Monthly Archives: September 2014

Licked by a Wolf in the Backcountry.

Unedited so far. No
Pics up yet. Sorry.

Today we took a trek to Bowman Lake. This was a trek to the back country where the roads are not paved. Not only did the road take unexpected turns. So did our day.

We began on the other side of Lake McDonald and through the National Forest on the “fire side” of the lake. From the road, not only could we have an up-close view of the areas of the National Forest and glacier Park that recently burned umma wildfire, we could view Glacier National Park from more of a distance and see the immense peaks from a different perspective.

We passed the Beaver Dam we explored two nights ago and turned north toward Canada. We were continually impressed with the views of the mountains that were recovering from the wildfires and were particularly pleased with the yellows and oranges showing up against the greens and browns.

Aspen and other disiduous trees have begun to turn for the fall here. This drive afforded us many opportunities to gawk at them. Did you know that old Aspen forests may be some of the largest plants in the world? Even surpassing the Redwoods. This is because a large grove may actually be a single organism! I have more research to do on this. My current source on this is talks with Rangers.

We drove pretty far up and found ourselves in a cute little backcountry town of Polson. I only wish I had gotten a picture of the outhouse with a sat illite attached. Some snacks and drinks consumed on the wooden handmade chairs on the porch of the mercantile was more enjoyable than it may seem. We were reminded of Talkeetna, Alaska, though Talkeetna is clearly more populated than the 300 that reside near this oasis.

I chatted music with some of the ladies, one who is learning ukulele. If we returned back from our lake trek, I would teach them a bit. Unfortunately, we did not return in time. Fortunately, we enjoyed our every minute that we spend driving to and soaking up the lake.

Passing back into the park, we crossed a beautiful river and followed the rutted, single-lane up and them down through thick forest, along the river and near cliffs. Evidence of Wildfire was still abundant. The aspen were clearly thriving in some places.

Spending our lake time near the picnic area, we saw more warnings of bear and mountain lions.

Here’s where the wolf comes in.
I looked into the woods as I saw motion a large, grey animal was moving through the wood near the picnic table. My first thought was wolf, judging by size and canid qualities. Then I saw a woman who had the animal on a leash and had a black dog with her as well. I pointed out to the girls that there are big dogs and the woman heard me and told me the large grey one is a wolf. Her pet. Her fourth wolf that she had raised since before the wolf (Motto) had opened his eyes. He was stunning and beautiful. Clearly gentle. The girls asked of they could pet him. We and his parent agreed. We all had the opportunity. We talked for a bit and took some pictures and then separated to explore the Lake.

I don’t know that I can say much more than a picture can about the lake. I don’t think I got any pics of the pebbles that make up the shoreline. So colorful. Much like Lake McDonnel.

After lake time, we met up with the woman and her “dogs”. Having friendly conversation, we say on the shoreline to watch Motto in the water.
Then he did it.

He came over and licked my face! Like, all over! I am not one to mine doggie kisses unless they smell like they are coming out of the other end. Motto’s licks were clean. No slobber. No stink. Just licks.
At some point while a wolf is licking your face, you kind-of think, “Gee. This is a very large carnivorous animal that in the wild is very fierce. In very exposed. Is this a smart thing to do?”. Yes, I did think that. But only for a fleeting, minuscule second. The other time I was thinking, “wow! This amazing creature is lickings face. A wolf. I am being kisses by a wolf. Thank you wolf.

Getting tired. Gotta go prep the RV for movement tomorrow. I’ll
Have to catch up on this later. Totally crashing.

Who Did What?!?

One of us picked up a hot charcoal briquette with bare hands. The other sharpened pencils. Who did what? Match the blister to the deed.

At Glacier National Park. After a nice exploration day. More on that later.


Glacier. Wowsers Already and it is Just the Beginning!

First day out and are significantly impressed with the vast, pristine wilderness.

After a late start because we were caught up in an Ancient History book and were pretending to be creatures from the Precambrian and Cambrian Eras, we pushed out the door. Yes, we had to push.

A quick stop by the visitors center to get info and Junior Ranger books. A quick hike up the trail there, teensy.

Pauses along the way. Once at the lake where we pondered the idea of change. The most beautiful pebbles. Once at Avalanche, where the girls did a few pages and I had a conversation with a couple from Texas. This is where we think we saw a grizzly.

Another stop at an overlook of a creek where we observed the power of water and how it can carve out a gorge and beautifully shape rock. We talked about eddies. We shared a delicious lollipop.

Hunting for glaciers, we discovered that the experience would be nothing like Alaska glacier experiences. We would have to hike very far and the glaciers seem smaller. But, still! It was great just in sheet vastness of landscape and nature. The glaciers are fewer and smaller now and the hundreds of glaciers have melted to a new total of a piddly, puddly twenty five. By 2030, scientists expect that these important natural resource will will be gone. So sad!

We think we saw a grizzly.
We found mountain goats. Twice.
Crossed the continental divide, twice.

Took a noisy hike as a kiddo sandwich, This is a safety thing. Noisy to warn the bears. Kiddos between the adults to let the mountain lions know we are a pack.
Watched butterflies. Orang-ish ,small butterflies.
Found wildflowers, Many purple. Wondered if orange berries we found were edible.
Awed and gaped at the mountains. Those mountains…

Threw snow balls.

Watched a huge raven stooped on a Subaru.

Oogled a bear and her two cubs. The And ogled the hominids that lost their minds to look at them. Discovered that mama bears eat the orange berries we were wondering about. Also realized that near cubs really are cute. Especially when they are nesting in a tree sleeping with their paw dangling over a branch. Like, teddy bear cute.

And when we returned to the KOA, we
Played with and made new friends from Misoula. We had a Little House on the Prairie bond.

Did origami. Swans.

Then we read and let the young eyes droop.

An experiment with cider and red wine in the evening went deliciously. Hmm.

Tomorrow awaits!

There are no accidents!

It is amazing when you are most of the way across the country and you run into someone you know!

Annie is the sister of a dear Annapolis friend and the daughter of some wonderful people we honored years ago in the Chesapeake Bay String of Pearls Project for protecting their land and, thereby, the Chesapeake Bay.

The story- after a day of homeschooling work, I was tasting some wonderful (and hot) wine today at the Co-op in Moscow. I noticed a young woman who looked familiar and figured I had seen her earlier in one of the many (too many) times I had been in the co-op. I went back to my conversation which included that we are from Maryland.

Then a woman approached me asking me if I said I was from Maryland. I told her I did and she looked familiar and quickly realized she is Ted’s sister! And Katie, her daughter, had taught with me at a camp in Maryland. She is in school in Idaho and Annie was visiting her. They were lunching with Katie’s friend. We spent some time talking. What a surprise!

And what a treat!

We are tempted to go by her town on the way up to Glacier tomorrow. But that could mean difficult roads across the Bitterroot Mountains. Hmmm.

Sorry, Annie, I know the picture is not good of any of us.



Moscow, Idaho

Enjoying our time here visiting dear friends. What a lovely place!

An adventure getting parked where we had a reservation, but could not stay due to pesky overhead branches threatening the integrity of our rubber roof. What a beautiful place it was!

An easy park that was closer to town. Easy peezy.

Visits with precious boys and their Momma her belly and their Papa. Blue tape art and play.

Also, a visit to a church community that was resonant in its message.

Expansive skies framed only by the grain- and-chocolate-covered hills rolling along toward everywhere.

A small town where everything you need you can walk to. A co-op with delicious, hot gluten-free food and friendly peeps.

An Appaloosa Horse museum. My girl’s favorite horse.

Nez Perce National Historic Park, the “home” of our nomadic, hand-me-down American Girl Doll, Kaya. And an other learning experience in understanding the treatment of the native peoples of this country.

And more to come.




Truck Stop Adventure

In which we decide to save a few bucks whilst driving to Moscow, ID. We stay at an truck stop (right down the street from the KOA) and are woken up at 4:49 in the morning by the blaring carbon monoxide detector. This is the earliest start we ever did see.

Only, it was not Carbon Monoxide that caused the detector to go off. It was a low battery. The battery was low because the refrigerator was slightly open all night. Well, it was open for the few hours that we slept.

But, still, we got out super early and, with a few hard boiled truck stop eggs and truck stop cut fruit, we were off to a good start!

And what a beautiful day it way. Adventures awaited us, nature, birds, volcanic structures, beautiful rolling landscape formed by lava, ice and water.

And, the bonus– dear friends awaited us just on the other side of that “Welcome to Idaho” sign.