Saying Goodbye

Mary Lorraine Thibodeau Marlow

Mary Lorraine Thibodeau Marlow (16 Dec 1924 – 18 October 2014)

Karen said it best in a post on her blog.

The photo is by our daughter, Melanie.

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A flash and a boom and a zzzzzzztttt!!

Early this morning, tumblr_mg4nrbqLpN1rw7jp7o1_500I was up and sitting at my computer as a line of thunderstorms went through.  We were in a severe thunderstorm warning and there was a lot of lightning and thunder, along with a rain and a brief period of small hail.

Then there was a flash and a boom — accompanied by a zzzzzzztttt about 18 inches in front of me…. and everything went dark!

We’ve only been home from our trip for 5 days and already we lost power.  Jeeze!

And we were the only house in our stretch of the road that did!

So I got my cell phone out and used the handy, dandy Entergy app to report the outage – then went back to bed.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTrFOZwQK9CYpITVuO5we7mURtcdIhTVKoyDw6kTIYsDSWJE_yMMwThere must not have been many outages in this area last night.

It couldn’t have been more than a couple of hours before there was a bucket truck at the end of the drive.

Normally – sheesh, we’ve lost power to the house often enough that I can describe the normal process – the fuse at the top of the pole is replaced using a “hot stick” to lift the new fuse into place and then close the circuit back in.

It’s a very quiet operation that I probably would have slept through.

Not this time, though. It wasn’t the normal simple fix.

The weather was warm enough that we had some windows open and the sound of the truck and the equipment on it was enough that I woke up after about 15 minutes at 4 am, according to Karen.

The sounds were not that loud, for the most part, by the time I woke up, but they were not the normal night time sounds and I couldn’t get back to sleep.  And the lights from the truck were certainly not what we have out here in the country that early in the morning.

My assumption was that the lightning strike had taken out the transformer.

When the lineman came up to the house to check out the meter, I went outside and talked to him for a bit.  As I thought, this time it was the transformer and it had been replaced.  He also told me that a major upgrade on a power line in our area would take a lot of the load off the main line that we are powered from, which should reduce the frequency of outages for us.  I had heard about the upgrade last spring and, last week, had noticed the work had started.

I guess we’ll see.  We’ve had too many power outages since last fall.

Oh, the zzzzzzztttt in front of me?  That was the DSL modem getting fried… again. The last time was just a few months ago and, along with the zzzzzzztttt, I also saw sparks inside the modem.

I picked up the new modem on the way home from the gym today – no charge.Open-mouthed smile

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Eruption at Bardabunga Volcano

This video is a montage from several drone Phantom 2 quadcopters flights and GoPro video cameras.  On one flight the hear was so intense that the camera lens started to melt!

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15 Halloween Picks

(Note: Sales from Zazzle and other internet income helps to fund this blog.)

Halloween is fast approaching. How about a selection of spooky Halloween products from Zazzle?

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Bears and Pole Bridge.

Exploring in and around Glacier National Park, August 28, 2014

With all the bears that we saw on this trip, there was only one that we didn’t get a picture of.  One of the previous two nights, just before we turned onto Apgar Road from Going to the Sun Road, a black bear started to cross the road in front of us.  We were already slowing down for the turn to go to the campground and another car coming from the other direction also slowed after seeing the bear.  The bear wheeled around and headed back into the woods before we had a chance to even grab our cameras.

Headed to the Pole Bridge area of Glacier, on Camas Road, we saw four more black bears, a sow and 3 cubs, crossing the road in front of us.

Black bears, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Black bears, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Black bears, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

After the bears went into the grass and woods next to the road, we were able to to get a few closer photos of the mother from the car.

Black bear, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

The route to Pole Bridge goes outside the park as the inside the park road is closed, at least when we were there.  Glacier National Park requests that all bear and mountain lion sightings be reported to them as they want to track any possible interactions with humans and intervene if needed. We reported the bears at the entrance station as we left.

I had reported the first bear to a campground host, telling him that it had been on the Going to the Sun road about to cross over the road into our loop of the campground.  While we were talking he told me that the night before, about 11 o’clock, the mountain lion was spotted in ‘E” loop, walking down the campground road.  That was the opposite side of the campground from us, but still…! He also said that a mountain lion was seen several days before in the campground with several cubs.

Meadows, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Cradled between the Continental Divide and Whitefish Mountain Range and located a mile from the northwest entrance to Glacier National Park is the electricity-free community of Polebridge. Made up of a handful of houses, cabins, a hostel and small ranches along the North Fork Road, the hub of this area is the historic Polebridge Mercantile and its neighboring Northern Lights Saloon—both powered by generators.  (Glacier Country Regional Tourism Commission)

Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Huckleberry bear claws and other assorted pastries – we got a couple of the bear claws for a morning snack. Open-mouthed smile

Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Northern Lights Saloon, Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Northern Lights Saloon, Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Once back at the campground, we decided to stick around the campsite for the rest of the day.  Our site was nice, except for a short period in the afternoon when a little extra shading was needed.

Apgar Campground,  Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

After supper, we walked down to Apgar Village and  had some ice cream.

Apgar Campground to Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Mountain Lion warning, Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Next: A hike to some falls.

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Hanging Garden Trail to Hidden Lake Overlook.

Exploring Glacier National Park, August 27, 2014.

When we took this trail with the kids back in the early 90s, it had been a lot earlier in the year and a good part of the trail was over snow fields remaining from winter.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

After seeing how difficult finding parking was the day before, we took the shuttle from Apgar.  When we got to Logan Pass, the parking lot was full again.

The trail begins on the west side of Logan Pass Visitor Center.  It has outstanding views, including alpine meadows and, often, wildlife.  The trail to Hidden Lake Overlook, the destination for most that hike it, is 3 miles round-trip, with an elevation gain of 540 feet.  The highest elevation reached is 7152 feet.

The trail is rated as easy.  However, that rating assumes good physical condition.  People out of shape or unused to the elevation may well have difficulty.  We saw a few people having difficulty.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

After the snows melt, the ground in this high alpine hanging valley – a valley carved out by a small tributary glacier that joins with a valley carved out by a larger glacier – is covered with colorful wildflowers, thus the name for the trail, Hanging Garden.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

We saw several hoary marmots along the hike.

Hoary Marmot, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

I spotted our first mountain goat on this trail at the top of a snow field remnant.

Mountain Goats, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

We saw more a little ways up the trail on cliffs on the opposite side of the hanging valley.

Mountain Goats, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

There were quite a few mountain goats.  As they moved down the rocks, more appeared.  Unfortunately, I left my camera in the wrong setting and most of the photos I took are badly over-exposed.  Shooting RAW format, though, lets me recover some of the detail that would be lost shooting JPG.

Mountain Goats, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Mountain Goat, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

We got to the Hidden Lake Overlook just in time for lunch – mine was trail mix (nuts, fruit, and chocolate), though I had granola bars and peanut butter crackers along as well.  The image below is a panorama created with my iPhone.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

A lot of other people were there when we were, eating their lunches or snacks and taking in the scenery.  The trail is one of the most popular in the park, but, for the most part, we didn’t have any issues with overcrowding.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Another mountain goat showed up along the trail not long after we started back towards the trail head.

Mountain Goat, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Below, part of the eastern stretch of Going to the Sun Road and, in the distance, St. Mary’s Lake.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

At the visitor center, while I was waiting for Karen to get back from the restroom, I spotted a bighorn ram and ewe about 50 yards or so to the east.  By the time Karen got there, there had disappeared into the trees.

Bighorn ram, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Bighorn ram and ewe, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

On the way up in the morning, we had to transfer to a smaller bus at Avalanche Creek.  In the afternoon, we rode the same bus all the way to Apgar.

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Going to the Sun… and back.

Exploring Glacier National Park and nearby – August 26, 2014

We planned to drive Going to the Sun Road, stopping along the way for pictures.

Going to the Sun Road runs along the south side of Lake McDonald.

Lake McDonald, Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Lake McDonald, Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Near the end of summer, the mountain streams are still flowing strong, but are nowhere near what they can be during the spring melt and runoff.

McDonald Creek, Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

When we came to the “first” tunnel, I remembered that there was a tunnel that had viewing windows cut into the side.  It turned out that this was the only tunnel on Going to the Sun.

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

More images from the drive up the west side of Going to the Sun Road.

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

We were planning to stop at the Logan Pass Visitor Center.  As we approached the entrance, though, Karen spotted a sign that said that the parking lot was full – and it was, with no spots opening up as we cruised through a couple of lanes.  Karen need to use the restroom, so I kept driving around, hoping to find a spot.

No such luck.

A couple of very popular trails, with branches to other trails, start at the parking lot.  We were interested in taking one or two of them and decided that, if we did, we would take one of the free park shuttles so that we wouldn’t have to worry about trying to find parking.

Not finding a parking spot, we headed on to the east, down the Going to the Sun road to the St. Mary’s side of the park.

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Soon after we crossed the pass, we ran into road construction – and it lasted almost all the way to the St. Mary’s area!

After going several miles on it, we decided we would drive around the outside of the park on the south and not go back through the construction.  Before leaving the park, though, we had a picnic lunch and took a short hike along the north side of St. Mary’s Lake.

St. Mary's Lake, Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Our route outside the park took us above Two Medicine Valley and Lake into the town of East Glacier Park.

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In East Glacier Park, we stopped at Glacier Park Lodge

Glacier Park Lodge is located just outside the boundaries of Glacier National Park in the village of East Glacier Park, Montana, United States. The lodge was built in 1913 by the Glacier Park Company, a subsidiary of the Great Northern Railway. It was the first of a series of hotels built in and near Glacier National Park by the Great Northern to house visitors brought to the park by the railroad. (Wikipedia)

(The following image is from Wikimedia)

Great_Northern_Wing_Glacier_Park_Lodge_MT1

Glacier Park Lodge was intended to be a signature building. The lodge is built around a three-story lobby measuring 200 feet (61 m) by 100 feet (30 m), lined with Douglas-fir columns 40 feet (12 m) tall and between 36 and 42 inches (91 to 106 cm) in diameter. Each column was brought in by rail from the Pacific Northwest because trees in Montana rarely grow so large. A total of 60 such trees were used, with Douglas-fir in the lobby and cedars for the exterior. The logs in the main hall are detailed with smaller logs at their tops to resemble the Ionic order. The lodge was loosely styled as a Swiss chalet akin to other lodges built by the Great Northern between 1913 and 1917. The original structure contained 61 guest rooms, the lobby and the dining room. The addition housed another 111 guests.

The huge timber for the hotel arrived at the site by rail in April 1912, specially cut before the sap had risen in the trees to ensure that the bark stayed attached.  (Wikipedia)

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The community of East Glacier Park and the Lodge are situated in the Blackfeet Reservation. Two metal sculptures  near the town welcome visitors to the Blackfeet Nation.

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2014-08-26 130 -1

Next up: Hidden Lake Trail

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North to Glacier.

Travel day to Glacier National Park; August 25, 2014

From Missoula, we headed north through the Flathead Indian Reservation and along the east side of Flathead Lake on our way to the Apgar Campground in Glacier National Park.

Missoula to Glacier National Park, August 25, 2014

The sky was clear and crisp, with a cool breeze when we stopped at an overlook on a hill south of the lake.

Flathead Lake, Montana, August 25, 2014

The GPS routing took us on the east side of the lake, away from the more heavily traveled route going to Kalispell on the west side.  The road traveled close to the lake most of the way, with a few opportunities for pictures.

Flathead Lake, Montana, August 25, 2014

Flathead Lake, Montana, August 25, 2014

Once we got set up in our campsite – the best one thus far in the trip! – we went to Apgar Village, a little commercial area inside the park near the campground.  We were familiar with the area, having camped at Apgar in the early 90s and in one of the rustic cabins in the summer of 2001.

Rustic Cabins, Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

The campground and village are on the western end of Lake McDonald, with often interesting and stunning views of the lake and the mountains across the water.

Lake McDonald from Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

Lake McDonald from Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

After supper, we walked back over to Apgar Village.  Along the way, we made an error and took a “trail” back that wasn’t the trail we intended to use.  It really didn’t have any signs to indicate that it was a trail , though there was enough traffic over it to keep plant growth down.  We only took it once.

Trail through wood to  Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

On one of our later walks to the village, we talked to a couple not too long after  they had an encounter with a mountain lion.  With their two small dogs, they had been walking toward us and, while they were a distance from us, I made a wise crack to Karen about “bear or mountain lion bait.”  As we were about to walk past them, some comment made all of us stop and start talking.  They told us that they had been on the other trail (the one in the picture above) and something made the man look behind them, where he saw a mountain lion following them.  He said that he had yelled at it and it drew back; then he threw a stick and it ran off.  I admitted to them that I had made a little joke about “lion bait,’ and they agreed!  They assumed that the mountain lion was following, hoping for a chance at the little critters with them.  After the cougar was chased off, they carried the dogs the rest of the way on the trail.  They also had informed park rangers of the encounter.

Mountain Lion Warning at Apgar Campground, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

Lake McDonald from Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

Lake McDonald from Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

Next up: Going to the Sun and back again.

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Rained out… with the possibility of snow.

Sitting it out in Missoula, Montana, August 23 and 24, 2014.

It rained all night – and the forecast was for more rain, with the possibility of snow at higher elevations, like the campground we were in, so we decided to leave a day early and wait out the weather in an RV park in Missoula.

Camper van on the interstate east of Missoula, Montana, August 23, 2014

When we stopped for lunch at a rest area along the interstate, the temperature had only made it to 50°F.

It actually stopped raining by the time we got in the RV park and rained very little during the time that we were there.  Because of the forecast of rain and, possibly, snow at our next destination, we stayed in Missoula two days before venturing north.

The RV park was fairly good, with more space between sites than some we’ve been in.

RV park,  Missoula, Montana, August 23, 2014

Next up: we head to Glacier.

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So we went for a drive and ended up in a ghost town.

Exploring Montana, August 22, 2014

Pintler Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Highway, Montana, August 22, 2014

It starred out pretty cloudy, with rain threatening.  We lucked out, though and had a pretty good day exploring without getting wet.

We came across a small cemetery in the Garnet Range.  There were only five buried in the Sand Park Cemetery, all hard-rock miners, between 1898 and 1914.  According to interpretive displays at the entrance to the cemetery, little is known of them other than their names and when they died.

Sand Park Cemetery near Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

A little further down the road was an old 1940s fire warden cabin and, off to the side, the remains of an 1890s stage stop cabin.

1940s fire warden cabin near Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

1890s stage stop cabin near Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

We were surprised to see a wood stove, firewood and some meager supplies in the fire warden cabin.  It looks like it’s set up as a short time emergency shelter.

1940s fire warden cabin near Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

1940s fire warden cabin near Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014 1940s fire warden cabin near Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

A few more miles and we arrived at our destination, Garnet, Montana.

Mining started in the Garnet Range – named for a a semi-precious mineral found there –  in the early 1860s, but it wasn’t until the 1890s that significant mining came to the First Chance Creek area.  Between 1890 and 1895, 40 lode claims were filed in the First Chance Mining District.  In 1895, a ten-stamp mill was built in First Chance Gulch and the town of Mitchell was founded, later renamed Garnet.

Ghost town of Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

Road construction started that year eventually connected Garnet with Bearmouth and the Northern Pacific Railroad.

Ghost town of Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

Shortly after the stamp mill was finished, a small “boom” began when a rich vein of gold ore was discovered in the Nancy Hanks mine.  Miners poured into the small mountain town.  Four stores, four hotels, three livery stables, two barber shops, a union hall, a butcher shop, a candy shop, a doctor’s office, an assay office, many miners’ cabins, thirteen saloons and a school with 41 students soon graced the town.

Ghost town of Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

Eager miners and entrepreneurs built quickly, with no planning, resulting in a haphazard village where most buildings stood on existing or future mining claims.  With the haste of boom-town construction, cabins and many of the commercial buildings had no foundations.

Ghost town of Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

The boom was short.  By 1900, most of the veins had played out.  Five years later, many of the mines had been abandoned and the town’s population dropped to about 150.  A fire in 1912 devastated the small business district and the US entry into World War I drew most of the remaining residents away to war-related jobs.  Cabins were abandoned with furnishings still intact, as though residents were gone on vacation.

Ghost town of Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

In 1934, gold prices were raised from $16 to $35 an ounce.  With the higher price of gold, and new extraction and refining technology, a new wave of miners moved into cabins and began reworking the mines and dumps.  The population, by 1936, had grown to 250 residents.  During this period, a number of new cabins were built.

Ghost town of Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

The onset of war in Europe drew the population away again.  Wartime restrictions on dynamite made mining almost impossible.  The post office closed for the last time in 1942.

Ghost town of Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

Souvenir hunters soon began stripping the town after the last hardy residents died or moved away.  More was taken than readily removed loose items.  Doors, stained glass, woodwork, and even an oak bannister and spindles from the Wells Hotel disappeared.

To protect what remained, the Bureau of Land Management and the Garnet Preservation Society secured title to properties with the goal of protecting, stabilizing, and eventually interpreting the historic site.  (Some property remains in private ownership.)

Leaving Garnet, we continued along the route we had been traveling.  One of the volunteers had asked us which way were leaving.  When I told him, he asked what we were driving.  I told him, “a Honda CR-V,” and he said we shouldn’t have any problems.  Apparently, some folks had driven over that part of the road in vehicles that weren’t appropriate.  He mentioned that one guy in a Cadillac had “not been happy” with the road.

Unpaved road  between interstate highway and ghost town of Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

The route turned out to be another very curvy mountain road.

Unpaved road  between interstate highway and ghost town of Garnet, Montana, August 22, 2014

Except that it got very narrow, to the point that it would be difficult for two vehicles to pass.

And then we meet another vehicle – something like this one, maybe a few feet shorter, but just as wide:

Rental RV, Class C

They were coming uphill and we were going down.  I don’t know what the narrow mountain dirt road etiquette is for this, but I figured it would be easier for me to back up that it would be for them.  It wasn’t fun.

Once we were at a point where they could get past us, I rolled my window down and we told them that they should consider turning around when they got to a spot where it was possible, that the road didn’t get any better for several miles.   They said that they had seen a sign saying “No RVs” but thought it was for a a different branch of the road. I think their accent was German.

Next up – Rained out.

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