle of the property. Bring your own toiletries, as well as your own towel and flipflops. The bathhouse has little cubbies and hooks for bags and wet towels, but I like having a little “bathhouse tote” I can carry my clothes to and from the cabin mornings and evenings. “Be prepared for anything” is the camp’s motto!!
Lastly, my favorite part about Mimanagish is that it gathers kindred spirits from all walks of life. People from all over Montana and out of state come to attend the camps, which offer a wide variety of experiences, from Fishing and Hiking camps to Spiritual Retreats to even Music and Art Camps, like the one I attended this weekend. I love teaching classes at this particular camp because I get to meet a ton of interesting people and also learn new art skills! I’ve met people that eventually became good friends and mentors, as well as learning artistic techniques such as batik, mosaic, art journaling, art photography and dot mandalas. I also love the absolutely chill environment of the camp, you can be your absolute self without any judgement. It’s a place of utter relaxation and disconnection from the tribulations of modern life. It’s just you and the soothing Montana landscape. And that is absolutely priceless.