Friday, August 29, 2014


 We chose a short trip (2-1/2 miles one way)  for our first solo carrying our packs and everything we needed, as opposed to having them "drop shipped".  Our destination was Twin Lakes, in an area east of Kalispell, called the Jewel Basin.  This area is designated for hiking only, and contains more than a dozen pristine lakes. Our trailhead is located at Camp Misery, named for a miserable winter some settlers spent there.

 Nice views of the Flathead valley and lake on our way up.
We reached our Twin Lakes in early afternoon, time enough to explore the area for a campsite, and let Luna take a swim to cool off.  
 Our tent (Big Agnes) went up nicely, and we were ready for the evening.

 Long underwear was on the agenda for me, it did get cool that night.  We forgot to check our thermometer, but I would guess it dipped to about for late August. We both had a little trouble sleeping; not sure why, we were warm and comfy.  Luna had trouble too....she was still wet from her swim, and I think she was cold.  I ended up covering her a bit with my vest and she went right to sleep.  High maintenance lab, huh?
Darrell filters our water pre-dinnertime.  Gotta have water for that tasty chili-mac!  Everything tastes good after you've hiked carrying your home on your back.
 We found an ideal fireplace, in the open and surrounded by rocks.  Felt good after dinner as it cooled down.
So, the next morning it was cold and blustery.  We started out by having our coffee in order to function, then moved on to our breakfast burritos.  While we sat on a log together eating them, the wind came up and blew our tent end over end right into the lake.  Holy breakfast burrito!  I looked at Darrell, expecting him to jump up and go after it....but it wasn't happening, as he was straddling the log on the downhill side and couldn't get up. So, I jumped up, burrito in hand, and chased it into the lake.  It would have sailed into the middle of the lake and sunk if I hadn't caught it.  Luckily, I had my crocs and not my hiking boots on, and though my socks got soaked, I had another pair. All was well, and I still had my burrito!  We had a good laugh about that one.  Lesson learned......leave the tent staked until you're ready to fold it up!
We bid farewell to the lake as we head back home.


The fifth annual week-long workshop/concert was held again at the Flathead Lake Lodge in Big Fork.  Above you see the horses just before they are released to graze in the evening.  It's kind of a ritual they have that the guests enjoy.  Fun to watch them kick up their heels.  Heels were also kicked up at the concert that evening, here is Emily Elbert, the reason we went this time.  She is not a famous songstress, but so talented and entertaining that we wanted to see her again.

Monday, August 18, 2014


We were curious about Upper Holland Lake as a possible backpacking destination. After looking at a topo map, we decided it was a little too long and too much elevation gain for our first real "loaded pack" backpacking trip.  7 miles one way, with at least 2,000 feet of elevation gain.  Anyway, the falls looked interesting, so we went for the drive and the fun hike.  We packed a lunch, had a nice hike, and Luna got to swim in the lake afterwards (of course).

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


We had secret info from Amber about a stash of huckleberries....crap tons of them, as she described it.   We followed directions to the trail, and after hiking 2 miles straight up (or it seemed like it) we hit the motherlode.  We could have picked all day, but got tired and hot, and our little buckets got full.

Above is Luna cooling off in the stream, and my two hot feet doing the same.  Felt sooo good!
 Our next day's hike was a short one to Stanton Lake, located about 17 miles east of West Glacier along Hwy 2.  The lake was beautiful, and Luna got her reward for staying on the trail with us.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


 Our tow vehicle is 12 years old...they say diesels last forever, but that isn't what our experience has been.  Seems like our spring checkup before our trip north always produced a repair bill for $2,000 or more.  At first we were saying, well, it's better than a car payment.  Well, this last pending repair got us to thinking that if we want to continue our vagabond lifestyle, we needed to get a more reliable vehicle.  So, here we are with a 2012 Dodge Ram 3500 1 ton diesel.  That should do us for a while!

Friday, August 01, 2014


In a place north of Libby, there is a grove of cedars that are spectacular.  Very tall, old growth (500 yrs), and lovely to walk through.  We had heard about them from a friend, and it was on our list of things to see.  We chose a very warm day, and drove the 2 hrs to see the sights.  Kind of a long drive, but worth it.


 So, the story behind Les Mason State Park is that it used to be owned privately by.....Les Mason and his family.  As his descendants took on the property, it became clear to them that the tax base for lakeshore property on Whitefish Lake was too high for their budgets.  So they deeded the land to the state, with the provision that it remain open access to the public.
Anyway, when Les lived here, he had apple and cherry trees, which did very well and continue to do so until now.  In an attempt to keep bear problems to a minimum, the state wants to keep bear attractants down, which means cutting down the fruit trees.  This is where we came in.  We keep discovering more fruit trees as they fruit, both cherry and apple.  One of the cherry trees was just loaded this year, but all of them at the very tippy top.  So, Darrell got his saw and cut it down so we could harvest the cherries, as the tree would be cut down in the fall anyway.
We ended up picking 3 gallon baggies full of cherries, and they were the dark sweet ones.  So good.

I got on the internet and found a recipe for baked cherries.  It turned out kind of like a flan.....with whipped cream, delicious!


It has taken us both about a week and a half to recover from the demon flu.  It knocked the stuffing out of us.  So, we took it easy on the shore!