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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
I came to the Lava Beds National Monument to see the caves and found so much more. The area is full of surprises, contradictions, and irony with a complicated history of war mixed in.
The geology of the lava tube caves was interesting but unexpectly it didn’t grab my interest. I felt an uneasyness as I ventured into the dark caves. And with my headlamp and a large flashlight both on, I couldn’t light up the cave to see the details of the rock. So I stopped visiting the caves and ventured out to see other sights I had heard about.
Driving south from Seattle to the Lava Beds NM gives one plenty of time to think about how to solve the world’s problems. I didn’t do that, I just zoned-out and drove. Smiling as I enjoyed the scenery. I had forgotten how pleasant the drive is between Biggs and Madras on Highway 97. Not much traffic and high plateau farming and ranching. At the north end are huge un-worldly wind turbines. Looking at them reminded me of all the marvelous things engineers have figured out. After a night spent at the Haystack Reservoir East Shore Campground I continued driving south. It was a rainy day, raining the entire way from Madras to Klamath Fall with low clouds. No scenery and lots of traffic. Ugh. The dogs and I needed to take a break and do something other than driving so we stopped at the Collier Memorial Logging Museum. What a pleasant surprise.
After a month at the City of Rocks and Castle Rocks, Idaho, it was time to hit the pavement and get home to Seattle.
Birds of Prey
I’ve never had a bad night camping in the many years I’ve been camping. The odds caught up with me; with my stay on the Snake River near the Swan Fall hydro power plant. It was a Sunday night; it should be a quite night – correct? I was tired of driving. I-84 throught Idaho was busy, boring, and hot; so I simply picked a camp site that look adaquate. I settled for camp site #1, which was very close to #2, #3, and #4 and a vaulted toilet. Not a good site, but it being Sunday night, I was sure it would be quiet.
I was off to the Mill Creek Campground east of Sheridan to explore that area. On the way I ran into a cattle drive; using the road as the cattle drive path. The locals were probably annoyed, but I pulled out my camera and enjoyed it. Cattle on both sides of me and crossing in front of me. Plus real cowboys on horses. All made for a tourist like me.
My plans had been to go to the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. I had been diligently watching the weather forecast. The forecasts weren’t promising. Would the road to Red Rock turn to gumbo with rain? Could the place get an early snow and make driving there risky? The Bannack State Park ranger didn’t know about the road and suggested I ask at Lima. I left Bannack driving in snow and hail. Thirty-two degrees was the outside temperature my truck indicated. I believed the snow would stop soon. The weather forecast was for a high of 54 degrees.