Crystal Park and Elkhorn Hot Springs

IMG_0819

The mosquitoes were horrendous (predictable, given the wet spring and so much snow through the winter), so we did some very quick digging and screening of a few shovels of earth at Crystal Park…just long enough for me to get THE BITE.  It’s really ugly what has been allowed by the National Forestry people, but the place is a big tourist draw. We didn’t see anyone else digging at this time of day…a little stop we made on our way to the Lodge, from Coolidge.

Watch the entrance to the park!  I practically took the bottom of my car off, getting over the cattle guard at the entrance.  Time for a bit of patching to happen there!

Crystal Park is a unique recreation area at an elevation of 7,800 feet in the Pioneer Mountains in southwest Montana. Crystal Park is open for day use only and has a fee per car. Facilities include 3 picnic sites with tables and grills, information signs, toilets, and a paved trail with benches and an overlook. The facilities are designed to be universally accessible.

Quartz crystals are scattered liberally through the decomposed granite of the unique 220-acre site that’s been reserved by the Forest Service for the popular hobby of rockhounding. Quartz crystals are hexagonal (six-sided) prisms, with a pointed “face” at each end. The crystals found at Crystal Park can be clear, cloudy, white, gray or purple. They can be smaller than your little finger or up to several inches in diameter. Gray, purple and other colors are caused by minerals within the quartz. Gray crystals are known as “smoky” and the highly prized purple ones are called amethyst. Single crystals are most common at Crystal Park. Most of the crystals have little value other than as collector’s items.

Rules established for Crystal Park include a ban on tunneling. The rules are listed on signs and in brochures available at the site. Other rules include use of hand tools only, and a five-day-per-person season limit on digging.

Even with the short dig that we made, Ramona and I unearthed some bits of crystal.  We brought our spoils back to the lodge, washed them up and divided up the treasures…a beautiful remembrance of our first day in the mountains.

IMG_0820IMG_0821

IMG_0822

Big pits dug all along the incline and apparently, down the other side.

IMG_0823

Elkhorn Hot Springs is a beautiful little spot!  Getting there and journeying back over the winding roads, Ramona and I enjoyed the siting of a beautiful fox.  Ramona was able to snap a couple of quick photographs for our remembrance.  We were like two little kids, so excited to see the beautiful and shy creature disappear into the tall woods.

Foxy Sighting

This is Ramona’s photo, lifted off the internet with absolutely no permission. Love you, Sunshine!

The Elkhorn Hot Springs are a delicious place to stop and rest for the night. If you’ve been used to tent camping, this is a huge step up in terms of accommodation.  Some would describe it as rustic, but with running water and potential to clean up, I thought it was insanely wonderful!  We got to float in the soothing waters of natural hotsprings and to rest in a cozy and friendly lodge.  Breakfast was a cowboy’s breakfast, all included.  As a Canadian, this hit my pocketbook a little more than if I was a citizen, but with my cut $25.00 American currency….it was an unbelievable deal and a treasured experience.  If anyone wishes to travel the United States, connect with my buddy Ramona.  She has done the research.  She knows how to create memories on a very good budget.

IMG_0826IMG_0827IMG_0828IMG_0830IMG_0836IMG_0824IMG_0837IMG_0838

In the day, I would have roughed it more…now, places like these are the bomb!  So much fun!

Nestled in Beaverhead National Forest, the historic Elkhorn Hot Springs has been a favorite resting and soaking spot for a hundred years. Step into Montana’s past and stay in the main lodge which was built in 1921 or one of the many authentic and romantic cabins built during the 1920’s and 1930’s. There are two outdoor hot pools as well as an indoor Grecian style sauna. The mineral waters are 100% natural and because of the substantial rate of flow from the source, no chlorine or other chemicals are required to be added to the water – there is a constant flow of new mineral water entering the pool at all times.

Just an hour’s drive from Dillon, Elkhorn Hot Springs is the perfect spot to explore all that Southwest Montana has to offer. About 4 miles away you will find Maverick Mountain Ski Area. Close by are miles and miles of cross country ski trails and sled trails. During the summer, in less than 7 miles you can dig for buried gems at Crystal Park. Just a 25 mile drive from the Hot Springs is Historical Bannack State Park and it’s a great way to relive some of Montana’s colorful past. If that isn’t enough for you, and you are the adventurous type – you may want to take a trip to the real-life ghost town of Coolidge!

Pi/Pie in the Mountains!

pi

I’m sitting down to my keyboard this morning, the Ides of March, writing about March 14, 2018, 3/14…3.14…3.1415926535897932384626433... pi day!

I woke up yesterday morning to, my friend, Michael’s phone call.  The plan was to book off and get some of my chores done, pick up a few groceries and, likely, head to Foothills Hospital to see Wendy. All of that changed with Michael’s suggestion that we might head for the mountains and make some pie!

Well…throw caution to the wind, I did, and with no regrets.  Today, it turns out that we are under yet another snow advisory, with accumulations mounting to another possible 20 cms.  Exhausting!  I’m so happy that we got out there, for delicious food and beautiful sights!

The following video is credited to Michael Collett.  Michael is a talented artist, photographer and designer and he has a wonderful collection of art.  He is an inventive and passionate cook and a connoisseur of good food.  He appreciates nature as much as I do.  Over the past few years he has walked the circle of ‘my pond’, with me, more than anyone and I will always appreciate that.   Sometimes the person who is forever carrying the camera is left undocumented.  I am grateful to Michael for placing me into the event that was the magic of yesterday.

 

 

29214083_2032068897074636_2185664786274975744_n

All is Holy! Kath captured by Michael Collett

29216784_2032068777074648_7674228546377613312_o

The shape of Elbow Falls changed with the flood. Celebrating water and views. Photo Credit: Michael Collett

29216772_2032068733741319_4158794894023852032_n

Selfie with one of my dear friends. Photo Credit: Michael Collett

29196672_2032068783741314_113755700642971648_n

Pot Roast Pie in the makings. Photo Credit and Filling: Michael Collett

29216347_2032068807074645_779691694147764224_n

Photo Credit: Michael Collett

29196183_2032068557074670_876050294750838784_o

Pie from the fire to the picnic table. Beat that! Photo Credit: Michael Collett

29196266_2032068420408017_4167963566869053440_o

Contemplation captured by Michael Collett

Michael systematically packed up ‘the stuff’ and we stopped along the way for butter and for ‘ends’ that had been thrown in a bin for firewood at a local timber place.  Off we headed out 22X.  After exploring Elbow Falls, we settled on Allan Bill as our picnic spot.  The butane was out in the lighting torch, so I ventured down to a picnic spot at the other end of the park, to borrow matches or something.  English was not this family’s first language, so after a bit of mime, I was graciously given a lighter for our campfire.  YES!

First I’ll post a few of the scenes that we enjoyed.  Unfortunately, as I look at these, I notice that there was a spot of something on my camera lens. :0(

 

 

Next, I’ll post a few of the photos I captured of Michael, enthusiastically forging ahead with the process of making unbelievable pies in the outdoors.  What a great time!

 

 

And finally….pi!

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

Finding a Stash of Old Photos

I’ve written before about photography and how it’s changed.  It wasn’t always this way, a sort of obsession about recording ourselves, our food and our experiences.  Digital photography has changed how we see the world and how we see ourselves.  I had fun today because I found a small set of photographs from 1978, all taken with what was called an instant camera.  I couldn’t see the results until months after I returned home from my experience.  I picked up these and other photos, in slide format, from a drug store.  I didn’t know that I had purchased ‘slide film’.  Sigh…I know.  It’s different.

Outward Bound…an amazing and forever-memorable experience.  Here are a few photos.  I love that through the years and through the conversion of these to a few photographs, I have such fond and wondrous memories.

A three day solo…began with the construction of my shelter…a process I completed just as the sun went down.  I grabbed a quick photo of that moment…although I had no idea what the image would look like until some months later. No filters and no photo shop.

Outward Bound 1978 Saying Good Night to the SunIn the morning, I explored my neighbourhood after dusting off the spiders that were warming on the inside of my plastic lean-to.  A glorious home and a lovely rest after weeks of athletic training and climbing.  I had three lemon flavoured candies.  I decided to eat one each evening as a ritual.  Funny…but fasting is the very thing that busted the nerve of some of my peers.  It meant nothing to me to go without sustenance.  I wrote.  I warmed myself on the heat of that great boulder.

Outward Bound 1978 Solo Lean ToThe rock was beautiful beautiful granite…so different from climbing crumble.  This photo was taken just minutes before heading up my first chimney.  In looking back, I’m glad it captured the essence of the rock.

Outward Bound 1978 Before the Chimney 3Looking at the view…quite something.  Here, a view of Amphitheater Mountain in Washington State.  Quite a different sort of photograph than appears on-line today.

Outward Bound Amphiteater 1978 2Two of my lady-friends…I remember Sue is to the far right and Marianne in the middle.  We have reached a summit here.  Heck if I can remember the name of the mountain…we climbed 11 mountains to their summit in 31 days.

Outward Bound 1978 Summit I’ve shared this one before and I’ve written about it.  I’m glad that I located some others.  They make me smile, especially as I look down at this cast.

06-06-2011 5;15;38 PMIn my youth, I have very few photos…no selfies for this chick, but archives like this are enough.

A Great Day For Wild Flowers

We’ve made it a part of our late spring rituals to share in a wild flower walk out at Many Springs Trail in the Bow Valley Parkway.  My dear Ya Yas and I shared a delicious pot-luck picnic after enjoying the beautiful blooms along the trail.  The water wasn’t as high along the boardwalk as I had expected and it was a day of extraordinary beauty.  Summer is here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

P1170637P1170643P1170650 P1170652P1170654P1170658P1170671P1170676P1170682P1170693P1170686P1170687P1170703P1170710P1170714 P1170716 P1170718 P1170719 P1170723 P1170727 P1170728 P1170731 P1170736 P1170738 P1170744 P1170746 P1170747 P1170748 P1170749 P1170778 P1170779 P1170780 P1170781 P1170782

 

 

Walking While an Eagle Flies Overhead

A friend shared something earlier today from Rebelle Society: Creatively Maladjusted’s blog titled Joseph Campbell, on the Art of Being Alive.  I’ve written about Joseph Campbell here before and often think about things he’s taught me over the years.  As we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, these particular words stand out for me…

“It reminds me of Isaiah‘s biblical poetry:

“{You} will find new strength. {You} will soar high on wings like eagles. {You} will run and not grow weary. {You} will walk and not faint.”

But between soar and soaring, Joseph advises: “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”

And you’ll be home, no matter where you are.

And it’ll be a new day, everyday.”

Today, I took Max out to a beautiful ridge above the Bow River and above our city…the Chinook winds were breathing new life into the landscape after such an extremely cold period accompanied by plenty of snow.   From the outset of our hike, a bald eagle flew overhead.  I was in awe of the power of its wings in such a strong wind and equally amazed that he stuck with us for the duration of our walk, hanging on the air and then diving, reaching up and then hovering, over and over again.  What a blessing to be able to make such observations for an hour-long walk and to be swept up into the awe of ‘being alive’.  What an amazing thing to have such a mighty and regal bird seem to look into my eyes for a sustained period of time, sometimes from as close as ten feet away.

This experience brings new meaning to the words

“{You} will find new strength. {You} will soar high on wings like eagles. {You} will run and not grow weary. {You} will walk and not faint.”

 

Sixteen years ago, today, a young student of mine passed away.  It seems like yesterday.  Where have those sixteen years gone?  Today, walking in those hills, I felt as though I was given a little taste of heaven; joy in me…joy above me…joy beneath my feet…joy in my heart and in my head.  All that I saw or experienced was glory-filled.  It is such a privilege to encounter the divine in the places and people who surround us.  It is a privilege to be a part of this journey.  I am grateful…for Jarrett…for Mom…for those who have graced and grace my life each day.  I am blessed.

P1140464

Hiking the Brown-Lowery Provincial Park Trails

It was a wonderful opportunity to get in a spring hike, when I was called in as a substitute teacher on a field-trip day!  I had been up this way before and wasn’t particularly happy about the mosquitoes that acted like jet-fighters; it was so boggy and hot.  This day, though, was different!  While there were a limited variety of wild flowers in bloom as yet, I enjoyed recollections of my last journey, when the meadows magically came to life with white blooms and huge elephant-ear leaves.  I am still struggling to identify this plant because there are very similar wild flowers; White Angelica, Spotted Water Hemlock, and Cow Parsnip.  It happened that yesterday, these were not blooming.

Just fading, were Calypso bulbosa var. americana ‘Eastern-fairy Slipper’.  In huge quantity were Mertensia paniculata ‘Tall Lungwort, Bluebell’. Arnica cordifolia or Mule’s Ear Daisies were plentiful, as were Linaria vulgaris ‘Toadflax, Butter and Eggs’ at our lunch spot.  As we hiked out in the rain, we found some beautiful wild tiger lilies. I haven’t noted here, all of the plants I discovered yesterday, but will research and add them in later.  Bird songs were varied and magical, although I wasn’t able to make any sitings and I’m really inexperienced, identifying by song alone.  Suffice it to say, it was a fantastic thing to get out hiking.  It was exhilarating and I continue to absolutely love where I live!

Brown-Lowery Provincial Park is an unexpected refuge of greenery in ranching country. This 228-hectare park is a lovely preserve of old-growth spruce and aspen forest with an extensive understorey of wild flowers (in season) and other plants.

In low-lying areas, marshes fed by tiny streams support wetland vegetation including cow parsnips. Brown-Lowery Provincial Park is a series of rough trails that wind through what seems to be a vast property.  The land was donated to the province by Home Oil founders Robert Brown Sr and Major James Robert Lowery in the 1960’s. This site, previously a recreation area, became a Provincial Park in 1992-1993. Not many Calgarians know of the park, so it’s generally crowd free, and a great place to wander and take in the sights, smells, and sounds of the forest!

The Park is just northwest of Turner Valley, southwest of Priddis, and is accessed from Highway 762 (turn at the sign for “Plummer’s Road”). It’s not a big area — only about 3 km2 — but there’s plenty of hiking to be done.

The area is a maze of trails and paths, some leading to viewpoints, some along creeks, and some to the remains of structures in the area — a cabin and a sawmill.

During the spring, the area is known for its birdwatching potential and is a wonderful preserve for all wildlife.

Our lunch spot provided the most breath-taking view, after a couple of very athletic ‘ups’, the students were celebratory and hungry!  It was a wonderful respite from the city!

The setting provided a panoramic screen where we watched the dramatic weather see its origins in the mountains and travel one valley after another, toward us.

We got down into the low brush as the lightning grew in force.  Fortunately, we only experienced one downpour and enjoyed the challenges that mud provides on a downward slope. :0)  A magical day, for certain!

Let’s Hit the Road, Jack!

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living. Anais Nin

The Glade: What Happens to Our Art When We Die?

Jessamine Newby’s Painting: $4.99

Jessamine’s painting is another one of my treasures.  And for those proponents of “We have NOT the past.  We have NOT the future.  We have only this moment,” I feel differently.  I think that all we are for this moment is made up of all of the wee bits of everything we experienced and everyone we’ve known in the past.  The inscription on the back of Jessamine’s painting, The Glade, caused me to further consider this.

Ulverston, Lancashire…hmmm, undated.

The frame, solid wood…the painting kept stable in the frame with those little triangles of days gone by and edged with paper tape, crispy with age.  These were rituals of the time, not considered of any consequence and yet noticed by this unknown writer/artist/mother/daughter of 2011.  I wondered who Jessamine was as I looked at her signature.

J. N. Newby

She was born Jessamine Normandale Scantlebury, March 27, 1899.  Her father was Edward Hugh Pengelly Scantlebury, born in October of 1875 and her mother was Ada Annie Normandale, lovingly called Nancie by her friends, born December of 1875.  Of Edward, sometimes referred to as Ted, I learn this in the Journal of the Fell & Rock Climbing Club Edited by W. G. Stevens.

Journal 1953

IN MEMORIAM

E. H. P. SCANTLEBURY, 1875-1952

“Edward Hugh Pengelly Scantlebury, son of a distinguished Servant of Admiralty, Thomas Scantlebury, came to Barrow-in-Furness in July, 1900, but it was not until six years later that he began to dream of a club that should be for those who were devotedto Lakeland. He was on a visit to his father’s house in N.W. London, in the Summer of 1906, and told me that friends in Barrow, Kendal and other parts of the District supported him.

In November, 1906, the Fell and Rock Climbing Club was formed, and members of other mountaineering clubs received a letter asking them to become members. The response made Scantlebury a very happy man; for he had come to the Barrow Shipyard from his apprenticeship at Fielding and Platt Ltd., Gloucester, and had not yet been accepted as a native. However, he had the strong support of many splendid friends and it was at Wastwater Hotel, on 30th March, 1907, that the first General Meeting was arranged by him.

It was a disappointment to him that Ashley Abraham and John W. Robinson, could not attend as President and Vice-President. Our Honorary Members could not come, and G. H. Charter, one of our Founders, was absent. A Chairman was appointed and the meeting duly confirmed its confidence in Scantlebury and the other Founders. How well they justified that confidence! What an everlasting debt of gratitude we owe to those men of Barrow, Ulverston, Kendal, Keswick and the rest of Cumberland, Furness and Westmorland. It was their local daily effort and their unbounded practical energy which built such a firm foundation.

I hope that Charles Grayson will be happy to know that we send to him, in U.S.A., our expressions of gratitude for his work, as a Founder in daily contact with E.H.P.S. The following is an extract from Grayson’s letter to me, dated 9th May, 1953:

—’It seems a very long time since that Sunday—11th November, 1906—when Scanty, Craig and I had been climbing on Dow Crags. When we returned to the Sun Hotel at Coniston, for supper before train time, we started chatting about forming a Club. Gordon and Charter must have been climbing too, and were sitting at another table. We called them over and—before train-time at 6-30—we had decided to start the F. & R.C.C I should mention that Grayson wrote this just after the death of his wife. They were both enthusiastic mountain walkers together, and some of the older Members will remember how active she was when she was a Member of the Club.

My recollection is that she joined in the second year. She resigned in 1921 when she realised that they would remain in U.S.A. Grayson has our deepest sympathy. From a first (1906) membership of under 60, the Club became about 260 strong in under three years and—in spite of the First War—increased to nearly 450 within 13 years. Unfortunately it lost some of Scantlebury’s unique help, as Editor and Secretary, after the end of 1910, but Palmer and Grayson replaced him, and Craig remained as Treasurer. Slingsby followed Seatree as President, and Colin Philip and Scantlebury became Vice-Presidents, after George Abraham and Woodhouse.

His home duties and work, at the Gun Department of Vickers, Sons and Maxim, prevented his regular attendance at Meets and Dinners but indirectly he was very active in the Club’s interests. Until I left for India in 1911, I was with him almost continuously, and learned then how exceptionally versatile he was. His colour and monochrome photography, water-colours and writings, his complete knowledge of the District’s topography and his musical taste were his more obvious gifts. Also, he was an enthusiastic gardener, a lover of animals, a skilled mechanic, and a woodworker. The pleasure in joining him in his hobbies was enhanced by the fact that he was never satisfied with his high standards.

Although we spent much of our time in rock climbing—he trusted me in all conditions of weather and on severe climbs—there is no doubt that he took the wider view of the glories of the District. He loved roaming into unfrequented valleys, villages and woods, as well as walking over the moors and fells. When the inevitable motor invaded the District he was able to make expeditions with his wife, Nancie (nee Ada Annis Normandale, of West Hartlepool) and his daughters, Jessamine and Mollie.

Excepting for a few climbs at long intervals, he gave up the more difficult climbs in 1921, when he was 46 years ofage. Among the many climbs we did together, those which appeared to me as the most difficult, were: — Gimmer ‘ A,’ in wind and rain; Great and Intermediate Gullies, Dow Crag, in winter conditions, and Keswick Brothers’, Scafell. The last was a mass of ice. The one ice-axe took a dive to Hollow Stones, and fortunately attracted the attention of Gemmell and Worthington, who went again to the top of the face and lowered a rope to us, from the soft snow in the shallow finishing gully.

He was born on 16th October, 1875, at Haddenham, near Aylesbury. Although of Cornish descent, his Alpha and Omega was Lakeland; and it was his genius—in approaching so many famous mountain lovers, and in seeking the generous support given by existing clubs—which made the Fell and Rock Climbing Club an immediate success. Although our membership is now nearly 900, it is well that we should approach 1956, the Club’s Jubilee year, with a proper expression of gratitude to the Alpine, the Climbers’, and other Clubs which responded to Edward Scantlebury’s appeal for members.

I know that it would have pleased that great and generous comrade, if the Club celebrates its Jubilee by thanking those parent clubs, and by establishing some additional safeguard for the sanctity of the Lake District. On 16th December, 1952, I received a long and cheery letter from him in all the buoyancy of earlier days. He died on 17th December at the age of 77, and, like the great man that he always was, showed a sense of humour to the end.

I thank all those who have helped me in this attempt to pay homage to Ted Scantlebury.”

T. C. ORMISTON-CHANT.

Jessamine and Mollie (Edward and Annie’s two daughters) must have also inherited some of their father’s love for the outdoors and for all things artistic.  I have recorded in bold, above, Edward’s love for photography and watercolour, both, and it is evident through this exerpt that he was also immersed in the outdoors.  Jessamine’s painting is of a location in the glades of her home, Tressillian Town Bank in Ulverston.  The painting was likely done circa 1929-1935, sometime after marrying George Frederick John Newby in August of 1927.  I have collected just a few photographs of the characters that come to life this morning through this story.  I have accessed photographs through research specific to the Scantlebury family and would love to have this painting fall back into the hands of one of the family who would most treasure the piece.  If no one comes forth, it will always have a special home with me.

Jessamine, Mollie and Edward

Edward Hugh Pengelly Scantlebury

Ada Annie ‘Nanci’ Normandale

I do not know how this painting came to be with me, but for me, it is filled with wonderful mystery.  As I look at the brushwork, I imagine a woman who was dabbling in a hobby once treasured by her father.  I imagine the fresh air of the location where she sat painting.  Perhaps there was a picnic lunch packed.  The carefully inscribed label, along with the identification No 2 “The Glade” and 6 pounds 6-0 leads me to believe that she was selling her work at one time.  And how did this painting make its way to Canada…and then to Calgary, Alberta?  What family members or art collectors hung this piece on their walls?  If only art could speak!  What would it say?

“The Glades” circa 1930

Scantlebury

Youth: Outward Bound Mountaineering School in Keremeos, B.C.

Crevasse Crossing

I’ve been sorting through stuff.  This afternoon, I was looking for a missive I had written some years back about the Woolen Mill and finally found it.  Interspersed with ‘stuff’ was this photo and I have to say that it represents one of those moments that I will always think of as ‘magical’.

I trained for a year to be ready for Outward Bound, this particular 30 day course in 1974, outside of Keremeos B.C…it was my first year of teaching and I submitted my application at the beginning of the year.  By June, I was running ten miles in hiking boots and was in my personal top form.  This was 31 years ago!

The photograph represents one of my ‘hang-ups’.  Everyone, in 30 days, had some sort of hang-up and this was mine!  The crossing involved dropping forward, across a wide open abyss 500 feet straight down…reaching out my hands to grab onto the rock wall and then, using core strength, bringing my body across.  Of course, I was on belay, but the rope didn’t give me the confidence that I needed to REACH OUT and DROP FORWARD, not for ten slow and agonizing minutes.  My toes clung to the inside of my hiking boots.  I remember the feeling as though it was yesterday.  As Liz called out, “Drop forward, but don’t look down!”, what do you think I did?  Uh huh!  Well, in the end…someone took a shot of the moment and I’m so grateful that they did!  For me, it was momentus!

A long while ago, I had someone print a photo from the slide that was shared with me and so you see the imperfections…but there was no way that any of us had the capacity and equipment to take and edit zillions of digital shots along the way…not ‘in the day’.  I am so grateful to have this simple reminder of a day shared with nine other Canadians atop a beautiful mountain.

‘Not I, nor anyone else, can travel that road for you. You must travel it for yourself’ 
Walt Whitman, Song of Myself