Once I wandered

my wanderings from here to there.

Month: April, 2013

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.


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


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


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.


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


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!


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. !




Blossoms opening in Meadowdale park, Lynnwood Wa.


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!


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


Pikes Place Market


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


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!


A tribute to our friend Rob! 🙂 Froggy!





Back Country Montana


The Rocky Mountains Near Augusta Montana


Nilan Reservoir


Sweet Montana sunsets


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

35 years, now where do I go.

I am really not sure how I have floated through life thus far without feeling so incredibly hard about what I am doing and who I am. I’m one of those people who falls and just figures, oh well, get back up and do it again. And hey, that’s worked thus far. I have a self made career that has allowed me to be with my kids and add income to my home. I enjoy what I do. But I think it’s time to move forward. I’m ready to do something with my life before I’m old and grey. I’m ready to feel needed in a work environment. I’m simply not getting that right now.  I think my husband is too. 15 years for the same company at the same job, he has a BA and still only makes a pittance and unless something changes, we are pretty much done for. Not being the types to rely on others to make changes for us we are ready to come to terms with this part of life. We have only 8 years until our last one jumps the roost.
But I have a problem, nothing out of the ordinary for students I guess. But I have decided to go back to school, I actually decided last year and thus began the issue of deciding what I wanted to do. I’ve this long list of possibilities. On one half I want to travel after retirement, maybe I can get a teaching degree and do TEFL when I’m ready. But I love nature, not just a little but almost to the point where in a misplaced state I could theoretically live off the land. I have an innate understanding of ecology and have considered this immensely. However 8 years in college will make me 43 at graduation and the 5 more years to get experience.  48? That might be a tough age for a newbie in the workforce. And finally Graphic design, I don’t really love it, but I don’t hate it. I understand it, it’s like clock work for the basic stuff right now. I can already do layouts and logos, create spreads and so on and so forth. I really wish my brain would let me decide, so I can get on with it already! 🙂
35, it’s like being halfway across a bridge with a forest fire on the side you just left. You really want to go back, or hell , enjoy the view from the middle, but inevitably you have to go forward.