Thursday, July 30, 2009


We heard about a possible rental on the way to Rock Creek that intrigued me so I went to check it out yesterday. Lovely setting and near the creek but a bit small and no cable TV so I guess we will pass on it. Montanans do have a sense of humor!!

Being close to the famous Rock Creek, I decided to have a look and maybe waggle the fly rod for an hour or two if conditions were right i.e. no other strokes hogging the stream!! This river is known for its big Stonefly hatch in June. These bugs climb out of the water on to rocks, etc and split out of their shells and fly off to dry and to get ready to make love and lay some eggs back into the stream for later hatches. Kind of cool!
Years ago my fishing buddy, B. "the fish hog" Cyr and I started up from a bridge to do some fishing. The river split and I decided to take the little left channel and leave the big water to B. To my delight, I found a few pot holes that held some dandy trout like the one below. This year there was less holding water as I think Mr. Beaver had gone upstream and done some of his handy work to divert some water for his use.
I was asleep at the switch on 2-3 dandy browns before to hook up with them but awake long to enough to see Mr. Big 18" Brown come out of the darker green water under the branches to suck up my enticing "Humpy" fly that resembles a grasshopper I guess. We had a lovely tussle for a few minutes before landing him, retrieving the fly and resuscitating him for the release back to his lair to strike again someday.
So ends another great day stalking the wily trout and enjoying beautiful Montana!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Old Montana

I'm posting a couple of pictures today of the Montana where we are staying. We have seen elk yet, and no bear, even though we have been told they have been getting into garbage cans around here.

The old cabins are near us, but I do not know if they are occupied at any time. Does not seem likely, but they do remain a part of the scenery.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Rachel Abby

The Trout and I are very fortunate to have four beautiful, healthy grandchildren. Our last one, the only girl, was born 5 years ago today. We had moved back from Florida to be near our daughter and family when Rachel Abby was born. I took care of her for those first two years until we moved back to Florida.

We see each other once or twice a year now, and I find it amazing how her little personality keeps growing and how she is developing into a little girly girl.

Papa and I love you, Rachel, and we are wishing you a very happy 5th birthday today and are looking forward to you being in Kindergarten and becoming quite the young lady. We love you.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Flathead Cherries

The cherries are ripe! We are vacationing in the prime location for getting ripe off the tree Flathead Cherries. They grow up in the Flathead region of Northwestern Montana. The season is short, as for all cherries, but we always seem to be here at the right time.

These were bought by our 87-year-old friend, Louie, when he went to town yesterday, so not sure of the price per pound. They were bought on the street and he had a large brown paper bag that had $5 on it. Had to be close to 3 pounds, I'm sure.

Several thousand pounds of these cherries are harvested and shipped all over the world. I have yet to see them anywhere but Montana. They are indescribably sweet, and would liken them to the Bing cherry most are used to.

Friday, July 24, 2009

We have arrived!

Before heading to our final destination, The Trout caught a beautiful brown trout on the Beaverhead River. This is a beauty and was proudly photographed and released to be caught another day.

And then, there is this view! This has got to be one of my favorite views of all my travels. This is Georgetown Lake in Montana, where we will spend the next 10 weeks or so. After 6 years of coming back here every summer, this almost feels like home. Don't be surprised if you see a lot of this lake and the mountains in the next few weeks.

Last night we had a tremendously loud thunderstorm. There has been quite a bit of rain out here because the hills are still quite green, but going past the forestry service this morning, we see that the fire danger is still quite high. There are forest fires around us but we do not see the smoke or smell it at this time. It seems every summer we have a lot of fires around us.

So, now to fill up the larder and get settled in. Have picked up our mail from the last few weeks of traveling, made connections with old friends, and have even started to wind down a bit. We really love this place!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Did You Know?

Living in Florida, at sea level most of the year, and then spending the summers in Montana at 7000 feet, you need to make adjustments.

I love getting out of bed in Montana, even though the cabin will be very cold, and smelling the fresh air. Sage brush, chamomile, blue sky, warming pine needles; they all emit wonderful smells.

This morning when I got up with the dog, the temperature in Big Sky was 38 degrees. By this afternoon, it will have gone up 50 degrees. That is pretty typical of the mountains out here. You can only imagine the wardrobe changes going on.

The water that comes out of the tap is so cold, your fingers hurt. So very different from Florida where the water never does seem to get cold enough.

Did you know that at this altitude, it can snow in June or August? Last year we had 6 inches of snow on August 31. I slipped on a frosty step on August 20 and broke my ankle last year. Are we prepared this year? We better be.

Did you know, that because of the high altitude, potato chip bags are totally inflated like little pillows? That yogurt cups psst...when you remove the tinfoil lid, and spit out their contents? That there is major puffing going on, going up and down the stairs at a high altitude. Perhaps others adjust more quickly than I do, but I feel the changes a long time. The doctors say it takes 2 weeks for blood pressure to adjust to the high altitude changes. We now carry a blood pressure monitor with us. Easier than going into the ER.

Did you know, that your skin out here is very dry and that lip balm is a must because your lips start hurting. The sun is high and hot and can burn you quickly.

The greatest part of being in Montana for the summer is: the hurricanes in Florida can roll all they want, it can get as hot as it wants, and the humidity can be outrageous. We are cool and sometimes cold and enjoying the fresh, clean air, and know when we get back home, we will have a great warm winter ahead of us. I have to remember not to complain or be ungrateful. We really live in the best of two worlds. Retirement is what we worked for and we are enjoying it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Back in the waders again!

Schnitzel is letting The Trout blog today! Enjoy!

A rare, quiet run on the roaring Gallatin River.

After 9 months of dry waders, I donned the fly fishing gear and searched out a quiet section of the Gallatin River for some dry fly action. Luckily, there was a very good hatch going on of mayflies and other bugs to get the trout looking up for dry flies. In about 2 hours of fishing (enough for breaking in this old body), I had around 24 hits with 12 or so landed - all rainbows and a couple were decent sized. I hope this is the start of another good year of stalking the wily trout.

This is a decent Rainbow trout a bit bigger than The Milk Man's Wife's Big Son's Brook trout that he proudly showed me during our delightful visit. There is nothing prettier than a brook trout in my opinion although they don't get as big as other trout species. Tight lines Big Son!! The Trout signing off!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our Yellowstone visit

This view is so magnificent, in Big Sky, Montana, the Soldier's Chapel with Lone Mountain Peak in the background.
Close, but I only got the tail end of the elk grazing near the water. Beautiful, large animals.

Old Faithful erupting, 07-16-09

Every 90 minutes or so, Old Faithful with erupt and I only had to wait 15 minutes.

A stern warning, but rightly so. This water is boiling!!

Hot boiling water and the sulfur makes it smell like rotten eggs.

Ever since I was a young girl in probably third or fourth grade, Old Faithful has fascinated me. I read as much as I could in encyclopedias about this wonderful national park, knowing in my heart, I would never be able to see it as a child.

My first visit was sometime in the 1980's. My log book is not with me at this time, and well, you know what happens to memory!! I was totally mesmerized by the entire park. Much more fun than walking into a candy store. I have made several trips back since then, but Old Faithful still is true to me and always performs outstandingly.

On another note, that first visit to Yellowstone, the Trout and I hiked into Slough Creek so he could do some flyfishing. He was biting at the bit, as usual, to get the rod casting into the streams and creeks and start catching trout. We hiked 3 or 4 miles in and thought it was odd, that on such a beautiful warm, sunny day, we weren't meeting any other hikers. He caught some dandy fish, we thoroughly enjoy the day and the privacy of being alone and undisturbed in such a gorgeous wilderness. We walked out the same way we walked in, though I recall it was a lot downhill which is almost worse than going uphill. The altitude out here is also way over 7000 feet, so we were puffing (but so much younger). As we reached the parking lot where we left the car, we noticed a sign saying that no one should go into Slough Creek because a lady ranger was killed by a grizzly the day before. MOUTH DROPS OPEN! No wonder we were alone. We had not read the sign. Luck was with us again.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Historic Montana Bar

After driving 12 hours yesterday, we stopped overnight in Miles City, Montana. On National Public Radio on the drive, we heard about this 100 year old bar that is worth seeing. As we got off our horses and slapped the dust off of our chaps, we noticed the Montana Bar was full of cowboys. So, the Trout and I mosied up to the brass rail on the bar and ordered two Bloody Mary's to wash the dust out of our throats. I immediately started choking as the pepper in the "Mary" was a big surprise.

We then looked around and everyone was looking at us since we were 'not from here'. One old cowgal started telling us the history of the bar and then a cowboy told us to have a seat and we learned a lot more. I was reading the brochure when I read that the men's room has a unique porcelain urinal and a marble-walled stall. The cowboy said I could go in to see it, but I told the Trout to just go and take a picture.
Looks like the floor has not been cleaned in 100 years either.

The longhorn steer in the middle was from the early 1900 trail drives from Texas to Montana. The beautiful wooden back bar arrived in Montana from St. Louis in about 1913. This was quite a unique experience. There truly are real cowboys in Montana and each of them has a story to tell.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Onward toward the West!

There has never been a time, while driving to Montana, that my thoughts haven't gone to the American pioneers, traveling west in their stagecoaches, enduring unimaginable hardships along the way. And here we were today, flying through North Dakota with a speed limit of 75 on I-94, with our own hardships. The prairie bonnet was flapping in the strong wind and restrooms seemed to be far and few between. (smile)

The pictures you see are of the Painted Canyon in Teddy Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota. Untouched by human hands. All of a sudden, out of the flat plains, you come across this sight. And once again, I ponder, what must the pioneers have thought on their first glimpse? We all come from such very strong stock. No doubt about it!

By the way, of interest, did you know there is a small town in western North Dakota named "Home on the Range?"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We have such great new friends!

All right! I am doing the unimaginable! Schnitzel and Trout met the MilkMan's wife and the MilkMan today and everything clicked perfectly. What wonderful people and we met lots of the family also. The boys are are such handsome young men. Beautiful children! I got a cute picture of The Trout holding Milk Dud. This little child is just oozing love. They treated us like the best of family and we had so much in common with the Norwegian and German ancestry. We talked and laughed like we were friends and family forever. We got to see the dairy farm where a newborn calf had just been born today.

These are dear, very hard working people who live life to the fullest. And for an ending to this beautiful story...hold on to your hats...a picture of the MilkMan's wife on the left and Schnitzel on the right. This is when blogger friends meet for the first time and connect because they have so much in common. We already miss you Heidi and MilkMan, and really hope to see you again in the fall. And Big Son, I do promise to show you pictures of the trout that The Trout catches in Montana. Take care, dear friends. We have had a wonderful afternoon with you, our new friends.

All worth it!

It was worth the 24 hour drive to spend a week with our beautiful grandchildren, Josh and Rachel!

Friday, July 10, 2009

We are keeping busy!

Not too much down time here in Wisconsin. "Up" movie with the grandkids, Action City for an afternoon, and now to the swimming pool. Painted a tea set from Aunt Gigi for Rachel. Wow! Going to dinner and lunch with old friends the next two days and then...The Trout and I will be visiting "The Milk Man's Wife" and the milkman on Sunday afternoon. Heidi has the greatest blog (see her in my favorite blogs on the right) and we are so looking forward to seeing the dairy farm and the kids. Oh yah...Milk Dud will be there. Right Heidi?

Heading West, way West on Tuesday morning. Montana, here we come. Will be blogging more as we settle in.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

This must be Iowa!

We are visting the Trout's brother and wife in Iowa. Is the corn "knee high by the 4th of July?" Oh yah... The corn looks beautiful this year. We're from I-owa, I-owa that's where the tall corn grows! That's what we learned to sing in grade school.

This is the view The Trout grew up with. Beautiful Iowa farm land--black prairie soil--the best! It's good to get back to the roots--at least for a little while.

I also got back to my home town and took a couple of pictures of my childhood home and made a stop for German smoked sausage at the local Meat Market. It's always good to get home again--at least for a little while.