Saturday, July 31, 2010

Vacation is winding down

Here is one last blast of pretty pictures from Montana. Vacation is winding down and I can tell by the way my thoughts have turned to the hot weather, the rain, my tomatoes, the new job order we got on Friday at work, and other mundane things that will present themselves. These two women (above) are strangers. No idea who they are. I often think of how many photos I am in that I don't know about. They're scattered all over the world, I imagine.
I have 10 weeks until the half marathon. When I get home I want to start training for good. I think I mentioned the dying refrigerator here in the RV. It died at last and I did a pretty good job eating what needing to be eaten before we lost the freezer. But the upshot of that is that I, no regular meat eater, have eaten meat every single day. I'm heartily sick of it. Very little food has gone to waste. I think a popsicle had to be tossed. That's pretty good working things out.
The wind generated by this waterfall was monstrous. It was beautiful, though. I had hiked up this trail halfway once before, but never had gone this far. Virginia Falls is the name (above).

That's it for now. The drive today is border-to-border South Dakota. I still have two Smithsonian magazines to read, thank goodness. Good planning on the reading material this trip as well.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Listen for the silence

Visit Michelle at the intelligent Nature Notes Thursday to learn something new.

I know scientists say silence is difficult to find in this world and that even when we think we hear it, we may still be hearing far off noises or electric current. I know I heard silence in Antarctica a time or two, but those infernal penguins make an unholy racket!!

These are the locations of the three times I heard silence on this trip. I never miss it when it appears. Silence makes me feel.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

DO NOT leave your pets in the car

This is Lexi. Her stupid human parked her car at Apgar village and took off for Logan Pass. At some point, the car she was in had a breakdown and stupid human girl didn't get back to the car with Lexi inside. We know all this because we got a follow-up call today from one of the law enforcement rangers who are pictured. One is not the law, two are. Anyway, I'm sure I should give all the details because I know you will care and will ask.

These photos were taken at the very end as Lexi was gaining strength and showing interest in the water bowl. I had already moved off so as to let Ranger Moses tend to her properly. He was very knowledgeable, experienced and capable.

Rangers Debby Mensh and Gary Moses: good people!
This ranger's name is Brian, I think.

We were in a store at Apgar Village and I overheard the cashier calling about a dog in a Volkswagen in the parking lot. We went to the car and there was a lot of hand-wringing, gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair. Believe it or not, no one had gotten her out of the unlocked car! Yes, the car was unlocked! Bryan got in and lifted her out. I held her and when the female ranger got back, we both cared for her. Bryan and I lifted her to the cooler grass and then the law enforcement rangers showed up with their first aid kit and a vet on the phone.
We actually cooled her down too much and so then we dried her off. She really wasn't acting right. The vet said what the rangers said: we don't know this dog's story nor do we know the stupid human's story. They said they hear all sorts of things and they even predicted the outcome of this one!
We were the only ones who stayed with the dog until she visibly improved. It was wonderful to see her stand on her own except that something was still clearly wrong with little Lexi. It was at this point I decided we needed to go so the good rangers could do their job.

Today we got a phone call letting us know that stupid human showed up and explained that 1. Lexi's behavior was normal for her (she described it before seeing the dog) because she had been bitten by a brown recluse spider 6 months ago and 2. the car she was in was broken down way up on the mountain (which they verified). He said they "pursued" legal action, which I think means she got a ticket. I hope so, anyway. Because it is federal land, they don't really have the right to confiscate the dog. And I suppose Lexi's stupid human learned a lesson. I certainly hope so. She had no good reason to leave that dog in her car. NO reason.

But the rangers were right about the extenuating circumstances, so their experience taught us as well. Just take action and take care of the animal, but don't leap to conclusions.

Some people learn the hard way.

I found the fuzzy plant!

That fuzzy plant from a few days ago? It turns into the purple and white flower!

More of Montana

This was taken over on the east side of the park at St. Mary Falls.
Between St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls, which was beautiful.
St. Mary Falls:
Virginia Falls, which came down from way up high, but the sun was right there.

I got a BEE!

I am so tired, I'm just going to let the photos speak for themselves. I have one more post and then I am going outside to relax.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My day in inches, not miles

Today was stunning. It was fully a vacation day in every sense of the word. No driving, no hiking, no sightseeing. The weather was perfect. There's nothing better in terms of weather than what I experienced today. I sat in a chair at the campsite for the majority of the day. This fellow visited me. He got to the end of the table and stuck his head up like he wasn't sure how to get down to the next level.
So I helped him out.
And let him get along with his day.

This was my view all day. I took this photo because it looked so pretty as I was trying to find the bird that was singing such a sweet song. I never found the bird.

Then I made supper outside. Ribs. Followed by a bike ride up to the ice cream stand. Followed by another bike ride.

Funny book, good beer, drinking a lot of water to prepare for tomorrow. I'm good to go!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

7 -mile hike at 7,000 feet

Hiked part of the Highline Trail out of Logan Pass up from about 6,600 feet to 7,000 feet. It was awesome. This is a marmot that was digging into the rocks without paying any attention to us. The female goat saw him and ran him off. She didn't mind any of the people, but she didn't like this. Then she stuck her face in the hole and began to lick the rock/dirt.

These four goats paid attention to the crowd for quite awhile. This is supposed to be one of the most popular trails and there were plenty of people on the trail. The hike took about 4.5 hours.

This is what the destination looked like. For many it was a resting point. The trail is a 12-mile loop. This is where we turned around. This is very high above the Weeping Wall.

Rams on the snow pack.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Going to the Sun Road

I woke up early this morning, but after a night of rain I didn't think a run would be the thing. The puddles and mud were everywhere. That and it was about 50 degrees outside. The rain turned into a drizzle, but the fog stuck around. That's why these photos are a little on the hazy side. That and the fact that many of them were taken in the glare of the still-hazy day as the clouds parted in the lower elevations.

This is a waterfall that is so popular they've built a couple decks so you can stand over the water and take photos without falling in. The Park Service is genius and I mean that. Further up this river you can see straight down to all the river rock in the middle of the river. The water is really clear except that the waterfall activity makes it glacier-blue.
I took the color out of this photo because the color was drab and because I like the stark look of the trees. This was up by the Weeping Wall, so still high enough to stunt the trees.
Just a long waterfall. If it has a name, I don't know it. It probably has a name.
This is St. Mary Lake over on the east side of the park. It is a stunning shade of blue. This photo really doesn't do it justice. I will be going over there again and hopefully the light will be better. The east and west sides of the park are different and that's because, in part, of being against the wind or under the wind. One side is wetter, one drier and so on. Then if you go into the park on the west side and inside of turning right, you turn left, you will see yet another landscape that's unexpected and stark.

This is also St. Mary Lake at roughly the same position only pivoted to the opposite angle.

That little dot in the water is Wild Goose Island. The red bus is one of those tourist tour buses. I can't think of what they're called now. They're pretty neat and look retro like the ones originally used in the park. The Ford Motor Company has altered them to run on propane. They seem very popular. I've never been in the park this time of year, so I'm a little overwhelmed by the crowds. This photo does a better job of showing the blue of the lake.

I don't remember what this is, but it is on the west side of Logan Pass and it reminds me of Lois M. Jones. If it is shaped like a V, water created it. If it is shaped like a U, a glacier created it. I miss her every. single. time. I come to a place like this.

This is a pretty little tundra flower. Look how the water collects in the leaf to the right of the stem. There was a big patch of them in the meadow not far off. This was behind the visitor center at Logan Pass. There were a number of ground squirrels and a family of marmots: a big momma and three kids. Two of the kids kept punching each other. It was pretty funny and she didn't intervene. They stood on their hind legs, close to each other and threw little itty-bitty punches into the face and shoulders of each other. Unfortunately, between my point and shoot camera and the dismal lighting/fog of the early part of the day, I don't have a photo. Maybe later.

This is at the bottom of the parking lot at the Logan Pass visitor center. It probably has a name. I saw a man walking a Rottweiler and a Great Dane. If you look at the bottom of the photo, center, you see a man in a blue shirt and white shorts. That's the Great Dane you see. Huge is what I am telling you. Also? You know all the people who show up at the Continental Divide in short shorts and flip flops and tank tops? Again, the Park Service is genius. They make a killing selling hats and coats and sweatshirts. Me, I'm in a sweatshirt, a rain jacket, a hat and gloves. It was 48 degrees on a mountaintop!
Lastly for now, here is a neat photo of a waterfall. I just like it. We may need to store our perishable items in a nearby waterfall because the refrigerator in the camper is leaking ammonia and could poop out before the end of the trip. Oh and cold water makes me remember that although the ladies room at the visitor's center ran like clockwork (no line, no waiting...amazing), the water out of the faucet was being pumped from the snow melt out back. The sign said so. It said, hey folks, the water is ice cold. We recommend you use the hand sanitizer. Two times I used the piddle parlor and two times I was the only one using the hand sanitizer dispenser on the wall! But kvetching about the cold water? Oh, boy.

It looks like the evening may include a bike ride. I'm exhausted from all that sitting around driving up and down mountains.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nature Notes, revisited

I hadn't seen these before, so I thought I would add them into the mix. These look like Queen Anne's Lace except that they are more compact, filled with more flowers and in various shades of a rusty red.
This is a fuzzy little thing. Very technical. If I knew the Latin for "fuzzy" I would sound more intelligent, but wouldn't know anything more.

These last photos are of the same plant. It looks like a money tree plant, but the little papery disks are very small.

If you can identify these, let me know!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nature Notes: Montana flowers

Visit Michelle at the intelligent Nature Notes Thursday to learn something new.

Here are some lovely flowers from the campsite today. I went on a run this morning and discovered more flowers that I couldn't identify, so I will post them later on. I had a great run and hardly feel like I did anything. I wonder if that will catch up with me later on today.

I don't know what she is, but look to her left. That was either a dead one or well, it actually looked like a shedded skin of whatever she is. I am certain they are one and the same:

Then this fellow below (randomly generated genders) landed on my hip.

Clearly someone around here went to a fabulous school called Kansas State. There are purple and white landscaping flowers all over the place!
The daisies are beautiful and do not look haggard as they do in August in the Midwest. But these are what I called Shaggy Daisies. If you know what they really are, let me know!