“This, here, now, this is what I ever wanted.”
Back to the old for us fashion of unraveling down the roads. No more destinations, let Karma take us away. My nose, my feel for the moments, the unknown path becoming intimate, the dark clouds which make me find another route. It has always worked in the past with it’s generous presence and so often pleasant surprises. We took #86 from Bozeman, beautiful secondary road, comfortable pace with barely the sight of a few cars waiving at us, friendly, green grass are the shoulders and the fields right now wild with flowers in their growth. The smells of the dirt and everything growing, so pungent, the cool air hitting our faces, deep breath putting the near past away, we are again vagabonds, gypsies of the road deep into it’s wandering lust.
We stopped in Wilsall as we picked up #89. Barely 30 miles and it is on the bench of the main intersection, the only one, that I rest from a day that has not even quite started yet. So distraught I was in Bozeman I forgot to go for provisions. Did not take long in this little eye blinking town to find a great grocery store! How kind is that? There is even a campground near by owned by the same happy and jovial Lady from the store. The truth is now I remember eating at the "Wilsall Bar and Cafe" a couple years ago. I don’t per say eat red meat, but a ground hamburger that actually tastes as meat use to taste many years ago, I will not pass it up. They open in about half an hour. We can wait, we have all day.
A couple RV’s stopped. Two couples came out to chat and themselves check out the Grocery store. They could not believe we had been for so long on the road. My Buddy Spirit engaged himself in the conversation and as I put in my two words explaining my wait, they decided to join me also for a cheeseburger. So good it was they decided to buy my breakfast, or early lunch it was. Nice people. Thank you again, refreshing to meet as such nice and pleasant individuals on their own Journey, both husbands having known each other since 4 feet tall, both couples married over forty years and all best of Friends.
More of 89. Beautiful with sinuous curves never ending road passing through the Lewis and Clark Forest. A bit of wind, a bit of sprinkles as we passed a couple campgrounds which could be seen from the road. Went by "White Sulfur Springs", "Kings Hill Pass", elevation 7,393′, the little towns of Neihart and Monarch and finally made a left for "Sluice Boxes State Park". The map showed a campground about 13 miles away, a dirt road which end up being a very well maintained gravel road. Down and down the canyon it went as finally an isolated campground made it’s appearance nicely laid out, no one around, I knew this would be it for a few days.
This is it. The creek is running, we will have plenty of water, the birds are singing, a woodpecker is trying to get my attention, pine trees everywhere, some unfortunately turned a color of rust from the pine beetle devastation. The wind is moving in bursts, I can hear it through the canyon rolling in and warning me as the sound of a freight train. The tent is up, there is much firewood, I think we will now take a short hike and gather up some pine cones to start a nice fire.
There is not much thinking going on here or maybe there is and it flows as always so easily within such a tranquil space. It is a reality which I enjoy as this prize for the days to come I knew would materialize as it did. The fire roared all evening, darkness never came as I finally slipped in my sleeping bag in daylight after putting away the warmth of the fire. No Bear boxes here, everything is put away in the vault toilet across from our site. No Grizzlies here, just brown ones. Maybe they know how to open the door! Will find out soon enough. Even with a Bear proof container everything will not fit, I could of course also hang everything up a tree, I have much rope. Always prepared.
Wake up time. Light is coming through the tent, the yellow inner fabric is trying to imitate the sun yet not over the crest in this deep canyon. Spirit is still asleep while I come out to make my coffee. It is cold, it is always cold before the Sun makes it’s presence as the hot air rises before settling back I hope soon. Everything is wet and my hands are shaking a bit as the temperature keeps dropping and my fingers are not quite well targeting the letters on this phone keyboard. The line of light is so slowly moving toward us, seemingly almost immobile.
My feelings rises as this could be another "Oasis". We are far away from it all. There is no Lifeline here, no connection, only my SAT phone in case of emergency, and my SPOT. Time is standing still, a bird is keeping me company with his morning recital, what could he be saying? It will probably be mid day till the warm rays hit us, I am ready for them and yet enjoying this cold in the middle of this hot summer.
I think this is a good time to start cutting off the dead branches laying on the ground, big branches in some smaller pieces for tonight’s fire. Set up some pine cones and needles, everything is so humid, eventually the sun will dry it all while in the fire ring. Saw, axe, even spare blade, again ready. Maybe oatmeal time first and get my lazy buddy up for a stroll.
The connection to the rest of the World is finally cut off, totally. The balance is regaining it’s composure, I feel alone here, I feel suddenly there is no reason for anything else but being here and let the mind wander through the mileposts of the past and the present as they then halt for there is no reason to think of the future. None. I woke up with the images of Lance present in front of me. Why were those images of his last days? They are not pretty, painful is an understatement. More than the images it is how he himself felt knowing his last day was approaching. I cry not knowing what truly was drifting in and out of his mind as no one, as outspoken as we had been, will ever know. I have a hard time myself going down that path, such terminal moments I cannot even bring back my own state of mind. He would be 33 today. Young man showing the physical changes of that age. Such emptiness suddenly as I sit here trying to no avail too often to put away the whys of such card dealt. Oh! My young man, where are you today, I cannot see you through my blurred vision, only feel you inside through the warmth of "us" we have.
Busy I need to stay. I read, I cook, I cut the wood for tonight, we hike a bit, fill the bucket from the stream near by. I eat again while chasing away the flies. No mosquitoes here, that is also a plus, but I don’t know why so many flies. Like Spirit I move from shade to sun and back and forth as the day rests into a groove so much sought for. The blue skies are now dotted with clouds flying like white kites but only in one direction, fast they appear and quickly disappear beyond the crests surrounding us. Only one or two at first, they have now joined forces and are by the dozen. Will they darken as the day goes on? Will keep an eye on their show as also the wind is picking up and the passing near by of the freight train is almost a constant sound.
"I have had a great deal of interest in my photography over the years, for which I am grateful. Their sales are of much importance funding this Journal. Yes, please feel free to purchase one or two… or a few. I have been adding some photos lately, there will be more as I sift through about 100,000 of them.
Take a look. “Smugmug” stands for quality. Thank you”
Be well, always.
Ara & Spirit