Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
She still hasn't noticed me but shortly after this I saw her nose go up in the air. I've watched enough nature documentaries to know that she was processing a new scent, in this case probably my Old Spice deodorant which I'm sure was working overtime.
The popperazi has been busted. She looks a lot smaller from directly forward. I was treated to a stand on her hind legs where she looked very large. I wasn't taking pictures at that point but was slowly backing away and trying to look casual. When she got a good look at me she turned and ran. That's how I know it was a female. I seem to have that affect on women.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
"Well there's your problem, buddy!" The tire change went well. Suprisingly the bead wasn't broken. I found a hole, put a plug in it and it held air. I still need new tires.
Well, Saturday is the day to clean, organize and repair but I already had a list. This is certainly first priority. The rocky dirt roads are hard on the tires and these are due for replacement anyway. I'll be curious to see if it's repairable.
Let's see...I checked that spare before I left in March...
Friday, July 27, 2007
The last few nights amid the howling winds and lightning I've heard strange shrieks from the forest. I've become familiar with many sounds but couldn't identify this one. It did sound as though something was dying a horrible death.
A few minutes ago I looked out my rear window and saw a white tail doe feeding not far away.
She noticed me as soon as I stepped outside but I froze or moved very slowly. She didn't bolt but nervously stomped her right front hoof intermittantly. When she finally had enough and bolted she let out a short shriek that I immediately indentified.
Now when I hear that shriek late at night I'll know what what animal is making it but I still don't know why.
Thinking there wasn't enough time for a serious hike I decided to explore the area around my camp. I followed a game trail up the hill, intercepted an old logging road and discovered several great campsites. Now I like where I am but it lacks one thing: altitude.
This was the first one I found. My current site is down the hill to the front. It's unfortunate but you sometimes discover the best places only after you've been in an area for a while.
Even higher may be the best campsite I've seen. Sorry, GPS coordinates not available. Beautiful views and very secluded. I have to do more reconnaissance tomorrow but this is the first area to which I have considered returning. It has altitude, seclusion, beautiful views and cool breezes.
Of course nothing good comes easily. I would have to clear rocks, branches and stumps. It might take most of a day to get up there. I would have to make sure that I could turn around as I would need engine braking on the way down. I might damage my "home". I couldn't look down. Would it be worth it? Yes.
I took the long way home to do a road survey and contemplate whether I wanted to leave Sunday, resupply and return. I was walking casually looking at the road.
Crash! Boom! Snap! I've startled turkeys, pheasants and even deer but this was my first bull moose. The racket was really something! At first I thought it was a bear since I was up the hill quite a distance and not near any water. He bolted from where he was resting to a clearing. If this were mating season I would be looking for an escape route but it isn't so we started a staring contest. I stared. He stared. I took pictures.
I liked him but he didn't like me. He was curious, bored, annoyed or a combination of the three. After giving me his best "stare and glare" he evidently decided that I wasn't worth his valuable time. I went my way and he went his.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Looking south on the way down. I eventually lost the trail for good and had to improvise a route. I came out within a quarter mile of where I was parked which, while not GPS accuracy, wasn't too bad.
There aren't many signs out here so I was glad to find this one since I hadn't decided on the best way out. It shows that I'm 17 miles from Montana-200 and 16 miles from US-2. It's all over rocky dirt roads. Once you reach a highway, you then have to find a town.
My internet weather site shows triple digit high temperatures for the nearest town for the next several days. It's 54F inside now and I'm wearing a sweatshirt and a jacket. Hopefully it will be cooler in my location.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I wasted a couple of hours after I took a wrong turn on a logging road. I was ready to quit for the day when a couple of Plum Creek Timber employees advised me that although I probably wouldn't be bothered, I was on leased land. Being a taxpayer and former Plum Creek shareholder, I felt free to deliver a short lecture on who really owned the national forests. I didn't really like the spot anyway so I moved on.
This spot on Sylvan Lake was much better but I decided to use it as a backup since pointing the dish would be difficult. It was a free National Forest campground but I would probably have neighbors over the weekend. I decided to look further down the road.Well, I finally found my spot so I could unhook the pickup. And yes, I washed it yesterday. The first time you start the engine after towing on dirt roads a large cloud of dust blows up from under the hood. And yes, I washed the engine yesteday also...
My site at an abandoned hunting camp. I have my RV, two log cabins and an (inactive) outhouse under my control. Of course I appointed myself Commander, Mayor and Sheriff as soon as I arrived. I'm happier here since water attracts people. The dish got a surprisingly good signal so I am here until Sunday. I plan to continue my foolhardy route on forest roads between US-2 and MT-200.
I am on the border between the Kootenai and Kaniksu National Forests jut east of Moose Peak, my hiking destination for tomorrow. The coordinates I fed the dish were: N47.89 W115.28.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
This doe wandered through my site earlier this evening but by the time I got the camera she had moved away. I went outside and stalked her for a while but she wouldn't let me get close. If I don't watch it she'll get a court order like the rest of them.
But she likes me. She came back and posed for a picture didn't she?
Today was a CORE day: cleaning, organization, repair and exercise. Tomorrow is a moving day as I'm trying to transition to a five day work week. That may sound strange but I think the structure will help me get more accomplished. And living here will make it more tolerable.
Friday, July 20, 2007
After a four mile hike and 1,500 foot climb, the lake starts to appear.Crystal clear water at 6,500 feet. You can't see it in the reduced image but the distant mountain still has patches of snow.
This is one of the most beautiful places I have seen.
The clarity of the water was amazing. Just as in the National Geographic magazines I read as a child. I have wanted to visit places like this ever since.
I had a couple of Fig Newtons and started the hike back to get to work on the RV turn signal and stop light. After checking that the bulb was good and the fuse was good on a chance I checked the fuse for the tow lights. When I saw it was blown I almost jumped for joy! No tedious wire tracing! Of course it blew for a reason and it is likely my tow wiring. It gets pretty rough use. If it blows again I'll have to investigate further. If I had known the fix would be so easy I would have stayed at the lake for a dip.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The first thing in the morning I am going to move down the road to the campground. As nice as this spot is it's not conducive to the work I have to do. Because of the fire the campground is almost deserted.
I saw three mule deer today in my travels but didn't have the camera ready. I took my evening walk earlier to try and capture that buck in better light. I encountered only this squirrel that was driven to apoplexia by my presence.
There are several areas along the creek where I am told you can see moose early in the morning. Of course my plan was to be there at the crack of dawn with a camera, binoculars, a stool and a thermos of coffee. Well, that didn't happen. I may try Saturday morning.
The plan for tommorrow: a quick move, a quick hike and hours of frustration trying to find a loose connection.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
It wasn't as dark as the flash makes it seem and the retinal reflection spoils the image. Also the buck was larger and closer that it appears here. The astonishing thing was that he didn't bolt. I took a picture, slowly walked across his field of view, returned and took two more pictures. We stood and looked at each other for some time until something else startled him and he ran off. It was so quiet I could hear his hooves pounding.Well, that blob represents a very sharp crescent moon. You had to be there. It was nice.
My current location under the red star in the Helena National Forest. The various National Forests are very fragmented and saying that you are in a particular one says little about your exact location. If you have a map, I am along an unnamed tributary of Copper Creek, north of Stonewall Mountain and south of the Scapegoat Wilderness Area. Does that help?
My campsite with the back end of my RV framing the right side. I usually jump on the first place that pleases me. There may be a better one just up the road but I won't know that until tomorrow. I look for a solitary site with only one usable spot, no neighbors, and a view of the southeastern sky for the satellite dish. If it comes with pine forests and running water, so much the better.
It's hard to avoid that "pine fresh scent" here! If I open the screen the pine branches come inside. It was a very tight squeeze getting in and took a very long time. I backed down the hill so leaving will be easier. I did tear the roof membrane but have already repaired it with EternaBond roof repair tape and hopefully those scratches will "buff out". That's exactly why I bought a used rig. I won't lose any sleep over a little damage to enjoy a spot like this.Technology intrudes on the wilderness. The signal is again weaker since I have moved north but the connection is reliable, so far.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Approaching the swayle. You can see the furrow I dug with the tow bar. After that I was glad that I bought the heavy duty model. Doesn't look bad so far.
Now the problem is obvious. I had hoped that removing the tow bar would give enough clearance. Not so. With several more inches of uphill, the hitch receiver is about to dig into the soil.
Plastic leveling blocks and 4x4s to the rescue. I would move a few inches and bring blocks to the rear as you would move a heavy object with rollers. The backup plan was to drive to the abandoned mine and borrow some scrap lumber.
Free at last and pointed in the right direction. It was nice to finish packing up and then hop in the shower.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
This has been my view at "quittin' time" for the last five days. I sit under the awning and look across the stream (not visible) and contemplate the universe, human existence and the probability of one of those boulders rolling down to crush me. (Conclusion: possible but highly unlikely.)
Today I was contemplating the lack of wildlife sightings when I saw movement up near the rocks. Nothing identifiable, just movement. I have kept a pair of binoculars handy to "glass" the hills and woods in the evening, so far without success.
This is the rocky area in the upper center of the first picture. Almost on cue, the night before I leave, a young buck with his antlers in velvet walks across the ledge. He's difficult to see in this picture as it's a zoom of a cut from the original. (I'd like to have a telephoto...) But he's there and with the binoculars I was able to watch him feed. He was very wary and looked in my direction for a long time. I had to stay still and let the biting flies have their way with me but it was worth it.
Now, where is that bear?
If I had looked at it like this beforehand, I might not have tried it. It always looks so easy on a map.