Four boys, one boat, two oars, one cooler full of food and drinks and six life jackets later we were on the river. It took all of about two minutes on the river before my boys jumped in the water. It was too hot to just sit in the boat and float. It wasn’t too long before I joined them.

A little ways down the river we rowed the boat ashore and the kids ran around on a little island digging in the hot sand and throwing rocks in the water. We had a little lunch and a little rest, and then we were back on the river again.

We made it a little ways down the river when we saw a rope swing. We didn’t have a choice, we had to pull the boat ashore and give it a try. It had been a long time since I had been on a rope swing but it was just as fun as I remembered.

I love swinging out over the water until the rope has gone out as far as it will go and then letting go of the rope. In those few seconds before you hit the water you feel like a bird, then splat you’re in the water.

After we left the rope swing, we just enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the boat. The wind came up and it was the perfect temperature to just be floating on the water. There’s nothing more beautiful than watching the sun go down on a Montana river in the summer time.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of the University of Montana, animal lover and writer.