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Archive for July, 2009

What a summer it has already been, and what a treat to have my 14-year-old nephew visiting here in Big Sky Country. Although we have barely left Missoula yet, it is fascinating to experience how he is discovering this new landscape.

We climbed Mount Jumbo a few days ago, and he was especially captivated by the shadows cast by clouds racing above us. He was also impressed that folks could sit outside the fence and watch the Missoula Osprey baseball team play for free, and that the spiciness of  the chicken wings we devoured last night was “not bad’ as compared to those served back home in North Carolina.

Tomorrow we head for Glacier Country. Emory hopes to see a bear, and I do, too, though from a very comfortable and safe distance. He’s also pretty keen on innertubing and huckleberry picking upon our return, and it is indeed all good and perfect, just like this year’s awesome summer weather in Montana. So far, no significant extended heat waves or large swaths of forest and grassland fires have predominated, and that’s another blessing, compared to two summers ago.

Time to pack up, and head out. See you next week at some point, and in the meantime, happy trails!

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Fiery Full Summer Moon

Caresses Yellowstone Lake

Moonlight Arcs Across

A Water Drowned Caldera

Silver-tipped shadows, Lodgepole ghosts

Illuminating Grizzly

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“Out Where We Belong”  (posted earlier today) will be my last post for a short while, as I will be outdoors and on the road over the next ten days or so, mainly in the Greater Yellowstone Area.

Please check back toward the end of the week of July 12-18 for the next post(ings?). Happy summer!

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Summer is so short in Montana. Warm days, cool nights, clear blue skies, and “decorative clouds”, as a local meteorologist puts it, make it mighty hard to be indoors for any period of time. Thus I will keep this short.

I was hiking and backpacking last weekend with three friends I’ve known for a long time, and it was great to reconnect with them in nature, to create some new adventures together, and to catch up on what has been happening in our lives, and dream about what it is to come.

All that really hit home our final night in the backcountry. The four of us walked to gather snow for evening margaritas, as well as water in liquid form for drinking and cooking. We did, of course, boil or treat the water for drinking and cooking, but just added snow to the tequila, then marg mix, then slices of lime, and then it was pretty damn perfect, sipping away while soaking up the views, stoking a fire to drive off the mosquitoes, and gazing at some of the clearest skies I’ve ever been fortunate to witness.

Back to our walk to gather snow. En route, we stumbled and nearly stepped upon a newborn elk calf.   We immediately created more distance between the calf and ourselves, still not quite sure where its mother was at that time, but we knew enough to leave it alone, and let its mother return when it was safer for her to do so.

By the next morning, the calf was gone. How trusting and still the calf looked crouched under a lone conifer, its eyes not even blinking, its chest heaving with each slow and apparently calm breath. How wild to briefly peer into its eyes and perhaps see the future, where once the calf was able to run and keep up with the herd, it would never again be still and trusting and calm in the presence of people.

In that moment, I also felt a deep stillness, trust and calm in the wild, and  a deep sense of awe, stewardship and responsibility toward all whom we share our remaining remote places with. We all belong outside.

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