Once I wandered

my wanderings from here to there.

Why go south, when you can go North…GIANT changes in my direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I’ve been MIA for about 9 months now, but I promise I have a legitimate excuse. I’ve been employed, took a trip around the Pacific Northwest and Highway 101, I was in a car accident , The cat ate my homework. Ok so only 1 of those isn’t the truth, 
 Ok the cat didn’t eat my homework, in truth I really was and am employed. I initially jumped into a career as an advertising Exec, with a local newspaper. Which was an awesome gig. So awesome that I realized my calling was in advertising, just not in print, so when I was offered a position as a Social Media Manager, well I couldn’t resist. Sadly, this position doesn’t come with solid weekends off, but split days off, a bummer but traveling costs money, so work it is!  However, working for some great companies has allowed me some cool things like taking a 1 week trip with two of my closest friends up Highway 101, that trip is for another day, but I also was able to buy myself a very conservative car with very conservative gas mileage and I love it…well until I was hit by a one ton flatbed pickup at a stop sign and wiped out the back of it. But all for a reason.  None, the less life is going well here are some images of some of our journies the last 9 months. 

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Coming Closer!

Ok so my goal this year is to hike a one trip total of almost 37 miles on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) and spend 7 days cooking for a totally generous group of people who come in from all over to volunteer to build a network of trails that connect with other states. When completely finished this trail will span from Canada to Mexico. But it’s already being used so it’s important the CDT shine, Just like The Pacific Northwest trail and the Appalachian Trail. It will take work, but this trail has AMAZING potential.

Anyway, Since April I have been hiking/backpacking and photographing to get in shape and raise the items I need to join this group. And while I have a month and 2 weeks left before the hike, Today I woke up near the Bob Marshall and I took my first hike on the Continental Divide Trail. Oddly, enough while I was intending on getting some hiking in, I wasn’t planning on going up to Benchmark for that purpose. I had known that my Thru-hiker, Train and the other Southbounders (These hikers are all walking to Mexico from Canada, consider that 3500 miles and 6 months of walking!) were to be at the guest ranch yesterday, I was hoping to catch them and hand out some goodies they could enjoy and pack out the waste for them and maybe even take their excess weight ahead for them so they could enjoy the next few days…I missed them by a few hours, but Crystal and I stayed and enjoyed the woods.

When I got up this morning the birds were singing and the sun greeted me as I slipped out of my sleeping bag. I pulled a bear Grylls and used 1 smoldering coal to build a fire (For real!) and then I started shooting (photo and video) the sounds of a morning in the woods. Crystal and I drove out to the South Fork Sun Campground and there it was, the CDT. We loaded up the tri-pod and cameras and of course the backpack and headed out. It was a bright shining hour for me, I was so excited to be on it. Not because I was going far, we had a long way back to the city and other stops to hike at. But because, it finally felt real! I’m going to be hiking it this year. And one day I’ll be hiking ALL of it!

Thanks to some Amazing people and their donations and through some hard work, I’ve managed to wrangle up my camping seat, backpack, some wicking shirts, sleeping bag, headlamp and a few other supplies. I still need a few trail items badly and am working towards those goals!

If you would like to own a print from my gallery you can purchase one here
The price goes towards printing fees, shipping and helping me toward my goal off volunteering. If you would prefer to just donate an item, I have a wishlist at Amazon! We are getting closer!

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Pacific Northwest PT1, Getting There.

This blog is long overdue, I have written three false starts and decided I didn’t like the way the posts flow. I, perhaps, should work on being so anal. None the less. Portland had it’s ups and downs, and much like my adventure back in 2011, Oregon tried it’s hardest to keep me there.

The whole trip was dotted with randomness, from car troubles, frustration and of course friends and laughter.

We set out on our journey on a warm sunny morning, the first after a long bout of rain that left us aching for the road beneath our tires. We had traveled about a hundred miles before things started going wonky. The car we (My longtime friend Heather and I + her kids) drove was a 90 Honda Accord started make a odd noise from the power steering area. I called my Father who lives about 35 miles from where we were and he sent his friend Tom to take a peek. Tom found that there was a mysterious leak in the power steering area, though could not find the leak itself (this was echoed by other mechanics) We put some stop leak in and since there was an oil leak as well we babied the car for the rest of the journey. The kids of course needed breaks as well. Typically, I make the drive to Portland in a day. Though we had fun conversations in between, we had lost the Stereo outside of Pasco and had learned to occupy our own minds and even cheered at each state line, we limped into Kennewick, WA. Road worn and mentally exhausted at 10 pm that night. Taking well over 13 hours to arrive. We took a room in an econolodge and all of us slept soundly. The next morning was warm and we got on good, until we stopped in the Dalles. Where the car had trouble starting. After a few minutes of fussing with it, we were on the road again. Next stop Multnomah Falls.

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Multnomah Falls, oregon

Multnomah holds a precious spot in my heart and always will. So constant yet ever changing, Wanting to stay but always reaching for a distant place, she is a mirror of how I see myself. Though I must say, that is not where I encounter my fondness. That comes in from a tender memory at a very early age. My dad holding my tiny hand in his as we stood on the side of the high bridge in front of the falls. I was so frightened, the bridge was so high, and all my doubts keeping me from going on it with my dad. It would take decades for me to cross that bridge on my own, but eventually I did. Heather, the kids and I traversed the trail beyond the bridge a ways, stopping and taking pictures at popular points. We meandered back to the car after an hour or so and took the Road to Portland………

Around 5:30 Pm we arrived at Champoeg (Pronounced Shampooie) State Park, to verify out yurt reservation and hoped we could get a camp space for the night. it was getting late and we were tired. Our reservation was good, but there was no space this evening and we were forced to go get some dinner at popeyes and look for a hotel room. while the kids finished eating and used the restroom, I decided to go out and check the car for fluids and leaks. While I hovered over the engine a transient woman approached me asking for a handout, none of which I had to spare on this trip. I’m usually not the nervous sort, but she struck me as one who has flirted with a certain drug and when her counterpart approached, I decided to shut up the vehicle and finish when I came back out with Heather. I however didn’t finish, totally forgetting about resuming my work I just started the car and drove away. About 10 minutes later we had an offer from a friend/family of Heathers to stay with them in Oregon City. We pulled into town around 7 pm, and when I shut the car off, smoke started coming from under the hood. Heather and I popped the hood (me admittedly a little more then nervous) to find I had forgotten to put the cap on correctly in my hurry to distance myself from the users back at Popeyes.  Thankfully, no further damage was done to the engine and we were able to get to the house by following Mr. Rothi.

The Rothi family, was such a delight to meet. I always like to post about the people I encounter on trips, whether they be a planned meeting or a chance encounter. The Rothi’s are no exception. I was able to watch members of the family compose a song on the piano and guitar, listen to Heathers daughter play piano pieces and of course managed to lose the keys in plain sight.  I felt very welcomed and though I personally knew none of them, you would not know it by talking with them.  It reminds you that kindness comes from so many different avenues in this world. And where there is kindness inspiration follows. …………..Thank you to the Rothi Family for having us in your home and opening your hearts with such grace and kindness! I now wish I had taken a picture of you to post here!

A special Thank you to Janie and Shawn, Mom and Dad, Tom and ALL of the Rothi Family! Without your time and kindness we would have not had such an interesting yet wonderful experience!

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The car that tried to leave us in Oregon.

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Multnomah Falls, OR, Bridge view

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View from a highpoint on the trail above Multnomah.

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View from the lookout

Thunderstorms, rainbows and tiny shoes.

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ahhhhh, almost to the end of the trail.

I’m one of those people that tend to do that graceful people would have a hard time understanding. You would think that being 5 foot tall and oh, so close to the ground that I would have maybe a little better balance. But I don’t and I roll with it, sometimes literally. Thankfully, I didn’t trip once on today’s hike. I did get a little wet, but I won’t put the cart before the horse.

I had completely intended on getting out of the house by noon today and being home by 6. This did not in any way, shape or form occur.  I packed my backpack with 20 pounds today and 2 liters of water in my water bladder. Added a little more weight by adding my wallet, cell phone, and a few trail snacks. went to go grab my old hiking boots, I was so not going to do the whole running shoe thing again. And low and behold my boots somehow have rid themselves of their laces. Now it’s a known fact hiking boots do not have arms, but it’s also a known fact I have 3 children of the boy variety. I didn’t even bother asking. Off to the shoe store for some new laces. At this moment, I am incredibly thankful that the shoe laces found their way off of my boots, because when we pulled into the trail head and I slipped on my boots, I realize one feels tight. In fact one is a different shade of brown, wait…..One is a total different boot! AGH. Same brand, same style, wrong size! I decide in all my wisdom that I will just try the trail, I mean they are technically the same shoes right? So I shove my old fur lined slip ons into my pack adding roughly 1 pound more.

About a mile into the hike, a storm that looked like it would stay over the mountains, decided to take a sharp left and headed right for us. Thankfully I had my rain fly for my pack with me and covered it up. We took shelter under  the edge of an Alder stand and talked while the storm passed. By this point, I was losing feeling in my second toe from the toe box on the wrong boot squeezing on my foot. So I decided to crack & stretch the leather a bit. This seemed to work for the next half mile but I could feel a blister rubbing on the back of my foot. I finally had to give in and admit I would have to make the rest of this 5 mile  in slip ons. Agh!

I do have to give giant kudos to Osprey, the people who made my backpack and to Bighorn Supplies in Great Falls, for talking me into it. The more weight I added the more comfortable it was, because I flung an additional  2 pounds in with those shoes.

At the end of the trail, we watched the thunderstorm move to the north and a vivid rainbow appeared at it’s base. The air again full of whatever fragrant flower that was in bloom. We walked carefully back to the Jeep, taking in the beauty of the area around us. On the way out and back in we noticed a Heron hanging out in a farmers field that is adjacent to the trail, he kept calling out loudly for whoever it is Herons call out to.  We spied a few White tails in the woodlands, standing like statues hoping not to be seen and then bounding away tails like flags as their cover was blown. We heard a chorus of frogs in the low areas singing joyfully for the rain that had fallen and again spied bald eagles circling high over it’s next meal.

A soft golden light had begin to cover the land in the suns evening descent, Rod found a lovely tree in a green meadow, by now the sky was a shade of vivid blue. I spread a blanket from my pack and we sat and ate a snack and rehydrating and laughing. I do feel lucky to have such an encouraging person in my life. He really is the light in my life.  We chose a new path to take back to the Jeep, one closer to the woodlands and it was a lovely view in general.
I love the fact that even the days that begin badly, can be changed with just a few hours on a trail. Everyday I feel fuller and more enriched. I feel closer to nature and I feel a sense of adventure reawakening in my soul. Thank God for that. I though I had begun to lose sight of the amazing life I actually do live.

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A bright place

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The guy who encourages me to keep going when I feel like quitting. The guy who taught me to open my heart and spread my wings.

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on blustery shore

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Storm moving off.

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beauty in the beast,

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Missouri River @ Ulm, MT

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over the rainbow

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incoming

Slowly now.

The last weeks worth of rain may have not allowed me to be out on the trail as much as I like, but I have set to procuring some gear. Sleeping bag, as I will need that in Portland. Heather and I have decided to stay in a state park where she has rented a yurt. (I love yurts!) But they don’t come with blankets or utensils so you have to bring your own.  I found a head light for night hiking for pretty cheap, oddly it had the best reviews and it was less then 5 bucks. And a pack cover and extra buckles for my pack in case anything gives on mine while on the hike. And a water bladder for my pack. It’s slowly coming together.

One of the things that works in my favor is my height. I’m 5 foot tall, so I can buy JR. Sleeping bags, pads and even tents. Keeping everything substantially more affordable then if I was super tall. Recently, I cut my hair from mid-back length to just under my ears. I’m happy I did, it keeps it out of my eyes when it’s windy like today is.

In other news, Portland is a go and we’ll be leaving on the 7th. I always love going back to Portland. Even after all these years, I still call it home, I almost always break down into tears when crossing the border from Washington and then back again. In general the pacific Northwest has my heart, but so many important things that made me who I am happened in Oregon. I guess that is probably why I have such a draw to the area.

Anyway, it’s homework time for me, then a hike! Tomorrow, i intend on spending completely out of doors, Maybe a picnic mid-hike? I can’t wait!

First day out. flat on my face.

It has been a few days since I have been able to really get out and put on a little distance. The rain has been falling since Friday. I don’t mind the rain at all. I actually am one of those who look forward to it. I love the closed in comfort  (odd for someone who dislikes small spaces) , the sound of the rain beating on my roof and chugging down the gutters. I enjoy watching the sand pipers play in the puddles when it stops for a few minutes. It threw me back a bit this week though as I have not purchased rain gear yet. Needless to say I was chomping at the bit to get out. I’ve been eyeing the Osprey propped up in the corner, knowing this was the week I was going to start putting on the weight and going for it.

Despite the wind this evening I was ready. I had chosen a trail south of here and hoped to do the whole 2.5 one way and 2.5 back. It started off good, I weighed the pack with about 15 pounds, since this was the first time wearing it. I could have taken an additional 15 easily, the pack was completely comfortable and not at all bothersome. The trail however, ugh. Now I must say this is my own fault, I wore running shoes instead of hiking shoes and to top it off I wore the ones that were a tad too big without layering socks. Bad idea!

We got about a mile in, when most suddenly I end up face to face with a grass spider, he of course, is exactly where he should be. I, however am vertical, not sure how to stand up with a pack on my back. It didn’t take much time to figure it out and we are off again, taking in the scenery of the moon rising, deer pausing to listen to our voices on the wind, when again I go down. This time slipping on a large tuft of rotten grass from the floods a few years back. I laugh and get back up. We walked a bit further made it to a lush clearing where the river sparkled blue, contrasting the hills of the plains that surrounded it, the air around us pungent with the smell of wildflowers, we scared a pheasant into flight and it was very inspiring.  I was happy I hadn’t fallen for the span of this mile and was content to make it to the 1.7 mile marker, the sun was drawing closer to the horizon and I sped up in hopes to finish up the trail. The scenery had changed to a more recognizable tundra/ plains look and we were about to descend a hill when Bam! down again.  I’d had enough and at this speed we were not going to make it back to the Jeep by dark.  I took off the pack, only then realizing I had been carrying any weight at all. Gave my husband a sweater and turned around and started back. We made ok time for the first mile and I was enjoying the fragrant smells, when again I tripped, slightly twisting my ankle. I’m aggravated now and my husband is making cracks like…”Just walk it off” and “when I’m mad I go for a walk!”. His humor was probably the only thing keeping me from kicking a deer at this point.

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river side woodlands, still have not come into spring yet.

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Still have not face planted by this point.

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See, I’m still happy enough to take a self image!

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Quintessential North Central Montana

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River views

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With injured pride, the walk back

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The last half mile.

 The light had almost faded from the horizon when the truck came into sight, still about half a mile off, I trip one more time and let out a yell that would have probably scared small children had there been any nearby. This seriously was getting out of control. I’d never been so happy to see the truck. On the plus side, besides the animals listed above, we got lovely views of owls, hawks, ducks, geese and eagles!
I’m feeling better now that I’ve sorted out what the issue was. I’m still ready to get out there again with more weight tomorrow. It’s a new day and My ankles aren’t swollen so I’m totally up for it!

Getting Schooled. Portland ahead.

I’m taking a few certificate courses the summer to add to my resume. Currently I am in Design and Psychology (yes, they do work together! Psychology in Marketing)  Last night I sat up working on homework. Which in this case was Vanishing points and squares. Well, Apparently I never actually did learn how to use a ruler because it took me a total of three hours to get the job of drawing 5 2D cubes. Once I finished I set my work to my side and began on the next project, about halfway through I wanted to color test a marker and without thinking did a quick scribble on what I thought was a piece of scratch paper. I sat there with a look of shock on my face…I had scribbled on my homework! What grade am I in?!

Needless to say I was up until about 6am this morning and I still didn’t finish my work. I have about 24 hours to do so and that is after missing my walk. Not taking my daily hike makes me feel like crap. I can’t wait to get out again. But I am sure this is what “Getting Schooled” means.

I am pretty excited confirming a last minute trip with my friend to Portland in June. I love PDX. I love the people, the scenery and so on, but to go with a friend is going to be fun! Maybe I’ll even figure out Maxx while I am there. The last time I rode it I was 7 or 8 and my best friend and I decided to sneak on and ride it from Gresham to Downtown. Not the brightest of all my childhood schemes.

I am looking forward to the opportunity of meeting “Train” (Completed the Pacific Crest trail in 2012 and is hiking the Continental Divide trail next month) while I am there. Not only have I enjoyed conversing with him thus far, he’s something of an inspiration to me as well. I am very much looking forward to it!   For the sake of education and knowledge AKA Schoolwork, I should finish out this log and get back to work! Have an excellent evening!

 

Falling into place. And making dreams realities.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have signed up to cook on the CDT (Continental divide trail) this summer. Lets face it, I'm a very eager person, but I'm also a resilient and driven one. So I'm rising to the challenge. I've started setting goals for myself. It started simple just 12 days ago I was at a mile, very much feeling defeated by my own goals. But, I pushed through and tonight I met 2 goals. 1. To walk 4 miles (my daily goal) and a longer goal of hitting a mile in 15 minutes, I beat that goal by 7 seconds. So I'm incredibly excited about that

I have  really enjoyed walking, this week I have been walking with my husband. It’s been like dating all over again, the two of us learning to talk on a more adult level without the kids influencing the conversation. So for an hour each evening we’ve been getting to learn each other again. After 15 years together, that’s pretty exciting. Each evening is a new adventure, the sun never looks the same twice, as it slips down from it’s journey in the clouds to begin it’s journey somewhere else behind the mountains. We’ve climbed steep hills and seen deer feeding  along the sides of our path. We’ve crossed rivers , streams and dry creek beds and it’s like the world is awakening before my eyes. I guess you see so much when your driving, but you miss the opportunity to really drink those things in.  Like the grass breaking through the asphalt on the roads or  city trails. It’s almost inspiring to see such a thing. A little blade of grass can break through something so hard. Which makes me realize, someone like me can do great things too. Keep going, keep trying until you get there. And when you do…there is still more to see, more mountains to climb. I can’t wait.

On Mothers day, my family took me for a two part hike in the little belt mountains. First of all, I was crazy excited to get off man made trails and get back to nature. I was a little daunted at the first trail. I stood below a 184 foot incline the 177  feet of that in the first .25 miles. starting off with a 35% grade. But my kids took it like champs, so I figured I should probably do the same. It took about 20 minutes to arrive at the top of the trail, in which it completely petered out. Not to be put off we followed a deer trail, Road in sight far below us. And took turns calling out “Yo Bear”, since it is spring in the mountains it’s best to be safe then sorry. We followed the path, bushwhacking a time or two until we met up with a second, more substantial trail, where we began our descent to the valley floor, we let the kids play in the creek for a bit, then it was time to head out to trail number two. Substantially easier and much more frequented, this was a walk in the literal park after the Hughesville grade. Even with the addition of early nettles and patchy dense alder growth. The hubby picked me some wild bitteroot to adorn my bandanna head wrap, I think I married very well.

Over the course of the last month, I’ve had the luck to visit some really amazing places. Crystal had me a long on a road trip to Whitefish and we took a little time to walk on the shores of White fish lake, Hungry Horse reservoir and Lake Mcdonald, in Glacier National park. I saw a wolf for the first time in my life on the way home, I had never realized how big they actually are. We looked for bear but saw none.

I never set out to lose weight on this journey, and I’m not shedding the pounds quickly, but I can see a difference in muscle tone especially in my legs and rear. and today I stepped on the scale (oddly to weigh my cat, not myself..I check my weight first then add the cat, he’s 13 pounds in case you are wondering) and I note that I have lost 6 pounds. That’s a seriously awesome side effect of this whole thing!

While the month was amazing, I have to say the highlight was finally, FINALLY getting my pack! I guess, putting it on and wearing it, really hit home. I’m doing this, it’s real. Last year I was a housewife (I still am, and I happen to be a photographer too!) But now I feel like I am so much closer to achieving my goals. That’s a really amazing feeling when you know you are that much closer to doing so. I ended up with an Osprey Via 65, it’s a womens pack, so it fits my shortness perfectly, I love internal frame packs and the way they sit on your hips, I’ll be adjusting to weight over the next month, So it’s a good thing that I got a quality bag. Thanks to those who donated or purchased from my Amazon Wish list. It really takes the edge off. Some of the items I am to use will need to be replaced along the way (for longer trips) and it’s good to have extras.

I’ll leave you  and some images from the last month or so. Some of these are available for sale, all the proceeds of my sales go to funding my volunteer adventure, you can learn more in the fundraising section of my site. There are also portrait sessions in there for a substantial discount! Thanks so much for all your faith in me and helping me to get to each goal!

Training trail clips. (Video)

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Missouri river at Ulm Montana 3 mile hike.

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That’s right! The Pack! I’m so stinking excited!

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Doesn’t look all that impressive but that’s 174 feet over .74 miles.

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Whitefish lake at night. (Available for purchase)

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The beginning of the Hughesville grade hike.

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A Peak in Glacier National Park

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Alpha Falls @ Hungry Horse, Available for purchase.

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Waterfall at Lake Mcdonald in Glacier National Park. Available for purchase.

 

Cooking on the CDT. The learning curve. And a mixed bag.

When I think of hiking or backpacking, I think of me and maybe a friend or two. I have not ever considered packing food for a group. Cool, a challenge! I’m not sure if I have posted my summer intents this year. But I signed up to cook for a trail crew on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail- Montana) in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It’s an 18 mile hike each way and 7 days in the back country. I am more then excited about it.

Anyway, I’ve been doing my homework and the one thing I haven’t found is anything on how to pack for a trail crew. But I have found that you can exist on much more creative meals then peanut butter, noodles and pop tarts…THANK GOD!
I’ve found possibilities such as Pad Thai, Mountain man soup, Tuna casserole and so forth. Lots of calories to keep the workers in energy as well as proteins and vitamins. It also means I’ll be able to cook for Vegetarians and Vegans if there are any. I would like to dehydrate as much as I can here at home so that is going to be another challenge. I have dehydrated all sorts of foods and barks for my kids and I. From the typical jerky to fruit trail mixes and even pasta sauce, However this will be a larger scale. I’m definitely up for a challenge.

I totally feel it’s worth every minute. Montana is so full of amazing trails and back country and I really feel it could be utilized more with maintained trails. That’s what this group is setting out to do. Clear up and fix up those trails for the adventurers. Montana Wilderness Association (CDT Montana) is so awesome, because everyone going on this trip is volunteers. I am also acquainted with a guy who will be hiking the CDT this year, so it will be pretty awesome to know I played a part in his journey. Cool, huh?
In case you’d like to take a peek at his adventure, Check out 26. He finished the PCT last year and now takes his interesting twist to the Continental Divide.  Ron puts a spin on hiking by debuting wedding attire, yes, I said it, wedding attire on his hikes. You have to love a guy who will sport tuxes & Kilts while being a sport on the trail! You can also check out his website hiking26.com.

While I am out here promoting people, places and locations (Proper nouns) I figure, I’ll put a thanks out to Bighorn Outdoor Specialists as well. After a whirlwind winter I realized that I had totally spaced my Oboz , I had put on layaway with them. My husband was awesome enough to remember for me and Bighorn was super cool and is letting me pick up where I left off! Whew, because they really are the most awesome shoe I put on my foot!

Ok done, with the pimping and promoting.  I think I’ll finish off tonight’s blog, completely and utterly off topic, because really, that’s pretty much who I am, consistently off topic, doing my own thing. I spent the last 2 days down in Billing with a friend and she treated me with a trip to the zoo. I’m not really one who gets a giant thrill of seeing animals in cages , though I do appreciate the conservation factor. But I found myself feeling much like I did the first time I went to the Portland Zoo as a child. I fixated….I want to see the Tigers, I want to see the bears and the Otters ! Much to my chagrin the bear had decided he would only show us his rear  while he snoozed. The Otters were away..But the Tiger was there. So here is an image of Koosaka, Zoo Montana’s Siberian Tiger. Also, a random image of a Bald Eagle. 🙂

Love, peace and Naked lil’ Bunnies. 🙂

A Bald Eagle stares curiously through a pine tree.

A Bald Eagle stares curiously through a pine tree.

Koosaka, 1 of 300 Siberians left in captivity. There are roughly 100 Amur (Siberian Tigers) left in the wild, with the densest population being in Eastern Russia and Asia. They are mercilessly hunted for their pelts and for traditional medicines.

Koosaka, 1 of 300 Siberians left in captivity. There are roughly 100 Amur (Siberian Tigers) left in the wild, with the densest population being in Eastern Russia and Asia. They are mercilessly hunted for their pelts and for traditional medicines.

P.S. If you would like to help me save up for my own trail hikes and photographic adventures and volunteer trips, just click the link at the top!

A great start to a new year of adventures!

It’s been a wonderful start to the year! And I want to say thank you to those who have participated with such love and kindness thus far! Already we have  visited Washington and Idaho and I’ve been out with one of my closest friends discovering the back roads of Montana. There will be a lot of Back Country Photography this year as I am volunteering with the Montana Wilderness Association which requires hiking 18-20 miles to get to our destination. I will also be training for other hiking endeavors as the season wears on to get into tip top shape for that hike as well as a possible 2 day on the CDT.  So let’s get started with some of this seasons images already!  Please remember some of these images can be purchased to help me continue with my travels and Volunteer work. I will no be accepting cash donations but I would love it if  you took at the link above to see ways you can help me continue on! Thank you! Now, on with the show!

In March we (my family and I) decided to take a break from the stresses of real life and visit my favorite place. Washington! But since I had my kids I wanted to take a look at the more educational side of the journey. So we traveled all the way from the agricultural state of Montana, to a tiny little farm on Bainbridge Island in Washington. This may seem counter productive, but this wasn’t about educating the brain, this was about educating the heart.

 

Blakely Hill Farms.

I think I can safely compare this farm to Montana as in saying, it’s a “Last Best Place”. You see, Blakely Hill Farms is not your typical farm. Sure, it’s got horses, goats , cats , dogs, pigs and Llamas. But it’s the one thing these animals have in common that really make it such. They are all rescues. Martha and Shelby Vaughan are truly a new inspiration in my life. While it’s unlikely I will be taking in more rescues then the cats that we have taken in from the fields. They inspire me in many other ways as well. It is their compassion and true love of these animals and the caring way they treated us (who were complete strangers to them) that had me thinking, there really are still amazing people in this world.

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My Son Matthew meets with one of the farm residents , both seem just as curious as the other,

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The horse name “Jake” peaks around the corner of the farm house. Jake is a Slaughter house rescue.

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A resident of the feline variety peers out into the light. Shelby and Martha located this little guy in a forest when they found him they realized that his tail had been split in two.

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Love can heal in so many ways, the one thing I did not see a lack of here was love, so much healing!

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Ioka is another slaughter house rescue, who before coming to the farm could barely stand. The inside of her hooves had collapsed causing it to be very very painful for her to walk. On the day she came to rescue, she shook as she took her steps into the trailer. Now, while still in some pain she is able to walk slowly about the property!

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Cactus:: Sometimes, opening your heart to animals in need, means that you will experience loss as well. Cactus passed on shortly after this image was taken. Shelby and Martha not only invest time and finances into the rescue of these amazing animals but the heart and emotions to keep going.

I will be posting a full photography blog on the goings on at Blakely Hill Farms as soon as my schedule allows, I have already been delayed and I do so want to tell the whole story of this amazing place. !

SEATTLE/ PUGET SOUND

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Blossoms opening in Meadowdale park, Lynnwood Wa.

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2 of my favorite things about Washington, Rain and Moss. Sure it’s probably the locals annoyance, but to me it’s memories of my childhood. I love it!

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One of the new additions to the Pier in Seattle is a Millenium Wheel! Kinda awesome!

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Pikes Place Market

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Pikes place Market , a must if you’re on a tourist styled agenda!

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We have to thank Rob for taking us down to Golden Gardens Beach in Ballard. My kids LOVED the water and the boats and of course the sand. I’m sure it will take forever to go through all the images!

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A tribute to our friend Rob! 🙂 Froggy!

 

 

 

 

Back Country Montana

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The Rocky Mountains Near Augusta Montana

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Nilan Reservoir

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Sweet Montana sunsets

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I’m ppositive I have seen the gates to heaven and this is it. Near Augusta Montana