Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Hike

Easter Sunday was sunny and mild, a prelude to the 'yucky' weather forecast for this week.  After breakfast, I decided a hike was in order and leashed up Amani to see how she would do on the trail with the prospect of meeting up with bicycles and other dogs.

Spring has definitely sprung here, if only in a small way.  Trees are starting to leave out slowly and some of the first wildflowers are up and blooming.

One definite advantage of where we are living is we are near to the dozens of trails Helena offers in the nearby 'hills'.  I started out on what is the 'Waterline Trail'.  I was introduced to this last week by KE and decided it would be a good trail to revisit as we only did a portion of the trail.

I had it to myself for most of my hike, only passing one guy on a bicycle and then at the end meeting up with a couple and their two dogs.  I have to say Amani did well.  She wasn't bothered by the bicycle or the dogs (they were my main concern).

I had let her off her leash as she only would go about 10-20 feet away and then stop and wait for me.  I think she will be going on the next Helena Hikers hike to see how she does.

But at one point the trail forked.  I could go down and follow the road back to town or I could go up.  I choose UP!  Shocking, I know, but I figured I could use the challenge of going uphill and I wanted to see where it would lead.

A few switchbacks and hills later and I came to an open area on "top" and Helena was splayed out below - so near, yet so far.

The rest of the hike was downhill, so to speak and we ended up close to where we started.  

Another sign spring is here...

My first robin.

Now I am jazzed about exploring all the trails Helena has to offer basically outside my door.  And Amani can come too.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

First 2016 Hike - Spokane Hills South Trail

One thing I am loving about Montana is you don't have to go far to find a great hike.  In this case, just a few minutes up the road.  And my first hike in 2016!  And the 200th hike for the Helena Hikers!!

Between moving and broken wrist and cold weather, I have just been a slacker the past year.  So I was glad when our leader, Don, posted this hike.  It was an "E" hike (easy and even), versus an "S" hike (steep and strenuous).  A great hike to get my feet wet, so to speak.

The parking area is next to this farm.  Very pretty and the view was a great inspiring start to the hike. However, while the temperatures we knew were going to be cool cold, the wind was blowing about 30-40 miles an hour (or stronger).  But the sun was out and when we could get away from the wind, it was great.

With view like this, what's not to like.

As we walked on around, views of the Missouri River appeared.

Unfortunately, this area was hit with a forest fire a few years ago and there is still evidence of the damage.

As we reached the point where we were going to turn around and come back, we met up with some other hikers who were cutting across country.

They weren't too friendly, but they could cover some ground quickly.

Views like this make the huffing and puffing and cold worthwhile.

We turned around and headed back, especially since we could see these clouds moving in and a flake or two falling.  A couple of the guys went on for another mile or so, but the rest of us turned back.

I really enjoyed this hike and is somewhere I will probably bring Lady K for a bit of a hike.  Probably not as far as we went, but somewhere there is a level road, few hills and little difficulty.  And maybe one of the dogs too.

Great hike, great day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Montana was a hotbed of dinosaur activity at one time it seems.  So when Lady K hit the 'dinosaur' phase, it seemed like a no-brainer to go to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.  Monday (President's Day), Texter was off from school and I was off work, so we loaded up with Lady K and her "Sara-tops", along with a friend who offered to drive, and off we went.

"Big Mike" greeted us upon arrival, much to Lady K's amazement.  Then the fun started.

There were several of her favorite "sara-tops".

Lots of big teeth.

More big dinosaurs.

This was the only one she was scared of, strangely enough.  But Mommy was there to protect her from the 'shark'.

Dinosaurs overhead too!

Personally, I think Texter was enjoying it more than Lady K.  Of course, her new glasses might have helped.


Little dinosaurs too.

A stop at the planetarium, of which Lady K lasted until about the final two minutes and then Mommy had to take her out.

The museum was between exhibits, so we really only took in the dinosaurs - which was about the limit on Lady K's patience.  A trip to the museum store yielded "stompers" and a dinosaur passport.

The passport, which is similar to the one for the national parks, means more day trips around Montana this summer to see more dinosaurs.

In the meantime, we can "stomp, stomp, stomp" around the house.  And wear them to bed.

After the museum, we decided to explore some of Bozeman's shopping experience (of which there is really none in Helena) and found the mall for some retail therapy.  One thing I like about Bozeman, which I have noticed in several cities and towns around Montana, is they utilize the electrical boxes in a very artistic manner.  Why have plain, green, ugly boxes, when you can have them look like this...

This one is more realistic, some have abstracts on them.  But isn't this much more fun?

Bozeman is a relatively quick trip (about 1.5 hours away with a stop at Wheat Montana for a ham and cheese croissant).  Now I know where the Olive Garden is located and the mall, there will be more trips there.  And probably the museum again in the summer when their Living History outdoor section is open.

In the meantime, we will "stomp, stomp, stomp" and roar!