07 September 2010

Rendezvous 2010 at Dr Anaconda Lake

This year, life got in the way and we did not gather with friends for the annual "Dr Anaconda Lake" Rendezvous until the Labor Day weekend. In recent years we had moved the Rendezvous up to mid-August because, well, weather can be a bit tricky in early September in Rocky Mountains of southwest Montana.

This year we experienced a full range of weather: 80+ degrees with a clear blue sky at the beach, fierce thunderstorms with torrential downpours, and snow blowing horizontal: all in the space of 3 days of course. Day One at the beach (Montana's finest sandy beach), we lounged about, did a little boating, and checked out evidence of other beach visitors, like these Great Blue Heron tracks:

And Moose tracks:

At woods edge, this beautiful Common Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis). At about three feet long, it's a real trophy:

I like it when they pose & grin:

Day Two we got in some beach time, but oh look at that sky:

Sure enough, the rain came. Here are Don & Chukah-The-Dog beating a retreat to shore:

Then came severe lightning (I love it) booming and crackling on the ridges around us. Oh Hail! Look at it now:

The evening skies cleared allowing a good time around the fire, albeit a tad chilly:

Day Three MollyTheDog & I set out for a hike across the 2000 Burn. Each year since the big fire that burned well over 30,000 acres, I've enjoyed cross-country hikes to check on the recovery. Here is MTD in standing dead Lodgepole Pine trees with lots of 2-foot high seedlings:

In most places, most of the dead trees are still standing, making for easy hiking. The Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) can get a little thick & prickly, though:

There is also a bumper crop of Oregon Grape (Berberis repens) this year. These tart berries have excellent preservative properties and are good to mix with jerky for pemmican:

I like solo-hiking. Even the best of hiking companions (myself included) tend to talk too much. Chipmunk agrees:

We sat in the sun on the lee side of Chipmunk's rock enjoying some lunch and a pleasant nap. As I stood to leave, MTD barked mightily--at first I thought she must be barking at Chipmunk, but then I heard & saw the cow & calf moose running off from behind the rock. They must have bedded there while we were lunching/napping, and I regret not having the camera ready (I had it in a ziplock bag expecting weather). We walked cautiously around the big boulders that line this ridge, expecting to see elk or moose at any moment:

Though there was lots of elk sign, we saw no more big critters. The clear skies turned dark and a little snow blew in as we made our way down the ridge to the next valley over from camp (about 3-miles, though Celia says my miles always end up being double when she hikes my routes). Time to turn back. As we approached camp, I thought, "What is that wonderful smell?" My nose led me here, with Jim & Chunlan standing over a kettle grill:

What could be in there? What's for supper? Wow! Let's eat & pack up!

In the group pic below, left to right, we have (standing) Debbie Stickney, Mike Stickney, Pat Munday, Jan Munday, Jeff Schahczenski, Celia Schahczenski, Alex Macgregor, Chunlan Handley, Jim Handley, and Bill Macgregor; and (sitting) Don Stierle and Andrea Stierle:

Here's to good friends, warm fires, and tasty food.


Betsy from Tennessee said...

Looks like you all had a great get-together ---even though you experienced ALOT of different weather... Nice hike you took---and it's good to see the growth since the fire....

Thanks for sharing...

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful weekend at the lake. And that is a hilarious shot of the dog on the raft! My dog would be swimming in the water...

Maria said...

What a treat to see your adventure at Dr Anaconda Lake.
I really like your "free range feet" alongside the tracks...
Great photos!

The boulders along the ridge almost look like modern sculpture...

The berries look wonderful and returning to the grilled turkey must have been such a treat!

Thank you for "taking us along" ER.
It was a nice way to start my first school day...
Now off I go for my own adventure into the world of the sixth grader!

*Enjoy a wonderful week*

troutbirder said...

Montana. Good friends, warm fire, tasty food and the great outdoors. Life is good, Pat

Spiderdama said...

Oh, that looks like a very nice tour. Like that snake..we do not have that type here. And it looks like a great boulder.

Ps: coffee maker and camping is not good!

Wish you a blessed evening, hugs from Tania

Andrea said...

It was a wonderful weekend with wonderful friends. How lucky we are to live in Montana and have friends who can make even a blustery, rainy, snowy campout a great adventure!


Judy said...

And a good time was had by all! I like the footprints of the heron and the moose! I am just green with envy about them!

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