I probably should have offered a heads up as to the quiet for the last several days (almost a week) but the deep woods got no wi-fi, so blog silence ensued. Yes, we went camping ... on Memorial Day weekend ... in Montana. (All the natives are now shuddering, with knowledge of what that means.)
Actually, we rented the forest service cabin at the Bloody Dick guard station. Until this month, I didn't even know you could rent forest service cabins in Montana, and I certainly didn't expect that it would be as inexpensive as $20 a night. This would be the cabin, here:
In case you're wondering, that is snow gently falling around the site. The cabin is at an elevation of 7100 feet, and it was pretty brisk (to be kind) the entire time we were there. Chris and I drove to Dillon in a torrential downpour, so we expected rain the entire weekend. Nope, hardly rained at all ... (heh).
Lest anybody get the idea that it was miserable up there, I have to say that it was terrific. We did stay in tents, but the cabin has a wood stove that will heat you right out of the place. And I just can't be happier than when I'm in the mountain woods. The first night, especially, was the best night of sleep I've had in longer than I can remember. Cold not withstanding, even get up to pee in the woods at 4:30 in the dark is a treat, when you're away from it all.
The cabin is next to Bloody Dick Creek. My employee got no end of humor at the name, but apparently, there was a bloody Dick. The stories vary quite a bit, but one consistent thing is that he was British, and said "bloody" a lot. However, his grave is right near the cabin *wink*:
In case you're wondering, the marker reads, "Here lies Bloody Dick. A Hungry Grizzly ate him quick." Of course I noticed a conspicous lack of a human skull on that grave, so I don't rightly trust that he's buried there. My niece wasn't too keen on diggin' him up, so we had no ghostly visitations. Bummer. And for the record, there are no Grizzlies in the area.
There are, however, deer, squirrels, and all other manner of critters for the dogs to chase. Trust me, they all had a great time! Most especially, I'm sure, when Morgan and i put on our waders to go fish the creek. Just for the record, fishing with dogs who play chase through the waterways ... not a terrific idea (except to amuse the 10 year old). The cabin actually has running cold water; a gravity feed system from the springs in the meadow above. There are springs all over the place,
And all of them feed Bloody Dick Creek,
which actually gets a good flow through the marsh meadows below the cabin. Sandhill cranes just love the marshes, and we could hear them talking to each other the entire time we were there. But, with the dogs along, fishing on the creek basically sucked.
So, Morgan and I bundled ourselves off to Reservoir Lake and tried to drown some worms instead of flies. The weather kept shifting from calm to pellet snow to wind to ... whatever. But there was a brief moment, when the conditions were good for fishing. I caught a cutthroat trout and a nice size brooky, but they both hit one right after the other, and the damn brook trout snapped 6# test line and got away. We cooked the cutthroat over the bonfire, and he was sweet eating. (Before anybody quotes regs to me, on the eastern side of zone 3 its okay to keep cutthroat up to the limit of 5 if they're lake caught ... so there.)
There's probably a helluva lot more to say, but I just had a terrific time. And for the record, even though we were only 4 miles from the Idaho border, none of us partook of Idaho's loose clothing statutes. After all, it was pretty cold up there, and that doesn't do flattering things to ... um ... the ummm ... equiptment.
A few final notes:
Wonder no more if the Kia Sorento is a true 4 wheeler. Due to a misshap on my part, we ended up taking the Kia over a rutted, rocky, muddy cowtrack for about a mile. That was loaded with a top cargo carrier, a hitch mount cargo tray, 1 kid and 4 dogs in the back. Right now, I'd pit that Kia against most trucks.
I'm back on the circuit as time allows, so I'll post soon about the SMBB. I am sorry for the silence, and I hope y'all will understand.
Kate, you're just wonderful. I'll respond to your emails as soon as I can.
Guys, this advice is for you. If you have a good set of Gore-Tex waders, don't fart in them. They hold the farts a long time. Just tryin' to be helpful.