Sunday September 22 to Wednesday September 25: These are our last days camping at Bass Creek Recreation Area in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana. I do my usual morning walkabouts to the creek or around the campground, but the focus is on seeing my siblings and daughters one last time, as well as meeting a friend.
day Clifford and I make a trip to Missoula, the nearest “big”
town, to see my daughter Merri and my granddaughter, Ali, and have
lunch with them. Another day I make a trip to see my sister Lillian
who lives outside nearby Stevensville, not far from where my dad grew
up and where we used to visit our grandparents.
Another day, I drive over the mountain to visit my daughter Ang. I had intentions of spending the night, but due to a possible big storm with an early snowfall, our travel plans have changed again. I won’t be spending the night with her, but I am glad for the time we do have.
cancel the get together with our friend, and I also cancel a planned
hike with my sister Nancy, but see her briefly when I drop off my car
for safekeeping until next summer.
will be leaving in the morning, heading south through the Bitterroot
Valley and into southern Idaho. Camping in Montana has been great
this summer, seeing my kids, grandkids, siblings, and friends has
been great, but now it is time to move on. Good-bye Montana, and I
plan to see you next summer!
Wednesday September 18 – After my morning walk around the Charles Water Campground (Bass Creek Recreation Area) in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana where Clifford and I are camped, we say good-bye to my brother, Rollie, as he is heading out this morning. I will miss the music sessions playing bluegrass with him and sharing a morning pot of coffee, as well as playing cribbage after dinner most evenings.
Our leaving is being delayed as we have discovered our Suburban has a problem. Luckily we are still here in Montana, as we know a mechanic in Missoula and I have my car to get us around. We will take the Suburban to the mechanic as soon as he has an opening. In the meantime, I have a few more days to see family before we head back to base-camp in Utah.
It is a good day for walks along the creek, playing with my new app – Snapseed – and working on blogs.
Evening is a freak-out when a mouse runs right over my foot! I spray peppermint everywhere, especially in the bedroom, but still have a hard time falling asleep.
Thursday September 19: I love going to the creek in the quiet of the morning, but this morning I am drawn to the mist in the mountain and head that direction.
My daughter Ang was going to come visit, as she is interested in Clifford’s ham radio operation, but her truck keys are missing. So, no visit, darn…………. The rest of the day is taken up with our various projects.
Friday September 20 is a town day as we drop off the Suburban and then go to Cracker Barrel for lunch and Barnes & Noble for browsing and using their wifi, getting caught up with things that are hard to take care of with the hotspot at camp.
Saturday September 21: Morning quiet time is spent at the creek and wandering through the woods.
We see snow in the mountains, which brings up the question of the route home. In the interest of saving time and covering more distance, we will head straight south through the Bitterroot Valley and over Lost Trail Pass into southern Idaho, which is not the route I had planned and I will have to forego seeing one of my sons and his family. I am sad about this, but understand decisions have to be made to accommodate our current situation.
Friday September 13: My siblings and I and our significant others are getting together here at the Charles Water Campground in the Bass Creek Recreation Area in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana. Clifford and I arrived yesterday afternoon, and my brother Rollie arrived soon after. Even though Clifford and I had to run into Missoula for errands today, we are back in time to join in the potluck at Rollie’s campsite, where we all gather around a big campfire for conversation and good food. It is such a joy to spend time together with these people!
it is already near dark when we gather, no photos are taken except
for attempts at catching the beauty of the rising full moon.
Saturday September 14: The high point of today is getting together with Rollie and friends of his to play bluegrass music and share dinner around another campfire. The low point is finding that mice have gotten into Cougar, which means scouring stove, pans, counters, and so on, and setting traps in the evening.
Sunday September 15: My siblings, by good luck and some finagling manage to get together again for photos, since we didn’t get group photos on Friday. We take photos of each other as couples and the sibling group, but enlist the help of a neighbor camper to take photos of the whole group of us. Quite the deal with the sun casting bright lights and shadows, as well as the humans being their sometimes goofy selves! We have a good time and lots of photos to sort through.
after that, dear friends of mine come out to visit. We hike up the
Bass Creek Trail and chat about all our projects and the meaning of
our lives. It is great to see them and I manage a few photos of the
creek as we walk and talk.
Wednesday is a day of more bluegrass music with Rollie and his bluegrass friends, as well as the usual activities around camping.
Thursday morning is rainy and I enjoy the opportunity of taking photos of the creek before my sister Lillian arrives.
She and I are going to drive over the mountain to visit my daughter Ang. As always, Ang has huge projects going on, and she is waiting for our arrival with a fire in the firepit, steaks and wine ready, as well as fresh veggies from her greenhouse.
have learned that there is an app called Snapseed that a cell phone
users like for editing photos. Since I have largely switched to using
my cell phone as my main camera, Ang downloads Snapseed for me, and
then we have fun trying out some of the tools that it offers.
Merri arrives and we have a great meal and a good time talking.
Since I have to drive, wine is exchanged for tea, and the lively
conversation carries on. Lillian takes photos of my girls and me
before we reluctantly pull ourselves away from the campfire and head
on back to Bass Creek.
Thursday September 12 is our last morning at Seeley Lake Campground in the Seeley-Swan Valley of western Montana. I am awake and up before Clifford, and there isn’t any more packing I can do until he is up and showered. A heavy mist is rising from the meadow and the lake, so it is a great time for a last lake walk. I take photos of trees in the mist, and as I return to camp, the mist is lifting above the meadow and the sun is coming through, bringing bright color to the land.
Once Clifford is up, we have a light breakfast and finish packing and are on our way by 10:00 a.m. Our destination today is the Bass Creek Recreation Area in the Bitterroot Valley south of Missoula, Montana. We arrive there in the mid-afternoon and are really pleased to find that the site where we camped in July is available.
get set up and shortly afterward, my brother Rollie arrives in his
class A and finds a spot on the opposite side of the loop. After he
gets set up, I make a late lunch for all of us. Later, Rollie and I
play bluegrass music with Clifford as our appreciative audience. I
miss the lake, but this is a good spot and it is especially good to
have a few more days to see family before we head back to Utah.
Wednesday July 17: This morning my brother Rollie and his little dog Ninja come out to the Bass Creek Recreation Area (Charles Waters Campground) in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana where Clifford and I are camped, as of yesterday afternoon. After he arrives and gets his motor home set up, he takes me to our sister’s place where my car has been stored all winter. All we are doing is getting the battery out to trade in on a new one. I say all, as I stand and watch as he wrestles with the tight space and the difficulties of getting the battery out.
Back at camp, we get out our instruments to play some bluegrass music. I’ve gotten better with playing fiddle tunes on the viola, so it is a lot of fun to get together. For dinner, we sit at the picnic table at our site, and I almost get skunked at cribbage.
Thursday July 18: Clifford and I make a trip into Missoula to get a new battery for my car and we go to Barnes & Nobles for our bookstore fix. Back at camp, Rollie and I play music again, dinner at the picnic table again, and I lose at cribbage again. LOL
Friday July 19: Rollie puts the new battery in my car, so now I have wheels. In the evening, several of my siblings and their spouses come to our campsite for a potluck dinner. So fun to chat with all of them, and I am so busy talking and eating that I don’t take enough photos!
Saturday July 20: Today is Alberton Railroad Days, a money-raiser for the town of Alberton, Montana. My daughter, Ang, is the president of the non-profit that puts on this event. Vendors, music, a parade, an Antique Auto show, and a shoot-out are among the activities. Rollie and I play bluegrass music as our contribution. After he and I play for our allotted time, he goes off to play with the Old Time Fiddlers, while I join up with another daughter, Merri, to look for the Golden Spike, which has been hidden with tricky clues to its whereabouts. No one finds the Golden Spike, so the pot will be bigger next year. It is late by time Rollie and I return to camp at Bass Creek.
Sunday July 21: Today good friends come to visit. Ken and I have been friends since we were in 7th grade orchestra together. Ken, his sweet wife, Shelley Anne, and I hike up the Bass Creek Trail to a lovely calm section below a waterfall. It is so enjoyable to spent time together, having known each other for many decades.
Monday July 22: Today Rollie and I drive out to see our sister, Lillian, who lives not far from where our dad grew up, and about fifteen miles from where we are camped. We have lunch on the patio, appreciating the time together. While Lillian and I do some of my mending, Rollie plays fiddle tunes for us on his mandolin.
Back at camp, our sister, Nancy, comes out and we hike up the trail, enjoying the sounds of the creek tumbling alongside us. Back at camp, while I make nachos for dinner for all of us, Rollie and Nancy play their mandolins. What fun family days!
Tuesday July 16: It is a beautiful morning at Divide Bridge Campground, near the small town of Divide in southwest Montana, but Clifford and I are continuing the journey north today. We have a little breakfast, make tea and lemonade for the thermoses, and are on our way by 10:00 a.m. We travel north on I-15 to the junction onto I-90, then northwest all the way to Missoula.
trails mar the sky, so I don’t take many photos, but I am happy to
catch a glimpse of the Clark Fork River, a very important waterway in
western Montana. This portion of the journey is pleasant with
enjoyable scenery, as well as not much traffic and not so windy as
earlier segments of the trip.
in Missoula, we take Highway 93 south down the Bitterroot Valley,
with the great Bitterroot Mountains to the west and the Sapphire
Mountains to the east. I feel a connection to this valley, as my
mother was born and grew up here, and my father’s parents moved to
this valley when he was a child, so he also was raised here. Two of
my sisters, as well as cousins, nephews and nieces, still live in the
destination is the Charles Waters Campground in the Bass Creek
Recreation Area in the foothills of the Bitterroot Mountains about 25
miles south of Missoula. We arrive early enough to have a good choice
of spots and are pleased to find a pull-through site that we
especially like the looks of. It is a roomy spot with a mix of sun
and shade, a view of the woods, and a path to nearby Bass Creek.
We get set up and then Clifford works with his ham radios while I go for a walk to explore our surroundings. In the early evening, we leave to meet up with a couple of my delightful daughters for dinner at the Lumber Jack Saloon north of Lolo, Montana. It is a bit further than we thought and there is much traffic on highway 93, so we are a bit late getting there, but once we arrive, we have an absolutely marvelous time with my girls!
have tasty steak sandwiches, good Montana beer on tap, and dance to
music from the jutebox. The lighting wasn’t great for photos, but
that is a small matter compared to the great fun time there. As
Clifford and I head back to our campsite, we catch the last of the
sunset over Lolo Peak.
at camp, while Clifford works with his ham radio setup, I edit photos
to send to my girls, then read “Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe”
Wednesday September 26: I go down to the creek first thing this morning; I will miss being here. Back at camp, I make a campfire and sit outside to write in the journal.
Today we take care of little projects like hanging towel racks, stuffing steel wool in any openings we can find underneath, and spraying the gasket around the slide-out. Then I clean out my car and pack it with the tubs of music and books that will remain in Montana. Nancy and her husband Dick will be babysitting my Forester this winter.
Thursday September 27: Text a happy birthday message to my youngest son, the nomad. Then Clifford and I head to Missoula for a last day of errands, shopping, and laundromat. We have quite a few things to take care of, as well enjoying a stop at Book Exchange, so it is late by time we arrive back at camp.
Friday September 28: This morning I put the clean clothes and sundries away before heading out to see Ang one last time. My grandson Oden is there, and it is wonderful to see what a great young man he is becoming. We have lunch and I’m happy that I get to see them again before leaving Montana.
On the way back to camp, I drop my car off at my sister Nancy’s place and Clifford picks me up there. Back at camp, we pack up all the outside stuff in preparation for leaving tomorrow. We have a ways to go, so hope to get an early start. It has been good being here in Montana with its rivers, lakes, and mountains, great seeing my kids and their families, my siblings, and long-time friends. I wish we could stay longer, but weather considerations indicate that it is time to move on.
Tuesday September 25: One of the best things about camping here in the Bitterroot Valley is that I get to see my sisters, Lillian and Nancy. Both sisters have come out a couple of times and we have visited with our brother Rollie who is also camped here. I had planned to meet Nancy for another visit and hike, but that is being cut out by our leaving early. However, I do get to see Lillian one more time before Clifford and I leave Montana for the season.
Lillian and I meet for lunch at a nice place in the nearby small town of Florence and sit outside in the sunshine in the enclosed patio, protected from the breeze. So nice to have the time to visit with no rush to be somewhere else.
After lunch, she comes back to our campground and we hike up the Bass Creek Trail to the quiet spot on the creek where I hiked earlier this week with friends. We both take photo of the waterfall that is usually hidden and then continue on up the trail, taking photos of each other. What a fun day!
went on a cross-country hike by himself today. It is good that we
are both getting out and hiking some. He also made progress on the CI
Legacy Project. After dinner, while I did the dishes, he played the
dulcimer, which is always nice to hear. Most days I play the viola,
but not today. Sister visits are more important!
Clifford and I are camped at Bass Creek in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana. We sure do like this campground with its mix of wooded creekside campsites and open ponderosa forest campsites.
My brother Rollie is camped here, also, but leaves on Thursday. I make breakfast for the three of us and then we say our good-byes for now. It’s been fun playing music with him, sharing meals and playing cribbage almost every evening. We will see him again this winter in Arizona.
I’m having issues with my brand new cell phone. People can call me, but I can’t call out. I spend a long time on Clifford’s cell talking to Verizon trying to figure things out. Eventually it is somewhat resolved. I also send a few texts to family and friends from the new cell. I take a few photos, but have other things going on, so don’t really have the time to devote to it right now.
Saturday we make a trip to Missoula for errands before driving out
Petty Creek to see my daughter Ang, grandson Oden, and Ang’s
friend, Rama. It is good to see them and have dinner together. We
don’t stay long after dinner, as they were up late last night and
we would like to get back to Bass Creek before dark.
morning I make coffee and a campfire, planning to sit out to write in
the journal – and then it starts to rain. I hang a tarp over the
clothes line for a shelter and sit out for awhile with the fresh air
and the rain.
In the afternoon, long-time friends, Ken and Shelley Anne, come out to the campground to have lunch with us. After we eat, Ken, Shelley Anne, and I hike up the Bass Creek trail to a spot where the lively creek is calm. This year it is also very low and we are able to step down to a spot where we can see a waterfall that is normally out of view. It is so wonderful to spend time in this setting with these dear people.
During these days, I have also been editing for Ang and have prepared the first draft of a query that will be sent to literary agents for her epic fantasy novel Princes and Priests.
Our days are jam-packed with interesting and fun things to do. I am looking forward to a few more days here before we begin the southward journey to southern Utah.
The week of September 12 through September 18: We move from our great spot at Seeley Lake, returning to Bass Creek in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana.
We make a couple of trips to Missoula for errands and shopping, including picking up the new cell phone that I ordered. I am hoping that photos taken with the Moto Z2Play will make it easier to share photos via the net and cell service, since that is the primary way of sharing nowadays. I will be comparing photos taken with the cell and photos take with the little Canon. I see that many really outstanding photos are now being taken with cell phones, even by professional photographers. I have been reluctant to make a cell phone my primary means of taking photos, but it is certainly easier to carry a cell phone on a hike, which was a determining factor in putting my money toward a new cell phone (which I needed anyway) rather than a new camera.
highlight of the week is a “sleepover” with my daughter Ang, with
steaks cooked over a big bonfire, and then spending the night in
Terry, our old camper that we gave to Ang when we got Cougar in
August. Morning coffee, time spent in the greenhouse, and working on
editing issues fill the next day before I return to our campground at
particular week culminates in another sibling/spouses gathering, this
time at brother Rollie’s campsite, also at Bass Creek, with
everyone bringing food for a potluck and a big campfire. Rollie and
I play a few bluegrass tunes, but mostly it is fun to be part of the
conversation and laughter as we listen to tales and almost tall-tales
of our growing up years. I sure do love this group of humans and am
so glad we had time together again before we go our separate ways.
Rollie will be leaving Montana in a couple of days; Clifford and I
will be leaving before the end of the month.