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Saturday, June 3, 2017

May kind of sucked, or at least I felt a bit sucky through May

Up until this last week I had three days in May that I felt good. I had started out the month with a gut bug of some kind that was making me miserable. Running fevers, frequent trips to the bathroom and a constant low grade nausea. On a good note, I finally fell below that 188 pounds I was stuck at. But it wasn't enjoyable. Then in the second week I started to feel better. Had a couple days where I was feeling good, and the sore throat hit. I believe there was quite a bit of griping on my part until this Gallatin Valley cold truly kicked my butt and I lost my voice entirely, so I couldn't gripe. Ten days into it I finally had one of the doctors take a look at me and confirm that it was a virus and all I could do was muscle through. So, much sleeping and not talking finally pushed it into my chest where it seems to be holding out to this day except I do feel better.

In fact, I felt good enough to take a hike this week, which means I do have pictures to share. I am very tired of this cough that seems to pick the most inopportune times to let itself be known. It's favorites seem to be while I'm rooming patients and at either 11pm or 1am. Love it...

But enough whining, because despite the cough I do feel better. I have drive to do things and get moving which I didn't have for quite sometime. So on with the entry.

Spring in the Rockies (Okay, year round in the Rockies) brings interesting weather as many of you know. We've been struggling a bit with figuring out our yard and gardens, due to things like early hail storms.

The Guy took out the pine in front that was damaging the deck and eave of the house. He also cut out the dead cedar in the back and moved the oddly placed pine sapling from the middle of the back yard to the front. I was hoping it would die all together but damn if it didn't survive. Since then we have also planted some Lupine's, Iris's, another native plant and moved something that looks vaguely Sumac-like that was trying to grow to close too the house to that area in front that we don't feel like mowing. Hopefully stuff that won't need much care since it's native to this area.

While the poor robin that had a nest in that pine that we cut out tried to take shelter on the porch in our  hail storm, our snow loving pup thought it was a meager replacement for a good snow but hey, it was still edible and no one got after him for eating it.

Little did we know that some days later we would have another good snow fall, and we've had two frosts that knocked our crab apple in the backyard, back a good month in summer foliage and we are now babying it, in hopes we get it back. It's a big enough tree that you see there in front of the neighbors trampoline that we don't want to lose it. We like our trees despite living in western states where they are sometimes a rarity. Well, at lest anything that is not a cottonwood or a pine is.

As you see, the weather didn't help me feel better and every time I hoped to get out on the trails, the weather would change and make any trail hopes into muddy day dreams. On one Sunday I broke down and took them back to Buffalo jump to make the ridge just in time for the thunderstorm to start. So I quickly got down off the ridge and took the gulch back to the parking area. It was kind of neat because I'm not sure I would have taken that route otherwise. This was the last time I have gone out there though as we've now had enough 70-80 degree days to bring out the rattlesnakes that I've been warned the area is known for.

On the previous "well" spell I attempted to take the boys up Mount Ellis. It was a beautiful day for it and the last couple of wildflower photos and the next several are from that hike.

Unfortunately the rain we had had, was snow up higher and left the upper parts of the trails in deep shoe losing mud that I finally decided wasn't worth it. We shall re-attempt that hike a bit later in the summer I think.

And this goober thought that running through the muck past us and getting everyone muddy with him was one of the greatest things ever! Luckily the snowdrifts allowed for some cleaning and there was a bit of running water further down to get the worse off of him. Good thing he's cute and an utter sweetheart.

Sweetheart... Yes, tell Emmitt that as he just learned his trick of grumbling and carrying on to get him to play with the ball with him. Don't tell the boys but I love it that he picks up on things so quick and throws their own tricks back at them. I don't like that he seems to take joy in making Tucker make his squeaky 3 year old little girl noises. He's like a larger than life squeak toy... Oh joy.

Life with dogs, keeps you moving.

And sometimes just getting you moving is what you need. Speaking of moving I caught Emmitt just starting a shake as he had laid down in this little stream coming off the mountain and under the trail.

Despite the upper trail mud, this was a great hike. You cross an alpine pasture to start and it's a bit of an exposed steep trail there but as soon as you hit the trees you start a more gradual climb and the shade is wonderful. 

Once you start getting out of the shade again you're a bit higher so it's cooler and it seems as though on most days there is a breeze present to help you stay cool. That may change as the heat of summer settles in. This was looking North from our own vantage point across the southern end of Gallatin Valley that feeds into Bear Canyon on the right and Sourdough Canyon on the left as the valley floor meets the Gallatin Range. The mountain there is Mount Baldy, the last peak of the Bridgers that you can't see because they march out directly North and are hidden behind this most southern peak. Somewhere there in front of it was that other hike Drinking Horse that I shared with you before.

Overall, it's a very pretty area. I'm curious to see how green it stays for how long as it is wetter than Casper is,as one can tell from all the little creeks, though in some areas it's obvious that some of them are seasonal streams.

The rivers here have been a little high with this weeks heat as it takes down the snow pack. In fact this last holiday weekend there was a 9 year old that was swept into a creek over a well known falls in the area and drowned. Her family had just moved here in hopes of finding work. Very sad. It's one thing when an adult does something stupid, but when kids have accidents like this that end in their death is just heartbreaking.

That area is actually connectable to the area I was hiking in by a couple of well used trails to the south. 

These are looking Southeast over Bear Canyon. There is some gulch trails that go Westward that you can connect to Sourdough Canyon and then continue through the mountains towards the Hyalite area where that accident happened over Arch falls. 

I feel like I'm in a more Alaska like area with all the interconnected trails. I grew up spoiled having the Chugach National Forest as a backyard. Between that and all the greenbelts that a kid could get almost anywhere in Anchorage by bike on trails and sidewalks was something I took for granted as a kid.

But then I think all of us have things growing up that we don't think of as great perks to where we lived until we're older and looking back at it.

This last week on my day off I hit the Lava Lake trail in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness area to the Southwest of Bozeman. It is a trail that follows Cascade Creek up the canyon to a hanging valley that holds a beautiful lake.

The trail is luckily mostly shaded as it did get to be a warm day and I managed to not sunburn, though the trail was much steeper than anything led me to believer, or I'm just fatter and more out of shape than I thought. IT gained about 2000 feet in a little less than 3 miles.

It was one of those great glute and gat workouts as you wind your way up. Or as Betsy used to say, "Helps with my saddlebags". I had one of those moments of wanting to clothesline the young woman who ran past us on the trail as I huffed and puffed my way up it. Then I recalled that I used to be one of those people that ran up such trails... Ahh, misspent youth.

I liked this photo just because of Emmitt's silly smile. He may be getting old and stiff but you get these guys out on the trail and they're still happy to be there. As with us, it seems if they get moving they do much better than you think they will.

This was the best pic with lighting, background detail, and all the boys were looking over where a fish or frog just jumped in the log jam.

The water must have been very cold as none of the dogs spent much time in it thought they all got wet multiple times in it. Even the young one when he dipped to far in and had to swim made a beeline back to shore and got out to run on the shore to warm up.

He was annoying his brothers by getting in every bit of water or snow he could to cool off then insisting that someone must want to play with him! It's good to be young unless you annoy your older siblings and they kill you and leave you hidden in a deadfall pile somewhere.

Overall it was a wonderful hike. I had to go to my Physical Therapy appointment before hitting the trail and I started a little bit later than I like to. Ten o'clock and I passed another couple and their dog at the beginning and had that runner on the trail. At the top I ran into an older female duo with their dogs including a 9mo lab pup that goofed off with Ă“engus for a few minutes while we chatted. On the way down though I ran into at least a dozen groups on their way up. I was grateful to be heading out as they were heading in, especially with my goof balls.

From the top of the Lava Lake trail there are several connecting hikes you can do that heads to the surrounding rim of peaks.

Those might be later in the season hikes when I need something a bit cooler to do at altitude. The lake and trail being in steep country is surrounded by landslides. Most them are older but you see evidence around you of fresher slides.

On one of the slide areas there was a small black bear that was heading away from us. I didn't get a photo as it was only a butt shot and I didn't have a bigger lens with me. I see enough asses in life, I didn't feel the need to snap a shot of the furry one in the woods.

Well, that's about all I know for todays post. I'm sorry I let a month slip by while I grouched and grumbled through two illness's and a hurting shoulder, but I didn't have anything meaningful to share so I stayed quiet. I'm still trying to stay away from politics though I'm starting to look at the news more and more again. And I shake my head more and more to boot. It lets me know why I feel like we're a nation that can't seem to get a grasp on what this issue is with bully's in our society though. It's hard to manage an issue when we can't pull our heads out of what ever hole we have them in long enough to recognize we were voting one into office. Oh well, we are not the first nor will we be the last nation to do so. 

Photo bomber. Hey, a black dog has to cool off whatever way he can.

And whats a photo recap from me without some bugs, right? Have a great weekend everyone.

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