September 7 through 9 is a jam-packed three days of family gathering at the historic Jamison Hotel in historic Wallace, Idaho. Although the kitchen is too old-fashioned to be easy to use, the space in general is spacious and gracious, the bar quite spectacular, the bedrooms quaintly charming, and the basement reputed to be haunted.
I tend to like things harmonious and organized, so the hubbub is a bit unsettling for me, but it certainly is interesting and lively.
The Wallace Gathering was quite amazing and I know I will miss seeing who is up and having coffee at the Wallace Coffee House when I get there, who wants to go to breakfast somewhere, who wants to run to the store or go shop browsing, and who is just hanging out sharing stories. Awesome group!
On my way back to Seeley Lake, I stop to take photos of a beautiful sunset and reach camp after dark, happy to be back in my own space with Clifford and Cougar
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sunday October 15, 2017 – It is a beautiful autumn day in Wallace, Idaho, and a bittersweet walkabout taking photos of the gorgeous colors, knowing that we will soon be leaving this behind.
Tuesday – Clifford and I pick up the Uhaul truck, a 26-footer, in Couer d Alene this morning. The day is devoted to loading the truck, first CI boxes and furniture, and then apartment and basement stuff. We are lucky that the forecast rain has held off for most of the day. By late afternoon, the loading continues in the rain.
Wednesday – Packed to the hilt, the Uhaul truck left Wallace first thing this morning. We hired Mike, someone we trust, to drive it to Monticello, Utah, and take care of unloading, while Clifford and I follow behind in the Suburban towing Terry (our camper) at a much slower pace.
Whatever remains in the apartment is packed in Terry or the Suburban and we are on our way by late afternoon. We stop at the Wallace Coffee House to say good-bye to Katie and the boys, and then we are on our way to Alberton.
It is a beautiful drive with the western larch turning golden. However, due to the lateness of the day and the rain, taking photos through the tinted windows of a moving vehicle is not very successful.
Arriving in Alberton, we set up in the parking lot across from the bar. I am happy to see Ang and Oden, as they are in Alberton for play practice. We visit awhile and after they leave, Clifford and I eat a simple dinner before heading to bed.
Thursday – It is a pretty autumn morning here in this mountain valley. After Merri texts me that she is up, I walk to her house to visit and have tea with her before she heads to her job. She gives me a ride as far as Ang’s road. Ang picks me up and we go up to her place where she shows me the progress she has made on the greenhouse.
Back in Alberton, Ang, Clifford and I head over the River’s Edge for lunch together. I will miss being close enough to regularly visit my daughters.
Going to Missoula Walmart for tires for Terry is a waste of time, since once there, they inform us that they are too busy to do it. Back on I-90, we head southeast toward Butte, watching the autumn scenery,
stopping at the rest area near the junction with Highway 1 for the night. After dinner, we both read until bedtime.
Friday – It is windy and chilly this morning. Clifford takes a shower and we discover that some of our clothes are wet from rain leakage. Bah humbug.
We have stayed in touch with Mike and his son, who are on their way back to Wallace after unloading and dropping off the Uhaul truck in Monticello. Our paths will cross today in Dillon, Montana, where we plan to stop for lunch. It is fun to meet up with them and chat about our journeys.
Leaving Dillon, we run into rain and then quite the sleet storm as we head up Monida Pass.
On the Idaho side of the pass, the sleet eases with only occasional rain showers.
The wind, however, is much more troublesome. We are relieved to reach Idaho Falls where we pull off at Walmart for new tires for Terry. We spend the night in the parking lot, as do other RV travelers. It is likely that the wind has encouraged many to pull in early this evening.
Saturday – Clifford takes a shower while I visit Walmart, and soon we are on our way. On I-15, on the outskirts of Idaho Falls, an overturned camper blocks one lane of traffic. This is both sad and disturbing, and I can’t help but wonder if a gust of wind caused this accident. At Pocotello we exit looking for Denny’s for brunch, but end up driving in circles until we give up on the idea. A box of cheez-its becomes our brunch instead. In retrospect, cheese and apple slices may have been a better idea had we known we wouldn’t be able to stop for a meal.
The drive continues until we reach Perry, Utah, just south of Brigham City. We find the Walmart there, glad the day’s drive is done. A colorful sunset brightens the last moments of the day.
After dinner, we both stay up reading until midnight.
Sunday – Today we leave Perry and drive through the Salt Lake City complex, no mishaps, stopping at Cracker Barrel in Springville for a late lunch, happy that that leg of the journey is behind us. Once we turn onto Highway 6, we are amazed by the continuous parade of traffic, including many RV’s, heading north toward Salt Lake City. Hundreds of people are returning home after a weekend of camping in the National Parks to the south.
What a relief to reach Price and get off that busy highway, finding a spot to set up in the back parking lot of Walmart. Another colorful sunset brings the day to an end.
We fix a simple dinner and read until late. I finish “Coyote Waiting,” …just in time, as tomorrow we will arrive in Monticello.
Monday – There is not nearly so much traffic this morning, which makes driving a little less stressful.
Once we reach Moab, we stop for a few groceries at City Market as we know that they carry a line of organic food.
And finally the last leg of the journey, the 50 scenic miles from Moab to Monticello, arriving in mid-afternoon.
Robert, the realtor comes by with the keys and we enter our new abode and a new chapter of our lives.
Monday May 22nd– It is early, but I am awake when Ang and Oden stop at the lot by the Alberton Town Park where we had parked for the night.
Raindrops on shrubs in the park
Oden is just finishing up his Drivers’ Ed class for today. It is great fun to see them; I make French press coffee and we chat for a few minutes until Ang has to leave for a meeting in connection with organizing the Alberton Railroad Days coming up in July.
We arrive in Wallace in mid-afternoon and have a little time to visit with Katie and Jeremy before beginning the huge unloading process, bringing in only the perishable food and most needed items to begin with. Later we have dinner with Katie, Jeremy, and family. So nice to see them all again.
Wallace: power, internet, and hot showers! Family and friends.
Flowers and the beautiful Coeur d Alene River.
And for the first time in months, I play my good cello… and what a pleasure that is! Traveling is quite the adventure, but there are some great things to enjoy while we are here in Wallace.
Cabin fever: I’ve been reviewing photos from previous camping trips, excited to get more blogs written showing some of my favorite places on the planet. But sitting at a computer editing photos and writing blogs is lacking what I really need at the moment; I need to get outside and spend some time with the “real deal” – creeks and trees. Even though it is mid-February, it feels like early spring: a good day to walk. So I head out of town on my two feet; don’t even need ski poles this time. Arriving at the Pulaski Trail, I only hike a short ways in, as here the shaded trail is quite icy and ski poles would have been handy.
But that is okay; I dilly-dally taking photos of moss and ferns and dead leaves along the trail.
Placer Creek is a challenge to photograph today due to the sunlight being brighter than it has been for some time. The creek is also running high and wild due to snow-melt – in February! Trying to get that wonderful silky look just isn’t happening, so I go for the frothy look instead.
I’m grateful for my wonderfully improved vision after recent cataract surgery; the world is bright and clear. Even though I don’t get many “savers” on my outing, I find great delight in merely looking at bare winter trees intermingled with the grand firs towering over me, naked bushes and shrubs along the dashing creek, moss perking up, and other signs of life along my path.
Soon we will be on the road, heading to new camping places and new sight-seeing adventures, but for today a good walk along Placer Creek invigorated my body, brightened my mind, and soothed my soul.
Finally, some real snow – light and fluffy, and enough to make the landscape new and magical. Oh, we’ve had some snow and cold, but just enough to make walking icy and slow. This time, however, it is irresistible for a photographer. So, I bundle up, drape the camera over my shoulder and head out. As I walk to the edge of town several blocks away, there are many beautiful snow-covered trees, but power lines and buildings spoil every photo that I want to take. Once outside of town, I walk alongside the edge of the road, shuffling through the snow, keeping my distance from the traveled portion of the road. It is a relief to be away from power lines and fences and driveways. It is even better when I am far enough out of town to be beyond the concrete canal that encloses Placer Creek to make sure it behaves during spring run-off.
Now I can walk along the bank above the creek. And here it is that I take photos and more photos, loving the dark movement of the creek against the purity of the white snow and backed by snow-covered trees, dark and mysterious.
As I walk and observe and take photos, I am thinking about my life at this moment. Healing is a complex process. It isn’t just a matter of incisions drawing closed, the simple healing of a wound. The deeper wound is “how could this have happened?” How do I know it will not happen again? It took me so by surprise – I who had not been to a doctor in over 20 years – faced with a life-threatening condition.
A new lease on life has been given to me, but here I am, waking up with anxiety and going through my day with a sense of weariness. Even though I approached all the procedures as openly as possible, seeing the process not as a war against cancer but as a journey back to wellness, I still feel battle-weary. Where does this weariness come from? It occurs to me that even though I am busy every day, getting caught up with bookwork and housework that has fallen behind in the last several month, as well as helping out more with my husband’s non-profit, this busy-ness is without enthusiasm and sense of purpose.
I KNOW what my purpose at this time in my life is, but I can’t seem to accomplish it in a meaningful way here and now. I’ve always been a person with my ducks in a row, but now I feel that I’m floundering in a life that isn’t my own true life. It is most uncomfortable. Perhaps a time of being lost in the desert is okay, or even good and necessary, but it is still uncomfortable. I have spent too much of my life being in resistance to “what is” – a long and difficult first marriage, more recently a move that has left me longing for a home that is no longer my home, and my family still too far away to give and receive the hugs we all need.
It is a leap of faith to be totally accepting of this present state of affairs, to lovingly embrace my life as it is, with all of its uncertainties and ducks running amuck. I want to be like this creek as it flows toward the sea, flowing effortlessly over and around the rocks in its way. I want to be joyfully alive and surrounded by beauty. This is my gift to share: seeking, finding, and sharing beauty. So I will accept the floundering and look for the beauty in each and every day (and ignore the ducks as best I can).
Okay, so it’s only 12 degrees out this morning, but the sun is shining and not a cloud in the sky, at the moment, anyway. Rare for Wallace in the winter. So, Clifford and I decide to go for a little outing close to home. We both have a busy day lined up, but this is too good to resist. We bundle up in winter clothes and head to the Pulaski Trailhead, just a couple miles out of town.
Although down in Wallace the trees are are, here they are snow-covered,
We don’t know how far we’ll hike in, as it is quite chilly out and the trail is mostly in shadow this time of year.
Even though I’m dressed warmly, gloves light enough to finger camera dials are not quite warm enough to grasp ski poles (safer than hiking sticks on the snowy trail) comfortably.
But it is easy to ignore the cold fingers as I become enchanted with taking photos of snowy trees and ice on the creek.
Snow changes the look of everything. All becomes fresh and new.
My goal is the bridge at the half-mile marker, as that is where my favorite waterfall is located. I’m not sure we’ll get that far what with the deeper chill in the sunless forest. I stop often to take photos (while Clifford waits patiently) and before we know it, we have arrived at the falls.
It looks so different with all the moss hidden under a layer of snow, and now it is the surrounding trees that make this a special wonderland.
I feel blessed to be here at this special place. Soon, however, we head back down the trail and find great delight in reaching a spot where the sun shines through the trees.
Oh, the To-Do list is on my desk, but I scarcely look at it. Is there anything that can’t be put off or ignored completely? I make a cup of yerba matte with honey and coconut milk, sipping at it as I write in my journal. What do I really want to do today? Well, an outing with my camera, of course. So, I decide to head up Moon Pass Road along Placer Creek to see if there is any frost or snow at a higher elevation.
I drive up a fair ways, but no frost and only the highest mountains around have snow at their crests. I turn around at a wide spot and decide to explore as long as I am up here. A mere couple feet off the road and I am walking into a rain forest – dark, moist, mossy. Kind of spooky, in a way. If Clifford had come with me, we might have hiked in a ways, but as it is, I just go far enough to get a feel for the place without loosing site of the car. Guess it doesn’t help that we just read last night about murders on one of the passes outside Wallace just a few years back. Should I let that stop me – no – but I wonder about Bigfoot being here; it feels like a Bigfoot type of place. I walk further in as I take photos of the little stream and after a while, I feel more relaxed and connected to the mysterious beauty of this forest. I’ll come back another day when I can stay longer.
I head back down the road and turn off on a narrow side-road that goes goodness-knows-where. I like crossing the bridge, as Placer Creek is right here close at hand unobscured by brush.
I’m tempted to stay parked right in the middle of the bridge to drink my hot tea and do some book editing. But it is a one-laner and I wouldn’t want to block someone coming up behind me. Instead, I drive on down the road until I find another place where I can park right by the creek without being in anyone’s way. It is a habit of mine – trying not to be in anyone’s way, even when no one is there,,, maybe that is one duck that I should let run wild.
I sit in my car with the engine off and the window down, listening to the gurgling of the creek as I edit, until I get too cold. I realize there is a part of me trying to find the missing piece of the life-puzzle that was left behind in New Mexico. Of course, I can’t get that particular piece back, but sitting by the creek helps sooth the yearning. It’s odd, but my life feels like I am trying to work with more than one puzzle and while each had or has its good pieces, I can’t seem to combine them into one workable picture. Even if that is not truly how it is, that is how it feels to me right now. But the piece I am working with today, seeking and sharing beauty, has always been there… and it is good.