Archives for posts with tag: northwest

This past week has been a whirlwind of seeing family with whom I really haven’t been able to have a direct connect with since after Ava’s death in 2012. Yes, I have “seen” them but haven’t had “quality” time to spend with them for a myriad of reasons and this visit has been wonderful!

Gosh, I’m so in love with ALL my Chirrens of blood and by adoption! And, now after this trip to Boulder, I have two more! One of whom I met at the Cork Restaurant in Boulder! Hey there, “G”!

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The Cork Restaurant in Boulder, CO.

I guess I should start by saying that although Boulder isn’t a city I’d visit if it weren’t for my loved ones living there because it’s just too busy, too residential, too many bicycles EVERYWHERE, it is very clean and perfect for raising children in a safe environment. It’s just not my cup o’ jo. I like dirt and lots of it.

However, I do love those snow capped mountains once you escape suburbia and a  little town not terribly dissimilar from my own called Nederland, Colorado. It’s tucked in the Rocky mountains. Like my town, Nederland has a very small residential population but have several festivals every year which can bring tens of thousands of visitors. I had a hard time visualizing where all those people would go…or even stay, for that matter…and still do!

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Yup. Small town, Nederland, CO

But for the festivals, I could, for a moment, see myself living in this little town because of the wonderful people I met there! Here’s a shout out to Winston, Chris and all the other people we met while we were there. It’s worth a trip there but check out their  it’s festival schedules first!

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Of course I had to go into the Renaissance Woman store in Nederland, CO. I told the owner all about our Atlanta Little Five Points area and their annual Halloween Parade!

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When my sister and I were traveling the turquoise trail, we ran into a similar shop like this so it was only fitting for her eldest daughter and I to go into Wings of Lace Boutique, Nederland, CO and do some shopping! Hey, Chris!

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Remember what I said about bicycles being EVERYWHERE! Here’s proof! This is Solta Restaurant, Nederland, CO and the young man behind the counter looks like a young man Mark’s twin. Mark was like a son to me and chose to leave us way too soon and has been on my mind a great deal this month.  Both were from Austin and moved to Colorado! I almost fell out! 

After seeing all the mountainous terrain of I-70 West of Boulder, CO to Green River, UT via I-70 from studying Google, I was quite apprehensive if not anxious about driving it. However, my niece’s husband, who is extremely familiar with this highway, talked me down out of the tree with some good info. And I’m so very glad! The trip West was marvelous! My favorite park was driving through the river gorge, but that is always my favorite part of any drive!

See what you think!

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I-70 West – First snow capped view!

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Mountains galore!

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River Gorge driving just shivers me timbers!

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Golden trees everywhere!

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I be comin’ ’round the bend!

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This just doesn’t do it justice but…

Well, this travelin’ woman is just about done in for today so, Happy Trails…until we meet again!

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While driving to Glacier National Park, Montana, I kept telling my “daughter,” Jenni, about a great steakhouse I’d visited in that area in 2003. We talked about having a great ribeye steak as we hiked all over the western half of the Park because it was closer to where we were staying and had more areas to hike for the day. The drive to the eastern half was quite a jaunt of 2-3 hours each way so we’d need to plan for a whole day and part of the night to get everything packed in before leaving.

On our last full day, we got up early and hit the road for the eastern part of Glacier where I was sure the restaurant had to be. Everything we planned got dumped (boat ride on that water? NO WAY!) but what we got was even better! I’d found St. Mary’s Lake and the hike I’d loved so much before with waterfalls (can’t get better than that) AND “THE” steakhouse! It was right there all along!

I’ve been pondering on my trip and that steakhouse these last weeks and I gotta say, if you ever find yourself even near there, go for it! It’s called Cattle Baron’s Supper Club at the turnoff to go into the upper region of the Park.

However, instead boring you with more details, I figured I’d share the pictures from that night of the insides of this gloriously decorated place and our experience. Dang! I wanna go back now!

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Cattle Barons Supper Club

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OMGosh! What a Ribeye! How are we going to eat all of it?

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Huckleberry pie? Well, we split it. It’s the delicacy of the area!

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Uhhhh…we both did!

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Not sure if you can see the the “story board” above the tables of the Blackfeet tribe and their pictographs of before and after white people came to their lands, but it’s so beautifully done with varying “western” motif colors for each period. I thought I’d caught those but, even though it appears I didn’t, I’ll have them imbedded in my brain forever.

I LOVE the West! I always felt I was born in the wrong state. And I was. I was born in a state of confusion about the state in which I was born. I’m no longer tied to one state. I can roam all the western ones I want and still love my cabin home. I know I said this year’s trip would be the last. I think I’m slowly taking that back!

HAPPY TALES & TRAILS…UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

Not only have I been totally confused about the day of the week this whole trip but where I am because, like today, I could have been in eastern Idaho, western Montana or northern Oklahoma from the looks of things! And, although I was in northern Montana for awhile, it was with Glacier National Park mountain range in my rear view mirror, in my heart and with the impact from Mother Nature’s mystical power which pushed me off the cliff toward my solo voyage across Canada with Alberta as the reminder of places I’d just been.

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Farmland in northern Montana looks a great deal like eastern Idaho!

The cliff, you say? Well, God teaches us to pray believing with the faith of a child and, to do that, it means you “believe” in the power of prayer. I do. Every time I’ve jumped off that proverbial cliff to start my own business or homeschool a recalcitrant child while trying to make money with that business or travel alone across the backroads of US and Canada, I’m doing just that…claiming God as my parachute. Some say I’m brave. Some say I’m crazy. I say I have faith.

I must say that I had a moment or two before Jenni left to go home where I wasn’t sure about that parachute opening, but yesterday’s visit to West Glacier’s t Western Red Cedar grove, that nature walk restored my soul and gave me confidence for this healing journey to continue. So many amazing non-coincidences have been integral parts of it. Miracles of sun rainbows, finding new Chirrens, meeting babies born to some of those Chirrens whose parents weren’t sure if their precious one would ever be born, meeting so many kindred souls and reconnecting with Mother Earth in a way I haven’t been able to do since Ava died. Yep. That parachute is open and God keeps showing me how big it is!

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Long, roads with nothing but fields of cows and crops.

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That’s the storm I’m running away from.

Now, for those of you who have followed my posts thus far, you, too, might be confused about where I was today. Tom (my GPS) even took me down a very long and lonely dirt road, but our 150,000 mile relationship and my parachute kept the devil of doubt out of my soul and helped me embrace the wonders of the dirt road headed toward the border and away from the upcoming storm, above.

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Dirt road, Tom? Really?

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Wish this picture showed how bright these yellow blooms were. There were hundreds of acres of them!

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See that tiny white dot to the right in the grass? That’s a farm. The first one I’ve seen in many miles!

Tomorrow? Twelve hour drive through Saskatchewan (supposed to be a real sleeper) and across Manitoba to Winnipeg.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

My good friend, daughter-by-another-mother, confidant and outstanding travel companion just flew home to get back to work and her life. We almost cried at the airport but promised new adventures for another day and she’s already conjuring one up for next year! I miss my Jenni already.

However short in the greater picture, it was incredible in the amount of quality time, fun, laughter, insanity, states, cities, places we left our unique one-two-punch of us…two very confident, powerful, exciting women with great laughter and joy to share!

Today, we decided to go back to West Glacier to hike the one trail I wanted to revisit from my 2003 trip which was the Great Red Cedar trail.

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Where I come from, this AIN’T no creek!

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Western Red Cedar

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Along the Cedar Nature Trail

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Roaring water is a bit of an understatement!

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Temple of Hemlocks, Red Cedars and Cottonwoods

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My baby’s great great granddaddy! Too bad you can’t see how big the base of this Big Daddy is but figure two people can comfortably pass each other on this boardwalk and compare the width of that with the tree at the end. Four feet? 

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This HUGE boulder is covered in a lush carpet of moss. There again, tough to describe how big!

Tomorrow? Waterton Park and Prince of Wales National Historic site (just across the border of East Glacier) and then on to Medicine Hat, Alberta. Yeehaw!

Last but not least, some of Mother Nature’s art to ponder ’til we meet again!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK! PERSONALLY, I’LL TAKE ALL THREE!

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One bites the dust and leaves a most outstanding piece of art for us to love & enjoy…even if for a minute or two. Don’t you just love Mother Nature? If you don’t, try getting to know her before she’s been totally destroyed!

Yesterday, we explored West Glacier and today we spent the whole day exploring all the key areas in West Glacier we’d picked. I don’t know, but I think the photos will either get your exploring juices going or they won’t. My words won’t matter because this place is full of “gorgeousness” (as Jenni says) in so many ways that it feels archaic to try to reduce Mother Nature’s glory into words…or even photos for that matter…but that’s all I got!

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Snow capped mountain peeks

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St. Mary’s Lake

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Hiked Sun Ridge Point to Bering Falls

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Hike through a wonderland of wild flowers

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St. Mary’s Lake

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BLACK BEAR! AND…WAIT FOR IT…

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A GRIZZLY BEAR IN THE SAME MEADOW!!

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ONE OF THE LAST GLACIERS. NO!

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St. Mary’s Lake just keeps getting more beautiful!

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Bering Falls

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Snow capped mountains on way out.

Jenni and I have been talking about getting a good Montana grass fed Ribeye all week and I remembered this place my ex and I went to in 2003. It’s at the end of Hwy. 49 at Hwy. 89 and it is a MUST if you’re in the neighborhood! Best Steak…bar none!

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Cattle Barons Supper Club

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OMGosh! What a Ribeye! How are we going to eat all of it?

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Uhhhh…we both did!

And, in the same building, they serve HUCKLEBERRY PIE! It’s got a little bit of a bite to it just the way I like my berries!

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Huckleberry pie? Well, we split it. It’s the delicacy of the area!

Tomorrow? West Glacier to hike the Giant Red Cedar trail before Jenni flies home…boohoo.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

 

We finally made it here today and it’s been a dream come true for us both but only one of us knew how outstanding the whole park and surrounding areas are. The great news is that now both of us know! Even though the “Going-to-the-Sun” Road isn’t open yet (probably not until July but they really don’t know when because of snow), we drove up about fourteen miles along the West side of Glacier.

But before we even get to Glacier National Park, we drive from Kalispell, Montana because it’s one of the prettiest drives anywhere and especially with such a magnificent destination awaiting our arrival!

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Driving from Kalispell to Glacier National West Gate seeing these mountains is life changing!

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Yeah!

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Truly majestic!

Jenni was a happy young woman when we got to the Park entrance! She looks so cute in this chair!

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Inside the Park, we drove up to Lake McDonald Lodge built in early 1900’s.

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Lake McDonald Lodge (front)

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Lake McDonald Lodge Great Room at entrance

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Lake McDonald Lodge (back facing lake) where Montana and I had our picture taken last year. (tear)

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Lake McDonald

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Cabins for rent overlooking Snyder Creek

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Rushing waters of Snyder Creek emptying into Lake McDonald

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Montana in Montana resting at Lake McDonald one year ago!

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Raging waters that feed Lake McDonald near McDonald Falls!

Tomorrow? More Glacier but from the East side! St. Mary’s, for sure!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK! JUST DO IT!

I’ve always loved seeing how the roads to/from destinations take on a different perspective much like how the Impressionists studied the same view in different light. Monet must have studied, drawn, painted Notre Dame 50 times for many hours to get the impact of the change in color and depth perception. That’s how I feel as I drive south on the I-15 to LA and back again. Wow! How the topography changes!

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North I-15 toward Vegas Baby

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North I-15 closer to Vegas Baby

The good news about my trip from LA back to Vegas Baby is that I, nor my car or TomTom, were abducted. It was smooth sailing out of town but I’ve left my heart. It’s okay, though, because it was never mine but belongs/belonged to others. JD has my heart and I’m so blessed to have his mama and daddy in my life for them to give me such a gift.

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JD – my beautiful, old soul, step-grandson (although I claim him as my grandson)

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JD & me. Wow. I miss him so much! And, yes, I’m very tired even after lots of sleep and relaxation. I guess I’ll get caught up when I’m home and that’s okay by me!

My beautiful, talented daughter, Ava, continues to bring new Chirrens to me. I’d met Kev in a Messenger long-distance way through Ava’s friend, Elisa Furr, who I visited recently in Branson doing her Celine Tribute performance at the Legends in Concert. Kev had a great deal to say to me that night from Ava. No great surprise to me, Elisa or anyone else who knows how vocal she’s been these last five years!

As Kev lives between LA and Vegas Baby, we’d planned a real visit. Boy oh boy! What a visit! He walked in with confirmation messages from Ava that only a very few of us know about…like the name I gave her at birth, that she and Mom called themselves the  “September Girls” because of their birthdays being in that month, that Edwin (my dad), Carl and others were all there in a great big family reunion!

Ava told him to ask about the rocks. I said I was a rock-aholic and Mom, Carl, Ava and I had always collected rocks. But Kev said she was now telling him about a stick or pole that stood upright in the rocks and it hit me! The Zen Memory Garden I built for Ava!

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Focal Point is the Heart-of-Pine standing tall with the help of the rocks Carl brought back from his mine 45 years ago.

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Kev said the “Pole” pointed toward a star. Yes it does! Sirius…the star which got my attention by tapping out morse code like signals to me each night that first year!

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Kev asked about the “beach” and shells. Well to the left of the triangle are the shells Mom, Carl, Ava and I had collected over many years of going to our favorite Florida beach.

I hauled no less that 400 pounds of sand and 600 pounds of pebbles up the hill to create this in her memory. All the pebbles scattered in her garden represent the love she has for others and they have for her. The space in the sand triangle is the time she and I had…way too short but amazing and precious forever.

And when I thought it couldn’t get any more amazing, Kev says, “Carl says, ‘I’m there too!'” Yes! Carl has a memory garden as well. Kev says, “It’s below Ava’s…like down a hill.” Yep! Nailed it again! It sits just below her garden down a the hill to his left just like in the last picture taken of us three.

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The last picture taken of the three of us in March, 1984. Twenty-eight years later, Ava was gone too in the same month this was taken.

But it’s all good because Christ has told us that (paraphrased) “in my Father’s house, there are many rooms, if it were not so, I’d tell you.” We’re not to know everything because if we were, we’d know more than just 10% of the brains function or more than 3% about DNA or the miracles of two cells joining to form children or pets.

I believe Mother Earth is a living, breathing entity which must be respected. When she exhales, we get volcano;, when she inhales, we get earthquakes; when she gets hot flashes, we get rising temperatures (not to discount our own donations to this very real reality). How do I know? Because if you study geology, history (ancient and more recent), you can’t help but see the truth. Plus, God has told us so. Every thing is precious.

Next, you may ask? Canyons and cowboys, oh yeah! Yeehaw!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS! YOUR PICK!

Today was so full in such a short period of time! It took four hours to drive less than a total of 40 miles! When I found yet another dirt road to explore, it was a “no contest” kinda’ decision and off Montana and I went to see hidden groves of redwoods. We went down Howland Hill Road and found some amazing views. Apparently, parts of Star Wars was filmed in these woods or some close by and I can certainly see why!

I can so see this tree in Star Wars!

Now this is what I call a tunnel of love!

Perspective!

I could have driven my truck through that tree! The tree was quite larger than it looks. Crazy!

Only one in five seeds actually becomes a redwood. They regenerate themselves in so many ways, one of which happens to be through the dead ones on the ground or through burl which provides a whole new eco system for them to sprout up out of the dead logs!

Another whole world inside the base of a fallen tree!

There’s something up in that tree, grandma! I just know it! (Myrtle Grove)

We went hiking up a trail with lots of wild flowers blooming everywhere! Looks like rhododendron to me! Ours don’t get that big at the cabin!

By making a wrong turn, I found the Smith River again! I lost it 15 years ago! LOL

Glacier water…as green as an old Coca Cola bottle held up to the sun!

spectacular!

Then it was off to introduce Montana to the beach! Boy, did she ever have a blast running circles around me. I never saw a dog so happy! We both had been cooped up too long either in the house, the truck or the camper! It just felt so good getting out there. I couldn’t let her off the run but I’d taught her dressage as a pup so she could get enough exercise. I hold up my arm and she literally runs circles around me as I walk. It draws quite a crowd and she gets the exercise she needs. After jumping in and out of the water and laughing like a kid for about a mile or so, she started to calm down a little. It was so cute seeing her be so happy. Dogs are great that way!

One happy puppy!

No wonder they call it “Pebble Beach”!

And the grande finale!

Well, we’re off to Boulder to see Mandy and family! I can’t wait to get big hugs from my oldest daughter! Love her so much!

Happy Trails!