IGNORE PICTURE LINK AND DATE _ THIS IS A PRE-SET TO BE EDITED AND ADDED TO LATER.
2/14/2020 – Happy Valentine’s Day. As you can see I’m spending my morning trying to reduce the pain of blabbing on our next trip by pre-setting up the blab pages along with picture links. Evolution. Hopefully the result is a hit!
Anxious to shove off (of the huge snow bank outside the window) in a few days, I actually have almost all my stuff packed. People that know me have mouths hanging open at this … I never pack until about 2 hours before I leave. Or at least in the old WF plane ride to Tell City days I didn’t. I’m packing with a plan for this trip. Sailing on a “bare boat” for 2 weeks with our pals Shelly, and newly annointed “Captain (official) Jeff”. Bare boat means, bare … nodda, nothing …. no salt and pepper shakers for example. The good folks of Tortola are happy to “help” and load your boat, fridge, liquor cabinet etc… can you hear the cash register chinging? I can. I know. Cheapskate! But what can I say, I’d rather buy RUM than a salt and pepper shaker for $5. So the plan is to stuff my little pink suitcase full of provisions that may be hard to come by, or just plain cost too much there. The suitcase has been my friend for many, many miles (GIFA around the world trip), south america x2, last trip to Europe, Morocco etc.. It’s got a bad wheel (Morocco did it in), so instead of throwing it out (gasp – my friend-I can’t bear to), or taking to goodwill … It’s taking its final trip to the BVI’s packed with goodies – and there it will be left, at the end of the dock – adios Amigo.
The Plan B to this … is that pinky-the-broken-suitcase and all the loot (*our ONLY checked bag) will get lost in Atlanta during our 43 minute plane change and the good folks of Delta will then be responsible for reimbursing me for the contents (and suitcase) because there is no way in hell they will get it caught up to us in time for sailing boat shove off. ***I’ve got a lot of time on my hands to think this kind of stuff thru 🙂
Meanwhile Bob and I have watched the “how to snag the mooring ball” video our Captain sent us a few times, and have discussed some type of practice using a yoga ball and the Ranger out in the driveway. I mean, the Captain JEFF has given his little crew (Shelly, *Assistant Captain, and Bob and I *Potential plank walkers) one job – and that is to not make asses out of ourselves catching the ball thing … say a prayer.
There is a cool web page LINK where you can track all the boats, ships etc. at sea. Sort of like “plane finder”. Today looks calm compared to the other night when it was a regular freeway of vessels around the BVI. Once I know our rental boats name, I’ll put it in the blab and you can follow along if you like that type of thing.
The question has been asked a few times, “Are we bringing a gun” ? Honestly, I had a dumb look when asked the first time. Apparently in the news there is news of Pirate problems. Good thing I don’t normally watch the news. No gun as far as I know. Guessing we won’t see pirates, but heh — if we do, that’s bonus as I’m always looking for something to add to the blab.
Stay tuned for details of the “real” Day 1 … our 5:30 am take off from Appleton (ie: 3am take off from the Rose) …. zzzzz I’ll need a plane nap that day for sure 🙂 Peace Out.
I’m still testing my picture inserting problem and need a new “blab” because the last one has so many revisions I don’t think it knows what it’s doing anymore. Thank you to my loyal friend Barb for being my “tester” and providing feedback on the links working, or mostly not working the past couple days.
If that works, you should have seen some old pictures from when we were picking out rocks for the side of the house. Let me know if you’d like to provide feedback on the linking issue and give Barb a break.
OK – back to the Grammy show. I’ll say I felt like I was about 100 years old when they finally made it to album of the year – Who are these people? Billy Idol? Eyelash? what is this girls name? I mean, she seems sort of sweet green hair and all, but the pant suits? the clown shoes. Anyone else thinks she needs a new tailor? I like my clothes baggy too, but geez it’s the Grammy’s! So much for my new years resolution to be less judgy.
I was rooting for the gay cowboy – Lil Nas X, I LIKE that song of his .. and the stage going round and round with all his friends for Old Town Road had me singing along. Billy Ray – just keep reinventing yourself man! His poor sad face when Eyelash won over and over. Rock on buddy, it’s only a grammy. * Note this morning I was looking for the video on this song…. if you haven’t seen it before (because you live under a rock like me) here you go … guaranteed to make you smile 🙂
USHER – dude you knocked it out of the park !!! Loved your performance. I only thought he sang mushy love songs, so Yeah on the Prince songs!
What the hell? These boys (picture below)…. By this time, my hubs who is on his 3rd glass of cabernet, and has been asking for control of the remote control lets out a comment something like, “are their any white people at the Grammy’s?” … Yah – racist Bob.
and I mean, you gotta love Tanya .. the first person that got the wiki look up on “just how old is she these days?” (60). I like her new song, and wonder out loud how much work she has had to her face, lips and … well you know … (judgy #2). I can hear my sis in law Janet belting out “Delta Dawn”….
Ozzy. Wow, I can’t believe Sharon dragged you up on stage.
I’ll end here (judgy #3). Steven Tyler what happened? My mom was 4 years old on the day you were born. That makes you 71 pushing 72. Maybe your days of singing on National TV are over, or maybe you just had a bad night?
Anyone else watch the show? I think I’ll stick to my 8 on 80’s channel in the car. This old dog isn’t ready for the current music revolution. Peace Out.
Here I am, back to the treehouse, “word press”. Sorry mom, but the polar steps app, while fun for pictures and mapping … sucks for writing. After polling my faithful readership.. the majority prefer word press, and so do I.
After “sitting at home” for almost 6 weeks – YES, it’s the cross I have to bear we soon will be shoving off on our next adventure. YAH !! *You might laugh, but it really has seemed like a LONG time to me.
During our STAY AT HOME (blah!) My hubs has been busy in the garage building a “closet” that really has turned in to a large room with balcony. His days start with a tutorial from youtube (how to drywall a corner for example); usually a trip to Home Depot at least every few days for more supplies; and then out to the garage he goes. I can hear him talking (or sometimes swearing) to/at himself through the wall. On occasion I step out to praise, or check on his work. This usually results in him telling me to “go back in the house” … This I know … it will be perfect when finished (in 2021 probably) ha ha.
I have kept myself busy cooking everything under the sun in my new instant pot (boiled eggs, yogurt, soup, soup and more soup); taking up daily yoga; shoveling, xc skiing and ironing my hair. Ha, the life of the retired. Can you believe it’s going to be a year in a couple weeks since I retired? Wow that time flew past.
Our upcoming trip is with our favorite traveling buddies Jeff/Shelly. We will fly down to the US Virgin Islands, then ferry to the British Virgin Islands and hop aboard a rented sailboat. Captain Jeff will tour us around the area for a couple weeks. Sun, snorkel, scuba, rum, rest, write? …repeat . I’m ready!
My thought is I will write here in the treehouse site… share a few pictures, and if I have a LOT of pictures will link to our smugmug account. This email is a test of that idea.
another attempt at adding a link to pictures stored in smug mug … will it work?
A few weeks ago on one of the first hikes I took in and
around Sweetwater Bridge campground I came across a big rock with a pile of
garbage tucked behind it. I gave it a
poke with my walking stick, cans mostly – Coors, Olympia beer, spam, beans…. OLD. Beer
cans that you open with a triangle opener.
How long had this laid there? I hate litter, and although I try not to
“hate” any person, I feel a very strong
compulsion to throat punch people that can’t take care of their own
trash. Every time I hike I find myself
putting empty water bottles, candy wrappers, cliff bar, zip lock bags etc. that
I find along the way into my pocket, or pack.
Toilet paper? I don’t care, that
WILL go away … the other stuff, PEOPLE! It doesn’t just disappear.
Anyway, rant over. Don’t ever let me catch you littering –
you’ve all been warned. I saw the pile
again about a week ago and decided I would come back to clean up before we
left. A few nights ago I wandered up
that way and was disappointed I couldn’t relocate the dump. Yesterday, I went again and found it – but
didn’t have a bag.
Still on my mind, after the morning snow quit and the sun
came out I dressed up in hiking stuff, grabbed a kitchen garbage bag and headed
up the hill. Mind you – the only thing
on my mind – where do those snakes go when it snows? Under rocks, yes – Caution. I find the junk stash, now covered in snow
and pokey-pokey with my walking stick.
Pretty quickly I figure out that one garbage bag isn’t going to be
enough. Shit. Also, there is a quite a bit of broken glass
and that needs better packaging than this plastic bag. I retreat, back down the now pretty slick and
muddy hill hauling bag #1. Back at the
camper I write a note, “Careful, rusty & sharp objects – found in the rocks
above” and tape it to bag number 1 on the side of the dumpster.
During my stay here I have watched a truck pull up every
couple days and empty the dumpster. It’s
got back doors on it, and they empty it by hand into the back of a pick
up. And you think your job sucks? The sign says “please bag garbage”, people
don’t and I feel bad for this couple that has to hand pick everything up.
I don’t want this bag to go in the dumpster, afraid they
won’t see the warning and will end up getting cut or poked by a rusty edge. I grab a couple more bags, and make a
reinforced box out of cardboard and duct tape for the glass. Back up the hill I go. I take a few pictures, interesting consider
the next ones I will take. The sun is
out on and off (weather station predicted sun after the snow) as I truck up the
hill and I’m wearing my sunglasses.
Back at the heap, I poke, pick and pack the stuff up. In my head I am hoping that every person
involved in this littering is now in cardiac rehab from eating too much spam
and drinking too much Coors out of steel cans when they were young. I notice the wind picking up, it’s on my back
as I dig under the rock. Both bag 2 and
3 are stuff full. Imagine my surprise
when I turn around into a full-on snow storm.
Geez, thanks Mother Nature – what sort of karma reward is this? I was planning to hike it up to the “church”
place one more time today, but for now I better get the trash project
3 bags delivered to the dumpster. Public land belongs to all of us – to take
care of. Happy Lipitor for life you A-holes.
PS – I wonder how my boys are doing 1000 feet higher than
this? I haven’t heard a peep, and it’s
almost 1pm. I did offer to hump out meat
if needed today and Bob replied no help was required. Secretly, I was happy J. Now I wonder what they are up to? Probably hunkered down in the hammocks, along
with the elk sleeping off the bad weather. My guess is that if no elk got a
bullet today this will be a wrap and we are coming home to eat hamburger for
another year instead of elk burgers.
It’s OK. It’s been fun and God
knows Bob gave it his all. Happy for the
young guys filling tags (Ryan, Will and neighbor Brad). Maybe next year.
My Jake asked in a text a week or so ago, “What are your take
aways from the trip?” (He always has
such hard questions –ha). So here is the
start of my list.
Everything happens like it’s supposed to, even though it’s not what you want.
CO detectors are important in a camper especially.
Don’t trust mother nature, or the weather-casters of Wyoming.
You can listen to the same songs on a radio station one too many times over a month.
Every parent should teach their kids how to hand wash and towel roll dry underwear, it will come in handy more than once in their life.
When it’s snowing out you don’t have to worry about the ice in the cooler.
You can live without cell service and Wi-fi …. But life is better when you get a dose once in a while.
I missed reading for pleasure. All those years of safety manuals and procedures earned a living, but I really have enjoyed just burying myself in a good book (or 10) for hours on end.
It’s nice when you have a husband that packs extras .. like socks.
Mostly, there is beauty in the world everywhere you look. Rocks (yes I have a few stashed), plants, animals, the river, the mountains … Love.
We have a couple of resources for getting the weather. One is Jack FM radio, another is the Garmin
we use to communicate with each other, and the last is a walkie talkie. We had 2 of the last one so I could keep one
in the camper, but the one with Bob went missing in the National Forest, so I’m
down to the other 2 resources here at camp.
It doesn’t matter, they all give a different forecast everyday, and
usually all 3 are more wrong than right.
Probably because we are in bum F Egypt, not one of the towns, and up at
7800 feet altitude. Regardless, the hunt
is coming to an end… leaving Friday one way or the other, if not sooner (it’s
Wed.). Last night I checked weather –
cool but 100% sun. Good, I will read
outside (maybe under a blanket) and get my last dose of this nice Wyoming sun
before heading home.
I had trouble falling asleep last night. Read book # 8?, played the devils game
(Woody), tossed and turned. I decided to
splurge and run the generator all night, thus – the heater all night. I haven’t done this yet, conserving gas and
just piling the blankets on. I start it
up at 1am and turn the heat on. I crack
a couple windows and try again for sleep.
It doesn’t come easy. Probably
because all I did yesterday was sit on my arse and read, not really tired. Somewhere I drifted off only to be awoken by
an unfamiliar screetching alarm? I grab
the garmin, it’s still dark, I try to focus my eyes. Fearful this is the emergency SOS button … I
dig around the bed and find some reading glasses. The alarm continues. I push buttons on the garmin, try to read a
message? Nothing. I shut it off. The alarming still pounds through the
camper. My phone? No, it also is silent. Finally, I get woke up enough to realize it’s
the CO (Carbon Monoxide) alarm.
Interestingly, during this trip Bob had asked about if the camper had a
CO detector. I wasn’t aware but a few
years (or maybe more) ago, a cousin of his was out west camping and died of CO
poisoning in the camper. Ouch. While reading the stack of owner manuals for
the camper a couple weeks ago, I did find the detector and read about it. I open the roof vent and turn on the super
fan, open the back door, shut off the generator outside. Shut off the heater. After about a 5 minute flush of the air, the
alarm goes back to green indicator light and stops the screetch. Anyone feel like sleeping now?
I leave the furnace and generator off, and a few windows and
vents cracked open. As I lay in bed
hoping for sleep I think about my old friend Mark Highlander. A coworker, a foreman in melt maintenance,
father of 2 young children. It was early
in my “safety” job when one Sat. morning I got a call from my partner in safety
Jeff, there was an incident at work – Jeff was there responding with the fire
dept., Mark was involved…. They didn’t expect him to survive. He went into a sump pit, a confined space ..
didn’t follow procedure (in his defense, they weren’t very good, or enforced
very well back then). Collapsed. CO Poisoning.
He never stood a chance.
Thankfully other would-be victims, trying to help didn’t end up in the
same way. I won’t ever forget Mark, or
I do find myself back in dreamland. When I wake back up at 8am, (Thankful to be waking up) I look out the crack in the window blind. Sure, just as forecasted … it’s snowing! I laugh, if we don’t get an elk soon I’ll be watching the April showers and spring flowers bloom here at Camp Sweetwater. My friend April sent a note asking for a forwarding address to send our Christmas card too. Ha, ha – I’m with you, very ready to go home. I have been “nesting” and starting to put things away for the hunker down trip home.
I’m at about 7800 feet here; the guys are camped up at about
9000 feet. No doubt they are in the snow
this morning too. I keep looking at the
garmin, please….. send me a note that #3 elk is on the ground.
Oh yes, the “Hollars”.
We mingle a little. Yesterday one
of the 2 dogs ran over and started a fight with the neighbor dog. As punishment the Hollars put both dogs in
the camper and then jumped in the ranger and left for a couple hours. The dogs barked/yelped pretty much the whole
time. Nice. When they got back I suggested to Jim that his
dogs weren’t very happy about the lock up program, ie: barked the whole time
you were gone – (hint dude). Little Max
had a hat on today – for this I am thankful.
They continue to be a source of entertainment/aggravation for me. Honest, I’d miss them if they were gone.
And now I wait.
Supposedly, the snow will drive those darn elk down from the high
This morning I put all the trip blabs into one document – 40
pages, less today’s writing. Not quite a
book yet Kristy, then again … I’m not home yet!
My morning routine here in the National Forest is about the
same every day. Today before the cold
could wake me, the new neighbors “The HOLLARS” (my name for them) did. I’ll bitch more about them later.
I summon the courage to leave the warmth of the bed. Sunk in about as far as you can go in the 4
inch memory foam, I realize I haven’t moved much during the night. It’s chilly.
20 outside, about 35 inside. I
silently curse the camper design guy (again) for the location of the
thermostat, even though it doesn’t matter.
Our batteries are crap, so I will have to go outside and start the
generator first anyway. I poke one arm
out of the blanket cocoon and find a pair of sweatpants. I pull them under the covers for a warm up
Once dressed in enough clothes to walk outside, but not
necessarily to be “seen in public”; I jet out the door to the generator. It starts on the first pull. Silent thanks. On the way I light the 2 burners on the gas
stove. This is an old trick, much faster
heat despite the safety warnings about doing it. Safety 3rd.
Back in the safety of the little house, windows steaming and
temperature rising I put on water for my happy coffee and decide that I might
as well fry up the burger I have as long as the burner is on. I’m planning to make a pot of chili for my
hunter boy(s) when they return today. I
know Bob’s first words will be “I’m starved” because he left here light on
food, enough for 1 day/night, and he’s been gone two. Remembering the poblano peppers in the
freezer I grabbed from the garden before we left, I chop them, onions, kielbasa
etc. and cook it together with the burger.
An old recipe my buddy Olson and I perfected back in WF days trying to
make a “black bean-ish” soup. This one
will also have beans, crushed tomatoes, manwich sauce, crushed pineapple …
sounds weird, tastes great – topped with sour cream, onions and cheese.
Next I do my daily beauty routine. A baby wipe face wash. I wonder how many layers of baby wipe residue will be on my face by the end of the trip? I poke my finger in my contact lens case and pop it into my right eye. OMG. Do you remember the peppers? I washed my hands prior. Not enough. My eyeball, eye socket and right cheek are on fire. I manage to scrape the lens out of my eye and back into the case. Geez, I hope this isn’t how the whole day will go. Thus, 4 eyes. At least until my hands, and the CL “cool” off.
Back to the “Hollars”.
I spent most of the day yesterday in the camper. Rain and more rain. Cold.
I continued my previous days sadness with a movie thon on the “big
screen” .. (that’s a laugh). “Dying
Young” (young Julia Roberts); Hap’s Memorial Service (anniversary of H2H “hap
to heaven” Oct. 1-timing seemed right); followed by “Lovely Bones”. It felt good, girls you understand
right? After cleaning off my red, puffy
eyes I decide a walk is in order and the rain is taking a break.
I’m accompanied by “Luna” and “Coda” the Hollars 2 dogs that
have free run of the campground. I know
the names from listening to the owners yell for them 24/7. As I cruise past their driveway and tell L/C
“go home”, “Sweetie” (daughter Anna) comes to the end of the driveway… dressed
in PJ pants and a flannel shirt (really, I’m not judging, I haven’t seen the
laundromat in 2 weeks, but at least I took my PJ’s off today). Anyway she yells from 5 feet away, “Are you
alone over there?”. No, I think … I’ve
got you all. I did spend some time with
my nose to the camper window watching the erection of the “wall tent”, stove
pipe included, also the wood hauling/splitting mission, and other golden
moments throughout the day. I tell her
(again) that yes, temporarily… my husband, his son, a friend .. they are out
archery hunting, sleeping overnight in the big woods – I expect them back
soon. She replies (yell), “Well if you
need anything Sweetie, you just let
us know”. Can you all see my face?
I go back to the little house, and pour a glass of
wine. Still feeling like some fresh air
would be good I go outside and drain coolers, put the awning up etc. Pretty soon here comes “Jim” aka Dad
HOLLAR. He’s nice enough, actually I’m
liking him the best so far. He quizzes
me, where are you from? I say,
“Wisconsin”. Town – Wild Rose. “We have relatives in WI, in Montello”. Yep, 30 miles from the Rose. Also have a cousin in Wautoma, “getting
warmer, only 9 miles from Rose”. We have
a short conversation about their origin.
Him and Christy with a “C” are originally from Montana, he works for the
railroad which got them to Wyoming 28 years ago… daughter Sweetie went off to
Utah for college and came home with little “MJ” (I had to ask) – ie:
“Maximillian”, and a husband. (I was wrong).
Hubs is a cop, new to the job and can’t get vacation so he stayed
home. At the end, Jim looks at me, takes
a big swig from his red solo cup and says, “And where are you from?”. Holy Shit, I thought I had attention deficit
when it comes to listening…. I smile,
“Wisconsin?” Oh yeah… ha ha… then he says, “What’s that you’re drinking?”. Mind you along with the window show, I have
watched ma/pa suck one bud light after another since the breakfast dishes were
done this morning. I say, “it’s just
some wine”… “Oh, this is cranapple and schnapps?” … Sweetie, baby MJ and grandma
Christy have now joined us. Daughter
yells, “ya dad, you want another?”. I
say to baby MJ and pat his bald little 10 month old head, “You must have a cold
head poor guy” and smile at sweetie – hint hint, do you want this kid that
already is streaming 2 rows of green snot out of his nose to get pneumonia or
what? Sweetie just pats his head and
says back to me, “it’s warm”. Poor
Max. Grandma announces that supper is
ready in the tent. I look at Jim and
say, “enjoy your dinner” … Pretty soon
Christy comes back out, “We are having potatoes and sausage hotdish, would you
like to join us?”. I pass, say thanks,
sounds good …. Already ate (a half a tube of pringles). Night folks.
As I’m packing stuff up for the night I remember Jim saying,
“You just watched movies all day huh?”.
I was wondering how he knew this, except for my peep hole crack I had
the blinds down, and it’s not like the glare of the 4×6 inch screen was
visible. Just then I realize I had the
outside speakers on the camper. What an
asshole neighbor I AM. 6-7 hours of TV
noise broadcasted across camp. I saw him
post supper, and he apologized to me about running the generator all night –
(that doesn’t make nearly as much noise as sweetie) I tell him not a problem,
and apologize for the outside speaker.
He replies, “No problem, we didn’t even notice”. One big happy family. The Hollar’s, and 4 eyes. Peace Out.
washing dishes from the chili cookoff, slit my finger on a sharp knife. Incident #2.
Meanwhile, attempt #2 at the CL insertion was also a fail. First tried with washed (bandaged) hands,
still stings! I remember a package with
2 plastic gloves in the first aid kit, (obviously there just for this type of
emergency); I don the gloves, attempt #3 … OUCH. Apparently the pepper juice is soaked into
the CL. I have ONE MORE pair of lenses
for the trip, and am reluctant to use the final set. I try riding out the juice infused CL and
last about 5 minutes, my eyeball is bright red.
Removed. I put the “hot” CL in
the case where the last new one comes out of and mark it “P” for pepper… under
dire straits will this CL go back in my eye.
Meanwhile, it’s the magical hour of 10:00 am. It’s the last day of archery elk
hunting. All my men are out. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE … Stars align. The morning is perfect, post storm, cool, low
wind (I know all these things after a MONTH in elk camp). Did I mention the bottle of wine I bought 3
weeks ago in the Tetons, from a winery here called “elk-something”. It’s been floating in the bottom of the
cooler this whole time, just waiting for the celebration. Maybe today is the day? Peace Out.
10.01.2019 Tuesday, First day of rifle season for elk in
Yesterday afternoon, my hunter returned. He looks tired. Defeated.
Skinny. As he climbs in the
shower I look at his legs, “geez, honey – you have bird legs”. I can’t wait to get him home and fatten him
up a little.
The boys (Ryan/Will) stop for some lunch and to discuss a
plan. Bob has slept the last 2 nights on
the mountain, he refuses an offer to go with them back up to their camp. Not tonight, he needs a rest. They take off with a plan to meet mid day
tomorrow. Bob will pack up 3 nights and
join them tomorrow.
Meanwhile, we put all the archery stuff away and dig out the gun, bullets, blaze orange etc. He tells me he needs to site in his gun, so we hop in the truck and drive a short way up the road to a side road. We have a gallon water jug, half full with a small piece of duct tape on it. I wander off into the sage brush counting out 100 yards. Realizing how vulnerable I am as I turn around and see him setting up his gun on the back of the truck. Pretty simple to send a bullet and drive away. There I’d be, just like the black cow taking a dirt nap. He doesn’t shoot. I didn’t actually think he would. When I retreat to the truck and take up my “observer” position with a glass of wine, he shoots round 1. I see a poof of dirt about 5 feet behind the jug. I hear bitching in the back of the truck. After some mumbling, shot 2. This one hits the tape. Shot 3 – also hits the tape. OK we are finished with our business here. Back at the campsite, studying the “charts” for shooting this gun, Bob wearily tells me something is wrong. ??? I ask – you hit the jug at 100 yards 2 out 3 times, what’s wrong? He can’t / doesn’t explain. Finally, I said, “listen to me, you are so tired and out of it… give it a rest already”. Amazingly, he listens and stops the fret.
We go in the camper.
I have layed out all things hunting/camping for him to choose and
pack. We refill bags, exchange empty
fuel containers etc. Afterward, we have
a campfire and sit and chat, before heading to bed @ 8pm. We discuss the
possibility of getting home to watch the Packers on Sunday. Sounds good to me, I even agree to a 2 day
trip home vs. the 3 we took to get here.
8pm nighty-night allows a full
night of sleep, and based on my observation my hubs got it. Purring like a kitten through the night.
What I didn’t expect or see coming was the person that
climbed out of bed @ 4am. I don’t know
for sure yet if he was feeling sick (ill) or is just burned out. I was up at 1am with a “high altitude/dry
air” pounding head ache. Bob says, he
also has a headache. Have had a few
since we got here, they suck. Bob is
moving in slow motion. Nothing works,
boot laces, camper door, back pack etc. etc.
I suggest maybe he doesn’t want to haul the big pack right away this
morning, maybe better to go get it later and join the boys – because what if
you shoot an elk? Then you have to deal
with that and the big pack. He
stops. Looks across the table at me and
says, “I’m not going to shoot an elk”.
My initial thought was to say, “good, lets to back to sleep a couple
hours then get up, pack up and get the F out of here”.
Instead, I cheerlead.
“You have been at this 3 weeks, it’s time… you will get an elk… be
positive”. It doesn’t help. His mood is gloomy. I wonder if he should even go out this
morning, something is definitely off. I
make a sandwich, cut up an apple, load the truck with coffee, water,
Gatorade. Hold the flashlight while he
slowly closes up his pack. He walks to
the truck without even saying good bye.
I’m out the door behind him – “Hello??
Good Bye??. He stops, gives me a
hug, mumbles love love .. and is off.
Wow. I think to myself it is time
to go home. Is it possible we have been
here all this time, all the planning, practicing, hiking, camping etc… and we
will go home empty handed? Yes, this is
9:00 am ; I get a message on the garmin. Ryan letting me know him and Will have shot a
5 point bull. Yipee!!!! I wait patiently for a similar message from
Bob. It doesn’t come. Finally, at noon I send a note, “Are you
OK?” He responds “yes”. I spend the rest of the day finishing book
#7, and starting #8 “The Nightingale” (Kristin Hannah). My only other communication is that he has
made it to the boys camp. I don’t think
they will return, and perhaps the 3 of them can work together to get just one
more brown thing for the freezer. I’m
happy that Ryan and Will are staying out w/ Bob. I sent Ryan a note earlier warning him of his
dad’s burn out syndrome. So I wait.
Meanwhile, the Hollars went out this morning also, Father
and Daughter. Nothing. The “Driving Miss Daisy” Ranger-people across
the way shot a 5×6 Bull. The temperature
is definitely cooler, more like 50-60 degree in the sun (about a 20 degree drop
from last week). I’m pretty much camper
bound. Was planning a hike, then
realized, “duh, hunting season” and I don’t have any blaze orange/pink. Stuck to the road for a walk to stretch my
legs and rest my reading eyes. Perhaps
by tomorrow the hunt will be complete for all and I will be enjoying some WIFI
to broadcast the last 4-5 blabs that have waited patiently to come to you from
Finally, I remember this saying the neighbor boys told me
during one of our first campfires together.
Again, expressing the trouble with finding (and apparently keeping) a
good woman in Wyoming. It still makes me
Sunday. Again. Sunday Funday? It continues to rain. During the night it was raining so hard I thought it was either hail again, or big blotches of snow – I got up to look, nope. Just rain. I stayed awake a good share of the night listening and wondering about my husband hanging in a hammock up in the woods. Thunder, Lightning. I was worried for his wellbeing. He sent a note this morning and said, “I’m OK”. The forecast is for another full day of crap today and then sun for the next week.
Old neighbor Brad came early this morning to pick up his
camper. I got to meet his yellow lab
“Aspen”, and played camp robber as he packed up. I said, “I’m taking your wood” – kind of a
joke because both Matt and I were scavenging wood for the past 2 weeks whenever
someone checked out of their campsite. I
heard loudmouth “Sweetie” holler to the family “she’s taking the wood!”. I looked at Brad and rolled my eyes, he just
laughed. While he packed up I did my
normal chit chatter, explaining to him how I was having difficulty warming up
to the new neighbors, “The Loud Family”.
Just then, on cue the baby started screaming. Ugh.
Brad unloads left over brownies, and peach treats, and as he
says he’s going to toss out a bag chair I grab it and say, “we’ll keep it and
toss when we leave just in case we need another seat”. Camp Scavenging, my new hobby.
Dad “Jim Loud ” came over to introduce himself, “I’m the one
that came in late last night”. Proud as
a peacock. Yes, I know – I heard
everyone yelling like they hadn’t seen you in years. FFS.
When Brad pulled in I saw Sweetie run in the camper, quickly coming back
with ruby red lips on. Nice. It paired well with her pajama bottoms and
sweatshirt. I’m guessing the baby came
from a donor and she is single.
Seriously, I should stop complaining – they are providing me with
entertainment out my kitchen window.
Imagine me sitting… coffee in hand, just like Mrs. Cratchet peering thru
the one-way glass.
Finished “Sold on a Monday” last night before bed. Enjoyed the book very much, good story – not
predictable which I liked. Highly
recommend. Next up – “Where the
Crawdads Sing”. (Delia Owens). This book
has been on my shelf a year. Started it
once, but didn’t get far. Looking
forward to it.
The tick tock of the clock is painful, I want to tear it off the wall….I would Swallow my pride I would choke on the rind the lack there of would leave me empty inside…. Rendezvous and I’m through with you …(They never miss a day of this song) .. Jack FM
Still here in the beautiful Shoshone (sp)? National Forest. Since the last check in we have added 2 elk to the “camp”. Bob’s son Ryan shot a cow, and just yesterday our neighbor boy Brad came home with a 5 point set of horns. Yeah! Tomorrow is the last day of the month long archery season, then “fire stick” aka gun season starts.
After Ryan shot his elk, he hung the meat in a tree at the
“kill site” (near it) and the following day the plan was to go retrieve the
meat. The reason? To allow the blood to drip off some, and dry
the meat. Other things that happen
include covering the meat with pepper to keep the flies off, and also hanging
the dirtiest stinkyest clothes you have on it to keep the other meat eaters
(bears, wolves etc.) from thinking it’s a nice meal. The retrieval hike was explained to me as
“easy” mostly on the trail and only about ¼ mile via the woods. I sign up to go along, bucket list .. (not) ;
but I’m ready for a hike and the trail is part of the CD (continental divide
trail) so I can mark off a “section” of this as complete. Of course the road we have to take is for
shit just like the rest of them here.
Crawling along at 1mph over huge rocks, potholes etc. – I think it might
be easier and faster to just hike the whole thing. Anyway.
Our navigator, I won’t mention any names, but he’s the one
that killed this elk takes us on a very scenic tour over mountains and
windfalls, thru mucky marsh etc. At each
“breather” break, we get the same announcement, “It’s only about a quarter mile
more”. After about the 5th
time of this I ask for no further announcements. I guess I know who I’ll buy a compass for
this Christmas. Ha ha.
As we top one of mountains we are crawling over I see Will/Ryan stop and point, then motion “shhhh” and come. There is an elk, horns “rag horn” whatever that means? First lying and staring at us, then stood up and continued to just look at us. Of course my 4 hunters have not brought along a bow on this meat retrieval hike (yep, you read that right) because who would expect to see anything with the 4 of us tromping, talking etc. down the trail. It was almost as if the elk took a look, could see he was in no danger and just stood to check us out. It was pretty cool for me to actually see one of the beasts I have been hearing about for months! We also spotted a couple “boing boing deer” – ie: mule deer, nicknamed due to the bounce/hop they do instead of running like normal white tail deer.
When we arrived at the in-the-woods meat locker, I suggest
it appears as though Ed Gein has made a visit.
The meat hangs from a tree in a cloth bag, thick stretchy cheese cloth
stuff that lets the blood run out. I
wonder how bloody and gross my backpack will be after this? Just then Will shows up with a roll of
garbage bags to line our packs.
Marvelous planning. My “bag”
contains the tenderloins, heart and god knows what else. I think it weighs about 40#, the boys tell me
30. They are carrying bags with legs
poking out (even grosser); Ryan gets the two front and Bob and Will each take a
hind quarter. As we had been hiking in
the back on the way up, I suggest to husband that maybe he could assist in the
navigation going back. Both him and Will
team together with Ryan to pick an alternate route. The bitch of it? It starts with a 15 minute uphill climb. The beauty of the new route? It ends on the
trail after this climb and is relatively easy hiking because you don’t have to
keep crawling over down trees, rocks etc.
Eventually the trail meets back up with the CD trail. The boys walk fast, like guys that are half
as old as Bob and I (because they are).
We take our time, stopping to bend over and get the pack weight off our
lower back. They go ahead, under the
premise of “getting the coolers ready”.
I suggest to Bob this probably means drinking the beer that’s in
them! We arrive at the truck about 15
minutes after them toting our loot bags of meat. I suggest that if someone likes tenderloin
about medium well, I think there might be some that has been cooking on my back
ready to serve. They save us a
beer. PBR never tasted so good!
The guys take the meat to a processor and Bob and I head to
“The Wagon Wheel” hotel in Pinedale. A
last minute decision to stay overnight vs. driving the bumpy road back after
watching the Packer game in town. The
owner tells me on the phone she will give me a deal since we want 2 rooms. $75 each.
Cheapest place in town. When we
arrive I go to check in and am met by a lady with mascara running down her
face, obviously crying. The little lobby
is adorned with a few bouquets of flowers, and about 10 large pictures of an
older woman. As we go thru the check in
process the crying lady explains that her mother just passed away last week
(thus the crying); that she was 88, a wonderful lady, a monarch of Pinedale who
once hosted Caroline Kennedy right in the living room behind the desk. I want to ask how this ever happened? But I
also want to have a beer. I nod, I
express my sympathy, I listen. She goes
on to explain the pictures, the trouble she is having planning the memorial
service, and on and on and ….. Finally
she hands me my Visa card and 2 keys.
We wipe off the hike grime in our hotel room. No sense really in taking a shower, we don’t
have any clean clothes to put on. The
room is clean, but decorated from 30 years ago, including 3 inch green shag
carpet. It smells clean, the toilet
flushes – it will do. Bob suggests to me
that I wipe my t-shirt arm pits with baby wipes, because … “You really stink
honey”. This is a fact. I put on my sweatshirt instead, it doesn’t
stink, but it will soon because its 75 degrees outside. Whatever.
I don’t know these people. We
head back to Wind River Brewery and get a table by a TV that is already que’d
up for the football game. I feel like
people are staring at us (they are) in our grub clothes, muddy boots etc. I go to the brewery shopping cabinet and find
a tshirt, that I immediately pay for and put on. Bob is going to do the same, but doesn’t like
any of the choices, so he stays in his original shirt. We order a few appetizers, starved we didn’t
eat since a breakfast sandwich in the morning.
I down about 3 goose/water “tall”.
In hindsight a glass of just water might have been a good idea too. We watch the game, and I don’t have to tell
any of you how disgusted we were with the ending. It’s a good thing that new coach is cute and
gives me a reason to keep watching.
When the boys get there they order food for a family of 4 and then eat
every bite. Wow. Of course they have been in the woods eating
dehydrated food for 5 days, this is a splurge.
After the game, I think we will head to the Wagon Wheel – I’m pooped and
can see Bob is also. Instead the boys
play the “just one more” card and we head up the street to the “Cowboy
Bar”. It was everything the name
implies. The bar is lined with ashtrays
and it seems everyone in the place has a Marlboro hanging off their lip. The bartender girl is a smart mouthed, sassy
one that hollers v.s. talks. I have one
drink and say good night. I look at Bob
who wants to leave too, but “boys will be boys” he stays. I get a couple of nice hours of sleep before
the circus comes home from the tavern.
They had fun they say in the morning; something about a girl with
tattoos on her face? All three look
pretty glassy eyed at breakfast. The
apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I do enjoy a hot shower at the wagon wheel in the morning,
then put back on my reeking clothes from the day before. This is a no frills place – ie: no shampoo,
just a small bar of soap. That will be
an afternoon project trying to comb the fro, for now it just goes in a snarly
almost-have-dreads “bun” on my head. Oh
yeah, we also don’t have any contact cases/solution. I take my contacts out and put them in tap
water in two plastic drinking cups next to my bed. I lose one to the green shag carpet in the
process and think – ick … good bye contact lens, I will never see you again. I see in the morning, Bob has removed his CL
and put them in little pieces of the soap wrapper. I can’t explain the pain of putting in CL
that have been in tap water. Ouch. I stick them in my mouth and lather them in
spit, much less painful (thank you brother Keith for sharing this tip years
ago). I’m happy to find the
lost-in-the-carpet lens really did make it in the cup after all. After
I get my contacts in, Bob says “you know I think I have contact stuff out in
the truck”. He does. ERRRR, now you tell me. He also has an emergency toothbrush, thank
goodness for us both.
Back to the campground, we barely get stuff unloaded and the neighbor boys pull in. Brad shot an elk this morning. 5 points. He brings the horns over to show us. We share his happiness as they have been at it for 2 weeks pretty steady and have to go home Sunday and go back to work. They hang up the meat and will go back in tomorrow to pick up the rest.
Leading us to this morning.
Saturday. Rain forecasted with
possible snow here at the higher elevations.
It rains during the night. The
4am alarm goes off, then 4:15 … Bob replies when I ask if he’s getting up to
go? “I’ll kill myself in this
shit”. Agree slippery walking in the
dark is not a good idea. We both roll
over and go back to sleep.
Tomorrow? Ryan and Will have set
up camp in another area. They report via
the inreach last night, “Lots of activity”.
Perhaps my love will ship off for a few days with them?
Last night neighbor Brad gave me a pound of ground elk from
last years hunt that I fried up for our dinner.
It was fantastic. I look at my
husband and reiterate “we came here for elk” – go get one. I don’t care if you kill with an arrow, a bullet
or club it to death – I want some of this meat.
He nods. I also don’t care if it
is a girl or a boy, as the saying goes, “you can’t eat the horns”. He nods.
I don’t think he agrees, but maybe he’s had enough of the hunt to just
take what walks in front of him? We will
see. Peace out.
9/28 Evening… Feeling Blue.
The day was a weather carnival. Blue skies, sun; following by hail the size
of nickles, rain, more sun, now thundering.
The neighbor boys came back early in the afternoon and I met them with 2
grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.
Why? Well last night as we dined
on taco’s together we discussed the left overs and I promised breakfast
burritos. When Hubs decided to sleep in,
so did I and I listened as the guys left at the usual time, feeling
guilty. They laughed and said that yes
indeed, when they got in the Ranger this morning they commented, “where are our
burritos? Old Bob screwed that up for
us”. We have become friends over the
past 2 plus weeks living as neighbors at this campground, and we discussed last
night how lucky we felt to have met each other, shared stories etc. Today they packed up the rest of the elk
meat, ATV’s, camper etc. and headed back home to return to work on Monday. I was in the camper watching them with tears
in my eyes. Feeling sad to part ways,
and wondering if we will ever see these two again. I hope so. I managed to suck it up and go
smiling over to say good bye and give them both a hug and well wishes. After they pulled out Bob looked at me and
said, “what’s the matter”. I choked out
a “I’m just sad”, then started bawling.
He gave me a big hug and said, “You ARE sad”, “Don’t worry honey, you’ll make new
friends”. That’s not my worry. It’s OK to be sad saying good bye to people.
Bob spent a good share of the morning sitting in the truck,
staring at the map, staring out into the blue.
Again, – what to do? I ask- “are
you ready to go home?”. Reply “I don’t
know”. I suggest he go hook up with
Ryan/Will but he says again, “Three’s a crowd hunting”. I suggest they could benefit from his
experience. He finally comes in the
camper and says he is going back to his original spot. He thinks maybe other hunters on the other
side of the mountain may “push” the elk his way. Deep down I wonder if he is hoping to see
“the one that got away” again? He takes
his time packing, back and forth – should I just stay and get a good night
sleep, leave in the morning? Good chance
of getting soaked and cold tonight with the weather swinging around like it
has. We pack a pillow and quilt in the
car, maybe make the drive and then just sleep in the truck to stay dry til
morning. Brad/Matt had reported a very
quiet morning today (so he didn’t miss anything by sleeping in); so I suggest
maybe the elk will be ready to “crow” tonight? Or tomorrow ? There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason
to it as far as I can tell.
Bob heads out about 4pm.
I do what I do everytime he leaves.
I spend about 30 minutes putting the camper back in order, refolding his
stuff and packing his tub, putting away everything that was out and wasn’t
needed etc. etc. I don’t mind, I don’t
have anything else in the world to do.
Just settling into my current book (Sold on Monday/Kristina McMorris) I
hear some talking and take a walk outside.
I’m met first by a dog running loose that comes and jumps on me (err)
followed by 2 women with bud lights and a baby. They are loud.
Older (the mom) is named “Christy” ; I will spell it with a “C” because
she reminds me nothing of my favorite Kristy.
Her daughter also loud, refers to me as “sweetie” and I want to just
scream. Who calls someone they have
spoke with for less than 5 minutes “sweetie”?
Not to mention I’m old enough to be her ma. Barf.
They are here to gun hunt (starting Tuesday). Grandma Christy is here to babysit little CJ,
BJ ?? I can’t remember the kids name; and Grandpa will be coming later after he’s
done with work. They come here every
year and are bummed that their “normal” campsite (the one Matt/Brad had next
door to us) is occupied. Brad left his
camper because he had a trailer and ATV, but I know he is coming tomorrow to
take the trailer home and vacate the spot.
I’m tempted to play dumb – too bad, site is occupied; but instead I tell
them the truth, the guys are done hunting, you could move in one half and
tomorrow the other half will be empty. I
do have some live entertainment watching daughter “sweetie” (I can’t remember
her name) backing the camper in. It’s
brand name/model name blazed on the camper is “Creek Side” and for a moment I
think they will be more creek side than they want. It takes about 10 attempts but to her credit
she wedges it in next to Brads trailer.
They yell everything.
Communication with each other, the dog and the baby. I don’t even think twice about starting the
generator to drown them out. I’m not
taking applications for new friends, I miss my Pinedale boys.
Just heard on the radio – Jack FM that our Badgers won-
Yeah! I’m listening to the Wyoming
Cowboys (who knew they had a football team) playing Las Vegas. It’s a relief from the same Jack FM
soundtrack I’ve been tuned in to for the past 3 ? 4 ? weeks.
It’s 7pm now, and I’m anxious to hear from Bob to see if he
headed up the mountain (it’s supposed to be 20 degrees tonight); or stayed at
the truck? My guess is up the hill he
went. Hoping for a break on the weather
for him – at least for it to be dry. The
forecast is 100% rain for tomorrow but they are wrong so often that we don’t
even pay much attention to what they say.
Maybe tonight will be the night we fill the freezer. Based on my crying outburst today, that might
be the best_time to head back soon I hope.
Then again if the sun comes back out I know I’ll feel better and won’t
Alright, I admit, today when I woke up (for the second time
today) it felt a little like groundhog day.
The first time – 4am, to send off the Great White
Hunter. Last night he said half asleep,
“I have to get up and go tomorrow”. This
morning when the alarm announced 4am, he rolled over and said, “Fuck it, I’m
just going back to sleep”. Oh no you are
not mister. I shut off the clock and
proceeded out of bed, lights on, coffee on, egg in the frying pan.
Yesterday he saw an elk, bugled mutually at each other and
then the elk “scented him” in the wind.
I understand completely. When he
walked in the camper last night he stunk.. a lot. I suggest to him that even though laundry day
@ the river was today, if he wanted to part with at least the shirt he has been
wearing up and down the mountain every day for a month, I’d be happy to make an
exception and give it a scrub.
He leaves me with that, and another long sleeve shirt that
seriously reeks of B.O. and ??? Later I
hear him telling the neighbors that when he finds elk pee, he likes to scoop up
the “pee dirt” and rub it on himself as a scent barrier. FFS.
As he proceeds with the dressing process (it takes a while),
he pulls a shirt out of his bin he hasn’t worn. He looks at me, “Honey, this is
the shirt I killed Monty in”. OMG
husband. You have had that luckier than
luck, Karma positive good juju charm along this whole time and we are just
getting it out today?? I just smiled,
“put it on and leave it on until I’m wrapping meat”. Let’s hope that was the missing piece of the
Meanwhile, neighbor boys had one in their sights just before
light yesterday as well. Matt took a
wanger, long distance shot and missed.
Sounds like the elk practically stuck out his tongue at them and ran
away. They were so disgusted they came
back to camp and went home. After
showers, cooler refills etc. they came back.
Sweet Matt came with a container of cherry tomatoes from his
greenhouse. The growing season is so
short here, if you don’t have a greenhouse, you don’t have vegetables. They confirm what the girl at the brewery
said a few weeks ago when I asked if the blackberries in the beer were grown
locally, she just laughed and said, “No, nothing grows here”. Sage brush and trees. I love tomatoes and mine were just coming
into their prime when we left, so it is a treat for sure. Amazingly, some of the little ones I picked
before we left are still good. Pretty
long shelf life.
We have gotten into the habit of having dinner with the
neighbor boys. Brad is excellent with
his little weber grill, so we just pool up what food we have, he cooks the meat
(last night ribs & chicken), I cook some sides (salad and fried
potatoes). Such good guys, we are lucky
to have had them as neighbors these past few weeks. Pretty shortly after dinner we part ways and
go to bed. Even though the sun is hot
during the day (in the 80’s), once it goes down it is COLD. 40 in the camper in the morning, frost on
I’ve been hinting at husband I need a town day. The fridge is getting pretty empty and we
will be eating mac n’ cheese and bacon pretty soon. About 3 days of coffee including the
emergency stash from my buddy Barb. When
I mentioned to Brad that I was hoping Bob would take a day (or even a ½ day)
for a town run, he just laughed and said, “Not likely, he’s in redemption mode
now”. I’m not sure he was @ 4am today,
but I’m guessing once he started up the “hill” he was back into it. 10:24 am.
Hoping for a beep on the InReach, lucky shirt and all. Geez that would be sweet.
Thinking about things that have changed in the past few weeks here. The trees for sure. The cold nights have turned the trees from green to yellow. I love this time of year in the west. Last year we watched the leaves turn in Colorado. Awesome. My breathing. I can actually take a cruise up to the hilltop without having to stop and suck air every ten steps. That’s nice. I wonder what it will be like to breathe 750’ above sea level Wild Rose air? Actually, air with humidity in it? Still so dry here I drink at least (3) bottles of water every night to keep my mouth from becoming an overnight desert. Me! To think someone that loves people, crowds, noisy places could spend day after day with just the wind blowing for hours at a time. I miss my people, but have found a new peace? With this as well.
Things that have not changed? My clothes, I swear I’m going to burn the 20
items I brought along and have worn, washed and rewashed. My ability to jump and scream at a dead snake
in the road. Now reinforced with a live
snake appearing in the road the other night.
Funny thing about Wyoming.
There is not a street sign that doesn’t have at least one bullet hole in
Nobody talks about the “wind” in the Wind River
Mountains. They just refer to it as the
“W” and hope it calms down if they don’t say it aloud.
Rain – they’ve had like 3.5 inches of rain all year in
I took a stroll to check on the dead cow. Curious if something had come to take it
away? Maybe the cowboy? Maybe the
coyote. I could smell him before I saw
what’s left of the carcass. Looks like
the vultures have been dining, but plenty more to go. So sad, I saw him first in the morning lying
there alone; that evening we took a trip to cell service, the momma cow was
standing by it, just staring… on the way back a few more cows joined the
mourning. It’s a cow, I know – but it
made me feel sad.
Note: The lucky shirt … not too lucky. Bob is back at camp @ 3pm … we are now in town (Pinedale) to grocery shop, dinner and back 1.5 hours down the bumpy road. Maybe tomorrow … Maybe.