Friday, July 24, 2009

Hiking the "M"

As we are trying to do "Bozeman things" this summer, I'm happy to report that Emily, David, Duke and I hiked the "M" today. For non-Bozemaneers, the "M" is a large letter M, made of rocks, on a mountainside for all of Bozeman to see. It represents Montana State University, I suppose. We started out about 11:00 on this very warm day, and needed to have Emily to work at 2:00. No problem. There are two routes to the "M", the Steep Route and the Gradual Route. Well, since this was our first time up, we decided to take the Gradual Route. Or so we thought. We quickly tired and opted for the "short cut" which actually was no shortcut at all. See, at some point up the Gradual Route Short Cut, we got off the beaten path. Not a good idea, especially when we couldn't even see the "M". At one point Em and I were crawling on our hands and knees up the mountain. Dozens of times I wanted to quit and thought "This is really far enough for my first time". To which Emily would reply "Come on Mom, we can do it!" After approximately 75 minutes of climbing, we DID make it to the top. The "M" is a little disappointing, just a pile of white rocks, but the view of the Gallatin Valley is breathtaking. As was the climb up! Next time we are sticking to the Gradual Route up. I'm sure we'll get there quicker!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth

We had a fabulous day today, "floating the Madison". The Rads invited us weeks ago and we've been looking forward to this ever since. We left town about 11:30, driving about an hour to reach our put in point. The clouds were threatening, and the weather was cool, but the Rads had rented the rafts, by cracky, and we were going! We boarded the two people rafts, towing a food raft. Now, Carla had said she was bringing finger foods. I interpreted that as being snack foods. You know, cheese and crackers, granola bars, apples, and baby carrots. My bad. I had forgotten that you can eat fried chicken, watermelon, sliced veggies, brownies, cookies, rice crispy bars, sunchips and pringles all with your hands! It was a wonderful floating feast.

Soon after finishing our finger foods, we floated upon a capsized canoe. Three "young people" were hanging onto the sides of the canoe, as were two very elderly people. One of the young gals called to us for help: "Could you help us? We have old people!" The young'ens had seen the canoe capsize and jumped in to the river to assist. Jim, Rick and Andrew also jumped into the water and headed to the capsized boat! Dylan steered us toward shore, where I jumped out and headed toward the place on shore where the capsized folks were heading. Those two "old people" hung on for dear life! I reached out for the lady who scooted herself up onto a rock. I asked if she was okay, and both her and her husband (I'm assuming!) were fine. They had lost their cooler, his life vest, her shoe, his hat, and maybe a hearing aid, but do you know that those two got BACK in their canoe, and headed down the river? I am sure these folks were near 80, and I thought to myself "Do your children know where you are?" Needless to say, I was concerned, but we never came upon them again, so I'm hoping they made it safely.

The sun finally came out about 30 minutes before the end of our float, so we only got pink, and not fire-red sunburned! Whew! As we pulled to dock and scurried about unloading the rafts, Andrew saw a snake in the water. He's not a great fan of swimming with snakes, so he boarded the raft again...quickly! The snake was "more afraid of him than he was of the snake" or so they say, and the snake headed to shore where the Rad boys found great delight in looking at it. Really, it's a snake! They are long, slimy, and God cursed them for a good reason. What's to look at? No wait, Dylan wasn't content with just looking at it, and picked it up. In his hands. For all of us to see. The closer he got to the snake-hater Keenas, the further we moved back. After sharing the holding with Ty, they let him go. To wherever snakes go after they are traumatized by humans.

Sounds like a great day, doesn't it? And it was! And of course, we forgot our camera. But it all really happened! Thanks, Rads, for a wonderful Fourth. Oh, and next year, Carla, I'm frying the chicken!