Travel

OUR DATE CONTINUED

On our way home from Reed Point (yesterday’s post) we stopped in Big Timber and a couple of places along the highway to take some photos of the beautiful Crazy Mountains and surrounding farm land.

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The Interstate follows the rail road tracks along this stretch, so when we got out in Big Timber we had to cross them to get the view I wanted (see above).  Andy got out and joined me.  Next thing I knew, along came a train:Ellie-128

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After it was gone I saw Andy fussing around on the tracks.  Then he showed me this:

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which he got by putting a quarter along the tracks before the train came – something I didn’t notice as I was busy setting up my tripod near the farmers fence well away from the dangers of the tracks.Ellie-156

Felt like a couple of kids playing along the tracks.Ellie-155

The clouds that day were fairly dramatic making big shadows across the land.Ellie-159

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Categories: Andy, Crazy Mountains, Family Fun, Montana, Montana summers, Montana weather, Outdoors, Photography, Railroad Tracks, Reed Point, Trains, Travel | Leave a comment

REED POINT MONTANA

There is a cool festival/event that is quintessential Montana in Reed Point, between here and Billings.  Andy and I took a half a day to have a date and check it out.  I love a date that is made up of me, my man and my camera. 

This festival includes a sheep run through town – something we didn’t see because it took place at the end of the day and we weren’t there anymore.  But there are also many vendors, lots of food (we didn’t eat any of it) and demonstrations of some amazing western skills and talents

The town itself is very vintage!

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The vendors had everything from antiques to cheap beads to lambs wool products – all that wonderful texture!

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I missed the sheep shearing demonstraton (darn it!) but we will be back next year, so I’ll catch it then!

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Categories: Family Fun, festivals, Montana, Montana summers, Outdoors, Photography, Reed Point, Travel | Leave a comment

THE BEATEN PATH – 26 MILES IN 14 HOURS

sm-3852The Beaten Path is a well used path from Cook City Montana (North East corner of Yellowstone) to East Rosebud Lake Montana through the Beartooth Mountains and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.  It is usually backpacked in a couple or three days.  But we felt up to the challenge of doing the whole thing in one day.

We got to the trail head at 6:20 a.m., took a few photos and started walking.  It was barely light outside.

sm-3855This hike was a jubilee – celebration of 7 x 7 years – but some of us were older than 49 (not me).

sm-3862Much of the trail was mucky from the rains the days before.

sm-3869There was morning mist on the meadows.

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And above 8000 feet the wild flowers were still blooming on August 16th.

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sm-3896The lakes were stunning and often dotted with the endless circles of fish jumping.

sm-3897But we didn’t have time to wet a fly, had to keep moving to get it all done in a day, since that was the challenge.

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Sometimes it was hard to tell where the lake ended and the river began.

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Sometimes I was ahead of others . . .

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And sometimes I brought up the rear.

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It was 10 miles up to the highest pass – where we had lunch at a little after noon.  Only 16 miles to go!

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There was snow way up there at 10,000 feet.

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One of us may have learned that snow in August is not particularly soft to plop down into, but a snow angel was made regardless of the hard landing.

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It was all beautiful! And then . . .sm-4022

We ran into two of the ladies’ husbands who were hiking the whole thing in reverse.  It was a nice little short visit – we didn’t even sit down.  They still were headed up and we were about a mile into our downward trek.

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Waterfalls were a theme on the 16 mile down hill section – I lost count, but I bet it was more than a dozen waterfalls, some of them so large that I couldn’t fit them into the view of my 50mm lens.  I selected this lens because it was the lightest weight one I have, and mounted on my camera it all fit into my fanny pack worn turned to the front for easy access.

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Along with the waterfalls, the views on the down hill section continued to be breath-taking.  If we had more time I’m sure each of us would have jumped in a lake and/or river, and would have just sat on a rock and contemplated the beauty of God’s creation as it was being revealed to us.  But we were trying to be done by dark (which we were, but just barely).

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The last 4 or 5 miles were pretty rocky on the down hill, and it was a bear to deal with as by that time the knees were hurting pretty bad.  Nothing 800 mg of ibuprofen couldn’t address, but the going was slow as the trail was steep (lots of stair-step type trail with uneven landings and rocks galore!)  With about 2 miles of this left my Andy met us on the trail.sm-4091

By the time we finished the sun was gone from the canon, but the peaks were still glowing.

When we were all done Andy had ice cream sandwiches waiting for us kept frozen with dry ice, and then he took us all out to a famous burger place called the Grizzly Bar in Roscoe Montana.  It was delicious.

Amazingly, not as sore as I expected the next day, and by 48 hours later, not sore at all.  Those knees recover quicker than I think they will.

So, this hike was the reason I hiked and hiked and hiked all summer long – I was in training.  Now just back to daily walks, and the 4 – 5 miles seems like such a small endeavor now.

Categories: Bear Tooth Mountains, Beaten Path, flowers, Hiking, Montana, Montana summers, Outdoors, Photography, River, snow, Summer, Travel | Leave a comment

JUNE AND JULY PHOTOS – SO FAR BEHIND!

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Categories: Andy, Andy's Family, Cottonwood Canyon, Daily life, Family Fun, flowers, Hiking, Hyalite, J, Karate, kids, Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Summer, Tahoe, Travel, Vacation | Leave a comment

WHEW! WE’RE STILL HERE

sm-7162Actually, probably better to say “We’re back.”

Took a four-day trip to the Coast – well to the Portland area, which is very close to the coast when thought of relative to where we are when home.  The purpose of this trip was to attend a karate seminar and tournament for J.

The seminar was with George Kataka, a two-time world champion at sparring in the karate school of martial arts.  He was amazing working with the kids, and super fun to watch.

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It was a great trip:  visited with a nephew who goes to college in the area; visited with a college friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in over a decade; and visited with a college friend of Andy’s we hadn’t seen in about 8 years.  The weather was beautiful, no rain.  And the meals were really good!  All went very well!

Except of course for the concussion that J picked up at the end of the tournament.  Now, over a week later, he’s just about back to normal, and hasn’t complained about a headache all day.  We learned a lot about concussion and how to manage life while recovering from one.  Some surprises in that, but generally, just don’t do anything – no physical or cognitive activity.  Makes for some long boring days!bw-sm-7225

Now we are doing all the catch up at school and looking forward to clearance from the doctor for J to get back to physical activity, including karate.

Because, you see, prior to getting concussed, J qualified for the national tournament in July, and he has work to do to prepare!

 

Categories: Family Fun, J, Learning, Photography, Travel, Vacation | 1 Comment

LAST OF THE ROAD TRIP – WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS TO TOSTON

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Despite the fact that White Sulphur Springs had the worst breakfast in the world – all I can described is powdered eggs over cooked and grape jelly as the only option on toast – we stuck around for a little exploring before heading West.  This deer was following his friends through the fresh snow, and we thought he was a bit friendly.

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Once we hit the road it was ranch land everywhere.  We were headed into the Big Belt mountains, but there was some flat land along the way.

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Once in awhile we’d catch some color besides white brown and blue (see below) but really it was a very simple, uncomplicated looking landscape – and beautiful too!

IMG_5945smAfter we crossed the Big Belts we dropped into Townsend and then followed the Missouri River into Toston – practically a ghost town, but not quite one yet.  The bridge over the Missouri into Toston is an old one, and this is the spot where Tank fell into the Missouri last winter.

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The water moves pretty fast, and there are ice islands floating throughout.  But what really caught my attention was that it appeared that the structures under the water were actually covered with ice.  Don’t have a photo to share of that, but it did amaze me – the idea of ice under water just doesn’t seem quite right.  It looked like moss covering the rocks, only it was greenish white and smooth like ice.

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As soon as I saw Toston from across the river I knew I’d be outside of the car and Andy would be waiting awhile.  It was just building after building of decay and disrepair – all of the type that makes for some of the most interesting photos in my book.  But the funny thing was that half the buildings showed evidence of still being occupied – smoke coming from the ceiling, dogs tied in the yard, that type of stuff.  To honor the privacy of those folks, I tried not to point my lens directly at them.  But my heart was heavy to think that someone was in those structures when the temps were in the lower single digits because they just didn’t look weather worthy.

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This one is right on the “main drag” which is a dirt road running parallel to the railroad tracks, which in turn run parallel to the Missouri.

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A side view of that same building (couldn’t take the other side, which had like an old porch on the second floor, because it appeared occupied).

IMG_5988smThis little window in a small building next to the previous one, mystified me.  It looks so old and so abandon, but how do those curtains, fully exposed to the elements, retain their colors?  Is it recently abandon?  Where the colors once even brighter?  Did someone try to create privacy in there more recently than the rest of the decline in the building?  There is a story in there somewhere, but not one that I will ever know.

IMG_5996smNow doesn’t this look like it was once a real nice place?  Trees in the yard, still standing straight, right on that main drag I described earlier – beautiful views of the river by the way.  Another story I just won’t know.

IMG_6001smA cute little starter home for someone, once upon a time.

IMG_6002smI imagine this was some old single guys place, maybe an old crusty miner or something.

IMG_6005smThis beauty is actually right on the Missouri (across the road and the railroad tracks from the others.  Looks like it once ws very stately.  Probably not that long ago either – notice the light fixture on the pole on the left side, and the cross-hatch lattice boards along the foundation.  So sad that it is now in such disrepair.  Wonder if it flooded and that is why it was abandon – you can see there river there behind the shrubs on the right side.

The we left Toston and headed towards home. 

IMG_6028smthose horses aren’t real – sculptures.  The sign calls them Bleu Horses (http://www.bleuhorses.com/) and they are by Jim Dolan who I think resides in our own Gallatin Valley.  You can click on the link to see one up close.  Unfortunately, I think last month one or more of them were stolen, but recovered.  Wish I could have hiked up there to get a closer look, but at that point Andy was just ready to get home, and I didn’t have good hiking-through-drifted-snow boots with me.

And that was our trip.  There are lots more photos that might show up someday, but these past few posts just give you a taste of the travel part of it.

Categories: Art, Montana, Outdoors, Photography, River, snow, Travel, Vacation, Winter | Leave a comment

MORE FROM THE ROAD TRIP – super image heavy

IMG_5793As we traveled along these rural roads traffic was not a problem.  The most commonly seen vehicles were the snow plows, which were out in force to tackle the constant drifting snow – did I mention in a previous post that it was windy?  Well, it was.

IMG_5795While we appreciated the plowing, it was also frightening because those guys were “haulin'” and they left a cloud of snow/dirt/whatever that was hard to see through when they passed.

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It was almost funny.  But we did appreciate the roads being cleared of drifts.

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All that haze in the photo below?  Blowing snow.  It made the landscape look like something from one of the early Star Wars movies – cold, windy and stark, with odd buildings sticking up from the ground from time to time.

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Amazingly, all these counties have pretty interesting court houses – as opposed to the one in Gallatin County, one of the most populated counties in the state, and our functioning court-house is in an old 1960’s style school building – ugly.  But these little towns of less than 3000 people have stately looking court buildings.  So ironic!

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This particular court-house is in Stanford Montana, population  769, the proud county seat for Judith Basin County.IMG_5862

This building is also in Stanford, next to two other similar buildings.  Small town with lots of grain is all I can figure.

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All these little towns were built along the railroad.  IN reading the history of some of them, the town was built where the railroad was supposed to come, but when the railroad changed the route the folks just picked up and moved the town site because it was no good not being where there was railroad.  That was a lot of power and influence in those private companies – which sort of explains a lot of the stories of corruption that you hear from days gone by.

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Somebody used to live here, but not any more.

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We ended our second day of driving by going through the Little Belt Mountains – quite a change in topography!  Andy had always heard the skiing was good at Showdown, even though it is just a little resort.  From what we got to see in the late afternoon, it would make for some great skiing, and they had plenty of snow!

IMG_5892After stopping at Showdown we headed down the mountain and into White Sulphur Springs where we had the worst hotel and the worst service at a restaurant, followed by the worst breakfast out we could ever imagine.  Nothing against White Sulphur Springs or anything, it was just not great accommodations we found.  We will go back, but we won’t stay in the same place and we’ll eat elsewhere as well – an hour and a half wait for a hamburger wasn’t the romantic dinner out we had in mind.

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Categories: Barns, Daily life, Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Rural Thursdays, snow, Travel, Winter | 1 Comment

ROAD TRIP

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Last weekend Andy and I took a road trip together.  J was at Expedition Yellowstone and we had a few days to ourselves.  All the photos posted tonight are from the first evening of our trip.  Some were taken from the moving vehicle with the window rolled down, others through the windshield, and still others we actually stopped along the side of the road and I got out.  Bet you can tell which are which.

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As beautiful as the country we saw is, what was most impressive to me was that Andy and I were doing this trip at all.  It is the first time in 14 years that we went on a trip without J that was for pure pleasure. 

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Sure, we’ve been to two church retreats, and to L.A. to get his hip surgery, but to just go for the fun of it and for the fun of being together?  That hasn’t happened since J was born.

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We spent most of this trip in the car.  First, it was intended to be a car trip exploring part of Montana that I had not been to before.  We went from the Gallatin Valley to Lewistown to Denton to Stanford, down the Little Belt Mountains (past Showdown) to White Sulphur Springs, over to Townsend and back to the Gallatin Valley.  I don’t know how many miles that was – should probably calculate, but too lazy to do it tonight.

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The other reason we spent most of the time in the car was because it was COLD!  Like we never saw anything above 8 degrees the entire drive, and often it was hovering around 2, with winds blowing like crazy.  Those heated seats in our car were very welcome, believe me.

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Besides, time in the car is time to talk, and we did do that.  And believe it or not, very little of what we talked about was work related or stressful.  Just chatting about observations and general thoughts.  That’s what we often did when we were dating, so it was familiar territory for us, and good.

IMG_5690-2We stayed that first night in Lewistown, and this is the court-house that was just down the road from our hotel.  It was a nice hotel and I would recommend it to anyone – affordable, personality, history, clean, and nice staff.

I’ll post the photos from Saturday and Sunday later this week.

Categories: Andy, Daily life, Family Fun, J, Montana, Outdoors, Photography, snow, Travel, Winter | 2 Comments

REFLECTIONS

IMG_1161_7907smThese are from my trip to Idaho – well really, we went across the Snake River and were in Washington when I took them.  Just thought it was interesting how a change in focus could completely change the same basic scene.

 

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Categories: Autumn, Daily life, Fall, Outdoors, Photography, Travel | 3 Comments

FIVE ON FRIDAY

Five photos from my unexpected trip to Idaho last week/weekend to be with a friend in need.  It wasn’t a photo grip, but we did take a walk at one point and I whipped out my camera along the way – walking, talking and photos, what better way to spend an afternoon.IMG_1106_7852sm

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Categories: Autumn, Fall, Outdoors, Photography, River, Travel | 2 Comments

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