Dom & Tabbie (8/29/13 – 9/1/13)
On 8/29, our friends from the UK joined us in Montana! What a distance! After stopping in Atlanta to visit with family, we are so happy they came all the way to see us!
We started off on Friday at the Stillwater River. Even though we’ve been several times this year, the beauty always amazes. The water was quite a bit lower this time though.
After our walk at Stillwater and a dip of our feet in the river, we stopped at Montana Jack’s for lunch. Yummy as always! We learned the co-owner/chef is from England and he and his wife will be heading back once the restaurant is closed for the winter (October – April).
Following lunch, we headed home intending to have a nap. But, we didn’t really have time, so we headed to town. On our way, we hit a huge downpour. It rained/hailed an inch and a half in fifteen to twenty minutes. Talk about a flash flood. We took shelter at the gas station until the storm lightened up and then we headed to Sam’s for happy hour. Our aim was to stay for a short bit and say hello to everyone, but as usual, that turned into over an hour. Dom & Tabbie are wonderful conversationalists and have been tons and tons of interesting places (Turkey, Botswana, Italy, Charleston – all in the last year, I believe!). I know everyone in Red Lodge will be asking when Dom & Tabbie are coming back!
We peeled ourselves away and headed to Bearcreek for the pig races and dinner. We all got a pig at one time or another but tradition held and only JR won! I believe he is now 3-1 at the pig races – not bad! At least one of us won.
On Saturday we got ourselves up early and headed into town to pick up four wheelers rented for the day.
From town, we drove the four wheelers right down Broadway:
We drove to the Lake Fork turnoff and took a “road” I never even knew was there!
Dom and I agreed that we weren’t certain we should be on the trail with the four wheelers:
Wait – isn’t that what we are driving? JR said that was a car so we just went with it!
Along this road, I kept thinking, “Wow, this is the perfect place to see big wildlife.” We were the only ones around, it was still early, and we were surrounded by thick trees and a flowing creek. I thought we would see a moose for certain. Then I realized we were riding on gigantic noise machines and any nearby wildlife would be headed for the hills before we ever saw them! I was still hoping though.
We turned and went up, Up, UP and UP to Hellroaring Plateau, “a vast, top-of-the-world alpine tundra lying above 10,000 feet atop the west wall of Rock Creek Canyon in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness” (courtesy Robert Stone’s “Day Hikes in the Beartooths”). I honestly can’t believe anyone would ever drive a car up this “road” which looks more like a dried up creek bed.
Heading up the road, we stopped to sample raspberries Tabbie spotted with her keen eye. The raspberries were sweet and tasty. I think I will go out in search of some more this weekend. Locals told me where to go!
During the climb to the top, we passed only a dirt bike or two and other four wheelers. So, we were taken aback when we got to the trail head and found a regular ‘ole minivan had successfully made the trek up the mountain! Holy cow! It must have taken them hours to get up there.
We walked around a little bit on the plateau. We were walking up a slight incline and were huffing and puffing like crazy (at least I was). For a trail with only 600 feet in elevation gain, the thin air makes it feel like more. I can’t wait to go back and hike to the lakes and watch while JR does some fishing. After a quick walk around, we sat down and had a picnic.
Then, we headed back down the trail and over to the Glacier Lake trailhead where we found our way to a flat place on Rock Creek and dipped our feet in. Ah, it felt really good on our hot, dusty feet and legs.
With all the dirt kicked up by our vehicles and those we passed, we were completely filthy. With dusty dirt in every crevice, on every strand of hair, up our noses, and in our ears, and looking like the trail-weary folks we were, we stopped back in town for a drink (Dom and JR) and some shopping (Tabbie & Jenny).
Then, we headed back home for a “sundowner.” Dom & Tabbie told us that when they were in Africa on a safari trip, every evening ended with a “sundowner” – conversation, a drink, and watching the sunset. We are using the term daily now! The sundowner was followed by showers (I haven’t had a shower that felt that good in awhile!), dinner, chit chat, and a few games of pool. I’m pretty sure Dom bested JR in games of pool over the weekend (sorry Sweetheart!).
Sunday gave us a leisurely morning, a last trip to town for a final bit of shopping and goodbye for now. We can’t wait to see them again. I have to say, they do travel right. They take their time getting to each destination and immerse themselves in local culture staying in small towns and quaint hotels and I imagine, making a lot of new friends along the way. We are glad to count ourselves as two of them!
“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”