Bass Creek Camping – October 2014 – Part 5

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Morning color

Friday October 17, 2014 – Partly sunny and 32 degrees when I get up.  No campfire this morning; I just find sunny spots and move my chair and table to keep pace with the warmer oasis of light. Make a cup of coffee and read “A New Earth” – thoughts on how thoughts/emotions come from the ego trying to strengthen itself, which is always at the expense of the “other.”   Edit “Against All Odds,” play cello while the sun shines,

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Wood, dense and mysterious

and explore the woods, gathering more branches and twigs.  I love the woods, so dense and mysterious.  Haven’t explored them nearly as much as I’d like.

When the campsite is in shade, I build a campfire and continue editing until it is too dark to see outside.

Saturday October 18, 2014 – Today is a town day and so off to Missoula first t hing.  Run errands, visit my mom – a very bright 88 years young, and go to Barnes & Nobles for the bookstore fix.  Home after dark and head to bed soon after unloading and putting away our purchases.

Sunday October 19. 2014 – Nice day, no need for a campfire this morning, and I’m saving wood for the cooler days that are forecast.  Katie, Jeremy and the boys come out in the afternoon and we do a walkabout in the woods to the creek and to the little A-frame “fort” that some industrious kids built sometime this summer.  The boys (my grandsons ages 2 and 4) have a great time playing in the water and exploring the fort.

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Finley throwing rocks in the creek

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Jude at the fort by the creek

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Katie and Finley in the fort

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Finley peeking out of the fort

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Katie and Finley headed back to camp

Back at the camp Katie gets the campfire going and starts dinner while the Clifford, Jeremy, and I gathered more wood.  After dinner we sit around the fire enjoying the time to relax and chat.  I’m really glad that they were able to come out again,

Later, more editing.  Hard to put it down.  The Novels of Shannon series which I am editing takes the reader to another world where the characters become real while their adventuresome journey, fraught with peril, draws the reader in.  Our lives may seem tame compared to theirs and yet we all face common questions about the intricacies of life: how to live with our weaknesses and our strengths, how to survive pain and loss, how to become fully alive.

Bass Creek – October 2014 – Part 4

Wednesday October 15: This is a day of changing weather.

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Overcast, then the clouds begin to part

Cloudy when I get up to make my campfire and a cup of coffee.  Read “A New Earth” resonating with the words, the meanings, going beyond ego to BEING.  Well, I might not be getting there, yet, but it makes sense, anyway.  Write in my journal and have breakfast by the campfire, enjoying the warmth.

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Then the sky clears up enough that I get out the cello, glad to have enough sun to sit and play a bit.  But by time I get the cello out and set up, and play through one piece, it clouds up and starts to rain.  I scramble around getting the cello and music put away as quickly as I can.  The little storm passes, the sun come outs, so I get the cello out again. Then the rain comes again and as I am putting the cello away, a big gust of wind knocks over the stand and music is blowing everywhere.  I could have used some help, but Clifford is not is sight.  This time the rain continues through the remainder of the afternoon.

Sometime during the afternoon the rain lets up enough to let the wonderful warm late afternoon light come through and a lovely rainbow appears arching over the trees at the end of the meadow.  Sweet.

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Cloud moving on, sunlight coming in

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Rainbow arch at the end of the meadow

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Dark clouds in the background, warm sunlight in the foreground

My homemade chicken soup has thawed out, so I simmer it an hour to be on the safe side.  How much nutrition is left in a soup cooked that long, I don’t know, but I am not taking any chances.

Our battery is not charging, so light and power are an issue tonight.  Too bad, as I can see to write blogs with the laptop, but once its little battery is dead, I am out of luck.

Thursday October 16:  I light the stove to start warming up the Pony and get the tea water going.  There is a pretty sunrise this morning.

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Sunrise color

Take photos of the droplets on branches on my way to the restroom, nearly a block away.  It has been good for me to do a morning walk, albeit out of necessity, and this morning it is especially pretty out after yesterday’s rain.

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Delicate seed pods

After breakfast we go to Stevensville for ice and groceries, then explore the Chief Looking Glass State Park.  It was too expensive for us, and I am really glad we didn’t go there, as it is much prettier where we are at Bass Creek.

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Mountains of the Bitterroot Range

Later Merri and Ali come to visit.  Merri and Clifford have a plant identification project going on, which is fun for Merri, as she loves plants and knows a LOT about plants and trees.

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Looking at the trees

Ali is kind of bored and just pokes around at the fire.  Maybe walking around looking at trees and moss and berries are not her thing.  We all have a cup of tea before they go.  I am glad they got to come out, even though Merri and I didn’t really get much time to visit.  Just nice to have her here for awhile.

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Decorating the pumpkin with gifts from the forest

We do the CI meeting from my cell phone.  I’m not feeling great, but can’t distract myself with photo editing, as my laptop is dead, and it would be rude to distract myself with reading or writing.  Finally I just crawl up on the bed and don’t even pretend to be actively involved.  Wonder if it was eating a whole raw potato that caused my indigestion.

Yogurt and mint tea for my dinner and by bedtime, I feel better and sleep okay.

Bass Creek Camping – October 2014 – Part 3

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Campfire in the morning

Sunday October 12:  Wake up early; too dark to sit out, so I make mint tea and sit inside to read “A New Earth” until it is light enough to head outside to make a campfire.  The wood under the pull-outs is a bit wet, but the wood under the tarp is good and dry, so I soon have a cheery fire going. The way Tolle explains some concepts in “A New Earth” helps me to make sense of the lessons from “A Course in Miracles” which were not resonating with me.  A different way of looking at things can be very good.

Bass Creek 1_G12 092 Bass Creek 1_G12 094Ang and Oden come

about 11:30 and we

have time to do a

walkabout taking

photos of raindrop

on leaves and

other delightful

after-rain images.

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Give her a camera and a cup of coffee…. and she is all set!

Then we head out to see my sister, Lillian, who lives about 10 miles outside of Stevensville on the other side of the Bitterroot valley.  As we look back, we can see snow on the mountain tops on the western range.  We have a nice visit with Lillian; I let her know that I have been to a doctor for the first time in about 20 years and that there are some health issues going on.

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Lillian, Carol, Ang

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Oden displaying 12-year-old dorkiness

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Lillian’s driveway

From the eastern side of the valley where she lives, we have a clear view of the snowy mountains to the west, so more photos are taken as we head back to the campground.

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Across the Bitterroot Valley – we are camped over there

Back at the Pony, after Ang and Oden leave, I do some editing and read portions of the journal from 1979 to 1980.  There was an entry regarding a conversation Katie and I had regarding priests and bishops, and how bishops could tell the priests where they had to go.  Katie, who was four years old at the time, totally got the idea and decided that she would be a bishop when she grows up so she can tell people what to do.  It was really quite delightful, the best part of the whole 6-month journal, and it made her day when I sent it as a text to her. No campfire tonight as it is a bit chilly this evening and more comfortable inside, even though I struggle to read by the available light.

Monday October 13:  Wake up early with leg cramps, but luckily I am able to go back to sleep and get up after daylight to go out build a campfire.  I make tea and as I get settled by the fire to read, the tea spills and I have to go back inside to make a new cup.  Clifford is up and we have a discussion about the pan that needs replacing, which gets me thinking about what I have been reading about ego  – is my suggestion to use more butter in the pan merely a suggestion or is it my ego coming forward to say I know better than someone else how to use the pan.  There are definitely some grey areas here. I do a walkabout looking at the other campsites, gather wood, and explore the woods which are enchanted, I’m quite sure.

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Enchanted woods

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Old school cello is camping cello

Mild temperatures and sunshine in the afternoon gives me the opportunity to play the cello again today.I am not very satisfied with this cello, not liking the sound of the A-string or 4th position, both of which are used all the time.  It creates a quandry for me – how to go camping AND have a pleasing instrument to play.  Haven’t felt like playing the flute because the higher registers are not appealing to me.  Oh well……

And so goes the day. Later in the afternoon the picnic table at the vacant site next to us is still in the sunlight, and I move down there to continue writing in my journal until the sunlight is overtaken by shadow. Before the sun sets behind the mountain, the last rays hit the young aspen grove on the hillside across the meadow from where we are camped.  What a wonderful burst of color.

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Last glow of light on the aspens

Back at our spot, I build another great campfire and sit out editing until it is too dark to see.  As the fire dies down, I leave the embers to glow while I go inside to join Clifford and make us a tasty dinner.   After dinner, I make notes in a word document from the old journal.  Not sure I want or need to save the old journal once that is done.  I had written down many dreams that might be of interest, but maybe not worth keeping, either.  If I was going to learn from them, it should have have been then. Head to bed, thinking how much different my life is now.  The struggles of that period of my life are far behind me.  How joyful it is now to be camping, drinking a morning cup of coffee or tea by a campfire, having the day to read, write, or walkabout taking photos, and quiet evenings with Clifford.  My kids are grown and are people I enjoy spending time with.  Life is good.

Bass Creek Camping – October 2014 – Part 2

Friday October 10: Looks like it will be a sunny day,

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Morning campfire and tea

but I make a small campfire so I can sit out to read and write until it warms up some. I read “A New Earth” and write in my journal, enjoying my hot tea and the warmth of the flames. After breakfast I go searching for wood for the campfire, finding some cut wood behind one of the camps. The woods here are dark and mysterious, and dense with a variety of trees and shrubs. I almost expect a wood nymph to show herself.  I think I could explore forever and not tire of it.

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Woods dark and mysterious

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Shrubs highlighted by a ray of sunlight

After several walkabouts to take photos, bringing back some wood each time, the wood supply begins to build up. This is a good thing, since the forecast is for rain one of these days. I have another campfire in the evening as it is much easier on my eyes to edit by natural light until it gets too dark to do so.

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Evening campfire

Saturday October 11: It is mostly cloudy this morning,

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Mostly cloudy

so I build a campfire, glad for the wood I gathered yesterday. The guy in the campsite across the road from us says we can have the wood that is at his spot, as he isn’t using it. I happily gather it up, stockpiling some under the pullouts of the Pony and the rest goes in a pile that I cover with a tarp at the first sign of rain. I keep the campfire going as long as I can, but eventually the rain becomes too heavy for me to read or write outdoors and I am forced to go in to continue with my editing.

I brought one of my old journals with me from 1979 to 1980, and begin reading it, curious if I should keep the old journals or begin getting rid of them. The entries are mostly quite brief, but bring back painful memories of how difficult my life situation was at that time. I am ever so grateful for all the good memories I have since Clifford and I have been together. And this camping trip to Bass Creek will be the next addition to the good memories bank.

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Good memories at Bass Creek

Bass Creek Camping – October 2014 – Part 1

Wednesday October 8: Yesterday we made it as far as Ang’s cabin on our way to Bass Creek south of Missoula, Montana. This morning she and I have coffee while we chat, and after sharing breakfast with her and Oden (my grandson), Clifford and I head on to Bass Creek.

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Sharing a cup of coffee at the cabin

We arrive at the Charlie Waters campground in the early afternoon and are surprised to find it nearly full, which is unexpected for a mid-week day in October. We later find out that hunting season for something-or-other just started and there is a church group gathering. There are not many sites to choose from; Clifford wants sunshine, I want secluded and pretty. We drive through the entire campground at least three times before we compromise on a site: not secluded, but pretty with the woods behind the campsite, and a moderate chance of sunshine throughout the day.

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Exploring the woods behind the campsite

We explore the woods at bit, looking for the creek that we can hear. It is not accessible right at our campsite, but can be reached further along. Then we get the Pony set up and this is home for the next couple of weeks.

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Creek hidden in the woods

Thursday October 9: Wake up to sunshine and beautiful blue sky. I set up a small table and my chair in a big patch of sunlight, make a cup of French Press coffee (doesn’t need electricity, as well as making good tasting coffee), then sit in the sun’s warmth to write in my journal and begin reading “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. The book opens by discussing the insanity of the human race because of ego identification with thought. So far, so good.

After breakfast we drive to Stevensville to get ice and a few groceries. I am pleased to find that the Super One store there has a good section of organic produce. On the way back, we explore the group campground not far away, a couple of side roads, the picnic area, and the road that goes beyond the trailhead and up the mountain that is across the meadow from us. In our exploration, we find a little niche off one of the side roads with a couple of primitive campsites. Good thing to keep in mind for next time.

Back at camp I edit “Against All Odds,” my project for this outing, while Clifford does research and plays with his ham radio gear – his projects. I play my cello for a bit

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The cello

before walking across the meadow to take photos. The autumn colors are just beginning here.

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Bass Creek 1_G12 035The light in the afternoon hits a grove of young aspen on the hillside across the meadow causing them to glow as if lit from within. I can’t get to them now, but I am certainly drawn to their vivid color.

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Aspen grove on the ridge

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Another family of aspen

Katie calls: she is concerned that I am not getting enough good meat in my diet, based on the lab results I have received, so she is bringing her family and dinner out to our camp this afternoon. When Katie, Jeremy, and the kids arrive, we build a good campfire. Katie cooks a great dinner over the fire; we eat and visit until after dark. It is such a treat to have visitors, and especially fun to have visitors who cook!

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Katie cooking dinner over the campfire

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Jeremy and Finley

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Justice holding little brother Jude

What an enjoyable evening! A really nice end to this lovely day at Bass Creek.

A Short Placer Creek Outing

Oh, the To-Do list is on my desk, but I scarcely look at it.  Is there anything that can’t be put off or ignored completely?  I make a cup of yerba matte with honey and coconut milk, sipping at it as I write in my journal.  What do I really want to do today?  Well, an outing with my camera, of course.  So, I decide to head up Moon Pass Road along Placer Creek to see if there is any frost or snow at a higher elevation.

Placer Creek 2 Nov 002I drive up a fair ways, but no frost and only the highest mountains around have snow at their crests.  I turn around at a wide spot and decide to explore as long as I am up here.  A mere couple feet off the road and I am walking into a rain forest – dark, moist, mossy.  Kind of spooky, in a way.  If Clifford had come with me, we might have hiked in a ways, but as it is, I just go far enough to get a feel for the place without loosing site of the car.  Guess it doesn’t help that we just read last night about murders on one of the passes outside Wallace just a few years back.  Should I let that stop me – no – but I wonder about Bigfoot being here; it feels like a Bigfoot type of place.  I walk further in as I take photos of the little stream and after a while, I feel more relaxed and connected to the mysterious beauty of this forest.  I’ll come back another day when I can stay longer.

Placer Creek 2 Nov 007I head back down the road and turn off on a narrow side-road that goes goodness-knows-where.  I like crossing the bridge, as Placer Creek is right here close at hand unobscured by brush.

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I’m tempted to stay parked right in the middle of the bridge to drink my hot tea and do some book editing.  But it is a one-laner and I wouldn’t want to block someone coming up behind me.   Instead, I drive on down the road until I find another place where I can park right by the creek without being in anyone’s way.   It is a habit of mine – trying not to be in anyone’s way, even when no one is there,,,   maybe that is one duck that I should let run wild.

Placer Creek 2 Nov 025I sit in my car with the engine off and the window down, listening to the gurgling of the creek as I edit, until I get too cold.   I realize there is a part of me trying to find the missing piece of the life-puzzle that was left behind in New Mexico.  Of course, I can’t get that particular piece back, but sitting by the creek helps sooth the yearning.  It’s odd, but my life feels like I am trying to work with more than one puzzle and while each had or has its good pieces, I can’t seem to combine them into one workable picture.  Even if that is not truly how it is, that is how it feels to me right now.  But the piece I am working with today, seeking and sharing beauty, has always been there… and it is good.

Scouting Outing

So, what makes you want to get up in the morning?  This is an important question to ask and answer for one’s self and then make sure you do it as often as you can.  The “shoulds” and the “musts” and the “to-do” list so often take priority.  I think, at this point in my life, I would be a lot healthier if I had done way more of the things that make me want to get out of bed.  But I’ve always been the type to take care of the shoulds and musts and the to-do list, letting them have too much of my precious time.  Of course, if one has a job to do – do it in a timely manner, in an attentive way,  But, again I say, do the things that bring life into you as often as you can.

So, today, as most days, I want to find a pretty spot outdoors to take photos, preferably where there is water.  I just don’t want to go by myself, as it is a chilly overcast day, not the best day to be outdoors.  However, Clifford says he’ll go with me.  Hooray! So, right after breakfast, off we go.

We are always scouting for possible places to camp, and because of the weather, decide to scout close to home.  First we drive up a gulch with the name Lake Road.  Now that sounds pretty good, but not too far up, there is an active mine and the road seems to end in their big parking lot.  Hmmm…….  No lake here for us, so we head back down and find Two-mile

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South Fork of the Coeur d Alene River

Creek Road, crossing over the South Fork of the Coeur d Alene River just outside of Osburn.  We drive up this road.  It is kind of pretty here with a very small creek running alongside the road.

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Two-mile Creek

Once we get to a spot where the road narrows and climbs, we know this is not Pony (pop-up tent trailer) camping country, but it was fun to take a look at it.

Next, we decide to head over Lookout Pass to the Taft area, as we had heard that there are places to camp up that gulch.  We have been intending to explore there for months and just never got to it.  On the way, we stop at Elmer’s Fountain to take photos of the ice that is beginning to build around the fountains.  The water flows down Gold Creek from Gold Lake.  Up the mountain from the fountain location is a small water dam and a water flume that skirts the mountainside before a final steep drop to a valve which controls the flow at

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Elmer’s Fountain (the smaller fountain)

each fountain. The water supply remains unfrozen during the winter because the builder, Elmer Almquist, a miner from Mullen, was smart enough to store the water upstream in a horizontal mine tunnel.  The water is reputed to be wonderful tasting.  Seems I am there when the water drinking fountain is frozen, but I would love to get some of that water for drinking next spring.

The highway is clear, but it begins to rain as we near the pass.  On the Montana side, there are low clouds obscuring the mountains and the rain is heavier.  When we reach the Taft exit, we discover that the road is covered with a thin sheet of ice.  I take a photo of a

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Creek at Taft

creek that we would have crossed over, but this is as far as we are going today.  It seems like a good idea to head back to Wallace before the freezing rain settles down on the interstate.

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The Road Not Taken

We didn’t find a place to go camping, but an outing with a few photos makes my day.  The to-do list remains largely ignored; I am doing only those things that I would do even without the list.  Of course, not everyone can do this everyday, but when you can, give it a try.  Bring as much joy and meaning into your life now, today, and every day.  Life is too precious to waste on getting all of one’s ducks in a tidy row.  Let them run wild now and then and see how it feels.

South Fork of the Coeur d Alene River

Wallace River Walk Nov 006No, its not a camping trip; its not even an outing, exactly.

Wallace River Walk Nov 008Temperature is up to 20 degrees and I need to get out and walk,,, and take photos.

Wallace River Walk Nov 027So, I walk the back way to the bridge over the South Fork of the Coeur d Alene River near the Wallace Visitor’s Center and then back along the river to the crossing at 6th Street.

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Zen Rock

Now 20 degrees on a sunny day is one thing, but 20 degrees on a cloudy day with a breeze and high humidity is something else.

Wallace River Walk Nov 014However, I am warmly dressed and I don’t mind the cold.

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It is very lovely along the river, seeing what the low teen temps have sculpted.

Wallace River Walk Nov 031I am grateful that a river runs through our town.

Scouting: Winter camping on the North Fork of the Coeur d Alene River

Bumblebee Nov 034Saturday November 15:  Today is a scouting-for-camping day.  We had hoped to take a road trip to Oregon this month, but since that is not happening, we decide to scout around for possible winter Pony (our pop-up) camping closer to home.  We drive to Kingston – about 20 miles from Wallace where we live – and then north on the Coeur d Alene River Road, turning northwest on the Little North Fork Road which runs along the North Fork of the Coeur d Alene River.

Bumblebee Nov 031 We know that the Bumble Bee campground is closed, but we had camped in the meadows along the river this summer and have hopes that the meadows are still open.  However, they have been closed off, so we continue along the gravel road and find several places where a person can pull off and camp.  My favorite is a spot right by the river.   Due to the chilly day – temps in the teens – there is still frost on the river banks even at mid-day, which is quite delightful for a photographer, especially along with the gorgeous blue sky that we don’t often see here.

Bumblebee Nov 030Bumblebee Nov 027Bumblebee Nov 021Bumblebee Nov 013Now, there are some drawbacks to winter camping in northern Idaho.  It is already cold, there could be a lot of snow, which would make it hard to get in and out of the area, and it is dark by 5:00 although more than a month until the solstice; afternoons outdoors are very short.  So, why bother to go at all given the cold, snow, dark days of winter.  It is hard to explain, but there is something REAL about being on the river bank surrounded by trees and sky – no pavement, no power lines, only the sounds of the river and perhaps a few winter birds.

Bumblebee Nov 011 The Pony can be kept warm, there is room to cook and eat, room to read and write, and a comfy bed.  Life becomes more basic; I become more in tune with what is truly important in my life and in LIFE.

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Canada – the Rosebery Trip – September 2014 – Part 9

Tuesday September 16: I wake up, no longer in Canada, with a headache and the bothersome pounding in my eardrum. Although I seldom do it, I take an aspirin and fortunately feel fine the rest of the day.

BC-3_G1x 074I walk down to the shore of the lake and take a few photos. After breakfast we head to Metaline Falls, which I thought was a falls on the Pend Oreille River. Turns out it is a town named after the falls that were covered when a dam was built there. So, for the third time I am rooked out of taking photos of waterfalls on this trip. Oh well. We go to the Visitors’ Center, which is an attractive once-a- boxcar building sitting on a great lawn with trees and flowers all around.

BC-3_G1x 056We read about the history of the area, which is quite interesting.

On the way back to the campground, we stop at the Mill Pond Historical Site on Sullivan Creek and look at the kiosks. There are many photos of the area showing the dam that was built on Sullivan Creek, forming a large mill pond and another dam built at the outlet of Sullivan Lake, raising the level of the water by 40 feet.

BC-3_G1x 065The spillway below us is quite a dramatic falls, and although not natural, it is the closest I’m getting to a big waterfall to photograph on this trip.

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Back at camp, I sit in the shade with Clifford, playing the flute while he reads. As the shadows grow longer, I build a campfire and write in my journal by the warmth of the flames. We make nachos for dinner using the last of the ingredients, and the cooler is almost empty. Good timing, as we will be home tomorrow.

Wednesday September 17: We’ve enjoyed our brief stay here by Sullivan Lake, but pack up after breakfast and head south and then east on I-90, arriving home by late afternoon.

BC-3_G1x 054 It was a great trip; I am grateful that we had the opportunity to visit Canada, and I look forward to exploring more of that beautiful country next summer.