15 March 2007

Springtime in the Rockies

Signs of spring are everywhere, from nesting birds to the budding aspen trees to the breakup of rural roads--churned ice by night and muddy quagmire by day. Who is peeking out of the nesting box on my neighbor's house?
Around the house, the snow is largely gone and the melt is gradually creeping up the flanks of the mountains, as you can see on the East Ridge (of the Continental Divide) east of Butte in the background of this photo of daughter Emily & RTD.
The only snow left is on the big cornice that builds up at the southwest corner of the ballfield near our house. What college girl home for spring break could resist one good slide?
It's that time of year when you can have a good ski and good trout fishing in the same day.
Woke up to snow yesterday and had to take advantage of it: RTD & I headed over to Mill Cr pass and hit the trails near Sugarloaf. The skiing wasn't great, but the new inch of snow had bonded to the ice enough that it made for good control. We did a run up Little California, around Spire, and skied off piste in the Spire area. Nice view to the Pintler across the Deep Creek valley.
RTD fell through the snow here and there, so I didn't venture too far from the trail. We went into the backcountry near Sugarloaf earlier this week, and by the time we came out at 10:30 am it was over 50 deg F and we were falling through even on a snowmachine track. Early spring, this.

One afternoon Jan, AJ, Emily, boyfriend Sam, RTD, and I made a picnic and did a little fishing along the Jefferson River near Lewis & Clark caverns. This is a beautiful, scenic area and we caught a few fish too. It was also VERY windy--sometimes raising whitecaps on the river and I had to chase my hat down the river once. Yes, that's Emily holding a trout--we killed one for a little Montana surf'n'turf (trout & elk steak) dinner.

In a few days it will be St Paddy's day madness in Butte. Here's to the Irish. As my family poem recited by Gramps over the holiday meal goes (wish I could remember it all),

He drank like a fish and he ate like a savage

The only thing he didn't like was corned beef & cabbage.

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