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Posts Tagged ‘Montana’


During an adventure in Montana, I discovered this old church in the middle of nowhere.  I am not sure if the church had a congregation, being where it was located, but the area around the church was well kept.  I am always in thought of those who built these structures far from civilization and am in awe of the strength and perseverance of these settlers….

 

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Some time back, I attempted to crank up my little laptop and failed to hit that spark. And the problem still continues. Unfortunately, I have hundreds of photos I shot sitting there collecting dust, figuratively speaking. I am hoping I can locate some one with a better understanding of technology, who has a secret trick that will revive the hard drive long enough for me to bring these photos back to semi-life. But, I did locate a few of these missing photographs and will work them into my ramblings as time permits. Many were taken in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming and the Bear Tooth Mountains and surrounding areas in Montana. I spent some time there last year searching for my personal Nirvana on my remote mountain top. The search has been long and though I have found several possible spots to lay down roots, build my small log cabin and enjoy, yes again, to enjoy my sunsets.  These a several of my personal favorites….

  

Granite head at Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

For the  modest amount of time I spend in Maine, other than the home where I grew into quasi-adulthood, my free time is spent on the coast.  Crustacean blanketed granite, pockmarked by numerous miniature micro environments of water, filled with snails, crabs and other aquatic alacrity.  The ambiance of salt air, the sounds of crashing surf and low flying seagulls and the vastness of  the deep-sea green of the Atlantic Ocean encompasses and validates life itself.

Wild flowers on the Wyoming Plains.

 To some, the  greatness and sparseness creates a tediousness of spirit, but is this totally off  kilter.  This immensity and the openness can fill the senses if you slow down and observe all the many facets of the High Plains.  From the blowing tumbleweeds to the wind carved red plateaus that break the elevations.  In the distances, the high mountains of the Big Horns, snowed covered deep into summer build the horizon toward the stars.

Ice along the Missouri River, South Dakota.

Weather conditions in South Dakota range from hot, dry 100 + degree weather that can take your breath away and make it beg for a huge cottonwood’s shade to arctic winds that drop temperatures to minus 30 and can freeze crows as the fly.  I shot this, hoping that the winter sun’s rays reflecting off a clump of grass overlooking the Big Mo.  The Missouri River has much history to tell.  From Lewis and Clark’s epic voyage of discovery to the traumatic relocation of the Dakota Indians when Minnesota interned and relocated all Native Americans from within their borders.

Photographs and Creativity from the High Plains.

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Another repost…..damn….I really hate computers….any way….welcome to my world…

 The West is a country of many diverse landscapes, of immense mountains ranges; such as the Rockies, the Big Horns, the Bitter Roots and the Sangre de Christo. It is a land of rivers; the Colorado, the Missouri and the Yellowstone, of immeasurable distances and oceans of swaying green grass. To the Native Americans, it is a powerful ally, a spiritual coupling and an equalizer to all living beings.

The west is not about a single story or a single individual. It is a collection of human strengths and weaknesses, of courage and despair and of glory and of shame. The stories are told by those who first called the west their home and those who came later on. It is the life and the death of those who believed that the west was the center of the universe. It is a land of conquest and of loss, of dreams and of destinies.

To sit quietly upon a wind-blown ridge, gazing across an infinite valley teeming with the majesty of the wildlife, to feel the warmth of a summer sun and to take in the fragrance of the sage and sweet grass is to begin to understand the copiousness of the land beyond the Mississippi River. To interpret that the Great Mystery is immanent in the fabric of the material world.

 Since the beginning of modern time, the west has been filled with an immense energy. The Kiowa, the Sioux, the Pawnee and the Comanche. The Cheyenne, the Crow and the Hopi. All things were connected. All were related yet cultures and traditions were as diverse as anywhere else in the world and with time, more cultures arrived. The Europeans, the Asians and the Africans. All attempting to fulfill dreams and some succeeding to reach beyond expectations.

Photographs and Creativity from the High Plains.

How To Take The Most Clear, Breathtaking, Majestic and Powerful Landscape Photos. Without Spending Hundreds Of Dollars On Expensive Camera Equipment, Using Any Good, Basic Digital Camera.

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It is time for a vacation. After a long, semi-warm South Dakota winter, I am on the early fringe of losing focus from normal life. So, I am beginning to plan for a brief sojourn from reality. Though there are many destination I would like to explore, time and money are the obstacles of a trip to the white sands of Tahiti or to the Great Wall of China, leaves me to decide on locations within the continental United States. 

First on my list is returning to Maine to visit with family and friends. Visiting there has many great benefits. A reconnection with those I love and a return to the Maine coast where the sea breeze fills the air with the fragrance of ocean salt where I can indulge in those foods that are extremely rare in the high plains. Lobster stew, lobster and butter, fried clams, B&M Baked Beans and my mother’s famous raspberry bars. I think I have gained a couple of pounds just thinking about these delicacies. There in Maine, I would be able to reconnect with the back woods which covers 90% of the state and where the Atlantic Ocean’s white foamed surf drums onto the smooth gray granite. Pine trees, Sugar Maples and the availability to pick fresh vegetables from a well tended gardens.

Maine: The Seasons

 

 

I can, with anticipation, dream of sitting around an aromatic and crackling wood fire, cold drink in hand and listening to all the stories of events I have missed this past year. To some of these stories, laughter will mix with the words, while others will bring back memories of those who leaves an empty seat around the fire. I will observe how those babes I sat and held last year will be walking, those who were walking will have grown taller and my friends will have more gray and less hair.

My other choices, which in reality, would only be chosen if going to Maine could not be successfully accomplished, would be returning to the mountains of Montana, the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley of Virginia or the quiet peacefulness of Nova Scotia, which, by the way, is a short road trip from Maine.

Our lives are filled with the routine necessities of daily life. With our jobs, those daily mundane chores we need to do to feel responsible, shopping, ect., it’s a miracle that we have time plan any activity that is listed under daily survival, especially a vacation. But vacations can be a triple pleasure. When we sit and plan our upcoming adventure, the week before the trip that increases the anticipation for places unknown, or known, and the day we begin our holiday. It really does not matter if it is a short trip or one that is long. No matter the distance or the destination, we are shrouded in a feeling of escape from these routines of life. The excitement of the hunt, so to say.

There has been some recent studies that suggest that vacations and de-stressing go hand in hand. The studies concur that when we are in the throes of escapism, we are happier and this endorphin high increases the longevity of our life so we may take even more vacations. And then there will always be the memories.  Pristine beaches, high mountain meadows, good food, family and friends, taking that wrong turn and getting lost.  But what the hell, it is all part of the adventure.

Granted, with today’s economy in the gutter due to corporate greed and incompetent government bungling, how can you save enough to actually get away? Save for it..work a second job, sell those items you never use, sell the kids to Egypt, but do it. Take just a couple of days to get away from the self-imposed rat race and enjoy the freedom of the wind in your face. You will not be disappointed…  

And take some great eats with you….Tanka Bars

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It has been a long week. Paperwork, attitudes, denial, challenges and more attitudes. In between the crap I took a few moments and sat back to reflect on how the hell I reached the destination I am now presently located. One thought led to another and I was soon escaped reality and found myself back in a time when life seemed less complicated.

Many years ago, I met an old man who had given up the “civilized” life for the back woods of northern Maine. He simply said that when he couldn’t stand on his porch to take a whiz because of encroaching traffic and “too close” neighbors, then it was time to pack up his shit and move into the mountains. He spent the remaining years of his life cutting pulpwood, trapping, hunting, telling stories and drinking beer and enjoyed every damned minute of it. He never looked back. I envied that.

Though I have traveled pretty much most of North America, I have had the opportunity to meet only a handful of these rugged individuals. They seem to be a dying breed of individualism in today’s world. A weaker and less self-dependent society that lacks the strength and knowledge to survive or to do so without whining. A society absorbed with instant gratification, shallow dreams and shallower conclusions. I also met an old prospector out in the hills that overlook Reno and spent the weekend getting drunk with him and his girlfriend while I listened intently, or as intently as an alcohol haze allowed, to his many adventures of gold lust. Simple yet rugged. Educated yet unpretentious. This I envied also.

I own this desire to follow in their footsteps. To return to a simpler and reality based lifestyle with few wants and fewer needs. To sit in awe of fiery sunsets and high mountain meadows. To actually hunt the food for my table and do so with the skill and understanding that all things are connected and are cyclic in nature. You take only what you need and you give back with respect and appreciation.

One of my pass-times is the continuing search for the “perfect” bit of country where this dream can materialize. I have looked at properties that stretched from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado to the Musselshell of Montana, and though my search continues, it does so with knowledge that I am getting closer.

Dreams are the marrow of life while the journey to reach those dreams is the vitality of living. Someday, I will find that one piece of earth and when I succeed, I will finally be home. 



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The dust has settled for a few days and the 6478 miles that I have put on my vehicle can verify the distance, along with all those damned fuel receipts. The Jeep can take a short breather until next week when I add another 800 or so miles. I can then put it down for a well earned rest. I began the expedition heading for Montana to look at some cheap and remote properties in the Bearmouth and Twin Bridges region, pipe dreaming about a place to retire in. Unfortunately, due to record rains and flooding, this aspect has been put on the back burner until the weather cooperates and the muddy roads firm up a bit. After Montana, it was then to interview for a couple of positions with Wyoming DOT. I begin this new paycheck earning endeavor on the 15th…so much for vacation. I then returned to Oacoma, waited 1 day and headed east to Maine to visit with family and friends, a series of events that rekindled my spirit and validated that time does not stand still for anyone. I stayed approximately 2 weeks, had my fill of lobster and mussels in garlic, enjoyed my favorite Pad Thai restaurant and sorted though all the junk I had left there a number of years ago so I could transport them back to west. So much for traveling light, though I did manage to pawn off several tubs of stuff I really did not want to carry back to Wyoming. I really need to lighten the load but things seem to accumulate without my knowledge.

 

One of the less desirable facets of returning to Maine is the reality that nothing ever stays the same. I drove around the community that I grew up in, which at that time in my life was mostly farming. It seemed that at my young age, the world was no more than a large cooperative farm where neighbors helped neighbors and gave me an opportunity to earn a few dollars while building a little character, a good tan and some muscles. I do not think there was a chicken house I did not clean and prep for the next shipment of chicks and there weren’t many fields I didn’t throw hay bales onto moving wagons. At one point, I worked in milking approximately 125 head of Holsteins and Jersey milk cows…twice a day…7 days a week….for 75 cents an hour. Good pay for a boy back then. I do not regret one moment of the hard work I did while growing up….but getting back to the premise here. Nothing stays the same.

 

I drove the back roads and found that there were only 2 farms remaining and many of those farmers I worked for were also gone. Many of the barns I helped stack hay bales in had fallen to ruin, the fields I sweated in during those summer months had become either forest or had transmute into fancy subdivisions for city folk wanting to live in the “country” and had destroyed the “country” ambiance with their big homes and “No Trespassing” signs. There were even some of these people who had moved into farm country, then tried to have the town pass an ordinance against the smell of cow manure. They failed, but the bubble had already burst, leaving an empty feeling in the town that the simpler times had faded. The mom and pop stores I had bought my penny candy at were gone, the local Grange Hall had been torn down (I was a member) and the old barber shop where a haircut was 25 cents had disappeared along with Edsel, the man who told hunting tales while cutting our hair and dropping ashes from his cigar with every other snip of the scissors.

 

But overall, the trip was well worth the effort. Family, good friends and good food were in plenty, along with many fine conversations. Now, it is on with the next chapter of exploring and learning as much as possible about the Big Horn Mountains, where the biggest trout are and where that huge bull elk hides. I am looking forward to the remoteness of these mountains and have all my camping gear (fishing/hunting included) ready to hike these ridges.                                            

The homestead today...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And, yes..there is some of this in the back pack…                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just finished another road trip. This expedition encompassing 2267.12 miles in 7 days with many stops along the way due to sleep deprivation, starvation and the financing of the major oil companies. The first leg of the journey was a straight run to the mountains around Beartooth, MT to look at some possible future landing sites for my fictitious retirement plans. Unfortunately, due to the record breaking snow melt and rain fall, most of the roads into these neck of the woods had become a rutted, muddy mess. Even with the Jeep in 4 wheel drive, a U-turn was necessary and the trip into this area had to be postponed until a later date. I did manage to find the other area of interest; that of an old mining claim close to a town called Twin Bridges, MT, albeit the endeavor was taking the back way into the Dixie Queen Mining Claim via the Burma Road. More mud, water and several moments where the Jeep wanted to slide over the embankment and into the Big Hole River, but, with some experience, a few quick prayers and a lot of luck, the Jeep did not get it’s way and plummet over the edge.

The next day it was back to Buffalo WY for a night at the Z-Bar Motel for a good night’s sleep in a cozy little log cabin. The following morning, a rapid drop down Rt 25 to Casper and west to Shoshone WY, located just south of Thermopolis WY, known for it’s hot spring mineral waters. This area, situated in between the Big Horn Mountains, The Shoshone National Forest and Bridger Teton National Forest has some serious possibilities. I plan on doing some serious research on this potential anchorage. Then it was then back to Kaycee WYfor some good old bluegrass/country at the Invasion Bar. Again and unfortunately, more rain and wind so the street dance fizzled to puddles and wet entertainers. In these situations, one goes with flow and another beer. After a night’s rest, it was back to SD to for some well deserved R & R and plotting some additional royalties to those oil company stockholders.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Big Timber, MT

 

Big Hole River, MT

 

Southern Big Horn Mtns.

 

Northern Big Horn Mtns..lots of snow.

 

West of Kaycee, WY, headed towards Mayoworth, WY.

                                                                   

ryeder

As always… the best of the best..and delicious, too.

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