More Seeley Lake Days – September 2018

Wednesday September 4: The night was chilly and autumn colors are becoming more pronounced. After a morning walk along the lake, it is warm enough to sit in the sunshine to write in the journal and send pics to my family.

Morning walk by the lake
Morning walk by the lake

My daughter Katie calls to see if I will come to the sibling and friends gathering in Wallace, Idaho. I had thought I would not go, but it is worked out for me to meet up with my daughter Ang and her friend Rama to ride partway with them. It will be good to see kids and grandkids that I might not otherwise get to see on our travels.

Autumn Colors
Autumn Colors

In the afternoon, I continue with editing Ang’s book Princes and Priests. Later, Clifford and I go to the laundromat in the town of Seeley Lake. After the baskets of clean clothes are loaded in the Suburban, we cross the highway to the gift shop for a really good ice cream cone. Back at camp, after dinner and cleanup, we both read/study until bedtime.

Wednesday September 5: Clifford is up earlier today, so I sit out in the morning sunshine to chat with him and then we tend to some CI email. For both of us, it is a day of our usual activities: Clifford works on the CI Legacy Project, plays his dulcimer, and listens to his ham radio; I edit, write blogs, play viola, and read. Dinner is simple and we are happy being here.

Sundown at Seeley Lake Campground
Sundown at Seeley Lake Campground

Thursday September 6: This morning I make a campfire instead of going down to the lake. Nice to sit here with my coffee and journal.

Campfire, coffee, and journal
Campfire, coffee, and journal

After breakfast I pack a bag to take to Wallace. As I’m getting my car tidied up, I meet the neighbor across the road, an artist currently living in a tent as she does large colorful lively paintings out in the open. She is quite an interesting and friendly woman, with a great idea for a foundation to help other artists.

Stormy wind ruffles the water
Stormy wind ruffles the water

I do my walkabout this afternoon as a storm is moving in with a bit of a rainbow. By time I get to a spot clear enough to get a shot of it, the rainbow has faded, but it was still exciting to see.

The fading rainbow
The fading rainbow

Breakfast burritos for dinner and then I tidy up our cozy space before heading to bed.

Trip to Sun River – August 2018

Wednesday August 29: Early morning at the Seeley Lake Campground in the Seeley-Swan Valley of western Montana, I go down to the lake to take photos in the mist. The ambiance of mist and fog appeals to me.

Trees in the mist
Trees in the mist
Misty morning at Seeley Lake
Misty morning at Seeley Lake

I fix yogurt and fruit for Clifford and myself, make coffee for the thermos, pack a little bag of clothes, and wait for my brother Rollie to arrive with his motor home. He and I are going together to Sun River on the other side of the mountain from the Seeley-Swan Valley where this campground is located. Clifford will be staying at the campsite with Cougar, holding down the fort, so to speak.

Riding in the front of a class-A motor home is quite the vantage point for seeing the scenery, but it feels like a long drive from Seeley Lake to Sun River. There is certainly a lot of variety in the landscape and I especially enjoy seeing the rivers, something that I miss living in Utah.

Another lake in the chain of lakes in the Seeley-Swan Valley
Another lake in the chain of lakes in the Seeley-Swan Valley
Island in a lake in the Seeley-Swan Valley
Island in a lake in the Seeley-Swan Valley
Blackfoot River
Blackfoot River
Blackfoot River
Blackfoot River
Blackfoot River
Blackfoot River
Blackfoot River
Blackfoot River
Blackfoot River
Blackfoot River
Middle Fork Dearborn River
Middle Fork Dearborn River

Although I grew up in western Montana, I also lived within view of Crown view for twenty years, so there is a familiarity with seeing the scenes from the east face of the Rockies.

Birdtail Rock, the icon of the Birdtail Hills - East face of the Rockies
Birdtail Rock, the icon of the Birdtail Hills – East face of the Rockies
Crown Butte - East face of the Rockies
Crown Butte – East face of the Rockies

Once we arrive in Sun River, we find Matt and a fishing buddy, Lexie. It is good to see him. After Rollie gets the motor home set up, we all walk down to the river just to see the river. Tomorrow will be the fishing day.

On the bank of the Sun River
On the bank of the Sun River

I make dinner for all of us in the motor home and we visit until late. Rollie’s couch is my bed tonight.

Good-bye Cabin City-Hello Seeley Lake – August 2018

Saturday August 25: Mostly sunny this morning and I sit outside for my quiet time. Have a good chat with my son Matt when I call to wish him happy birthday.

My daughter Merri comes out to have lunch with us. She brings some fresh produce and we make a good tasty lunch, eating out in the screen house.

Merri comes to Cabin City

After Merri heads home, I play viola and read. Nice day except for the mouse we found bumbling about near the steps. Mice are bad enough, but have to wonder if this one has rabies or is somehow demented. Creepy.

Sunday August 26: Today Clifford and I go to Wallace again, as we have to get more stuff out of my daughter Katie’s basement.

Light rain as we head to Wallace

We visit with her a bit and great to see the grandkids for a minute. Then Clifford and I load my car as full as we can get it. We are back at camp in time for a late lunch. The evening is dinner, dishes, and reading for me, while Clifford works on his projects. We run out of propane in the night, which is inconvenient, and catch four more mice, which is totally creepy.

Cougar window adornments

Monday August 27: We start packing as soon as we are up, as we are leaving today. No showers or breakfast or hot tea, since we are out of propane. We are on our way about 11:00 a.m. and once we arrive in Missoula, we go to Cracker Barrel for lunch, Bretz RV for propane, Barnes&Noble for the bookstore fix and a latte, and on to the Walmart parking lot where we replenish supplies and spend the night.

New tea kettle for Cougar

Tuesday August 28: Since we have two vehicles – my car and Suburban towing Cougar – we leave Suburban and Cougar at Walmart and take my car to a music store in Missoula. I want to get a shoulder rest, but when we get there, the fellow working there doesn’t know how shoulder rests work, so he is no help to me. Instead, I end up with a shaped sponge, which I hope will help with holding the viola properly. It beats me how a city the size of Missoula, a university town with a good music department, does not have a properly stocked music store with knowledgeable clerks.

Back at Walmart, we finish our shopping and then head out of Missoula, stopping at Bonner for gas. Heading north on highway 200 to the Clearwater junction, we then wind our way up the Swan Valley to the Seeley Lake Campground. We find a roomy spot near where we were last year, but with more of a view of the lake.

View from our campsite at Seeley Lake Campground
Seeley Lake

After we get set up, I walk down to the lake, taking photos to share with family, while Clifford gets his ham radio antennas up. It is so great to be here! After a simple dinner, Clifford continues adjusting his radio gear and I read until heading to bed.

Cabin City Days – August 2018

Saturday August 18: It is less smokey this morning and very pleasant sitting outside writing in the journal.

Later, when the temperatures warm up and the flies become bothersome, we set up the screen house over the picnic table, giving us place to eat, write, and play music without the pesky flies.

Sunday August 19: A walk in the forest is a lovely quiet time for me this morning.

A quiet walk in the forest

In general, the day has the usual things going on: writing, reading, editing for daughter Ang, and taking photos (Carol); ham radio and CI Legacy Project (Clifford), with the addition of being stung by a wasp (Carol) and going bike riding around the two loops of the campground (both of us).

Monday August 20: It is hard to tell overcast from smoke haze this morning. In spite of the somewhat dreary sky, I walk around both loops of the campground. We are the only people here; even the hosts are gone.

Smokey morning walk

In the afternoon, there is a knock on the door and we are surprised to see my son Saul. We invite him in and I make tea for the three of us. He is headed to an organic farm and has stopped here to spend the night. We have a nice visit and after he gets his camp set up, he joins us for dinner. Since he travels a lot, we get out the atlas and share thoughts about where he and we have been and where we all might be going in the future. Maybe our paths will cross again.

Late afternoon light at our campsite at Cabin City

Tuesday August 21: I walk about taking photos in the mist this morning. Then we invite Saul for breakfast and chat a bit more before he heads out.

Walking in the mist

Today I am going to Wallace to visit Katie and her family. Katie, her daughter Justice, her mother-in-law Sue, and I go to lunch. Really nice to visit with all of them. Being in Wallace also gives me a chance to go to the laundromat, my favorite second-hand store, and the market before I drive back over the mountain for a late dinner with Clifford.

Katie and Jeremy at the Wallace Coffee House

Wednesday August 22: After my morning quiet time and breakfast with Clifford, I start cleaning out my car. Katie needs to have our remaining stuff moved out of her basement, so yesterday I put as much as I could into my car. It it is too much to take back to Monticello, so I will be sorting and getting rid of books and other items. I find it hard to get rid of books, but in reality, it is not likely I will ever have time to read all of them.

Later, Clifford and I work on the back-up camera issue and find a spot where we can put the receiver (adhered to an aluminum pizza plate stuck in the bathroom door) so that the signal carries all the way from the back of Cougar to the monitor on the Suburban dashboard. It takes a bit of jury-rigging, but it works.

Afghan for great-grandson Oliver

I finish the knit afghan for the newest member of the family, great-grandson Oliver. Bicycle, dinner, viola practice, and reading complete the day for me. Clifford continues with his projects and is up until the wee hours, as is normal for him.

Thursday August 23: It is smokey again and we have caught another mouse. Did it come with us from Bass Creek or are the mice a problem here? When camp host Susi comes around, I ask her about the mice and it does appear they have been a problem the last couple of years.

Smokey drive

Today Clifford and I go to St. Regis again, as there is wifi at the Visitors’ Center. I send the completed Princes and Priests synopsis to Ang, while Clifford downloads a big music file. We have lunch at a cafe here, but it is not nearly as good as the meal we had at the $50,000 Bar&Grill earlier in the week.

In the evening, I make plans with Rollie regarding a trip to Sun River (near Great Falls, Montana) to visit my son Matt. Clifford will stay with Cougar at Cabin City.

Friday August 24: I make coffee and sit outside for awhile before getting ready for our trip to Couer d Alene. I have another doctor checkup, and once that is finished, we run errands in CdA.

Smokey Couer d Alene Lake

On the way back to our campground, we stop in Wallace so Clifford can help make decisions about what to do with the rest of our stuff in Katie’s basement. We fit what we can into my car and the rest will be given away. Katie is cooking steaks on an outdoor grill, but due to the lateness of the hour, we have to head back to camp rather than staying for dinner. She sends a juicy steak home with us, which we thoroughly enjoy.

Cabin City – August 2018

Tuesday August 14: Today is moving day. Although we like where we are at Bass Creek Recreation Area in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana, we are heading to Cabin City, a campground on the Montana side of Lookout Pass. This will allow visiting with my daughter Katie and her family in Wallace, Idaho, without pulling Cougar over the pass.

Forest fire smoke as we drive from the Bitterroot Valley to Cabin City

When we arrive at Cabin City, there is almost no one there, but the spot we would have chosen is already taken. Oh well, that is the way it goes sometimes. We pick another nearby spot that will allow both shade for the RV and access to the sunshine for the solar panels, a bit of a challenge in this forested campground.

Forest setting for Cougar

After we get set up, we have tuna sandwiches for lunch and proceed with our usual activities. In the evening, the hosts, Susi and Tom, come around and we chat with them for awhile. We met them here a couple of years ago and discovered at that time that Susi is the youngest sister of a really good friend of mine from high school days. “Small world….”

Wednesday August 15: Pretty light on the forest this morning, in spite of the forest fire smoke.

Morning light at Cabin City

Today we are going to Wallace to visit Katie and her family; my son Saul is there, also, doing some work for Katie. My wellness visit is in Kellogg, just 12 miles down the road. The doctor at the clinic there was my doctor when we lived in Wallace and I still want to see her, but it will be the last time, as she is moving to Texas and I am one of her last patients in Idaho.

Forest fire smoke extends into Idaho
Saul house painting in Wallace

After the doctor visit, Clifford and I go to dinner with Katie and her friends. There are several conversations going on at once, so it is hard to talk to Katie to see how she and her family are doing. We’ll be back next week, so will visit more with her then. It is late by time we get back to Cabin City, but I read until midnight before heading to bed. Clifford, as usual, stays up with his projects until the wee hours.

Thursday August 16: Today we take care of the mail that we picked up in Wallace yesterday, having forwarded it there. Later, we make a trip to post office in St. Regis, the nearest town with a post office, and then dinner at the famous $50,000 Bar & Grill at the nearby Haugan exit. The food is plentiful and the gift shop has lots of fun stuff. I buy a top for myself and a T-shirt for Clifford, kind of a splurge, but worth it.

Driving by the “Moose Pond”

Back at camp, I walk about taking photos and then read most of the afternoon. While it might not be the most productive way to spend time, it good that I have the option to do just that.

Sibling Time – August 2018

Sunday August 12: Smokey and a few puffy clouds this morning at the Bass Creek Recreation Area where we are camped, but other than the smoke, it is a nice day and good that it is not so hot as it was in Missoula yesterday (100+ degrees).

Today is a gathering of my siblings and spouses at my sister Nancy’s house, just down the Bitterroot Valley a few miles from where we are camped. Daughter Becka calls and we chat while I make a quinoa/fruit salad for the potluck with my siblings.

Brother Ed, Sister Lillian, and her husband Cliff

Nancy and Dick’s place is looking really nice; tall shade trees and a beautiful big lawn provide a pleasant outdoor space for the gathering. Besides Nancy and Dick, my brother Rollie is there, brother Ed and his wife Sheryl, and sister Lillian and her husband Cliff. Lots of good conversation and laughter as we partake of the potluck. Rollie and I play music for a bit. It is such fun having this time together.

Back row: Rollie, Lillian, Carol. Rront row: Ed and Nancy

Back at camp, we hang out until my bedtime, and just as I’m getting into bed, I hear a noise (Clifford is outside) and looking toward the kitchen, I see mice coming up out of the heat vent. I have a mouse phobia, so my scream brings Clifford back to the camper. Two mice are caught in glue traps that we put out, as I suspected there was a mouse in the house. All the years we had Terry, we only had one mouse one time; we’ve only had Cougar two weeks and have already caught two mice with possibly a third on the loose. I’m kind of freaked out about this and it is midnight before I finally go back to bed. More bigger better mouse traps are high on the shopping list for tomorrow!

Monday August 13: It is still smokey, but otherwise a pleasant today. Today I am going to Lillian’s place, also in the Bitterroot Valley, a ways out of Stevensville. I stop at a thrift store in Stevensville to drop off stuff that is being discarded due to the move from Terry to Cougar. Need to simplify a bit. Then on out to Lillian and Cliff’s place in the slopes of the Sapphire Mountains, the range facing the Bitterroot Range, forming the wide Bitterroot Valley.

Lillian and I have a great visit with show-and-tell time, since I haven’t been there for at least a year, and then we sit in her outdoor seclusion area, enjoying the peacefulness of the place as we talk. All too soon it is time to head back to camp.

Lillian and Carol

I stop at the Super 1 on my way and buy mouse traps, hoping that we really don’t need them. Clifford and I have a late dinner and begin packing, as tomorrow we must leave. It has been great being here, but we have other places to go and people to see.

Bass Creek – August 2018

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.

We set up Cougar for the first time
From our patio, we have a view of a meadow and trees

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.

Tumultuous Bass Creek

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.

The meadow

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.

Rollie and Ninja set up across the road from us

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.

Reflections on Bass Creek

Back 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.

Hardtimes Bluegrass Festival – July 2018

Thursday July 26: Today we are leaving Lolo Creek and heading south through the Bitterroot Valley in western Montana to attend the Hardtimes Bluegrass Festival, held on a ranch south of Hamilton. We arrive about noon and are very fortunate to get a good spot, almost exactly where we were last time, on the edge of the ravine and under a big ponderosa pine tree. My brother Rollie arrives a bit later, parking in the level lot below where we are set up.

Rollie and Carol
Near the edge of the ravine
Terry at Hardtimes Bluegrass Festival
Cozy Terry home

After making lunch for the three of us, we wander around to listen to some musicians jamming and to visit with people Rollie knows – and he sure does know a lot of bluegrass musicians.

Friday July 27: Clifford and I run errands in the morning, then listen to the scheduled bands on stage in the late afternoon and into the evening. Dinner is super late, but it was a fun day.

Saturday July 28: I am up by 7:30 and walkabout to take photos while things are quiet.

I text Becka to wish her Happy Birthday. After breakfast, Clifford studies and plays his dulcimer while I edit.

Clifford plays dulcimer

In the early afternoon, we head down to the stage area to listen to the bands that are playing today. All the bands are good, but we do have our favorites. The music ends about 10:00 p.m. Back at the camper, Clifford fixes himself a late dinner and I read until after midnight.

Trinity River – a favorite band

Sunday July 29: After I get up, I go for a walk so Clifford can sleep awhile longer. After breakfast, we head to the stage area so we can watch the bands that are playing gospel music. Rollie has been jamming with a group that will be playing this morning, so we want to be sure to watch them.

Rollie (on the left) and friends

In the afternoon we go listen the last of the scheduled bands, and Clifford buys us tasty saucer sandwiches for lunch. After the last band finishes up, many people in the audience help with tearing down, including Rollie and me. Clifford is dealing with an injured shoulder, so is not able to join us. Before the kettle corn vendor tears down, I buy two big bags of popcorn for the price of one – best popcorn ever!

Monday July 30: As soon as I’m up, I start packing the outside stuff – tables, chairs, and so on. We have a quick breakfast and then finish packing up, as we are heading out this morning. Today is an exciting day for us, as last week when we were on our way to Barnes & Nobles in Missoula, we stopped in at Bretz RV on a whim. To make a long story short, we bought a newer and bigger RV. We have been considering this change for several months, looking at a few RV lots and doing research online. Bretz had a 2009 Cougar in the size, weight, floor plan, and price range that we need.

Cougar front room

We didn’t have time to move from Terry (our 30-year-old RV) into Cougar before the bluegrass festival, so today is the day we start moving from one to the other. We park Terry and Cougar side by side in the Bretz parking lot and begin moving preparations.

Tuesday July 31: We spend all day moving from Terry into Cougar, making trips out to get containers and shelving, as well as new bedding (Cougar has a larger bed than Terry). The saying that one has to scramble eggs to make an omelet sure describes the process. By evening, I have things orderly enough for us to sleep in our new bed, but there is still a lot of stuff to move.

The scramble before the omelete

Moving continues over the next couple of days, and by Friday we are ready to take Cougar on her maiden voyage. We give Terry to one of my daughters, so the old gal will stay in the family.

Montana Here We Come – July 2018

Thursday July 12: Today we are leaving for Montana. I have spent several days getting the camper packed and things ready for us to leave, but there are always last-minute things to take care of. Clifford has to pack lab items and he has a call with a CI consultant. It is 4:00 in the afternoon before we are finally on our way.

Castle Rock north of Monticello on Highway 191
Wilson Arch south of Moab on Highway 191

After a brief stop in Moab, we continue on north. The route between Moab and Price, Utah, being rather barren, is not my favorite part of the state and I’m glad when we reach the Price Walmart where we’ll spend the night.  We set up in the back lot with a tree beside us, balancing between the hiss of the street light and the rumble of a semi engine. We pick up a few supplies, then opt for an easy soup dinner tonight.

Friday July 13: We finish stocking up and get a much earlier start today, winding our way through the scenic canyons of Utah south of the Salt Lake City complex.

Canyon country north of Price, Utah
Wasach Range

We arrive at Diamond Campground south of Spanish Forks in early afternoon. Although most spots are taken or reserved, we find a pretty spot with shade and privacy.

It seems quite hot here after having gotten used to the cooler elevation of Monticello. After a tuna sandwich, we take naps, avoiding the pesky bugs for awhile. Later on, we play frisbee, which I’m not very good at, but it was fun. After dinner, I have my usual routine of reading and writing in the journal before bedtime. Clifford always has books to study and his ham radio gear to work with.

Saturday July 14: We are spending the day here at Diamond CG so as to make our run through Salt Lake City on a Sunday morning. It is quite delightful having a day to hang out – reading, writing in the journal, playing viola, playing frisbee and going on a walkabout on the nature path with Clifford – like a real vacation!

The crest of the hill behind the campground

Sunday July 15: We are up at 8:00, and soon packed and on our way. It does help to get across Salt Lake City on a Sunday morning, but even so, it is my least favorite part of any trips we have made north and south. Sure wish there was some other efficient way to get from Montana to southern Utah.

 We arrive in Idaho Falls, Idaho, in the later afternoon and get set up along the stretch of grass and trees bordering the side parking lot at Walmart. After getting a few supplies, we go to Panda Express for dinner, as I am too tired to cook tonight. It is too hot to feel like doing much. This sure would be a good time to have a picnic table in the shade!

Walmart boondocking

 Monday July 16: We leave Idaho Falls about 10:00 a.m. and it is always exciting to cross over into Montana.

We stop in Dillon to see my cousin Bill and his wife Sally. Sally has a small, but gorgeous yard. We can’t stay long, as we need to reach our next camping spot and get set up, but it was nice to see them for a little while.

Southwest Montana

When we reach Divide Bridge Campground, I am excited to see a spot available by the Big Hole River. This is exactly the spot I was hoping for, but when I get out to help guide us in, I find that the mosquitoes are abundant and voracious. So, we drive to the far side of the campground away from the river, but don’t see any spots that we like. The compromise is the row of sites in between the dry side and the river. It is nice here with lawns and shrubs, but not so many mosquitoes. We find a spot with a tree and after getting set up, we sit out at the picnic table with cool drinks.

Camping at Divide Bridge Campground
Big Hole River

I am happy to be in Montana, and soon I’ll be seeing my kids and my other siblings. Montana, here we are!

Sunset at Divide Bridge Campground

Field Day on Abajo Mountain – June 2018

 

Thursday June 21: We are heading up Abajo Mountain today to Pine Flats, a dispersed area beyond the campgrounds, and setting up for Amateur Radio Field Day 2018. Leaving the paved highway, the road into Pine Flats is terrible, with deep ruts some places, rough and rocky in other spots. We had checked out this area last fall, so we have an idea of the layout. Creeping along at two miles an hour, we make our way to the branch that we’d like to take. We walk in first to make sure the road is passable and the spot free. Hooray, we are good to go, so continue creeping to a group of pine trees beyond a stand of aspens. The pine trees ofter shade and the aspens offer their graceful beauty.

Aspens add their graceful beauty

Once Terry (our 30 year old camper) is in place, the fridge won’t light. It is touchy in its old age, but we know what to do and soon we have a cold place to keep food. We set up our yurt tent for the first time, as it will offer outdoor protection from the flies and the breeze. We are delighted that this spot was available. Guess the bad roads keep most everyone out except the 4-wheelers.

Terry is set up in the pines for shade

Friday June 22: This morning I pick rocks while chatting on the phone with Becka, happy for cell service here on the mountain. The yurt tent is perfect for playing viola and writing in my journal away from pesky flies.

The yurt tent is a great place to play viola and write in journal

In the early afternoon I make a trip down the mountain to take care of errands and chores. It takes me much longer than planned and the sun is near setting by time I get back to camp. So glad to be here! Clifford has spent his day preparing for field day, which will start tomorrow at noon.

Saturday June 23: A lovely blue-sky day on the mountain with a few cumulus clouds floating around to keep the temperatures pleasant. I make tea and then sit in the sunshine for my morning quiet time. What a great place with its stillness and beauty.

A great place for outdoor quiet time

Walking down to the aspen grove, I see that these trees are suffering from the lack of moisture – no monsoons last summer and little snow pack during the winter, a pattern going on for several years from what we’ve heard.

I’m involved with phone calls and texts while Clifford concentrates on his ham radio field day activity. He is using several modes, has made 30 contacts with low power in six states and two countries so far. I know he will be up late into the night.

Amateur Radio Field Day is underway for Clifford

Sunday June 24: Another lovely day on the mountain. Clifford continues with his field day activities until it ends at noon. I text ham radio friends who are doing their field day in tents on a rainy mountainside in western Montana. Man, we sure do have it nice here!

Last contacts for Field Day 2018

I play viola in the yurt away from the breeze and the flies, read, and write in my journal until Clifford wraps his field day. Later, we go for a hike to see if there are any camping spots that we missed in case we come again and find this spot taken.

Monday June 25:

Catching the rising sun

Even though field day is officially over, we are going to stay on the mountainside. Clifford has received a portable high-quality microscope (which I brought up on the errand day), so his studies and research can continue right from the mountain. I take care of CI email and then begin the re-editing of Princes and Priests, Ang’s first book of the Novels of Shannon series. Later, Clifford and I go for a walk before dinner, and after dinner we read until time for bed.

Walking in the aspens near sunset

Tuesday June 26: I go for a long walk by myself this morning. This is really a beautiful area with the huge gnarly pines trees, aspens, scrub oak, among other vegetation.

Gnarly sub-species of ponderosa pine

Today is a day of editing for Ang, writing blogs, and editing photos. Viola, journal, and reading also find their way into my day. It is a study day for Clifford.

Study day for Clifford

Wednesday June 27: I pick up more rocks and load them into the Suburban before making another trip down the mountain for errands and home chores. At the post office I have a package from Becka, including the cutest leggings and a summer top. It is so fun to get a package!

Pretty leggings and summer top from Becka

I drive back up the mountain with the setting sun in my eyes (again). After we unload the groceries, I make nachos for dinner and even after sunset it is warm to eat outside. Then we go for a moonlight stroll, Clifford in his house shoes and me in my Tevas. Back at camp we read until bedtime.

Thursday June 28: Sure could use some rain here – only 1% humidity this morning! I show Clifford the bear scat that I found just beyond the scrub oak grove by our campsite. The first night we were here, I smelled something musky, almost like skunk, but not quite. From talking with Ang, I think it is was a bear, but he/she has not bothered us at all.

A shy visitor

Meals, calls and text conversations with my kids, playing viola, editing, and blog writing for me; studying, reading, writing and ham radio for Clifford – good day on the Abajo Mountain!

Gnarly pine tree behind our campsite near sunset

Friday June 29: Another lovely day on the mountain with all the usual good activities.

Good mountain activities

We receive good news that my brother Rollie has sold his house, bought a big Class A motor home, and is now officially a full-time RV’er. Way to go, Rollie!

Saturday June 30: Our last full day here. It has been a great camp and we might have talked ourselves into staying longer, but our webmaster is coming tomorrow, and soon we will begin preparations for our summer journey to Montana!

Our last evening at Pine Flats on Abajo Montain