Once I wandered

my wanderings from here to there.

Month: May, 2013

Thunderstorms, rainbows and tiny shoes.


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.


A bright place


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.


on blustery shore


Storm moving off.


beauty in the beast,


Missouri River @ Ulm, MT


over the rainbow






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.


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


Still have not face planted by this point.


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


Quintessential North Central Montana


River views


With injured pride, the walk back


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)


Missouri river at Ulm Montana 3 mile hike.


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


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


Whitefish lake at night. (Available for purchase)


The beginning of the Hughesville grade hike.


A Peak in Glacier National Park


Alpha Falls @ Hungry Horse, Available for purchase.


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