Friday, July 23, 2010
Montana: Paradise Found
The view from Blue Slide Road at the entrance to
the McDonald's property
We drove here to Thompson Falls in the early evening on Thursday. Most of the last 90 miles was on a good two-lane highway, mountains on one or both sides, a beautiful river running by the road. It was a spectacular drive.
Up in the mountains
My cousins live in a rural but easily accessible area west of Thompson Falls. It is still wild enough to support black bear and grizzlies. One home is in a meadow, the other is up a hill and surrounded by trees. Combined acreage is 25 acres. We are parked near the meadow on a gravel drive with 30 amps and sewer hook up. Life is good.
The days are going to have an easy rhythm to them. These are the kind of relatives everyone should, but doesn't have. They are all fun to be with, interesting to talk with and really fine people.
Diane McDonald, Sandy and Jerry McDonald holding Shadow
We all kind of did our own thing today, but also did a lot of interacting. Diane and Jerry McDonald stopped in around 1:00 so the four of us had lunch in our coach. Dinner was at six at the Meadow House and each of the three families brought dishes to share. Main entree was Sloppy Joes made from venison. Delicious.
The pool of water at the edge of Graves Creek Falls
Around 7:30 Sandy and I piled into a Jeep (no top) and Diane and Jerry each took an ATV and we went up into the mountains to pick wild huckleberries. Shadow, the Bejon/Poodle mix, rode behind Diane.
Top of the falls
We stopped at the headwaters of Graves Creek Falls, which is a hidden and isolated and breathtakingly beautifully primitive area. Unfortunately, there was no way I could get down to the base of the falls to take a photograph that would depict the beauty of the place.
The mountain road we were on is without a doubt the roughest road I have ever driven and I was amazed that the Jeep rolled through the pot holes instead of taking them with a sudden jolt. The three of us picked berries for about 30 minutes and collected just over a generous cup of berries. Sandy will make her famous scones tomorrow for breakfast. These will have wild Huckleberries in them. Interesting Note: Jerry pointed out bushes where the berries had been gnawed off, most likely by a bear. Next time we go picking we are taking our small air canister boat horn with us in case we encounter a bear.