All About the Process

July 7, 2014

Wow……what a week!

Attended my first National Education Association Representative Assembly (in Denver)….. and it was amazing………all about the process……the Democratic process.

The entrance was emotional…..the departure was emotional……and now it is time for some recollecting……..

 

Trail Dust – Forever West

August 12, 2013

It took about two days…….two days for all the rust to work its’ way out and for the trail dust to move in.

Home………back on the trail.

Alice Creek Camp

Alice Creek Camp

Mom and I were able to work out a day hike starting in Alice Creek. Up to Lewis and Clark Pass along the divide to Rogers Pass…….no one…….but a moose and a really small raptor that I need to look up! The wind was quite a presence all day. Felt great to be back on the TRAIL!

Mom Connects

Mom Connects

A day off in Lincoln…..yeah…..that day hike worked out a LOT OF RUST……..packed and read….and read….and read……felt sooooo good!

Five days, four nights preparations……..how hungry was I going to be?…..ahhhhhh……….preparing for 100% chance of weather!…… ; )………..The Scapegoat wilderness is just one part of the wilderness complex in these parts (Great Bear, Bob Marshall and Scapegoat). Looking forward to going in.

Ross

Ross

Had the privilege of meeting up with two other CDT hikers. Ross from CA and Sean from Alberta……family!

They are each averaging about 35 miles a day…….yeah….I’m doing about that…..divided by three….on a long day!…..Sean hikes so fast he sometimes misses signs!…….I get to watch spiders make webs….as I stroll.

Crater of the Moon

Crater of the Moon

Scapegoat Divide

Scapegoat Divide

Lots of evidence of fire. 1988….and last year…….I explored the upper Straight Creek meadow burns and was amazed at the depth of the burn in the duff (gone) in some places and came across some equipment that must have had to be abandoned in a hurry (iron warped). Flowers have already returned and the reconstructed trail is a feat of beauty…..thank you!

2012 Elbow Fire

2012 Elbow Fire

Hit the trail to meet up with Chama Mama Llama (Mom)……and more explorations of the Rocky Mountain Front…..off to Glacier for some exploring?….and Huckleberries?…….Oregon cherries are in!

Memere's Scissors

Memere’s Scissors

Journey for the Soul

July 31, 2013

Slowly…..and I mean slowly making my way West.

Mom and I visited the museum at Catigny and learned a lot about the Big Red One (Army – First Division) and George Nestor – Dad to Argy Nestor…..not hard to see the relation in their character.

Mom and Catigny gardens

Mom and Catigny gardens

George and me

George and me

Toured a Minuteman Missle launch facility (remember the Cold War?)……and then searched for Black Footed ferrets in Buffalo Gap National Grasslands a few sauntering days later……..

The road less traveled……yeah….you’ve heard it before…..imagine following all the rv’s and Sturgis bound mortorcycles through the Badlands and then a right turn signal on what appears to be an insignificant dirt road…….two-track, prairie dogs, antelopes, petrified wood, birds, birds, birds

and beautiful natural grasses………for miles…..heading West!

Missle Launch Center

Missle Launch Center

Looking for Black Footed Ferrets

Looking for Black Footed Ferrets

Buffalo Gap Grasslands

Buffalo Gap Grasslands

From Dust to Dawn

August 5, 2012

Lots of snow…..but little rain.

The northern Rocky mountains are humid with snow melt (helps with irrigation), but there is almost no rain here. – Lots of beautiful days for trekking…..but fire is always on your mind.

Bear Lodge

We had a beautiful hike around Bear Lodge (Devil’s tower) and I actually saw my first snake since starting to hike the Continental Divide Trail……yeah…..I don’t see very many!

A real treat

The area north is some of my favorite territory on the Great Plains……too bad some of it is named after Custer.

More doggies

Treated myself to a new backpack, Osprey Exos…..sweet. Period…………

Nicholson Mine

First real hike was a route over the Nicholson Mine in the Tobacco Roots. Road from the east is very nice and easy to follow with the help of maps and map sense. The other side…..well….I think there is some strategy to keep 4wheelers away…..so…..there is not much of a trail……so down I go!  The mine is perched with remnants of ancient structures.

We left the cool mornings and evenings of the mountains and headed out to Boulder, Montana and took in some soaks in the hot springs……love it. Feel it.

A couple of warm up hikes south of MacDonald Pass to get ready for the first multi-day of the summer finds us in some HUGE beetle kill areas. Six, seven miles of two tree lengths cleared on both sides of the road. The harvest is too late for another purpose other than a fire pyre…..and there is one after another. This must be a strange place to be after the snowfall and the pyres are lit.

The tree and not me

We wait out a very active thunderstorm with some close strikes and begin a hike down Telegraph Creek. Hmmmmm. Momma stops because of all the smoke and waits for me, thinking that it may be a party. Creeping up in to the woods…..I find a tree ablaze!  The close neighbor is blown apart and the root system is glowing orange with coals. The ground around is wet, almost bog like, but we discovered the next day that this was only because of the rainfall. The area was snap dry before the rain.

Turn on the phone and find that there is service. The number to the Helena Forest Service tells me that they are closed for the weekend, but, to call another number to report fire.

The Forest Service responds to investigate……and immediately drop the shovels and tools for the hose on the tanker. At least this one was accessible.

Blooming Thistle

A couple of days and nights in some old mining country. Patented claims everywhere just waiting…..waiting. One camp was in lodgepole pine so thick that I did not need stakes…just tie up to the trees!

Heard bells……thought it may have been the Isreali group hiking but he was a solo……wearing headphones (to avoid the annoying bells?….hello!)……he missed the bugling of the elks too (all evening and morning).

A tight camp

Talked for a while with the 5th generation rancher from the Dunn Canyon Ranch while we were in Long Meadow on the CDT. His shirt is worn more than my last studio smock! Asked if that was to make the identification easier for his wife……..he thought that she might like to see it disappear!  He talked of high snowfalls this year and no rain……but also about his, “days at the office”. We laughed.

Cold Spring is a very nice piped spring with a tank. Bathing and filling up on a ridge high above the valleys with views of the southern CDT route through Annaconda (and the stack) make for an early evening with Maxfield Parrish colors, stars and the nightly perch for the local hummingbirds.

Always camping a distance from any solitary water source to make it easy for wildlife….I was startled from my breakfast to find wildlife at the spring……another hiker…..that did not know I was there!………this was one of the Isrealis!

On the Backbone of North America

Later at Champion Pass, now reunited with my parents, we drove back up the access road to Blizzard hill for views and lunch. Visited with Kohrs-Grant Ranch, a late supper at the M&M in Butte and finally…..stars….stars….stars.

Mom and Dad with the Geyser Moons

The next day we went through Yellowstone and lingered long enough to take in the harvest moon at West Thumb Geyser Basin.

The Cody Museum took us two days……..amazing!

Thermopolis is celebrating the “Gift of the Waters” pageant with the Shoshone and there is a lot going on …… so we stay two days to soak and eat “peaches and cream” corn (not “sugar and gold”).

Now we are off to the Winds…..and the best ice cream in the region (in Shoshone)….we will just have to see how much dust we kick up.

Celebrations and New Beginnings

August 4, 2012

Phew….where has 2012 gone?…..

Many events, much to celebrate and a dear colleague moves on.

My grandmother turned 100 this July and took all the celebrations in stride. I guess when you survive the flu epidemic and help to raise your 5 brothers and sisters as the provider, because your dad died of leukemia at the beginning of the Depression…..you learn to take everything as it comes!

Happy Birthday, Memere……you are my hero.

Sisters and nieces abound…great weather, Team East and sadly, Crystal Priestly has decided to not return to Waterville Public Schools next year. She will be missed…..but another school will hit art teacher lottery!

Mommas flight was delayed five hours. Took in a visit to the Corn Palace (you have heard Garrison perform there), toured the Minuteman Missile NHS and then decided to drive a very rough, little used road through the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands to Badlands NP. Nothing like getting away from it all. 4wd needed only once on a steep pitch….high clearance recommended….absolutely not recommended in wet weather.

Home on the Range

Spent an hour with some prairie dogs and even got to observe a badger attempt to snack on a few………badger and I move on.

To wash away the day of hours spent on and off parked planes, standing in line and reading inflight magazines, Mom and I headed to Mount Rushmore for the lighting show. Goosebumps and surges……music, video, beautiful words and…..light……a true multimedia experience.

Momma works out some airport frustration

A trek around Devil’s Tower (a check off my life list!), a drive in one of my favorite regions (north of the Tower), a night rodeo in Broadus (the cattle almost escaped) and taking in stars thicker than a Giffords milk shake………ohhhhh yeah…..this is Big Sky Country!…Welcome to Montana.

It’s harvest time in this region…..lots of hops for Budweiser…….Grandview campground is busy with harvest workers and maintenance crews…..we re-aquaint ourselves with the camp kitties.

Profile of President Washington

Today……learn that one of my credit cards has been shut down ($1 fraudulent charge to Sony)……phone calls….my favorite. Why am I here?

Post note – 8/4/12….figured out the image problem…..working on posting newer entries today….in between soaks in the hot springs… : )

What I Learned on the First Day of School

September 1, 2011

Central Maine is a very special place.

Lakes. Mountains. Rivers……..Beautiful.

Hurricane Irene came through on Sunday and though we fared much better than our neighboring states…….two very hefty gusts brought down limbs and trees in Smithfield.

“PHTHRUMP!”

I noticed leaves on the window…..and went out to inspect…….ohhhhh…. the largest birch that I have ever encountered was tired and now lay upon my roof and chimney…..and this was only at 2pm with the “heavy” winds to come (thankfully this was not so).

It was tired.

Quickly, and with certitude…..I turned off the furnace, electricity, grabbed my back-to-school teacher packet and went off to inform our volunteer firefighters that I am ok……and that I was off to stay with friends!…..they live in a house in a field!

Adrenaline waning on the drive….it was time to act…..time to start making phone calls to remove the tree…..so I drove to the home office of Carters Tree Service in Norridgewok…. dialed the number on the truck……and pleaded to help the tired birch to the ground it sought……a returned call…..a visit and estimate within 30 min……and we had a date for the next morning……and the day after that…..phew!

When will I see the grass again?

No school the next day….for the entire district!…..lots, and lots of brush to clear….(where is “W” when you need him?”)….the task is big and dangerous, with potential loss of property and life balancing with every decision……Dave, Alex and Derrick performed with such grace, determination and strength that the birch was down in a day with no incident…….tomorrow would be the oak that the birch had clipped……

Where once the chimney stood

First day of school for all teachers and staff……except for me…..the oak is massive and also takes all day….and an acre…… over 200 years old the red oak is dense and requires the technical experience of Dave and Anthony (owner) to take down…. impressive.

First day of school photos are records of history. Fashion. Hairstyles……..I now have one that reflects centuries. Centuries of growth, history and good, solid Central Maine values……I have learned much this first day of school.

First Day of School Photo - 2011

Things we have to do

August 12, 2011

The winter of 2011 brought incredible snows to the northern Rockies. The late and fast spring brought epic floods. The summer……incredible blue skies, windy passes and fields painted with the flowers of mountains and prairies.

Starting in Billings, MT, picked up Dad…..sans luggage…..it will be delivered to the hotel in Sheridan….and off to Little Bighorn. A very generally misunderstood place……lots to be learned…..our conversations kept going back to points to ponder….

Arrived in Yellowstone for the sunset……greeted by grizzlies. BEAR JAM! Lots of photos and feeling the chill of the Yellowstone dusk reminded us to move on to the Yellowstone Hotel to meet up with Bonnie and Ken. Bonnie is a dear friend from college and Ken is her darling spouse. The lobby of the Yellowstone is a great place to have cheese and crackers while watching the setting sun over the water, the distant valley of the Thoroghfare and the changing hues of the snow covered Absorkas.

The view from Elephant Back

A great view of the hotel and lake is the loop hike up Elephant Back.
This is a great break-in trail for hikes in bear country…..”Hey, Bear”. Great views, a good sweat and off to take in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone…..water run-off is still quite high….and is impressive.

A 4:30am start from Cooke City provide us the rare opportunity to see wolf pups….a new pack starting in the Soda Butte section of Lamar…..

Redwood Fossil Tree

The Yellowstone area is home to the largest fossil forest in the world….so we hiked to one of the exposed sections….UP!….the centerpiece of this hike is the remnants of a redwood……..

Descent from the Fossil Forest

Beargrass

Then off to Glacier……no visit to Glacier is complete without Beargrass and a stay at the Sears….Judy is a wonderful host and often we chatted with other Glacier “folk” about how charming it is…….

Glacier Cable Bridge

We used the Sears as a base for a family hike around the lake…..starting with a boat ride….our very own…..Ken took the mic……lots of run off through fast moving streams encourages the Glacier NP staff to put in cable bridges….one at a time, please……Mom is a trooper!

How's the view?

Bonnie, Ken and I then prepped for a three day backpack over the Dawson Pass Trail, Triple Divide Creek (One divide is to Hudson Bay) and on to St Marys…..Goats, ravens, snowfields and marmots…….I often thought…..”An engineer, a scientist and an artist walk in to the wilderness……..”……..there are many punch lines……some have to do with the engineer and measurements, “a little over a mile”, the scientist and the ingredients of the meals…….and some are just visual…..all are memorable and majestic!

Ken crossing the snowfield to Triple Divide

The view from Mt Morgan

We then all met in Waterton, Alberta, Canada for some more hikes and celebrations…..a hike to Boundary Bay had us eating lunch on the 49th parallel…..the swath is humble and grand…..much like our relationships with each other.

Sunset over Waterton

Hike in to Bertha Bay

It was a slow departure from Waterton….we HAD to do the photos at the Prince of Wales……we had to do stop action….we had to hug each other again…..we had to leave…..we HAVE to RETURN…….

Jump if you love mountain air!

Thank you for Today

July 26, 2011

Every day is an adventure. Every day is an opportunity to learn something.
This post covers about two weeks……and what quality!…

Dad polished the truck (to help with the gas mileage) and then I posed for a few “sleeper” shots to help orient people to how I use the SAV (Summer Assault Vehicle)….it was 98 degrees and, yes, I would be comfortable serving on a sub.

Wax on. Wax off, Daddyson.

Alien Nest

On the road – this country is amazing……traveling in convoys…..making way for others to merge….amazing what happens without the spoken word – elevator etiquette!

The midwest is experiencing a drought and a flood at the same time……hard to grasp….and then you find yourself gazing at a McDonalds to figure out what is different……you should see the drive-thru!………this is near Sioux City.

I'll have the number five with sandbags, please.

I arrived in Montana the same day as my Mom (two and a half days)…..but she on the West and me on the East……Picked her up on Friday….and off we went to the Continental Divide……got in a nice 7 mile stroll that night and we called it a night burrowing in to our 20 degree bags……we “remembered” the heat.

The Continental Divide trail is a much younger sibling to the Appalachian Trail……some places it is a route with, or without trail markings……..I have become very good at route finding. A trail blaze, mark or sign is always something to celebrate!

At least ONE other person has been here

At least ONE other person has been here

Always new stuff to see…..Fun guys….(fungis)…. flora and the biggest coyote I ever saw!….and then it was suggested to me by the local fire ranger that it was a grey wolf! Beautiful!

Beauty underfoot

Beauty underfoot

In this region is the third largest known caverns in North America…Lewis and Clark Caverns….it is a very “involved” tour….requires an exposed hike…upward, at least 900 steps down and an otter like slide down a formation…..Mom is a trooper!

Chama Mama Llama enjoying the caverns

A regional culinary  delight in this area (Butte) is the pasty (past-ee). My Mom keeps calling it a Paste-ee (I told her that’s something else….and I don’t want her ordering two of!)…….I ordered a frozen one for a long day hike…..and then tried to think of what it reminded me of……….TOURTIERE!……..yum……these have turnip….Pepere would have been impressed.

Necessity of miners

Days of hiking on the Divide, touring and relaxing…….yes, it is not all work……we make time for the “cultural events” of the area. Evel Days in Butte (Evel Knievel was born there), a visit to the M&M bar (24 hours….the door is never locked….the six egg omelette was recommended….we passed)……panning for gold in Virginia City (Eureka!)……and star gazing (we needed Peter!). With the celestial Great Bear above us to the NorthWest…..the Tobacco Roots to the SE…..the Bitter Roots to the SW……..and miles of BLM land to ourselves…….we reluctantly get up from our bed rolls to retire to the tent and……as is our custom…..thank each other for today.

Thank you for today.

Tobacco Root Range

Old is new again

July 12, 2011

It is a week for birthday parties!

She's in there somewhere!

Another torched cake and this time the view was limited! To see Camille with her cake…..one has to zoom in on either of the other cameras in the shot! A shot of shots…..

There she is!

Elaine, Rebekah and Keisha stopped in for a visit and to play with Camille……and teach her some tricks……something new every day!

say, "ahhhh"

A hot humid July day with water, bubbles and playtime.

American Gothic, a cultural icon……we have now made our own!

American Gothic....Revisited

Sprinkles!

July 10, 2011

Candles, Cupcakes and Sprinkles! Oh My!

A beautiful day for a wonderful family celebration with birthday wishes for many. Memere even has sprinkles in the reflection of her glasses….Happy 99th Memere!

Sprinkles

Birthday cupcakes came after breaking bread with family……..and group photos!

Dad's "secret" recipe from Memere

Happy Birthday to All!