07 March 2013

Montana March Madness

No, I'm not talking about March college basketball. I'm talking time the march of time. It's fair to say that if I can't find time to write a blog post every week or two, I am too busy with the administrative details of life ("Oh, woe is me," cried the Department Head. And a dozen tiny violins played...).

Well, despite my whining, February was a good month. We celebrated the Chinese New Year, spent a weekend at Chico Hot Springs with friends, and I put in a few miles on the cross country ski trails.

Butte's Chinese New Year Parade: Short but LOUD

The Mai Wah Society preserves the history of Chinese in Butte, Montana through an excellent small museum and fun cultural activities:

The Spring Festival Parade ushers in the lunar new year, and begins with a crowd assembled in front of the Butte-Silver Bow Courthouse:

It's time for EcoRover to chat with friends:

Listen to a short speech of two:

And then follow the dragon as it dances through the uptown streets:

The dragon chases a pearl and stops at each business that has made a donation to the Mai Wah Society, where the dragon bows and offers the pearl of wisdom to the generous merchant:

All along the route, loud strings of firecrackers chase away the evil spirits:

It's wonderful week, and included a big potluck dinner hosted by Chinese-American friends and a more formal banquet at a local restaurant, the Four Seasons. With only ten fingers and most of them in use with chopsticks, I lost count of how many courses we enjoyed:

Taking the Waters

Butte, Montana is surrounded by numerous hot springs, ranging from undeveloped and charmingly natural (no extra charge for the inevitable dead frog) to full service resorts. Chico Hot Springs is in the latter category. We share a rental house there with friends for a few days each year, enjoying the sights of the Paradise Valley (such as these elk on a rancher's hayfield):

Some of us cross country ski on the local trails:

We don't stick just to the groomed trails, but go "off piste" as well.

Sometimes it's much easier going up than coming back down:

Who says cross country skiing is not a contact sport?

Back at the lodge, we soak away our aches and pains (and dull them with beer and wine), and take turns cooking (and enjoying) special meals capped with rich desserts like this tropical home-made cheesecake:

Come check-out time, no one is anxious to leave as we grumble about planning an additional day for our get-together next year:

Out & About 

Though the skiing remains excellent, the longer, warmer days will soon bring this to an end--there's barely any snow left behind our house:

When winter does become a bit much, a short drive to the lower Big Hole River or Jefferson River valley (usually snow-free)  provides a welcome respite and interesting sites, such as this old miner's cabin and adit:

 Note the well laid rock wall of the adit building:

 Cows have been calving, which keeps ranchers busy moving their herds to calving pens or branding

This herd of Rocky Mountain big horn sheep came down from the high country to the river bottom:

Well, the bald eagles are pairing up, so spring can't be far off:

Happy New Year!


Sylvia K said...

Looks as though you've been quite busy, but having a great time, too! Love your captures for the day!! Enjoy your weekend!

Nancy Claeys said...

Wow! Fabulous captures -- you are having too much fun up there! Thanks so much for stopping by. xo

troutbirder said...

So glad to see you back on line in spite of the heavy weight of administrative duties. And living life to the fullest. Your level of activity either makes me feel guilty for being a winter couch potato or inspired to get up and get going...:)

BLD in MT said...

Grand adventures as always! Yes, so many signs of spring here, too, especially in my bird watching. That looks like a fun news year celebration. I've never the chance to really participate in a Chinese new year. That is one amazing little stone building you've found there.

Janie said...

The Chinese New Year celebration looked like a lot of fun. Nice that you can go to the hot springs with friends every year.
Our snow in the valleys has finally melted, and we're back to enjoying some horseback time.

Merri said...

i love the rockwork of the old buildings!
- The Equestrian Vagabond