Sunday, October 25, 2015

Camas Creek Ranch

On our way out of Montana we visited long-time friends Jamie and Jock at their Camas Creek Ranch near White Sulphur Springs. Jamie was chair of the Humanities Montana board that hired me in 1995. She went on to far, far greater things: after serving on and chairing the board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, she was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to the National Council on the Humanities, on which she still serves. She also served a term or two as county commissioner and as co-chair of the state Republican party. Back in saner times...

And thus, their beautiful ranch home; the great writer Ivan Doig lived in the
house for a time in his youth

"Meagher County Convention Center" (they entertain and host meetings, a lot)
and fire pit (site, in 1998, of the largest bonfire I have seen, at least since Westcott
Hall burned down in, what? 1969?, in Tallahassee); also their RV, a nicely-
converted and modernized Montana shepherd's covered wagon

Jamie and me, 20 years later

Vicki was feeling adventurous, so we took the back way out of the  valley, across
the Big Belt Mountains, through Confederate Gulch, an 1860s gold rush site,
Montana's greatest placer strike, found by paroled Confederate soldiers; in the
later 1860s, a third of Montana's population was in the Gulch

Not going strong, but still going

Emerging, not unscathed, from the Gulch, with a view of Canyon Ferry Lake

Mountains, south of Butte, en route to I-15 and the way south;
we'll be back to Montana in January...

'Bye Again, Missoula

So by Wednesday we put our trailer, with new bearings and
hubs, in storage in Lolo

And locked up our storage unit--cleanest, leanest, and best
organized yet--until January

Took a walk or two in downtown Missoula, appreciating its
many Art Deco structures

Best of all being the Florence Hotel, where Rachel and Will
had their wedding reception

And did some final shopping; here, the panning supplies at one
of Missoula's many "outdoor" stores

Too many of which support the current
American paranoia and gun craze...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Up The 'Root

By Tuesday we had had enough of Missoula's city lights and our storage unit and so resolved to head up the 'Root for some hiking in the great canyons of the Bitterroot National Forest/Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. (The Bitterroot River flows north, so you actually drive south from Missoula, up the Bitterroot Valley). By turns we did Kootenai, Bear, and Blodgett creeks/canyons (camping at Kootenai and Blodgett), all of them off the beaten track, all of them running roughly east/west beneath high ridges and walls of metamorphic rock. Printz Ridge towers some 4,000 feet above the trail at Blodgett. All the trails follow a creek, and many lead to high Alpine tarns or lakes. Also Idaho. The weather was just what you'd hope for in mid-October Montana: clear, cool and crisp, and the fall colors were great.
A climber (top, middle) in Kootenai Canyon

Kootenai Creek

In Bear Canyon...

A little waterfall...most of these trails are on the south sides of the creeks, and canyons, and thus receive very little sun light this time of year

Sunny north ridge in Bear Canyon

Ditto; note spire on the left of the ridge

And larches at their most golden; in Bear Canyon we had the good fortune to see Jean Steele, one of the best board members and board chairs I had at Humanities Montana... 

Autumn color on Blodgett Creek

At the tiny campground at the beginning of Blodgett Canyon, the Bitterroot's most spectacular

The pictures say it best

Lunch break

Big arch on Romney Ridge

Looking further up the canyon from the pack bridge

Among the larger of Printz Ridge's scores, no, hundreds, of pinnacles

Pretty incredible place

 I was walking up the canyon again Saturday, and, on his second pass, got a shot of a sports plane buzzing the canyon

Pretty neat place

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Missoula, Fall, 2015

Missoula is a great place to live--some of our very best years were here, 1995-2008; and, of all the places we've lived, it's probably the one place we'd consider returning to should we ever settle down. But it's not so great to visit. Unless of course you've lived here and have friends and memories, and can appreciate all the many charms and quirks and overall goofiness of the place. ("Missoula. A place. Sort of"). We've been here nearly two weeks on this visit, staying with friends, with Uncle Sam (Walton), and others, mostly going through our storage unit in East Missoula, culling, donating, selling on eBay and Craigslist, and getting ready for a garage sale...well, a sale on the grounds of Ole's truck stop on route 200 in East Missoula. We'll be here another week, at least, but will finally do some fun, recreational things soon.
At our favorite campground in Missoula, on Mullan Road; I
always try to park right under the "no overnight camping" signs,
which are universally ignored both by management and the many
RVs passing through; the place is actually famous, in some
peculiarly Missoulian sense, as the subject of the High Plains
Films documentary This Is Nowhere
which I remember laughing at, years ago; and now, here I am,
there, nowhere, blogging about a garage sale at a truck stop...

Skull trees...something new to me...out near
Phillipsburg, where

We bought a used snowmobile trailer, another of Vicki's
screamin' deals, although it looks like it's going to require a
little work...

At our storage unit in East Missoula, loaded up for the
Saturday "yard" sale at the truck stop


After; well, after the trips to ReStore and
Goodwill, after the sale; we did OK, and
particularly enjoyed seeing other people
haul the junk away; plus there's still more
for eBay and Craigslist

Among our more interesting customers

Closer up; look for our Smokey Bear bobble-head on eBay

Seems like wherever we go, Google is there to assist with the

Friday, October 2, 2015

Cascade Canyon

And another day, we took the boat across Jenny Lake and hiked up old friend Cascade Canyon...
Our boat, the Beaver Dick Leigh (named for trapper/mountain
man  Dick Leigh, who guided the the 1892 Hayden Expedition;
Jenny Lake is named for his wife

Cascade Canyon divides some of the principal peaks and
massifs of this tiny range; here, Storm Point, Ice Point, and
Symmetry Spire, on the north side

And here, on the left, the Grand, and Mt. Owen

At the head of the canyon, Rock of Ages (cleft for me); check
out the ridge, about 2/3's to the left, for the arch/window; at
this point, reports were coming back of a bull moose on the
trail; all the hikers with their assault cameras hastened on
to get photos; we have seen enough of these animals, close
enough, and so we turned back...

North side of the canyon, the south side of Hanging Canyon,
and many pinnacles

Back side of Teewinot summit and Crooked Thumb

Large animal scat

Looking up Valhalla Canyon, surrounded by
the Grand, Teewinot, and Mt. Owen; 
waterfalls, "perennial" snowfields...

Up closer

Us, in Cascade Canyon, taken by a nice couple from Red
Lodge, who've been doing the Tetons even longer than we

Sunday morning we awoke to squalls and decided to head on
north through Yellowstone to Montana; more squalls at Old
Faithful and a monumental traffic jam en route to Norris
shortened our Yellowstone visit to a drive-through from West
Yellowstone down the Gallatin; and we finally arrived in the
Bozone in mid-afternoon; back, finally, in Montana!