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.
Monday August 6: We are glad to be camped at Bass Creek Recreation Area in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana. After a walkabout in the early morning sunshine, we invite my brother Rollie over (he is camped across the road from us) for tea on our patio. It is a nice time to sit out and chat.
Today Clifford and I
go to the Stevensville library, about six miles away, as it offers
both power and free wifi. We get caught up on email and Clifford
takes care of downloads that are too big for our hotspot wifi at
camp. For lunch, we share a sandwich, sitting on a bench in the
sunshine, and then continue with our projects.
Back at camp, Rollie
joins us for chicken and rice dinner.
Tuesday August 7: Today I head into Missoula to have lunch with dear long-time friends, Ken and Shelley Anne. Ken and I have known each other since 7th grade when we were both in the cello section of the Missoula youth orchestra. We have a great visit and then I run errands. As I’m leaving my last stop, my car won’t start, which is disconcerting, and I can’t get hold of Clifford, which is also disconcerting. Eventually it starts, much to my relief, and I make it back to camp.
In the evening, my
sister, Nancy, comes out for a visit. Really nice to see her.
Wednesday August 8: After a walkabout down to the creek and sending photos to family and friends, Clifford and I sit out on our patio for tea; nice way to start the morning.
Clifford and I work on our projects and later in the afternoon, after Rollie returns from his gig in Stevensville, we sit out in the shade and play music together. Later Rollie joins Clifford and me for dinner.
Thursday August 9: This morning I walk the entire campground loop, and then join Clifford for tea on the patio. Since texts work here, I send photos and arrange time to meet with some of my kids and my siblings. In the afternoon, I start the synopsis for Ang’s book, Princes and Priests, as we are going to seek a literary agent. Learning how to do a query properly is a big project.
In the evening, my
friends Ken and Shelley Anne come out. After they get set up in a
campsite just down the road from us, we have time to sit out and
visit awhile, making plans for a drive up the mountain tomorrow.
Friday August 10: I’m up at 7:30 and start getting ready for the hike with Ken and Shelley Anne. As I’m rushing about, Ken suggests that I take time to do what I need to do. What a great concept – Take Time to Do What I Need to Do! I realize I seldom do that, with the needs of others taking priority… so much so that it is just a habit.
Ken, Shelley Anne, and I are going to Joseph’s Ridge, a rather slow drive up the mountain due to the winding and somewhat rough road. At the pull-out/picnic area, after finding a parking spot, we get our hiking sticks and water, and head up the ridge trail. Ken hikes on ahead of Shelley Anne and me, as he seeks quiet, while we ladies are eager to visit and share what’s going on in our lives. We all end up back at the picnic area about the same time and share a picnic lunch with a fabulous view all around us. Back at the campground, we say our good-byes.
After Ken and Shelley Anne head back to Missoula, Clifford and I go to the Stevensville library to take care of our business there. In the evening, Clifford, Rollie, and I meet with some of Rollie’s bluegrass friends who live near the campground. I am not a traditional bluegrass musician, so am limited in how I can join in with the others, but we have a good time playing music together anyway. Snacks and visiting afterward is quite fun, also, and it would be great to do this again, if time allows. Back at camp, it is late enough that I get right to the bedtime routine and off to bed.
Friday August 3: We finish moving out of Terry (our 30-year-old RV) and into Cougar (our new-to-us RV) in the Bretz RV parking lot in Missoula, Montana, where the two are parked side-by-side. We wait for my daughter Ang and her friend Rama to arrive, as they are taking Terry to give the old gal a good home and keep her in the family.
It is afternoon by time Clifford and Cougar are ready to head across town, while I follow in my Forester. Reserve is a very busy main street across Missoula, and we get separated when I stop at a red light. It is a bit nerve-wracking for us, as Cougar is a lot big bigger than Terry, and the backup camera is not working. Due to the traffic, it takes us a good long while to get across town, but finally after Clifford has made it highway 93, I catch up to him and we continue southward down the Bitterroot Valley, arriving at the Bass Creek Recreation Area in late afternoon.
Coming into a popular campground on a Friday afternoon is not the best timing, but unavoidable in this case. There is only one spot available and we are grateful that it is a big pull-through. There is not much shade at this site, but the sun will be good for the solar panels and since we now have have an awning, we will be fine. Our view is a good-size meadow with a hillside of trees across from us. By time we get set up and have dinner, it is quite late. We are happy to be here.
Saturday August 4: I spend much of the day putting things in place, unpacking and relocating, trying to find room for everything. In the afternoon, I hike a ways up the trail, but decide not to go too far alone since a bear and cub have recently been seen in the area.
By evening, everything is pretty much in place. We sit out on our patio, enjoying the warm evening air and the view. Bed before midnight.
Sunday August 5: I go for a walkabout first thing this morning and take a few photos. This campground is one of my favorites, being in the mountains with a creek nearby and a good hiking trail.
In the afternoon, Clifford and I meet Ang and Rama at the Lumberjack on Graves Creek Road for a late lunch. It is great to see them, and the hamburgers here are quite good.
Returning to Bass Creek, we see that Rollie and Ninja have arrived and he is setting up in the spot right across the road from us, which will be handy for getting together to play music.
After Rollie is set up, we hike up the trail a ways to that sweet spot where the creek is calm. Sure is good to be here.
at camp, I organize and reorganize, still figuring out where things
go in our new space, and then catch up on my journal, as writing got
behind last week as we moved from Terry into Cougar. That was a big
deal and other activities were pushed to the back burner. Before
heading to bed, I finish reading the James Doss book that I started a
few days ago.
Mostly sunny this morning, but a very damp 35 degrees after yesterday’s rain. The campfire is reluctant this morning, but after awhile a cheery blaze warms me as I sit with my cup of coffee and “A New Earth,” reading about the pain-body, the condition where one identifies with one’s pain so much as to lose touch with the real person.
After breakfast I walk across the meadow, irresistibly drawn to the aspens on the hillside. This time I find a game trail that ascends at a comfortable angle and I am soon at the aspen grove. I take lots of photos even though the angle of the sun is not ideal. There is quite a breeze, causing the leaves to shimmer and sparkle as they dance about. It is really quite marvelous and I thoroughly enjoy being there.
Back at camp, I have a long cello session broken by wood gathering in the deep woods behind the camp. I realize there is so much more to explore. I did not have the energy for it earlier in our stay, but I feel like I’m missing out on something important. Well, next time…. The twigs and branches that I find are really quite wet, so I reluctantly leave the magical woods
and walk across the meadow to gather twigs and branches that have had more time to dry in the sun and the wind. Back at camp I continue with playing cello until Becka calls. Someone made her angry and she calls to talk about camping because it makes her feel better. We plan a camping date for next summer, perhaps right here. Clifford needs to use my cell phone for a business call, so I give him the phone and head on back to the aspens.
The sun is now low in the west, shining through the gap between mountain peaks. It is cloudier this afternoon, so I have to wait for sunnier and still moments to get shots with the glow of the leaves as the sun shines through them. Back-lit leaves of plants and shrubs also get my attention.
Even while I wait for these photo-opp moments, I am thrilled to be here on the mountain with these lovely trees.
I can’t bear to leave until the sun has settled low enough that no more sunlight illumines the grove. Finally I say “good-bye” and head down the hill, picking up chunks of wood on my way. Back at camp, it is time for another campfire, hot tea, and journal writing. Bass Creek has been good for me. Every day I breathe in the fresh air; I am surrounded by mountains, tall ponderosa at the meadow’s parameters look down on me, dark mysterious woods invite me to explore, and golden aspen dance for me – they have all shared their strength with me. I am feeling healthier and more peaceful being here at Bass Creek. There are even moments of joy. I hope to carry this joy with me as I move forward to what lies ahead.
Tuesday October 21: We were going to put the big tarp over the Pony yesterday since there is a forecast of rain, but we were too tired and cold when we got back from hiking and figured we could do it this morning. Then it started raining in the night, so it is too late to put up the tarp. Too wet for a fire this morning – I could build a fire, but can’t read and edit in the rain, so it is an inside morning.
Later, when the rain lets up a bit, I decide to go for a walk across the meadow,
and once there, emboldened by my successful hiking yesterday, I hike on up the hillside to the grove of young aspen that I have admired from a distance.
It is pretty here, even if there is no sunlight to bring a glow to the leaves. I walk amongst the trees, admiring their autumn colors and smooth cool bark. I could be an aspen tree.
By time I get back to camp, my shoes, socks, feet, and sweats are wet; I change clothes and wear slippers the rest of the day as I only have the one pair of shoes with me. Another oversight in planning and packing – of course I know better, but sometimes things fall through the proverbial crack. I haven’t gotten all my ducks lined up properly this fall.
I finish editing “Against All Odds” and then edit photos from our British Columbia trip until the battery on the laptop runs out. That is the drawback to camping without enough sunshine to inspire the solar panel to create electricity for us. Time now to write in the journal – real paper, real pen – no electricity required. Chilly outside all day, but the Pony is cozy, so we don’t mind.
Monday October 20, 2014 – It is going to be sunny today, but I make a small campfire for the warmth until the sun reaches the campsite, enjoying my morning ritual of fire, coffee, and journal. After breakfast we make a quick trip to Stevensville for ice and a few groceries. Back at camp, we decide to hike the Bass Creek Trail which leaves from a parking lot at the end of the campground. Based on the doctor’s recommendation, I’ve not been exerting myself, but every day that we are here, I feel better. There may not be another chance to hike the trail with a great blue sky and sunshine while we are here. We drive around to the parking area, although it wouldn’t have been terribly far just to hike to the trail head. I have a small thermos of tea, my hiking sticks, and the Canon G1X. I am going to mosey along taking photos while Clifford goes on ahead. I will only go as far as I feel totally comfortable with.
I am thrilled with the sunlight coming through the aspen trees, turning yellow to golden. The western larch are also a rich autumn color.
Although I can hear the creek below me, the dense growth often obscures the sight of it,
The further up the trail I go, the chillier it is. As we were getting ready to go, I discovered my day pack was left at home by mistake. It was warm enough at the camp that I didn’t think I would need more layers than what I am wearing, but now the windbreaker and gloves in the day pack would be most welcome. Reminder to self to have the extra layer just in case.
So, I hike from one sunlit patch to another, stopping to take photos whenever autumn leaves catch my attention.
Several times I stop, thinking I will turn back, but after resting on a rock in the sunshine and drinking some of my hot tea, I go on, eager to see what is beyond the next bend in the trail.
Eventually, it is the deepening shadows on the trail and the chilly wind that forces me to turn back. I am glad that my stamina was not the determining factor.
I hike briskly back down the trail, not stopping until I reach the trail head, where the last of the afternoon sunshine brings a bit of warmth.
Back at the campsite, I am too cold to play cello, so go on inside the Pony to warm up. Make a hot cup of tea and get on with editing. Clifford has hiked considerably further up the trail than I did, so it is a while later before he comes. Then we have dinner and I continue editing. I am nearly finished with the book I am working on. I download the photos taken today and am pleased with the beautiful autumn colors. I am looking forward to doing some photo editing soon. And off to bed with vision of golden trees dancing in my head.
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,
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.
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.