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.
September 10 & 11 are our last days at Seeley Lake Campground in the Seeley-Swan Valley of western Montana. We’ve certainly enjoyed our beautiful and peaceful spot here, but we have to move on so we can see family and friends before we head back to home-base in southeast Utah.
On one of these days we visit a friend who lives in the valley. He sure knows about good food and we have a superb lunch. It is a really good visit.
On the way back to our campsite at Seeley Lake, we explore another lake and at a pullout alongside the highway, I have only one minute to take photos as the last light of the setting sun is reflecting off the water.
The next day, I have a campfire in the morning, my last chance here.
During the day, I spend as much time as possible at the lake. I love seeing how the light changes the look of the lake and the mountains.
It is also a good day to play our instruments outdoors.
In the evening, we pack up as much as we can so as to get an early start in the morning.
September 8 & 9: Drizzle to rain and back to drizzle has everything wet here at the Seeley Lake Campground in the Seeley/Swan Valley of western Montana.
Now and then the sun breaks through, and Clifford and I take advantage of these moments to play our instruments outside and to repair the leak in the gutter that is allowing water to drip under the awning.
I enjoy walks down to the lake and out into the meadow, and when it is raining too hard to be outside, I write blogs and finish editing a book for my daughter Ang, glad for the a dry warm space to carry on with projects. Clifford mostly works with his ham radio.
It doesn’t sound like much, but we are both quite busy all day.
Saturday September 7: It is a cloudy drizzly morning here at Seeley Lake Campground in the Seeley-Swan Valley of western Montana where Clifford and I are camping, having arrived just a couple of days ago.
I make coffee and then walk to the lake, taking the trail past the beach and along the shore to the woods. I have my journal and sit on the bench that overlooks the lake, but is too drizzly to write, so I just read a poem by Mary Oliver and listen to a morning meditation on my cell. It is a nice peaceful way to start the day.
By time I get back to our campsite, Clifford is up and we have breakfast. Today we need to go to Seeley Lake (town) to pick up our mail, so we decide to take the opportunity to explore a bit, going first to Lake Placid, discovering some dispersed camping spots on the way to this lovely mountain lake, and then taking the loop back to Seeley Lake.
The only problem is that what is on the map and what is on the ground don’t relate much and we end up at a place called Hidden Lake. It is an okay place for tent camping, but we wouldn’t try bringing Cougar here.
road back to Seeley Lake is sketchy and we are not even 100% certain
we are on the right road until we reach the outskirts of town. We
pick up a few groceries at the market, then head back to camp. I play
viola while Clifford naps, and later, after dinner, he plays dulcimer
while I get the next photo/travel blog ready to post. It certainly
was a fun day!
Thursday September 5, Clifford and I leave our campground at Swan Lake Recreation Area in northwest Montana, heading south on Highway 83 through the lovely Seeley-Swan Valley. Great mountains rise up on either side of this valley, the Mission Range to the west and the Swan Range to the east. Our destination is the Seeley Lake Campground, about 60 miles down the valley from Swan Lake.
arrive before noon with numerous sites to choose from, although the
three sites right along the lake are taken. We decide to look more
closely at the loop where we have not previously camped, as the level
sites were always taken. However, this morning, this loop is open
and we pick a really great spot, level and spacious, with tall
western larch and Douglas fir, and a view of the meadow.
I loved our spot at Swan Lake and thought nothing would compare to
it, this spot at Seeley Lake, being more natural and wild is every
bit as inviting to me. As soon as we are set up, I explore the lake
closest to this loop, which happens to be where the water lilies
Friday morning is overcast with a drizzle, which doesn’t keep me from walking down to the lake for photos.
As the drizzle becomes a steady rain, it turns out to be a good day for inside activities. Clifford works with his ham radios and I edit my daughter Ang’s novel Regent’s Way and write blogs. Cougar is cozy and we are comfortable.
Monday September 10: I walk to the lake in the early morning, appreciating the peacefulness with the first light of day on the water. There are a couple of benches that provide places to sit or one can stroll along the beach or take the path through the woods along the lakeside. Over the course of our time here, I have done all of these. Back at camp, I make a campfire so I can continue to be outdoors.
Today Clifford and I
go for a drive to other campgrounds along the stretch of lakes in the
Seeley-Swan Valley. The campground at Lake Alva has numerous empty
spots, but no view of the lake that we can find. Lake Inez has some
camping spots along a road above the lake, but it is not a campground
and spots would soon fill, so we wouldn’t try to come here with the
Back at Seeley Lake,
which we still like the best, at the suggestion of a friend, I do an
energy clearing ceremony, wading out in to the lake and letting bits
of bark and cones float away, representing a releasing of tension and
In the later
afternoon, I finish reading the novel I had started before going to
Wallace. After dinner is the usual bedtime routine and it is always
surprising to me how long it takes to take care of all the loose ends
before getting into bed.
Tuesday September 11: I got up kind of late this morning, but walk down to the lake before breakfast anyway. I make my way toward the bridge and get several shots of the lily pads that line the bank there.
Back at the campsite, I visit our neighbor, Ana, an artist who is outside painting. She is an interesting woman and we have enjoyed our visits.
Today I take out the ¾ cello that I brought back with me from Wallace where it had been stored. At one time, I had hoped to play cello regularly as we camped, but cellos are too big to play indoors in an RV and often the weather is not suitable for playing outdoors. This one, even though not full-size, still takes up a lot of room. Being a rather inexpensive instrument, one I was willing to take camping, also means that it does not have great sound. I haven’t enjoyed playing it as much as I hoped I would, which is why it ended up being stored in Wallace. But now it is with me and we’ll see what happens next. I sort the rest of the stuff in my car, stuff that we brought back from the basement of my daughter’s house where we lived for about four years. Some of it is packed to go to a second-hand store in Stevensville, some will go back to Monticello with us, and sadly, some things just go in the dumpster.
We pick up outside
stuff – chairs, tables, and such, as we will be leaving tomorrow.
It has been great being here, but I am also looking forward to going
back to Bass Creek so as to see more of my family before we begin the
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Breakfast burritos for dinner and then I tidy up our cozy space before heading to bed.
Saturday September 1: Clifford didn’t feel well in the night, but fortunately he is okay this morning. I go down to the lake first thing this morning for photos. I love the ambiance of the mist rising off the lake.
Chat with Rollie before he heads out to attend a bluegrass festival.
drive into the town of Seeley Lake to look for local honey, browsing
through gift shops, and end up buying local raw honey at the market.
Stop for photos of water lilies on the way back to camp.
In the evening I do some editing of Princes and Priests for my daughter Ang and then edit photos from my outings today.
Sunday September 2: It is a beautiful morning here with the mist on the lake again. After the mist lifts, I sit outside in the sunshine with my cup of coffee while I write in the journal.
is a day of calls: some business calls and some family/friends calls.
I play my viola and do more editing today, as well as start reading
another novel. Nice to have time to read, along with all the other
things that I like to do.
Monday September 3: I make coffee and then go sit by the lake to muse on things while I sip at my coffee.
Back at camp after breakfast, I send photos of the lake to all the family. The afternoon is more editing and reading and playing fiddle tunes on the viola. Life is good!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.