22 September 2013

Rocky Mountain Time: Summer 2013

It's been a busy summer here in my corner of Montana. I took a little vacation from blogging, but it wasn't because I had no material! Backpacking, family activities, camping with friends, trout fishing, and -- for the past few weeks -- bow hunting for elk have all made for a memorable summer. Rather than get into a long post or a number of smaller ones, I'll do a quick review.

A car camping/hiking trip to Glacier National Park was the highlight of summer. Daughter Emily was home with her friend Morgan (her first time camping in the West), and so a trip to the "Crown of the Continent" was a must. Glacier is just a few hours away and I wonder why we don't visit more often?

Sites include, Mountain Goats galore (along with other hikers galore taking photos of Mtn Goats...):

Some Bighorn Sheep here and there:

Mrs Rover and I on the trail to Virginia Falls:
Emily and Morgan paddle-boarding on MacDonald Lake, and trying out a tree domicile:


Friends Brent and Karina Patch visited in July (for the Montana Folk Festival), and we made time for a float on the Big Hole River:

Here are the kids, Adler and Kenia, taking on some "whitewater:"

Water levels held up well until early August. After that, heavy water use for irrigation by ranchers and endless hot sunny days (we barely saw a cloud, let alone rain, in July and August!) seriously dewatered the Big Hole River. The fishing was excellent while it lasted, though:

After last year's dearth of backpacking, I made up for it this year. Some solo trips, but also an outstanding group trip to West Goat Peak, the highest mountain in the Pintler Wilderness. I had forgotten how much fun it could be to backpack with a large group of experienced outdoors folks, not to mention treats such as black rum--Koolaid-snow cocktails:

Plenty of music too, this summer, including a marvelous range of international talent at the Montana Folk Festival, ranging from a Portuguese Fada singer:

To Alaskan First People (Raven dance!):

And Vietnamese performers on traditional bamboo instruments:

We also enjoyed an evening of labor songs with the Almanac Trail Singers (and some local friends including Amanda Curtis):

At the Oktoberfest, there were local favorites such as Garret Smith (on tuba) and friends:

And the Red Mountain Band:

And yes, now it's bow hunting season for elk. Looking for this guy:

But I'm not choosy and would be happy to fill the freezer with a nice year-and-a-half old cow:

 Over the past week, the weather has cooled and rain has come. This brought much needed relief to our rivers and burning forests, though it means we don't have any more of these outstanding sunsets (and sunrises) caused by the smoky air:

EcoRover out!