“Logging Creek”, Montana

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

“This, here, now, this is what I ever wanted.”

Part II of II, riding “Bear’s Tooth Pass”, MT


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.

Highway #89


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.


Wilsall Mural

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.

Highway #89-6

Highway #89-11

Highway #89-3

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.

Logging Creek-13


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.

Logging Creek-11

Highway #89-9

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.

Logging Creek-8

Logging Creek-7


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.


Can you feel it?


Logging Creek-17

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.

Logging Creek-24

Logging Creek-22

Logging Creek-23

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.

Logging Creek-21

Logging Creek-28

"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

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11 Responses to ““Logging Creek”, Montana”

  1. Dee Says:

    Gorgeous pictures and the journal is truly from that vagabond heart! Glad to see Ara and Spirit are happy again and back in their environment. Lance is smiling down at the scene as well! Stay safe and well!

  2. scruffy Says:

    …..there is no way to ‘place’ a tear here~ thanks for sharing.

  3. hobopals Says:

    Love your shoes. 😉 Glad you and Spirit are in a happy “place”, Ara.

  4. hobopals Says:

    For you and Lance. You’re not alone, Ara. http://tinyurl.com/3mtkzve

  5. Charmaine Says:

    So glad you found a beautiful place to rest for a few days. I decided when I read your posts aloud there is so much more meaning. I find myself tracking you everyday and theres a little bit of jealousy. I have traveled by motorcycle thru Montana and you bring back good memories. Happy trails.

  6. Donna & Stu Says:

    Great blog and awesome photos….I can hear the joy mixed in with the pain. I think you are on a good path right now. Enjoy!!!

  7. Vee Says:

    I always read and have not commented, but I wanted to say that I think you must touch so many people with the words and the photos. I am on the other side of the world but can feel a connection to the places you show us. I have started a list of my favourites hoping to one day see them. The sound clip was mesmerizing. Thank you for reminding us of what is important. A hug for beautiful Spirit.

  8. Jeff & Sandra Says:

    Suuuuuweeeeeet! Wishing we were on your plane.

  9. Chessie Says:

    Hello Ara. It’s been ages since I last spoke to you. I read your journal, always wishing to have the connection you have with the places you visit.
    Hope you’re well…and happy. I’ve been thinking of you often lately, must mean I should re-connect with you for some reason.

  10. Janey Roberts Says:


    I love your website, pics and Spirit. I too have terminal cancer and when I am down, all I do is pull up your website. I’m sure Lance was thinking of you as I am of my children and try to encourage them to do all things right and true and keep the Lord in your day. We do not know why these things happen but there is a higher power who has a plan.. I’m certain you were meant to help many people as you are doing, I’m just so saddened that it is this way. I love your pics, when I became ill, we had a 5000 mile trip planned thru the west for I have never seen other states and have always loved history; but we could not take it and won’t get to. So, dear Ara, ride safe, free and blessed for many of us pray for you. Many hugs to Spirit.


  11. Lyle Says:

    What a wonderful gem of a park you’ve discovered! Next bike trip to Canada, maybe I’ll camp there instead of staying in a hotel in Helena.

    I love highway 89. It’s nicer than, say, I-15 in so many ways for getting to Canada, not the least being the border crossing. A young lady I know even wrote a book about US 89 that you would enjoy: http://us89.com/

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Wonderful photos, as always, too.


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