Monday, July 22, 2013

My Glacier Park Montana Summer

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The good news is my computer is working pretty good now after a lot of work to get it back to somewhat normal.  The bad news is my on-going off line draft of the blog since July 4th was corrupted and I lost it and the thoughts and sharing I had documented for the past three weeks.  I guess this old laptop had been infected with every kind of virus and malware there is but I was able to download the necessary software to deal with it and get it to working again. 

There really hasn't been much to share of any great interest.  I did comment about how these Blackfeet Indians really like their fireworks on Independence Day.  It was a big free show that probably went on all night after I went to bed.  I know they started firing off the darn things a few weeks in advance and continued a few weeks afterward.  Fortunately Dexter is not affected by the noise so he didn’t have a melt down.  Here are a few examples of what I watched sitting outside my trailer.

Happy Days From The Past

I was looking through my many digital pictures and found this one of Pati and me taken in Luckenbach, Texas about eight years ago.  It makes me happy to look at pictures of Pati so I put it on my home screen. I think I will just keep doing that….putting different pictures of her or us on the home screen….every now and then so I can always see her beautiful smile.  I still have a difficult time accepting the fact she is gone forever and all I have are these beautiful pictures and wonderful memories of her.  Life is so not fair.

Me and my girl....what a lucky guy I was to have shared 47 years with her.

Another Hike

I did go on another hike at Two Medicine Lake and made sure it was a little shorter this time.   Actually it was three miles and then I took another one in a different area for about a mile and a half so not so bad and it was beautiful at both locations.  Here are some pictures of the areas.  My next hike is going to be in the Many Glacier area and I hope to see some big horn sheep and maybe a bear...from a distance.

I think this area will be perfect for some fly fishing before I leave here.

Notice the water coming out of the rock.  There is a big hole on top just before the edge that it drops down into. 

Technical Issues

I finally received my big new Direct TV dish and an appropriate tripod for it and tried everything to make it work like it should.  It was supposed to capture three satellites and give me local channels from somewhere, probably Great Falls.  Anyway, that didn’t happen and the people at Direct TV told me I would need an HD Receiver in order to use my new antenna, the one they suggested I buy in the first place since they don’t provide them to “non permanent locations”, ie my travel trailer.  Frustrating but I am going to keep it in the back of my truck until I get to Portland where I have a Direct TV HD receiver in storage and see if I can get that one activated rather than keep spending money I don’t have on things that don’t work!  There isn’t much on the local channels anyway during the summer months so I will just watch re-runs and the upper channels and read more.

Dexter’s New Haircut

As you may recall, Dexter has been plagued by tick or fly bites since we got here.  I have been trying everything to help him and doctor him and prevent the bites.  I finally decided to just cut him down as close as possible and see if that helped.  It is real nice and the sores are all healed now but he did look pretty weird for a week or so.  He is growing back out now but I am going to keep him shaved close for the full summer. 

This is funny.  Since I started losing my hair about fifteen years ago, I have kept my hair and beard short or shaved.  I decided to let it grow and it is getting pretty long (not on top…nothing to speak of there) and I kind of like it for a change.  I am not going to grow a ponytail so don’t worry.  And I am not going to get an earring.  I just want to let it grow awhile and see how it looks.  Dexter probably thinks I am losing it…..cutting all his hair off and growing mine out!

Before haircut

After haircut

His favorite place close to his Mom
Elk Burgers for Dinner

My new friends, Bob and Diane, had me over for Elk burgers recently.  Wow…talk about some good eating!  It’s difficult to describe the difference in that wild game meat taste and hamburger or turkey.  I really liked it but I best not get used to it since it won’t be happening after I leave here.

Last night I grilled myself a big T-Bone steak that I really enjoyed too.  I haven’t been eating as much or as frequently as I did before coming here so big meals are real exceptions.  Since I usually work from 9:30am until around 2pm most days, I haven’t been eating lunch.  I’ve only lost about five pounds so far but I hope to lose a total of twenty by the time I leave.  Not sure it’s going to happen but I think I will lose a few more inches around the middle for sure.

This is a picture of Bob in the cowboy hat and Diane in the blue shirt.  The other lady is Roberta and she works for them also doing housekeeping.  The other guy is Martin, their friend from Atlanta that drives the red tour cars every summer.  He's a retired airline pilot and very funny.

New Stuff

My little cheap blender went belly up so I bought me a Magic Bullet at Costco the other day while I was in Kallispel stocking up on things.  It will do most anything a food processor will do plus it is a great blender.  I’ve missed having my morning whey protein and Chia seed or flakseed shakes so now I’m back in business.  I like freezing fresh strawberries and chunks of bananas and blending them with juice of water or milk.  I forgot to get myself some blueberries while at Costco but I will get them next time.  They freeze real well and taste better than buying the already frozen ones.  I really wish I had a bigger freezer!

It does more than I need but the price was right

I also bought me a new outside lounge chair while at Costco.  I had bought one before but it never worked right and wouldn’t lock in place.  Since I can’t have a home with my lounge chair, I figured $55 bucks was a pretty good price for this baby.  It is real comfortable and I plan to take a few naps in it over the  years.  I also bought some cable and locked it and my other chairs to the travel trailer to keep someone from walking off with them.  It can happen. 

My new lounge chair...very comfortable.
That’s all I have for now. Things are pretty routine around here unless I take a hike and see a bear or big horn sheep or bull elk or something else happens worth sharing.  Bob is ordering a bb gun on line from Amazon so I can “pop” the “res” dogs that plague Dexter and me day and night.  I don’t want to hurt them but they are a very big nuisance and I wish their owners or the tribal government would control them.  We may be on a reservation but we are not out in the middle of nowhere like it was a hundred years ago and the dogs would serve a purpose in protecting the TP village from predators or invaders. 

I mowed again today but we are starting to have to irrigate so the growing season  is shorter and the sun is really hot during mid day. Bob is starting to clear a parameter area for a fence to keep the loose cattle out of his property…just like the dogs….they also run free.  It’s an Indian thing.  They come into his property and ruin his trees and poop all over so not a good thing.  We are looking at installing an electric fence which is a lot easier that a traditional fence.   I guess it’s a good thing the Bison (Buffalo) are not running free too.  Here is a picture of a herd right up the road where I go to dump trash. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I took a ride today up to an area about seven miles from my trailer called Two Medicine.  The road actually ends at Two Medicine and there is a big lake, Lower Two Medicine Lake, most of which you can’t see because it curves around behind a mountain.  They have boat rides that will show the whole lake and drop you off at trailheads and pick you up later so you can hike some of the backcountry trails.

Falls before Two Medicine Lake
Two Medicine Lake
Today I was just getting away for the day with Pati and Dexter.  This is a day I don’t like remembering because Pati died a year ago today.  I guess I should be thankful I’ve survived the past year without her and didn’t do anything stupid or destructive.  I am pleased that I made it through it…there were some times I wasn’t so sure I would make it. I hope to continue on this path of rebuilding my future one day at a time.

We just took the drive to get familiar with the local area. I plan to come back by myself and hike a few trails and maybe take the boat ride in the near future.  It is a very pretty area with majestic mountains and lakes.

The best part about the ride today was that I saw my first bear, and it was a Grizzly with a cub.  I was on the road driving back and a car was in front of me and he braked and I saw the bear and cub (could have been two) just going off the side of the road into the brush.  I could only see them from the backside but they were light brown so most likely a Grizzly. Neat!  I just hope I don’t meet up with them on the trail.

I failed to mention where I am parked while staying here for the summer.  Here are some pictures of my parking place.  It is pretty nice and right in the town   but only about a quarter mile from where I will be working.  I was really surprised on June 16th, the day I was really down, with a visit from my very special friends and former neighbors, Yanni and Jose.   They live in Beaverton, Oregon and Yani had a business trip to the area so they took a chance and surprised me with a drop in visit.  It was so great to see them and they really made my day.

My parking area looking East.  The cabin is not occupied but we are discussing renting it out this Summer.

Looking west to the mountains and Glacier National Park from my "patio".

My first and probably only visitors were Yani and Jose from Portland!  Geat surprise!!!  Love these guys!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I worked a few hours on Monday cleaning some cabins that I am responsible for.  Today (Tuesday) I mowed grass around the cabins for a few hours.  I am going to have to work up to this physical exercise as I am not used to it. I was tired after a couple hours of mowing.

After work, I decided to see what the Blackfeet Indian Reservation was like so Dexter and I took a ride down a gravel road that went East out of East Glacier Village that seemed to go forever.  At first it was interesting and crossed a river that looked real good for fishing and then I saw a few big lakes also but eventually it was just grassland and some range horses and cattle and a house here and there and I wondered if I should turn around.  Well I didn’t and eventually ended up on a highway that took me back around on the reservation to the town of Browning and eventually back home.

I was not impressed but at least now I know what it is like East of me, lots of land and little else.  I know what is West and North……Glacier National Park.  Anyway, from now on I will be going into Glacier.

The Two Medicine River on the reservation that I may do some fly fishing in.  Easy access.
This is what the majority of the Blackfeet Reservation looked like.  Great for cattle.
It is Wednesday after work and my boss at the Lodge, Bob, came by to say hello and have a drink with me late this afternoon. Just before he drove up eight police cars came flying down the street code three and stopped in front of a house close by.  I couldn’t see what was going on but it must have been a serious call, maybe domestic violence or worse.  An ambulance came later too.  I didn’t know there were so many police in this area. I never did find out what happened.  Made me feel a little more secure knowing they do respond in force.

After things settled down, we were sitting outside and the sky was getting dark and thunder was booming and all of a sudden it started raining and hailing and raising all kinds of commotion.  We sat under my canopy but it got worse and Bob decided to rush to his car and get home.  I quickly pulled in the canopy and it has been blowing and raining and howling the past few hours. Of course I don’t have internet or direct TV due to the storm so I am catching up on my blog.  Looks like a good night to read on my book or watch a DVD.

Sunday, June 23. 2013

I was off work Thursday and Friday and it was raining so I decided to drive into Kalispell and buy a new faucet for the bathroom.  The old one started leaking under the sink again so I thought it best to just replace it.  It is 85 miles one way to Kalispell but it is the closest town with a Lowes and Home Depot.  It even has a Costco and Wal-Mart so that’s where I have to go to stock up or get specialty items like the faucet.

It’s still early as I sit here writing. I have to go to work around 9:30 today.  I have been waking up around 6am since I got here.  I think it’s the clear mountain air. I don’t mind because it gives me time to relax, check email and maybe do a little work on my blog before going to work. 

I have decided to treat myself to breakfast two or three times a week at the local’s favorite café, East Glacier Grill.  Yesterday I went to the Glacier Park Lodge located right here in town. It is a beautiful big one hundred year old lodge built on the Blackfeet Reservation but the site was purchased from the Piegan, a tribe of the Blackfeet nation so it’s part of the park.

They had a big 100 year celebration with a free lunch so I decided to partake…remember it was free!  I stood in line for awhile with many other people but finally got to go in and go through the buffet line. Cheeseburgers or hot dogs and all the fixings.  It was pretty good but I got seated at a community table with some folks that were not real friendly and their little girl kept looking at me like I was going to eat her!  That didn’t make for a pleasant lunch but it was a good lunch.  I am still having difficulty with being just one…seems the only place to sit is the bar!

I will take some pictures of the lodge for a later post.  It is really neat but I will show all the lodges in the park at one time.

Tonight I went over (invited) to Bob and Diane’s cabin for drinks and company with their friend, Martin.  He is the man that is from Georgia and drives the big red tour buses through the park during the summers.  We had a nice visit and I shared some Montana whiskey with them that I had bought while in Kalispell.  Diane really liked it so I left what was left in the bottle with her to enjoy. She told me to stop at the distillery and visit on my next visit to the west side because the operation is interesting but the building is really neat.

Monday, June 24, 2013

I woke up to a fairly nice overcast day this morning. I decided it was time to have that breakfast out so I went over to the (I later found out it was the wrong place) café and settled in for some biscuits and gravy and eggs.  It was not bad but not my favorite as the gravy was thick and not so tasty so I will try something else next time.  By the time I left it was raining again!  I came back to the LTR and let Dexter go potty before going to work.

Since it was raining I couldn’t do any mowing plus I had to clean the Bunkhouse and the Loft.  These two places are located in the big red barn and have lofts in addition to the lower areas.  This usually means more work because more people sleep there and more beds and cleaning have to be done.

This is the office and the home for the owners.

Cabins 5 and 6 which are my cabins during my work week but I also cover the others when Berta is off.
The far end of the lodge area where the Bunkhouse and Loft are.

Bunkhouse on the left and Loft on the right.  The Loft goes way up...lots of stairs.

The Bunkhouse was pretty normal and I got it done without much effort.  When I stepped into the Loft I was shocked at the mess left behind.  Bob told me this is unusual but does happen and a man and his two young sons had been staying for a couple of days.  I went back to the office and grabbed a really big trash bag and went to work.  The Loft has a hide-a-bed couch below and a queen bed up stairs plus they are given a blow up mattress if desired.  All the cabins have kitchens and refrigerators and microwaves plus dishes and utensils and the Bunkhouse even has a 3-burner stove.

This is the inside of the Bunkhouse.

Loft upstairs but seldom used and kitchen and living room.

Bedroom and bath.

So…anything can happen or be left behind.  Most of the  time so far the folks that stay have done a pretty good job of cleaning up after themselves. This time nothing was done and I think the man felt guilty about the way they left the place because he left a ten dollar tip on the counter.  I told Bob about it and he said it was mine to keep so my breakfast was almost paid for today.

I must admit I get pretty darn tired after about three hours of cleaning and changing beds and vacuuming and moping and climbing the stairs to the Loft etc.  I hope this will get better in time as I am not used to doing much physical labor. It certainly is not going to hurt me and will help me get back into shape.  Even mowing grass with the power mower is hard because I have to mow around lots of small and large trees and bushes so it is a physically demanding chore. I haven’t even tried to do any trimming with the weed wacker but that is on my list.So after 3 ½ hours of work, I am sitting inside relaxing this afternoon watching the rain come in from the mountains.

Rain and wind coming in!
I did put a cover over the roof vent (inside) over my bed so the bedroom is now dark (I blacked out the windows too) and I might be able to get a little more sleep.  I still want to get up around seven every morning so hope I don’t oversleep!

Poor Dexter was bitten by some kind of mean bug and I am nursing him a bit in two different places.  At first I thought it was ticks but none there….just a fair size raw sore.  He will be fine but I really have to watch him carefully around here between the res (reservation) dogs and the bugs.  I will certainly be glad when the mosquitoes decide to go away.  They are driving me nuts but I have yet to be bitten.  I spray myself down every morning and wash it off every night and start over again the next morning.  They are horrible!

I ordered a new satellite dish for my direct TV as I could not pick up any local channels like from Great Falls or Missoula etc.  I was told I needed this new dish that will pick up the local stations so I found one on eBay for a reasonable price. I was shocked at the size of this dish compared to mine that I have been using.  It is so big it would not fit into my stand so I had to order a tripod for it. 

Just my luck as I gave a very nice tripod to my brother when I was in Hurricane because I didn’t need it.  Oh well…the tripod was only thirty dollars and it would cost that much to ship the other one to me.  I hope to get it this week and get it all set up and make it work.  I will let you know.  It’s a good thing that I have a big truck to haul it in when I leave.

I will be off Thursday and Friday. If it doesn’t rain I plan to take a short hike in the Two Medicine area on Thursday so I hope to have lots of pictures and things to talk about then. I bought a new waist belt for short hikes that has two water bottles and a pouch for my small camera and an energy bar plus my bear spray fits on the belt so I am ready to go.

Today is Tuesday and I put in a few hours mowing grass today but it was still too wet to do much.  I will try again tomorrow.  I got home before noon.

As I was sitting here at my trailer this afternoon I heard a motor outside and saw Woody, the nephew of the guy that owns this property, Tony, outside mowing my lawn.  He mowed the whole thing and told me he would come back in a few days and weed-eat the rough areas. I was surprised and pleased and told him so.  I had planned to mow it myself tomorrow.  These folks are really nice people.  Woody told me they would take care of me and gave me his phone number if I needed anything.  He is a nice guy, retired Navy so we related well.  I am very lucky to have these guys looking out for me.


Woody, Tony , Cooper and Dexter.  Tony owns the land I am parked on...looks like Santa!

So I had a nice lazy afternoon and I grilled me a great turkey burger and had some nice scotch.  All is well.

I had to taste it before I could take a picture!  It was great!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 

I worked a solid five hours today cleaning the Bunkhouse and mowing.  I tried to use the big gas weed eater but it is so heavy I got tired quickly. I will talk to Bob about putting a shoulder strap on it.  I decided to give the zero turn riding mower a try and it took me awhile to get the hang of it.  It felt good to be sitting while working so I mowed a large area and it really looks nice. I wish this place was such that I could do all my mowing on the riding mower.

I was talking to Diane about getting an elk burger at the Lodge and how expensive they are. She said she has plenty of ground elk meat in her freezer and she will give me some.  I can’t wait to make my own elk burger.  Maybe they will have some antelope meat too so I can try that out.

Tomorrow I am going on that hike about ten am. It is still cold and windy and a little rain but the weather is supposed to clear up tomorrow.  We will see…I don’t hike in the rain but I do carry a poncho just in case. Just thinking wet and cold gives me the shivers.

I just changed my mind about tomorrow.  I was reading some info on the hikes etc and decided to go on Friday. There is a boat ride on Two Medicine Lake and a Ranger led hike to Upper Two Medicine Lake…a couple of miles.  So I think this would be the best way to get introduced to this area.  Tomorrow I will wash my truck and do some clean up around here…laundry and stuff I would normally do on Friday.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Here it is Thursday and I decided that Dexter and I would take a ride up to Many Glacier.  That place is the last East side stop in the park before you have to enter Canada to go to Lake Waterton.  If I ever get my passport I will go to Canada for a few days.

Many Glacier is known to have the largest bear population in the park but I didn’t see one today. There is a large number of Big Horn Sheep too but I didn’t see one of those either today.  I plan to take the boat ride some day and see more of the area.


I went on my boat ride and hike to Upper Two Medicine Lake today.  I have to say I barely made it. It was 2.5 miles each way and an elevation rise of maybe 500 feet but it sure did kick my butt! My problem is the thin air and elevation made me gasp for air at times. However...I did make it up and back so now I just have to keep on doing this every week and try to build up my endurance and muscles.

 We left the boat dock at 11:30 and got off the boat at the other end of Lower Two Medicine Lake to begin our hike.  We hiked to Upper Two Medicine and had to be back at the dock around 4pm to catch our ride back. As much as I liked the hike I think I will go alone from now on so I can pace myself better.

It was a beautiful hike. We did see a Grizzly bear and her cubs but they were way up on the side of the mountain,too far to even try to get a picture because I had my small camera with me with limited range.

Just before boarding the boat at Two Medicine.

On the way to Upper Two Medicine Lake

Twin Falls after we started our hike. About half way to Upper Two Medicine Lake.

The final push over the hill to Upper Two Medicine Lake..I was really tired at this point.

Upper Two Medicine Lake.  Lots of fish here but I am not sure I will hike this far to catch one!

Ranger Pat. Super guy and did a fine job of talking about the area and plants.

Ranger Pat was a great guide but he hikes too fast!  He shared lots of great information about the area and the plants and the Blackfeet people that lived in the park area seasonally for thousands of years.  We had a large group so we were strung out on the trail and the age range must have been about seven to seventy…me pushing the old age end of that range.

I made acquaintance with a very nice young lady on the trail named Amy from Grass Valley, California.  She was by herself and on vacation.  She is a registered nurse so we had a few things in common since Josh is pursuing his nursing degree.  It was nice to have someone to talk with and I am always open to meeting nice people. 

She was nice enough to take my picture and here is one of Amy. I wish her safe travels going back home. Looking at this picture I asked Amy to take I wish I had not asked. I hate pictures of myself! I have got to lose 20 pounds this summer!

OK..fine.  I know.  Lose the gut.  Working on it.
My trail buddy Amy.  She is a nurse...nice to have her close by today!  She couldn't wait to cool her feet after the hike...the water was really cold she said!
After all that exercise I am so hungry I could eat a mule!  I didn’t take lunch with me, only an energy bar, and all the hiking must have burned a bunch of calories.  I think I will go to the local cafe and have a big burger and beer..I earned it.

I am back and feeling much better.  I didn’t have a burger as planned but had the Navajo Bread Taco.  It was different but good and very filling. I washed it down with a local beer called Going To The Sun IPA. Make that two local beers.  How am I ever going to lose 20 pounds doing that.

Tomorrow I go to work for my five day run.  It has warmed up considerably and will actually be hot for awhile…near 90.  It gets hot here at that temperature because of the clear air and our being so far north that the sun is closer.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Well...been working a few days and it has been pretty warm.  Nothing like what has been happening in the southwest a 127 degrees in Death Valley and 117 in Las Vegas.  No thanks.  I will stay north from now on until winter sits in. Here I am complaining about high eighties!

After work today I brought home the mower and cleaned the area up a little.  The riding mowers are nice but  they don’t cut as low as a push power mower so I did it. After that I have been sitting in the air conditioned trailer all afternoon. I have all my pictures downloaded so I need to publish this blog now before it gets too large for my wifi connection.

I was catching up on the news on line and saw where 19 Hotshot Firefighters perished in a forest fire neat Phoenix. I was really feeling sorry for my own loss of Pati the past few days but I must say that made me realize I am not alone in my grief in any respect. I hope we all will say a prayer for those folks families and friends who are experiencing feelings and very rough times ahead that many of us cannot imagine.

Signing safe.