Our Past

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In addition to my interest in geology, I love human history.  I remember as a kid going on family camping trips looking out the car window following the hillside scars of old roads twisting with the topography of the land. I always wanted to walk those abandoned roads and look for treasures from the past.  In 6th grade I decided I wanted to be an archeologist when I grew up. But then I changed my mind when I thought I would have to memorize dates and I wasn’t good at memorization.  The strange logic of a child.  In western Montana there is lots of history to explore.

An old truck I found during my wanders
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A “Why I Go Camping” Moment

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After seeing a bit of Glacier NP it was time to move on.  I was heading east then south.  Driving south on Hwy 89/287 from East Glacier to my new home located at the Willow Creek Reservoir by Augusta, I was driving through wildfire smoke.  Everywhere I looked I just saw smoky haze. I could only see a vague outline of the Rocky Mountains to the west.  I set up my campsite at the reservoir and hoped for more.  The next morning the skies were clear and I absorbed an expansive view. I was reminded why I go camping.  The scenery was gorgeous.

Early morning view from my campsite. A friend titled it Purple Mountain Majesty.
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Outside My Normal

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Visit Glacier National Park?  I had no plans to visit Glacier with the thought of lots of people and it being a not dog friendly place.  But I realized I was close and it was the end of the season.  So I called the Park to find out how crowded it might be and was told: ”It is better than it was this summer.”  The man on the phone sounded tired.  Not the most positive comment, but not negative.  So I decided to go drive the Going To The Sun Road.

Lake McDonald, early morning
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Ross Creek Cedars

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Two people at different times had suggested that I visit the Ross Creek Nature Area to see the huge cedar trees.  I went exploring wondering if the trees would impress me.  Being from the west coast, cedars are an everyday thing.   Would they be big using my standards?  No, they weren’t.  But it was still a pleasant area and I walked up a trail a mile or two before I turned around.

And there was a fun surprise.  Stacked rocks that people had built. If I didn’t have a dog on a leash, I would have added one.

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Fishtrap

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I’m off on a fall camping trip after too much thinking, analyzing, and twisting in circles about the pros and cons of going on a fall trip with covid19, wild fire smoke, leaving late in the year with shorter days and colder nights, and an old dog.  My final approach was: “Just go,” if it doesn’t work out I can just drive home.

Early morning. Fishtrap, Folsom Farm
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Humongous Fungus

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I’m staying at John Day for the month of October volunteering at Kam Wah Chung.  While there I’m exploring the area.

The tourist brochure for Grant County listed the top 20 tourist sights and included the Humongous Fungus with a note to see the chamber of commerce or forest service for more information.  My interest was perked.  The Humongous Fungus was in the top 20 sites to visit in Grant County!  I located the chamber of commerce office and went in to get the information on this interesting site.  The gentleman there had heard of it but couldn’t find any information on it.  He couldn’t remember if he had ever visited it.  He suggested I visit the forest service office, so off I went.  At the forest service office the lady looked around a bit and then found the information for me.  Then she pointed on the map (that she gave me) where I should go to see the Humongous Fungus.  When I pointed out to her that the area wasn’t where the map located the Humongous Fungus, her reply was: “it is all the same.”  I was getting more intrigued about the Humongous Fungus. It didn’t appear to be a hot tourist spot.

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Armillaria ostoyae, the humongous fungus.  Photo from Scientific America.

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Riddle Brother’s Ranch

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Another abandoned ranch.  Without a plan, this seems to be a theme for this trip. In this fast world, it is calming to see items made by hand slowly.  I slowly look at how things were cobbled together.  Yet I imagine that the Riddles may have found pleasure in our easy to purchase manufactured world.  They had a hard life.

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A short walk west of the Riddle buildings.

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