Thursday, May 24, 2018

Trail Creek Hike 2018

The friendly folks at the Naples Store didn't know for sure if the gate at the lower end of the Trail Creek Road off HWY 95 had opened yet.

So, after our purchase of a fresh cup of coffee for me, along with a hotdog and Chic-o-Stick for Bill, we crossed the highway onto the road, hoping for the best. 

The gate was open.  The road was rough, soupy in some places, but we made it to the next gate where there's an opening, a Forest Service john and corrals for trail riders.

Changing into our hiking shoes, spraying ourselves with mosquito repellent and grabbing our trekking sticks, we headed through the second gate and up the trail, which is actually a road. 

A light rain spit on us for a while, but it eventually stopped and with the temperature much cooler than down in the valley, conditions were perfect. 

The road is a gradual uphill most of the way with a few level spots for taking a breath.  Bill and I have taken this hike every year for the past three years and usually at the same time.

Most snow has recently melted, wildflowers are beginning to dot the hillsides, and trees are just leafing out or showing off their new needles. 

Bill was treated to one of his ultimate viewing delights---fresh needles on larch trees.  That has already happened  down in the valleys, so on yesterday's hike he enjoyed a double dose of what he considers the most beautiful color in nature. 

Shortly into the hike, which provided us some relatively soft surface for walking along with a few really smooshy spots, we began studying the tracks:  a human, some vehicles, moose and a wolf. 

All had passed through recently, and, for a time, we thought we might even see a vehicle. 

Eventually---about two miles up the trail, we could see where the human had turned around.  The wolf tracks continued to show up from time to time as did the moose.

With all these tracks, the closest thing we saw resembling wildlife was a noisy stellar jay, flitting between tree branches and making sure we knew of its presence.  

Bill wished that he had some peanuts, recalling one day in the woods when he held them out in his hand while a jay came to sample them. 

Yesterday's 5-mile hike up and down the gated off Trail Creek Road was quite satisfying for me.  

Having been tormented with a sore shoulder for the past few months, which seems to be improving, I noted that this hike had provided a good test for me personally. 

Thankfully, the endurance is still there, even though walking down hill awakens some soreness to the knees, but this ol' body still has what it takes to totally enjoy a reasonable hike in the mountains.

Regardless of any age during the life of this almost 71-year-old, I've never been keen on hiking straight up and straight down terrain, but moderation, like yesterday's walk,  almost always works okay for me.  

So, the relative ease of the Trail Creek Road made me more than pleased that I can still get out and enjoy the back country on my own two feet. 

We were pretty amazed on our way down to inspect some huckleberry bushes and to find berries already formed on some bushes, none on others.  Could be early hucks this year and could be spotty.  

During the hike I posted a photo on Facebook and was not surprised to hear within minutes from my friend and fellow backwoods lover/photographer Don Swanstrom.  

Don, who grew up around Naples and worked a few years for the Forest Service,  texted me a note, saying he had come up the road on Mother's Day to find the gate closed.  

He was happy to learn that it is now open.  

"Don will be up here tomorrow," Bill said as we walked. 

"Yup, probably so," I said. 

Twas a great afternoon adventure, and I hope if Don makes it up there soon, he enjoys the trip as much as we did. 

By the way, Bill suggested that sometime we need to plan some logistics where a rig is left at Boulder Meadows and one left at the horse corrals, so we can walk the entire distance down into the meadows or vice versa.

Whaddya think, Don?

Happy Thursday to all. Enjoy the photos.    

I don't remember ever seeing this wildflower before.  Any idea what it's called?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Just Miscellaneous Drivel

I drove to Hope and back after dinner last night.  Out here in Selle, we can take various routes to HWY 200. 

Last night I chose East Shingle Mill Road where the sun on Randy and Carla Poelstra's roadside barn created a lovely evening image. 

Randy and Carla owned the last big dairy in Bonner County.  They've since sold out, but nowadays they provide raw milk, available in a fridge, for folks to purchase---on the honor system. 

What was mud flats a few weeks ago near the Lower Pack River Bridge on HWY 200 is now filled to the brim and a whole lot prettier. 

Last night I saw a blue heron and some geese in this area, too far away for photographs. 

I don't know what this is, but I do know it's pretty. It's in someone's yard on the old highway in Hope.

Everything was SO pretty on the drive to Hope BUT my camera lens and sensor were SO dirty.  

So, most of the shots I took of spectacular evening scenery were too zit-filled to even consider posting.  Darn!

Still, I was able to salvage a few photos. 

I have driven past this barn on the corner of Jacobson Road and Colburn-Culver so many times and have wanted to take a picture.  

Last night on my way home from Hope, nobody was looking and nobody was hovering on my bumper, so I finally fulfilled my wish. 

Ya know you're in farm country when . . . .

Who sez ya can't dance and hold a ball in your mouth at the same time?  No Border Collie ever!

This and the rest of the photos were taken this morning while I waited for CB to eat his oats.

They just represent some of the peaceful scenes that go along with doing the morning barn chores.

Sure does beat the good ol' days of just a few weeks ago when I complained so much about the mud.

North Idaho can be so dismal during the dismal season, but when it bounces back to life, there's nothing like it.

With the lawn freshly mown, I'll focus on Festus today and throwing in some seeds to the one empty planter.  Since I love the smell of dill, it and other herbs will be among the seeds.

It's time for Festus to get monitored for his glucose level. Monitoring leads to the next box of syringes and supply of insulin.

Our old kitty seems to be doing just fine with his diabetes, and I've gotten pretty good at giving shots over the past year or so.

All in all, things are going just fine, and we're loving the weather, except the mosquitoes can go away any time they want. 

Happy Wednesday.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Lovin' Country Livin'

Today is "get dirty" day.  Time to do some weed eating and lawn mowing again. I'm thinking that by the end of the day, our yard will look about as pretty as it's gonna look all year long.  

Lilacs are blooming.  Shrubs are leafing out in a variety of colors. Iris of different kinds are in different stages of blooming all around the yard. 

And, yesterday, I made one more "last" trip to a flower shop to add to the planters around the yard. 

This particular last trip included purchase of a variety of colorful African daisies.  Hannah, one of the staff members at the Flower Farm, predicted they would all be gone by week's end cuz they are SO pretty. 

That purchase for the north lawn planters means dragging three hoses for morning watering, but I think it will be worth the work to have the color show AS LONG as the deer leave the posies alone. 

My cukes went into the outside dirt yesterday.  After looking at the long-range forecast, which shows no sign of overnight freezing,  I felt like it was safe to finish off the garden spot with about 18 cucumber plants.  

Happily, they aren't even looking too bad this morning so they might not even suffer from the shock of their new location.

Along with all the plant life progress, cow herds are starting to show up in different pastures up and down the road.  We're still waiting for Bert Wood's cows and calves to show up next door.

These days we don't worry much about their arrival because our Liam, the "herd dog really wannabe" has grown up and seems to totally respect his boundaries.  

I'm sure he'll give the cows a Border Collie look or two, but there's a boundary of woven wire fence along with a stretch of electric fence in between his space and that of the cows, so things should remain calm on that front. 

Yup, the country livin' here in Selle is putzing along at a fast pace, but I'm thankful to have the opportunity to take in all the wonderful sights and sounds as I work around the place and whenever I stop to smell the roses and all the other flowers. 

Riding that lawnmower will definitely lead to dirt and grime, but along with comes the added perk of enjoying the lovely scenery as I go round and round and round turning a ragged mess into another vast image of beauty.

One more thing of beauty as a parent: Tuesday. 

Congrats, Willie and Cedar Post staff. 

Happy Tuesday.