Category Archives: Hikes

Walk to the Creek

Oz convinced me this morning, because its warmer now at 20°, to go for a walk with him down to the creek.  It might say 20° at the house but it is much colder down by the water.  The sun is far behind the mountain so deep in the valley so the creek is cast in a chilled twilight.

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The frost in the shadows here builds up nightly,  making some rather fantastic creations.

nov 2014 004nov 2014 003Once under the cedars and next to the creek it felt as if the temperature dropped even further than is was just in the mountains shadow.

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As expected the first thing to happen was the boy and the dogs went skidding across the ice.

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Only then did they set to exploring.

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Most all of the creek  is frozen over.  Only a few pockets remain open.

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This hole stayed open last winter until it was nearly -40°.

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At this point my camera was getting cold it enough it kept an error reading.  I managed to get a few more shots before heading back up the mountain to the Little Cabin and the fire place.

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Morning Drive

This morning Oz began his apprenticeship so we braved the cold and headed out.  The car was not at all happy to be started with the near sub-zero weather, but after some protest and squealing it took us down the mountain.  The sun was just coming up over the mountain ridge line as we wound our way down to the main road.

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We got there just in time and warmed up by Q’s fire place before I headed back towards home.  Today I will edit!  On the way though I had to stop to take a few pictures.

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On the radio is said it was 3° and I that feels about right.  It doesn’t take long for the exposed fingers or the poor camera to feel very cold.

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It was cold enough Thor didn’t even want to get out of the car to walk with me.

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Cold weather is not my favourite thing, but after being outside in it the fire feels twice was wonderful and the coffee twice as rich.

From Snow to Cold

Yesterday the snow arrived.  It wasn’t too cold, just a tad chilly at 20 degrees, but as often happens when winter arrives it does so with a sudden sharpness that can cause even experienced mountain dwellers to shudder and stay inside.

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Warm in the cabin with sun gloriously streaming in through the windows I thought it would be a great day for a hike, to get the new snow, the sun and the blue sky but once outside the hike was decidedly short and back inside I went.

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I snapped a few pictures and ducked back inside to make tea.  I was just getting settled to do edits on Through the Barrier, (something  have been putting off) when the Snoring Bear aka the Virgo #2 came asking if I could help him.

Down in the shadow of the mountain the skirting has not gone back up on his 5th wheel since he moved it from one side of the yard to the other a couple of months ago.  While my Little Cabin was still in the sun shine, be it heavily blocked by the trees that have not yet been thinned, he was well in the shade.

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Part of being partners in such an endeavour is that one persons needs are the needs of all.  So down the mountain I went.  We worked on thawing the drain lines and then waited for the foam board to arrive.  (virgo #3 had gone to go pick it up) Unfortunately, it had not arrived when he had to go to work so with a look that bagged for help, he said, ‘if you get inspired feel free to work on it.’

On my walk down the road to his place I found two dropped treasures that are not from anywhere within a mile.  I wonder who dropped them and where they came from.

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So for the last hour, I have been outside, the temperature steadily falling, working on the skirting.

My fingers and toes a bit on the frozen side I decided to needed to come in, warm up and most my pictures from earlier today.   Maybe tonight, or tomorrow I will post a few of the work I get done before the sun sets.

The Snow has arrived at the Cabin

The snow has been lingering to the mountain tops all around the Little Cabin but last night freezing rain turned to true snow.  I managed to get down the driveway and back up once but soon I will be parking at the bottom and hiking up.

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Not too cold yet at 30degrees but by tomorrow it is supposed to be 3.

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Thor the puppy was delighted with the snow.  Trying to take his picture while he raced up and down the drive was nearly impossible.  I have quite a few images of white and black blurr.

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Today I think will be a good day to sit close to the fire and sip hot tea, read a book with the boy and not go anywhere.

Lingering Fall

Most often in this part of Montana the snow has already come and sit wet and heavy.  Leaves have long been on the ground, trees stripped naked.  This year though, fall has lingered. The leaves still remain on the trees and in places are even green.  Oranges, reds, and yellows splash brilliant accents on the mountain sides and along every water way.

oct 2014 012 Warm days beg for long hikes and make winter seem so far away it is difficult to carry on with the tasks of preparing for sub zero temperatures.

oct 2014 047 Each morning I watch the fog lift to reveal the mountain and the Tamarac’s that turn a little more golden each day.  One good gust of wind or a heavy rain and their needles will be gone until next spring.

oct 2014 011Once the days chores are done we will head for the trail with a scavenger list and a camera in hand.  One last hike before the snow is sure to arrive.

Thor, the puppy

So the dog…the puppy, he is only 6 months kept me up all night whimpering. Not one to give in to whining of any sort, I gritted my teeth and refused to give in to his baby desires. At 4 am, after glaring at the wall and trying to not leap out of bed screaming, I hear the worst sound ever! Throwing back the covers to get him outside before more could escape him, I nearly fell over at the smell alone!

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“Oh Good GOD! what did you eat!”

More fluid than not, is the biggest pile of dog sh*t under the table, as I have ever seen. Thank god I have a composting Toilet and peat moss readily at hand.  Generously dumping it on top of the slowly spreading pile, the peat moss not only soaked up the brown fluid  but the smell vanished almost at once. Taking a moment to calm down and brace myself for the task at hand, I had a cup of tea.  Considering my options I took the dust pan to scape it up, pile it in a trash bag, and set it outside. I used a little sol-u-mel…no, a lot of sol-u-mel! … to disinfect and destroy any lingering smell in the wood floor.  It was over. I let him back inside. aug 2014 029

He happily plopped down his bed and fell asleep. His revenge was complete I thought as Iay awake for another hour. Just as drifted off he began the whimpering again. Not wishing to pick up more piles I let him out at once, only to find he wanted out so he could corner and chance the cat. sept 2014 003

And now, looking as sweet as could be, he has his head on my knee ready to go for hike, go chase a ball, or play in the creek. I on the other hand have much to do today, am so tired I can barely lift my mug of coffee. I have a feeling tonight I will be in bed early with far less accomplished than I had planned. Anyone want to come help me hang insulation in the ceiling? I’ll have coffee, likely be short tempered and your sure to be covered it microscopic layer of fiberglass.

Photo Walk

Having it planned and ready we headed out to the photo walk early.  We met up on the river bank for an easy walk.  The weather was stunning with a day overcast but just warm enough to be very pleasant. came with hand outs and several cameras.  Brooke from Barnibee photography also came along.  We hiked and about a 1/2 mile along the river, taking our time and clicking pics as we went.

Once we got back to the car it was decided that we could pull together a scavenger hunt in a way to compare and share our walk and our photos.

1: a pair

A pair of rose hips

A pair of rose hips

 2: Open

Open Water.  The ice will be here shortly.  Time to pause and listen to the sound of the unhindered river.

Open Water. The ice will be here shortly. Time to pause and listen to the sound of the unhindered river.

3: Curly

curly vine

curly vine

4: Black

Black Raven Feather

Black Raven Feather


Three small fuzzy little clumps of rock moss

Three small fuzzy little clumps of rock moss


Dead leaves on the trail

Dead leaves on the trail

7: Reflection

reflection of the mountains and trees on the Clack Fork River

reflection of the mountains and trees on the Clack Fork River

8:Autum Colors

In every direction the leaves each became an individual piece of art as the colors seemed to each vie for attention

In every direction the leaves each became an individual piece of art as the colors seemed to each vie for attention

For both homeschool parents and any parent or adult who wishes for a way to interact with a teenager or young adult, I think the photo walks are a perfect opportunity.  They offer a chance to be artistic in their own outlet and while Oden has an actual camera most kids now have cell phones with cameras that can achieve amazing images. Build a list, borrow a list and go for a walk out the front door, take a short drive to a place you have never been or head out to a young person favourite place.  Let the hunt begin start your own blog, share on Facebook, or print up for the wall.

I encourage all my friends with kids old enough to not drop the tool they use to join us on our scavenger treks.  Thanks to Quitewalkphotogrphay and to Barnibee Photography for taking the time.

A Walk in the Woods

As fall sweeps in and transforms the mountains those last long walks without coats and boats need to be taken.  With the boy getting into projects and tasks set up for home school leaning the camera, as both a tool and an artistic outlet is one of them.  sept 2014 027

We set out on a walk, both of us with a camera.  To try and make it more interactive with a hint of direction I figured a scavenger hunt was the way to go.  I made a quick list: Something metal, something round, 3 different leaves, something red, something BIG, something tiny and something old.

I walked around with him showing him the basics of the camera, the same one I used until I received a new camera for my birthday from my mother, (quietwalkphotography)  I took  my own pictures along the way.

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When we got back to the yard he asked if I had gotten all the pictures I needed.  Well, no I hadn’t but why not?  So we will do the hunts together and trade who makes the list each time.  So here is my scavenger hunt.

Something round in the mushrooms and the ring they grow in

sept 2014 026Something metalsept 2014 030leaf 1 of 3

sept 2014 016leaf 2 of threesept 2014 015leaf 3 oof 3sept 2014 011something redsept 2014 002something bigsept 2014 007something tiny in the little yarrow leaves

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something old – the rocky mountainssept 2014 014

Shortly he will be taking a class on photography, composition, the use of focus and basic skill controls of the camera itself.  I look forward to just how creative he will be as he learns more of what he and his camera can do.

his blog and scavenger hunt

August weather

Normally in Montana August is the hottest month of the year.  The sun comes up early and lingers until well past the bed time of school children.  Afternoons in the shade or at the river become necessary against heat stroke with day after day of 100+ heat and nights that rarely dip below 80.  This year however we have a frost warning for gardens whose tomatoes are just now beginning to ripen.  Nearly a week of rain and 60 degree days have put the forest fires to bed and given the forest a new blush of green.  Taking a day off from all work my son and I took a walk down from the cabin to the creek.  aug 2014 053Our walks are times to talk about anything from the ancient history of the rocky mountains to the latest episode of Cosmos or the philosophy of the Prime Directive.  It is a game to see who can find the most interesting plant or coolest ‘thing’.  Today we took to looking for fungi 

aug 2014 009He found this one right after Thor (the puppy) stepped on it.

aug 2014 012We spotted this one almost seeming to glow in a shaft of sunlight through the cedars. aug 2014 027

We reached the creek finding only a few more but of the same types.

aug 2014 018We got distracted looking at all the little plants that grow along the creek, on the old fallen trees and stumps.

aug 2014 023aug 2014 024aug 2014 044Heading back up we started talking about the old stumps that are dotted along the trail, some of them ten feet across.  aug 2014 032aug 2014 045From the mining and the logging in the area we spoke of the ethics of both and about where those lines might be.  aug 2014 033aug 2014 042Just as we were headed back up, where the cedars still held the cool air and made for deep shade we found this little treasure.  Tonight we will be trying to find out what its name is.

aug 2014 041I couldn’t resist taking a few flower pics as we crossed the meadow.

aug 2014 006aug 2014 061“That’s the band aid one right?” 

“Yep, yarrow.” 

aug 2014 058He decided he won the walk challenge with the snail he found.

aug 2014 037The weather was perfect today but the cool weather reminds me how quickly winter will be back and there is still much to get done on the little cabin before the snow flies.  With school season creeping up on us it easy to forget to savour the weather and the long days.  Be sure to take the time.  Our walks will soon become backed up with research and he will be making his own blog about being home schooled off grid in a modern world.  

Duct tape shoes – project 3

july 2014 026This afternoon my sister came to visit with her family.  My little nephew, the youngest, was asleep on the way and his shoes were forgotten.  As the yard is still mostly shale and not so nice to walk on this was very sad for him.  Duct tape saves the day.  I grabbed four sheets of paper and a roll of duct tape.  The paper I folded to the size of the bottom of his foot and in under 7 minutes (my sister timed it) we had shoes!  grandpa slipper style but with a back strap.  july 2014 027He was so happy he couldn’t even wait for me to take a pic of the little shoes before he was out fo the chair and after the “big boys” july 2014 035modern mountain living tip #3 Always carry duct tape.  You never know when you will need it.