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Unforgettable Moments: my response to Jodah's writers' challenge

Updated on December 17, 2017
cam8510 profile image

Chris practices free writing which often produces humorous or introspective results with practical applications to living life more fully.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park, Montana | Source

Author's Note

A while back, John Hansen, Jodah on HP, issued a writers' challenge. The gist of it is this, that we find a sentence in a book, magazine, etc and use it to tell a story. We are to take each word of the sentence in order and use each one as the first word of the next sentence of our story or essay. In my story, or rather essay, I will italicize the first word of each sentence.

Here is the link to Jodah's article which introduces the challenge. How to Construct a Short Story Using One Sentence as a Prompt.

I apologize for being so late for this challenge, but once I understood what it entailed, I did not want to miss the opportunity to participate.

The Random Sentence From Which My Essay is Built

"In the morning, the sun was up, and the tent was starting to get hot."

From Big Two-Hearted River, Part Two by Ernest Hemingway

In the State of Montana, there is a seemingly, never ending list of places to wander, climb and paddle, especially around the city of Missoula since it lies at the convergence of five mountain ranges and along the banks of the Clark-Fork and Bitterroot rivers with the Backfoot not far off. The end of my work week marked the beginning of my play time which ran from 3:00 pm on Fridays till about 8:00 pm on Sundays and was always spent in some mountain canyon, wilderness area or National Park, backpacking, camping and fly fishing.

Mountain Stream, Glacier National Park

Mountain stream in Glacier National Park
Mountain stream in Glacier National Park | Source

Morning was my favorite time during those adventures, and one such outing took me to Jewel Basin in the Flathead National Forest, just 45 miles from Glacier National Park. The rain was steady and was accompanied by a thick fog, both of which kept me company as I hiked a mere three miles to the first of a series of small, mountain lakes. Sun rose while I stayed put in my dry tent and sleeping bag, but as the morning progressed, the heat drove me out to explore my surroundings since the fog had prevented me from seeing much the evening before. Was there ever such a place on God’s green earth, so unspoiled, so wild, so…wet, yet drying as the sun did it’s job, just as everything attended to it’s own task in that wonderful place? Up in the now cloudless blue sky, still far in the east, the sun continued to rise, warming the humid air, causing the dense fog covering the surface of the lake to quickly rise all at once. And I could do nothing but take it all in as best I could as the spectacle was carried out before my eyes…and camera lens. The next hour or so, I spent making breakfast and packing my wet tent after attempting to dry it briefly, but the trail called and I wanted to get to my next campsite by mid morning. Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and all supplies, including a fair amount of rainwater, went into my backpack, and off I went on the trail which immediately began to climb higher and higher until I could see ahead of me only blue sky. Was this place, this view, this spectacle of spectacles, this awesomeness created on this morning for me alone, for no other eyes to witness except those of the birds, the deer, the bear, the mountain lion, the moose, the elk, whose imprints I saw in the fresh mud that morning? Starting from where I stood at the high point of the trail I had been climbing, my eyes took in a scene the likes of which my eyes will never again witness this side of heaven. To say the word beautiful or breathtaking or…break out the thesaurus and make a list, but those words on that morning were empty in light of what my eyes beheld. Get ready for what I am about to say, because it is all I can say, which is that the scene was simply not describable, yet I will leave you with a photograph, which does only its own injustice to the moment.

Hot cereal cooked in my camping pot the next morning as I packed my gear and prepared to retrace the steps of the day before, knowing that no such scene awaited me this day because the night had been fair and the most unforgettable moments in life seem to follow on the heels of the darkest and stormiest of nights.

Jewel Basin, Montana

Jewel Basin, Flathead National Forest, Montana
Jewel Basin, Flathead National Forest, Montana | Source


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    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Audrey, this was a fun and unique challenge. Western Montana is heaven to me. I highly recommend it if you are ever at a loss for places to visit. Thank you for your comments.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Cam - What a great story and scene at the end as response to the challenge. I never saw photos of Montana but did not think it was so beautiful. I love the flash fiction on this site, and it is so great that you are involved in writing such stories. I must read some of your masterpieces. Pinning. Blessings, Audrey

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Shauna, thanks for reading this. I hope to get back to Montana for work sometime soon. It would be great to go back to some of the old places and find new ones as well.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Awesome photos, Chris! You're right, there are no words to aptly describe the awesomeness of the clouds hovering over Jewel Basin. If I were there to witness it, I'm sure it would have taken my breath away!

      My son's father was from Montana. All but one of his siblings still live there. The other lives in Idaho. Montana sure is pretty country.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Animalman, Thanks. This writer's challenge was a lot of fun. I was so glad to be able to introduce people to this place called Jewel Basin. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • animalman profile image


      6 years ago from East Providence, RI

      Really enjoyed this Cam. What a great job of painting a picture for all of us of this beautiful country. Great job!

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      The writing may have been a bit over the top, Deb, but I think there are some, such as yourself, who can relate to how I felt. The experience itself was overwhelming, but it really isn't something that can be recreated in words or photos. Thanks for responding.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I think I was there with you, as I saw it all in my mind's eye.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Aneegma, my words in this essay don't come close to describing the view that day. I have another hub about visiting Missoula that will help you planning your trip. Great seeing you here today. Thanks for reading.

    • Aneegma profile image

      Jasmine S 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Cam, I'm booking my next flight to Montana! I must experience this beauty, sounds like heaven! Nicely written hub.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Michael, I try to seek out the places where the crowds of people don't go. And sometimes I get lucky and find a place such as this. Thanks for the wonderful response to my essay.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Nell, it is an amazing place and I'd like to return someday. But there are other awesome experiences waiting elsewhere as well. Thanks for reading and sharing how you felt about my essay.

    • Michael-Milec profile image


      6 years ago

      Unforgettable, indeed.

      Your faith and hope has to be well undergirded going places with no human in vicinity and still be sure you'll be back ad appointed time. (Might be a crazy thinking .) On the other hand , without you giving us this remarkable experience , we would never know the piece of paradise right here in Montana.

      Voting awesome.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      What a great description of the beauty around you there! I want to get on a plane and go there right now! loved your story, and the scenery, amazing!

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Frank, I appreciate the comment. The scenery I witnessed during those months in Montana will always be etched in my memory. It was a phenomenal time in my life.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 years ago from Shelton

      an assignment met head on as as usual you hit the target dead on Cam.. kudos.. love the scenery too bless you

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Hi Mary , thanks for visiting and leaving such a kind comment.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Simply put, beautiful! What great scenery and whatw a great answer to the challenge. Certainly a lovely surprise.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Hemingway-esque?? Hey, that's better than an Editor's Choice Award....I think. Anyway Mel, thanks for jumping over here and reading my essay. This was fun as are all the challenges I've had a chance to participate in.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      6 years ago from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado

      Your response was rather Hemingway-esque in itself, reminds me of his fishing stories. Great hub!

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Ruby, thanks so much. You know, I kind of like this one too. John came through with a very unique challenge for us. Now I want to go back and see who else tried it.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is awesome cam. Loved the way you used one sentence to craft your story. The photos were breathtaking. Bravo!

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Ann, Montana is heaven on earth. Thanks for the compliments and for reading my essay.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      6 years ago from SW England

      Hello Chris! The scenery is truly breathtaking and that mountain stream is something else! Such colours! You're right, it's impossible to find adequate words.

      I like your individual response to this challenge.


    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Thanks Eric. It seems to me that this way of writing really forces a person to write longer sentences. Otherwise you run out of prompt words to quickly. There may be a run-on sentence or two, or three in there, and the others are a bit awkward. The method certainly lives up to the name challenge. I appreciate the kind words, friend.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      John, I couldn't go wrong with Hemingway. Thanks for presenting us with this creative challenge. I hope some others who missed it like I did will jump in and give this a try.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Just go ahead and rewrite the whole darn thing. Make it so we do not know it is a challenge and about the sentence. And then it is marvelous. Tell us all like you did and it is simply amazing. Thanks

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      6 years ago from Queensland Australia

      What an unbelievable response Cam. You chose the perfect sentence to use to describe your passion. You really made me want to go visit Montana. What a beautiful part of the world. Great descriptive words and pictures to accompany. Well done. Voted up.


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