Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sudden Shore Line

The water is down.
It's way down.
And suddenly and unexpectedly there are huge swaths of rocky and sandy shoreline to walk.
Kory is ecstatic.
So am I.
As the days get shorter, the world is almost imperceptibly but surely beginning to get quieter.
Winding itself down and preparing itself to sleep.
Summer is not quite done yet, and fall is not quite here yet, but both of those seasons are now falling all over each other.
A puppy pile of ever changing conditions.
Hot.  Cold.  Warm.  Cold.  Changing daily..............
On this day I walked alone with Kory.
Wandering on the unexpected expanse of newly revealed shoreline.
Walking awkwardly on the rocks and sinking periodically in the sand.
Loving the view of the silent mountains that overlooked the silent lake, and loving the sight of my joyous dog as she gleefully alternated between running, marking, investigating and then wading into the water to take a quick drink.
As much as I like our home and the endless views of the mountains, the one big - the BIG - is that we are close to the lake...............
The terrain that had been so familiar throughout the summer months suddenly looked completely different to me.
There were now endless acres of land exposed that I had never seen before.
The last time I had been here much of this area had been underwater, and on this day I was mesmerized by all this "newness".
As Kory and I wandered I was keenly aware that Kory and I could suddenly walk in so many places that we had not been able to walk before.................
Dry and parched ground.
It has been a long, hot summer.................
I don't know tracks, but this little critter walked this way when the ground was still saturated, and now his footprints were etched into the parched earth.................
It was late in the day, and the light was perfect.
As I continued to wander along the shore line I quietly fought to get used to the new reality of Buffalo Bill Reservoir.
The trees were already beginning to turn yellow. 
The days were getting shorter and the sun was already beginning to descend by the time I rushed home, grabbed my puppy, sometimes grabbed my guy, and rushed down to the lake to decompress from one more long day.
The endless warmth and sunshine extending until past 9pm was a thing of the past.
And high water levels were gone, only to be replaced by endless walking places overlooking blue waves.
Yes...........I could get used to this.
Just as I could get used to walking on a snow-filled beach overlooking a frozen lake a few months from now.
I am excited for summer to be done..................
Kory heading for shore after a short swim.................
We closed on our house in Idaho on September 21 of last year.
One year ago tomorrow.
If I think back over the past year and everything we have done, it makes my head tired.
It has been a long year in many ways.
Long.  Tiring.  Expensive.  Worrisome.  Exhilarating.  Frustrating.  Exciting.  So many other descriptives.
But a year later LC and I both believe that it has all been worth it.
The Tahoe with Carter Mountain in the background...............

A little tranquil lake is more significant to my life than any big city in the world.....................Munia Khan

Hot Trip On To BLM Land

One of the things LC and I both love about where we live is that we are only a few minutes from the mountains, a few minutes from the lake, and a few minutes from BLM land.
Water is five minutes away.
An alpine environment is about 15 minutes away.
The "desert" is about 7 minutes away.
We have been in our home for a couple of months now, but the novelty of where we live has not even begun to wear off yet.
Truthfully I hope that it never wears off.
Sometimes we look look around us, and then look at each other and smile.
"We live here".
It's a good place for us.  A good fit.
And knowing that FEELS very good...........

It is now closing in on the end of September in Cody.
The days have been warm.
The nights have been increasingly cold.
But only two weeks ago, when these pictures were taken, it was VERY hot.
Today has been cold.
Yesterday was cold.
By Saturday it will be in the mid-70s again.
And so it goes in the Rockies.  In the west.  In Cody.
The weather is all map..............

On this particular Sunday we walked out of the house and made the spur-of-the-moment decision to wander on BLM land with our dog.
It was a beautiful, sunny and warm day.
Only.............by the time we pulled onto BLM land, slowly made our way to the hills a mile or so across open public land, and reached the rock formation we had chosen as our destination, we climbed out of the Suburban and groaned.
It was HOT!
This wouldn't be the lengthy roaming and wandering that we had anticipated after all.
Looking around us, I searched for our dog but Kory was already gone.
Disappeared into the hills in front of us.
Already in the midst of a wonderful puppy-adventure.
Life is so simple and straight forward for a dog..............
This was mid-September.
It wasn't SUPPOSED to be this hot in mid-September, was it?
A couple of weeks earlier it had snowed in the mountains.
In August.
But as LC and I slowly climbed up into the rocks and the hills, the dryness and unyielding heat quickly enveloped us, and then overwhelmed us.
The world was silent and beautiful, but this would indeed be a short trip.................
Our supposedly long hike only lasted for 30 minutes.
Long enough to climb up into the rocks, to follow the ridge line a short ways, to drop down the back side and then pick up a double track trail that would circle us back to the vehicle.
Thankfully also long enough for puppy to run and chase a rabbit and stick her nose into multiple gaps in the rocks in search of interesting anythings...............
When we got home we climbed out of the Suburban and looked at each other in surprise.
It wasn't hot at the house.
Less than 10 minutes away.
The rocks and the sage and the sandstone hills of BLM land had simply been holding heat that the area surrounding it had not.
We haven't been back there since this last visit.
Now that fall is gradually moving into the area, it might be time to take another trip...................

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.... September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894), "Autumn," The Atlantic Almanac, 1868

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Walking Around Red Lodge MT

Red Lodge MT is a small mountain town of 2000 residents, located about an hours drive from Cody, WY.
The drive takes you past the isolated Wyoming community of Clark, and not far before Belfry MT you turn off the flat and fast highway and begin to climb.
And climb.
20 minutes later you find yourself at a place that looks down upon the tiny mountain town of Red Lodge.
You can see the river running along the entire back side of town.
You can see the entire town from one end to the other.
You can see the mountains surrounding it.
It looks like a post card..................

We had decided on this trip because I needed to get something for my business from a local resident.
A beautiful day, taking a beautiful drive up to a beautiful town.
And I could write off the entire trip................

We quickly took care of business just on the outskirts of Red Lodge, had begun our drive through town, had taken a short-lived but very exciting detour in order to catch site of Momma and Baby Moose, and finally completed our drive through town.
Parking at the far end of the tiny ski-resort town, we easily decided that we would take a walk through town before heading home.
As with so many other resort towns (including our own adopted Cody, WY) Red Lodge was incredibly busy.
Wall-to-wall traffic slowly crawling through the narrow two-lane main street.
Wall-to-wall people on foot, wandering in and out of busy tourist-related stores.
The same kinds of tourist-related stores as in Cody - art galleries, souvenir shops, ice cream parlors, antique stores, t-shirt shops and more.
Also as with Cody there were many picture taking opportunities - flowers, signs, painted walls, unique benches, carved wood and sculpted metal art work, the unusual and the unique and the beautiful and the whimsical everywhere you turned.
We wondered how Kory would make out in such a disorganized and slightly chaotic environment but she did fine.
A loved, loving, even-tempered and self-assured puppy who enjoyed the walk as much as we did.
Some of what we saw in the couple of hours that we wandered this sweet and whimsical little town...................
You are not in the mountains.  The mountains are in you...........John Muir