More of Bass Creek – September 2019

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.

Bass Creek

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.

Bass Creek (no Snapseed)

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.

Mist in the mountain

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.

Evening at Bass Creek

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.

Back to camp after a day in Missoula

Saturday September 21: Morning quiet time is spent at the creek and wandering through the woods.

Bass Creek in the morning

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.

The lichen-covered branches call to mind the snow that will soon descend upon this valley

Fun with Family Days – July 2019

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.

Getting the instruments out

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!

The guys at the family potluck

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.

Merri and I look for the Golden Spike

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.

Lillian Carol Rollie
Lillian’s daisies

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!

Bass Creek tumbles alongside the trail

Bass Creek: We Have Arrived – July 2019

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.

Morning light on the trees at Divide Bridge Campground

Jet 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.

Clark Fork River along I-90
Montana Scenics

Arriving 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 Bitterroot Valley.

Bitterroot Mountains

Our 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.

Our campsite at Charles Waters Campground

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!

Delightful Daughters

We 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.

Sunset in the Bitterroot Valley

Back 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” until bedtime.

Days at Bass Creek – August 2018

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.

Cougar setting

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.

Bass Creek

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.

Flocks of butterflies hover in the trees

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.

Joseph Ridge Trail
View from the Joseph Ridge Trail
Hiking with Shelley Anne

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.