Wednesday, September 7, 2016


August 22-September 11

I am going to post the finished trip, but the rest of the hiking pictures will be added in a week when I have time in Bandon to do so!

Monday, 8.22.16
Baker City, OR to Wallace, ID
357 miles

            We are starting to get this trip down to a science!  We found this little RV park in Wallace, away from the freeway and right next door to a great little pub.  No noise, a gurgling creek behind us to lull one to sleep, and good eats.  Price is a normal $30 which is a little steep considering we don’t hook up water or sewer for just the one night, but it works!! 
            So….to get here.  We left at 7:15am with granitas in hand compliments of the gift certificate from Colliers last December!  A thank you for the tie dye birthday party!  I love these kind of payments!  Rick drove us up and over Tollgate and into Washington.  Tollgate is actually shorter than taking the freeway, although not faster!  Definitely more relaxed and scenic without the trucks!  I had found a new shortcut through Walla Walla that let us avoid the downtown section.  Slick route!!  (Myra Road!)
            We stopped in Dayton to gas up at a Cenex tucked off the main road – cheaper gas by 10 cents a gallon, but not drinks!  So we stopped at the Chevron for a drink.  I take over the wheel driving. 
            Driving up the wheat fields of Eastern Washington – Wow!  What a change from June when the fields were lush and green!  Now it is golden yellow in every direction.  What isn’t wheat is lentils and dried peas – a little darker in color, but not much different!  We saw combines at work harvesting, but many of the fields had already been cut.  The lines are always a treat as they follow the contours up and around the hills. 
            We stopped at one of the first Rest Areas in Washington on the road from Colfax up to Spokane.  Ate lunch.  Switched drivers again.  Shortly after we began seeing smoke off to the northeast.  A little Google search later in the day and we find there is a fire south of Spokane, started by a downed power pole.  Wheat fields are burning, the farmers racing to overturn the stubble to slow the spread.  Fortunately most had already been harvested.  Another fire north of Spokane, and a third west of the city made for some smokey air as we past through the city. 
            Another gas stop in Post Falls, ID (we like to make it to ID if possible because gas in WA is about 20 cents a gallon more expensive!)  The air slowly clears as we wind past Lake Cour d’Lene, over Fourth of July Pass, and into Wallace. 
            We set up the trailer and then walk into town for a little leg stretch and a possible Happy Hour dinner.  But we don’t find a place to eat at, so back to the City Limits Pub where we enjoy an excellent meal! 

TUESDAY, 8.23.16
Wallace, ID to Somers, MT
149 miles

            Brrr!  It cooled down nicely last night!  A brisk 46 in the trailer this morning.  I started questioning whether we should have brought the heavier sleeping bag, but that was hard to think about when it was 90 degrees in Baker as we packed up! 
            We spend a lazy morning since we only have a three hour drive ahead of us!  Finally leave around 9:30 and head up over Lookout Pass and into Montana.  Of course, then it is instantly an hour later as we enter Mountain Time Zone!  Still a lot of construction on I-90 over the pass as they continue to lay concrete down for the road base. 
            We stop at St. Regis to grab some coffee, and then through the canyon toward Plains.  As we near Plains, we notice smoke again.  It appears there is quite a fire raging over near Thompson Falls.  Gas in Plains, and as we head north from Plains the smoke in the Hot Springs area is thick – you can smell the smoke.  Not good.  (Later Google search reveals the fire has been burning since the 31st of July and is at 21,000 acres.  High winds are fanning things up.)
            We pull into Genia and Steve’s house around 2pm MT and park the trailer on the north side of the garage as per Steve’s email!  We find the power cord Steve left out and plug in.  Not going to worry about water.  We’ll try to limit our potty stops!  Showers tomorrow night at Rising Sun! 
            After set up, we take a walk into Somers, less than a mile away.  We hoped to eat the little café, but we find it is closed – open only for breakfast and lunch.  L  I ask around and find Dell’s just around the corner.  It is the local bar, but we find it has great burgers.  I have a wonderful Mushroom Swiss burger!  Probably my monthly quota of beef consumption, but it was good!  Rick said the same of his cheeseburger! 
            Back to the trailer to think through our packing for the next three days.  Around 7pm, Stephanie finally arrives home from work – later than normal but she had extra parties show up that needed service.  She said Steve and Genia were driving to Boston this week!  Boston!  They left Bozeman Sunday morning and arrived in Boston today.  Wow.  Will be back in Somers by Sunday night, ready for Steve to greet us all at the job site on Monday morning!
            Quiet evening as we are leaving early tomorrow morning! 

WEDNESDAY, 8.24.16
Rick Continental Divide Hike!
Ginger Drives Going to the Sun Highway! 

            What a day!!  We pulled out of Somers around 6:30am and took the back way over 82 to 35 and then 206 to come out on the east side of Columbia Falls.  NO traffic!  A stop for gas and coffee and we are bound for ‘The Loop’! 
            We get to Rick’s trailhead at The Loop (just 7 miles from Logan Pass on the Going-to-the-Sun Road) and Rick is on the trail by 8:15 – heading out on a 12 mile trek that will take him up about 3000’ to Swiftwater Pass (past Granite Chalet) and then down the Swiftwater drainage to the end of the trail near Many Glacier.  Up and over the Continental Pass and from the west side of Glacier to the east side.  This hike has been on his ‘bucket list’ of Glacier ‘To Dos’ for a couple years now. 
            My job for the day?  Take the truck from The Loop up and over the highway to St. Mary’s and then up to Baab and in to Many Glacier to meet Rick!  The regular park shuttle service only operates to St. Mary’s.  We heard there is a private service that will take you from Many Glacier down to St. Mary’s, but it wasn’t very cheap! 
            It takes me 40 minutes to go those 7 miles!  Traffic was extremely light from the other direction which was great on this narrow road.  I only had to pass three more cyclists.  But….for the first time I pulled over on many of the turnoffs and read the Exhibit signs and admired the view!  Once we are driving to this section we usually never STOP! 
            By the time I got to Logan Pass the clouds were swirling all over and parts of the pass area were socked in.  I never got a good full view of Clements Peak or Oberlin, and Reynolds was totally in a cloud.  It was COOL and chilly!  Spent some time in the gift shop and trails, but most of the wildflowers are past.  Apparently an early fall predicted because the bears are very active already!  Trails past the Hidden Lake Overlook were closed, Highline Trail (the premier trail in the park!) was closed due to a goat kill and bear family feeding on it all week right on the trail.  AND Iceberg Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel trails were closed due to active bears on trails in the Many Glacier region.  So I quickly checked with the ranger to be sure that Rick would be able to get down Swiftcurrent Trail, which is the OTHER Many Glacier drainage.  No problem.  OK! 
            The east side of Going to the Sun Highway isn’t as narrow and I leisurely drove down, still stopping to take pictures and admire the sun hitting the mountains from the east and the shifting clouds.  Warmer on this side!  I parked overlooking St. Mary’s Lake and wrote out some cards to mail in Baab.  Drove thru the fire burn from last summer on the north side of St. Mary’s Lake and checked out the Rising Sun area, where we are staying tonight.  Noted all the fireweed in the burn area was at its peak a month ago – now just a dull mauve pink tint.  Must have been beautiful. 
            I stopped at the St. Mary’s Visitor Center briefly, but there isn’t that much there.  A good display on the Native American cultures that called this area the “Backbone of the World”.  Picked up my very own Senior Pass for the National Park System at the entry station (just to guarantee I could get back into the park at the Many Glacier entry!  And because I have wanted to get one!)
            I then drove out to the Historic 1913 Ranger Station just off the highway at the east end of the lake.  Checked out the buildings and had a little snack while I gazed out over the valley and mountains.
            Quick stop for ice and a little salad for lunch at the grocery store in St. Marys.  Didn’t see the flag for a post office so head on up the road toward Baab.  I pulled over at a viewpoint overlooking Lower St. Mary’s Lake and ate my salad.  Then on up to Baab, found the post office, and headed up the Many Glacier Highway.  In Baab you are only about 15 miles from the Canadian border. 
            The road hasn’t gotten any better going in to Many Glacier!!  Paved, but section of broken pavement and chuckholes.  Cows on the side of the road.  Sherbourne Lake is low, as it is drawn down every summer for irrigation purposes east of here. 
            I drove up to the Many Glacier parking area – what a zoo!  Parts are blocked off because of construction, a horseback crew is operating in part, and it was impossible to find a parking place.  I finally paralleled in front of a RedCab Tour car, only to see the No Parking sign 25’ in front of where I parked pointing in both directions.  I ignored it, and when I got back 30 minutes later, 4 other cars had joined me, one RIGHT in front of the sign!  Mostly I just wanted to take a couple of pictures from down near the shoreline.  I never went into the Lodge. 
            Arrived at Swiftcurrent Inn at 1:35 and found a parking spot in the shade just across from the trailhead.  I set up my camp chair in the back of the pickup and worked puzzles and drew pictures until I heard a familiar voice singing ‘You Are My Sunshine!’  Rick had arrived!!  Whew! 
            I drove us back to St. Mary’s and to Rising Sun, where we arrived just at 4pm which is the posted check in time!  All in order and we find our room on the back corner of the Store Units, with a window looking out toward Red Eagle Mountain.  The rooms here were all re-done this spring, so in great shape.  Simple, no frills (no air, no micro, no TV, no phone, no wifi) but comfortable!  The National Park lodgings are really working toward sustainable and recyclable materials and products.  Even our pillows were made from recycled PET plastic! 
            Lazy evening as Rick recuperates!  We dine on our standard dinner of fine cheese, fake crab, artisan bread, and two bottles of wine!  (I still have MOST of mine left for another night, can’t say the same for Rick!)  I wandered around the area abit after dinner to explore and discovered the Evening Program at the campground is Thinking Like a Bear.   Rick decides that sounds interesting enough, so we wander over at 7:30.  And it WAS interesting!  (Bear bells don’t work, no bear attacks in hiking groups of 4 or more reported, make human noise!  Bears are as individual as people in their temperament and behavior.)
Rick’s Hike:  (Edited from his accounts.)  Left the Loop at 8:15.   Followed four mules up from The Loop.  Got to the Chalet with its 2400’ climb in about two hours.   Ate huckleberries up underneath the Chalet.  The Highline trail has been closed for five days due to a goat kill and bear activity.  Trail was steep leaving Chalet toward the Pass, but then a more amicable climb.  Top of pass grassy and broad.  Wildflowers of yellow and purple.  Dropping down the other side was STEEP and rocky.  Considerable elevation loss in the first mile or two of descent.  Passed Swiftcurrent Glacier to the south.  Out and around a narrow ridge and then DOWN  rocky hillside.  Great views of the waterfalls coming out from the glacier ledge.  A deep teardrop shaped lake came as a surprise, nestled under the flanks of Mt. Wilbur.  As the trail leveled out, the string of lakes that mark Swiftcurrent Valley opened up before me.  At Bullhead Lake saw a cow moose laying down and soaking up the sunshine.  More lakes and meadows, waterfalls, etc.  Fun bridge sign that indicated One Hiker at a Time.  Thought it was a joke until I got on the bridge!  Redbud Falls near the end of the trail.  Arrived at Swiftcurrent Trailhead at 2:45pm.  Twelve miles in 6 ½ hours.  Total elevation gain of 3000’ and loss of about 3500'.  

THURSDAY, 8.25.16
Waterfall Hike at St. Mary’s Lake

            A chilly, but beautiful morning!  Rick thought he heard rain during the night, but I didn’t see much evidence as I wandered across the parking lot this morning to get our free cups of coffee from just outside the restaurant.  We brought our breakfast with us and by 9am at the latest were ready to hit the trail.  Since we were early, we decided to forego the shuttle and just drive the 5 miles or so back up to the St. Mary’s Falls Trailhead parking area.  Later in the day you can’t get a parking spot, but we didn’t have any trouble. 
            We have planned a more temperate hike for today with limited elevation gain or loss!  Just a good hike to stretch out Rick’s legs and protect my somewhat shaky knees.  Our destination is St. Mary’s Falls, Virginia Falls, and back, then down to Baring Falls and back.  Total around 5 miles. 
            We are hiking much of the time in the middle of the 2015 burn.  It is amazing to see how much green has come back.  I remember driving through here last fall just a month after the fire and seeing beargrass already growing.  The trail now is lined with beargrass, thimbleberry, harebells, fireweed, and other plants I couldn’t identify!  The trees are shedding their burned ‘coats’ of bark, revealing a stark white in contrast.  I wish I could have hiked this a month ago because the fireweed would have been spectacular, as well as some other colors. 
            First stop is St. Mary’s Falls with its deep blue-green pools of water and crashing series of falls.  This is often as far as many people get.  But we push on…
            …toward Virginia Falls about ¾ of a mile on up the trail.  Virginia Falls is a surprise because the creek is a whole series of mini waterfalls the whole way down!  Short drops of water going this way and that, through chasms, and over the beautiful red and green rock strata.  I called all these falls Ginger Falls!  More my style!  We climbed out of the burn to reach Virginia Falls, which was a beautiful tall drop of water – elegant and graceful, like a Virginia should be in my book!  Plenty of thimbleberries, etc around this area, although most are past and drying up.  Or the bears have already eaten most of them! 
            Because the trees in the lower section of the trail were burned, we were able to get views through the black spikes to the mountain peaks to the west – the Continental Divide peaks surrounding Logan Pass area.  Right to the north of us was Going to the Sun Mountain at 9,000 feet. 
            As the morning edged toward noon, the trail got quite busy with the shuttle dropping off hikers, the boat cruises dropping off hikers, and everyone else who drove themselves in!  We hiked back to the cut-off up to the car and then headed on down the lakeshore trail to Baring Falls, near Sunrift Gorge – another ¾ of a mile away.  Baring Falls tumbles out of Sunrift Gorge and then on down to the lake.  Sat for abit on a log grabbing a snack, and then back up the trail to the truck parked at the trailhead.  A good morning! 
            Back at the inn around 1:30 for a lazy afternoon.  I catch up on my journal and photographs.  Rick reads and does crosswords.  The skies darken and the wind begins to blow and it even gently rains for a bit.  After a repeat dinner in the room (no artisan bread however!) we take a short walk down to the picnic area and the lake, enjoying the cool air and the swirling clouds dancing on the mountain peaks. 

FRIDAY, 8.26.16
Settling in to Rocky Mt. Hi RV

            It is a beautiful morning, so we get going shortly after 8:15, hoping to get to Logan Pass in time to get a parking spot!  Stops along the way, however, to take a few pictures, as this is the first time we have driven in a westerly direction in the morning hours with the sun at our back on this side of the park.  Such beauty around every turn! 
            Logan Pass is already a zoo, but we get a parking spot!  The Highline Trail has reopened, so hikers are everywhere.  The trail will be like an LA freeway today.  Yesterday the pass was busy with the visit of the US Interior Secretary to celebrate the 100th Birthday of National Parks.  While Rick gets an answer to his question about Mt. Oberlin, I stroll around the wildflower path again and get some awesome pictures of Mts. Reynolds and Clements. 
            On down the road, most of the traffic heading uphill rather than down!  We are glad to be getting out of the mess, but still appreciate the beauty of all we see.  Finally down to Corum and a chance to stop for breakfast at the Trapline Café – a favorite little diner we have stopped at before.  Rick orders breakfast and since it is now 11:30 and I had eggs already today, I have a wonderful salad.  Good meals. 
            Down the backway again to Tartaglino’s where we hook up the trailer and within 15 minutes (which included some visit time with Stephanie!) we are back on the road heading up to Rocky Mountain Hi RV park.  Shortly after arrival we run into Diane and Tom and find Dick and Charlene just arriving also from a grocery run.  Beckie and Bruce, CAV recruits from last spring, are already here (having stayed in Montana all summer!)  After a quick visit, we promise to catch up more during Happy Hour at 5! 
            All set up, but because we arrived early we are in one of the pull through sites, rather than our back up to the fence position.  Guess we can handle it, but not quite as private out my back window this way!  But not sure we want to particularly want to pack up and move on Sunday just to have the fence spot! 
            Relaxation and a phone visit with Mom and Mac, Happy Hour visits, and early to bed.  Wifi is very spotty tonight – location worse?  Or maybe more due to the fact the park is very full and band width usage is very high!!  SLOW!!! 

SATURDAY, 8.27.16 – SUNDAY, 8.28.16
Doin’ Nothin’ Time!! 

            Let’s see….what DID we do this weekend??? Besides sit around the campground, relax, read, draw, and chill.  We went to Walmart on Saturday for groceries.  I drew lots of pictures and made postcards from them for Genia plus to mail out.  Diane and I went to JoAnn’s fabrics to take advantage of the coupons I had.  Happy Hour Saturday night.  We were joined Saturday by Jim and Tina from Nevada and Rusty. 
            Sunday morning Rick and I moved from Site 79 across the road to #72 which backs up to the hayfield and the mountains.  Much more private for our open back of the bed.  Rusty is right next to us.  Then I went down and did the laundry.  I drew more pictures.
            Highlight of Sunday was our annual trek to Costco, courtesy of Diane Hinkle!  We stocked up on granola bars, and all sorts of snacks.  New socks and some tie dyeable towels. 
            The rest of the gang rolled in this afternoon and we are 18 in number now.  Hopefully Steve and Genia are arriving home safely this evening. 
            Happy Hour/Meeting and a 65th Birthday greeting for Bruce.  I made a card which everyone signed and a fake candle which we put in one of the poppyseed cakes I had.  Diane bought a big apple pie to round out the treats this afternoon.  Tomorrow we go to work!! 

MONDAY, August 29
Day 1 CAV Build
            It’s a hot one!  In the low 90’s today, but cool enough this morning for everyone to have a light jacket or extra shirt on!  (And the So. CA folk were really bundled up!) 
Davidson's house we will be working on.
            We meet at the job site at 8 and have a lengthy introduction time, then Rick’s devotion, and finally Steve breaks us into our jobs.  It doesn’t look like the rock work will be ready in time for Diane and I.  Sad.  Rick is asked to go up on the roof.  Surprise, surprise!  There is sheathing left to be finished.  Another group is sheetrocking in Davita and Ben’s house.  A group is formed to finish the form work and re-bar for the front sidewalk and the rest of the back sidewalk, hopefully for concrete to pour on Wednesday!  A small group is finishing the sheathing on the second floor to be ready to put the last of the trusses up.  And finally…the group I volunteered for….to dig the 16” trench around the base of the foundation foam and install the skirting.  It was dirty and hot work, performed by three women, ages 47 to 78!  I am sore tonight from using a crowbar as a pickax to dig my way down and loosen the soil (and rocks, chunks of cement, and masses of dried grass roots!) 
Digging the trenches
            By the end of the day, we had our trench dug, the skirting material laid out in the inside of the house.  Rick made progress up on top and worked on some fascia boards also. 
Rick and Kenze
            Potluck Welcome Dinner tonight with Erin and Katy present, plus Davita, Ben, and two kids, and EJ and Marias and Ethan.   Jennifer had to work L and Davidsons stopped by the job site at noon to meet with Vicki, but had other commitments as well.  Good time to relax after a first day and visit with homeowners. 
            Back to trailer to make a quick visit with Mom and Mac and catch up on her doctor’s appointment and then CRASH for the night! 

TUESDAY, 8.30.16
CAV Build Day 2
Rick rafter hopping
            Looking at Vitamin I (ibuprofen!) again tonight!  Whew!  In and out working amid the scaffolding today made for a tougher job.  We left the clear side in the shade for when it got a little hotter, but by the time we got that far, Speedy Steve had put up scaffolding ALL along the west side.  Ugh!  Oh well, our crew, with occasional help from Diane, got all the skirting up and nailed in, except for about 25’ – we ran out of roofing nails!!  So will finish up by break tomorrow hopefully and be ready for our next assignment. 
Skirting installed
           Rick literally hopped from one rafter to another all day long – they had to fix some errors made last week in order to do their job, but they made progress, even if not obvious! 
            Jennifer, Mahrias, and Ethan visited us today during lunch.  Ethan asked Rick to play football with him.  Pretty cute!
            Steve had to leave early today to take Genia to a doctor appointment, so we slaved away all day without him!  He checked in with each group before he left! 
            I walked down to Kearney’s house after work to check with Angela on a tie dye date.  Was thrilled to be greeted at the door by one of the young boys with a ‘Ginger’!!  I have invited all the homeowner families to the tie dye party as well – it could be interesting!!  Hopefully I will have enough dye!!  We are scheduled for 4pm on Friday afternoon. 
            Quick showers today and 6 units of our group head up to Whitefish for the farmer’s market and a visit to the brewery.  It was a zoo in town!!  We had to drive all over to find a parking space.  Paula and Rick were following us, as we had taken them past the Columbia Falls Habitat street.  Sad to find one of the homes has been repossessed – owners got caught up in drug scene according to Katy.  We all ordered nachos at the brewery and had a good time together.  Ice cream at the Farmer’s Market after we visit Katy’s GreatFish Challenge booth. 
            A warmer evening as cloud cover is moving in, plus the smoke has been bad, still from the Thompson Falls wildfire. 

WEDNESDAY, 8.31.16
CAV Build Day 3

            The last day of August!!  Last night we had an intense, but short thunderstorm roll through.  Some long rumbles of thunder, brilliant flashes of lightening and about 5 minutes of a good rain.  By 5am, the stars of Orion were again over the mountains.  As we pulled away for the job site at 7:30, the sun was just pushing over the top of the Swan Mts – a bold orange in color. 
            So….it took us until the end of the day to get our job finished with the skirting!  First we got reassigned to help with the concrete pour, as did Rick, Tom, and all the original concrete form crew.  This was my first time to help with FINISH concrete.  We shoveled to level, and then I did quite abit of work on the edging, first the rough cut, then the final one.  Learned a lot about concrete!  We poured the second half of the driveway, plus both the front walkway and the back sidewalk from the driveway up to the house.  All concrete is now poured at the Davidson home. 
            Then we started to get back to our job, but Steve asked the gals to move some lumber.  They worked on that while I cut our last few pieces and installed the ones I could.  But the 10’ sheet I absolutely had to have help to hold in place while I nailed.  We finally got done after lunch!!  (And then I didn’t even help very much because Steve pulled me away for a moment ….I thought he had a job for me, but in reality it was because Genia had just made a delivery and he wanted to make sure we got a chance to say hi!!)  So…Paula finished the hammering end of the skirting! 
            Rick felt like the roofing crew made good progress today, and we started to put the foam on the outside of the house.  Steve made a reference to getting things ready for the stonework, so MAYBE we will have a chance next week to at least get it started! 
            So, a long day again on my knees a lot, but not nearly as dirty as yesterday! 
            Happy hour and then a trip to JoAnn’s with Diane and Paula to pick up the shirts for Angela.  Beautiful sunset with another orange ball.  The smoke was really bad this afternoon – you could barely see the outline of the mountains to the east and west of us. 

THURSDAY, 9.1.16
CAV Build Day 4
            Another thunderstorm last night around 1am!  Goodness!!  Not as much lightning, but a little rain and a few rumbles.  
            Crisp morning and we have TWO devotions and a group video clip with Katy before Steve arrives!  But we are doing good work today!  Rick is back up on the roof with Tom, while Steve eventually gets to my current ‘team’ of Paula and Leigh to start wrapping the front of the house with the blue DOW vapor
barrier.  We start, but find only 7 linear feet on the roll.  Steve says he will order and have a roll delivered.  In the meantime, however, he has another job for us!  We set up a cut station, find discarded 7/16” sheathing and begin to fill in the holes between the rafters above the exterior sheathing – by nailing into the two boards there, everything is locked together tighter.  Tom sets me up with a power coil nailer, as it was disruptive to the boards to be pounding with a hammer and I couldn’t get my hammer in the tight space very well anyway!  I worked up on the scaffolding nailing, while Leigh and Paula cut to my measured specifications.  We finished up that job just AFTER lunch! 
            Prior to getting started today, Katy pulled me aside for a video clip interview for the web site or Facebook Page.  Agh!  But she said I interview well!  It was fun anyway! 
            Finally my crew gets back to the vapor wrap job – we manage to get over to the front porch by quitting time.  I was working up on the scaffolding stapling the high half while Paula and Leigh managed the roll and the bottom half. 
            Tom and Rick have just one section of the roof left to sheath, not counting the two story section which doesn’t have trusses yet!  But with the rest of the roof sheathed, they will at least have something to walk on to do the trusses!  The sheetrock crew has almost finished Davida and Ben’s house, the front porch has been built in front of Davidsons house.  Insulation is coming to Jen and EJ’s house on Friday! 
            We take Paula and Rick to the Honda dealership after work to pick up their car, try to buy some postcards – unsuccessfully, then back to the park.  Quiet evening – only a handful at Happy Hour.  I wash Angela’s shirts.  Weather on Friday is wet with thunderstorms predicted off and on. 

FRIDAY, 9.2.16
CAV Build Day 5

            A rainy day was forecast and it did rain hard during the night at times!  But…with the exception of a brief rainfall, we were able to work without hesitation all day long.  Paula and Rick volunteered to head over to the Re-Store since they had indicated they could use the help if we got rained out. 
            Leigh and I worked on the blue house wrap prior to break, cutting out the windows, etc. from yesterday’s efforts.  Just before break, when we were at the point where we needed three people, the homeowner, Mary, joined us.  She is delightful to work with!  And by lunch time we had wrapped all the front of the house! 
Rick makes concrete cuts
            After lunch (which was excellent pizza provided by Papa Johns!) we started installing the foam board on the front.  We ultimately got four panels up, with the windows cut out.  I was mostly working on the top scaffolding nailing the top section, while Mary and Leigh cut the window sections and nailed the bottom.  I figured it is Mary’s house, she can do the cutting! 
            Rick cut the cracks in the sidewalks today, plus worked up on the roof again to get the last of the sheathing down. 
            After work…back to the trailer park to get ready for the TIE DYE PARTY!  The weather held and we didn’t have more than about 10 drops of rain before the skies cleared completely.  Kiana Kearney arrived with the three younger Kearneys, then Jen Schultz and her four kids.  CAVs Tina, Becky, Diane, and Paula all tie dyed stuff, as well as Genia and Stephanie and Katy.  What chaos.  What fun!  The kids had a blast, went home with tie dyed hands, and excited faces!  I have no idea how many items were dyed – A LOT!!  When all the homeowners were done, I started dyeing some of the tool belts, etc.   We basically had very little dye left and I threw it out.  Becky can’t wait to start the wash out process tomorrow!  Most of the guys headed out to the brewery for the evening! 
            We are hiking tomorrow in the park – a change of plans since the weather forecast for Sunday was so bad!  So, after cleaning everything up, I grab a little dinner and prepare to head up the mountain tomorrow!  Agh! 

SATURDAY, 9.3.16
Highline Trail, Glacier NP

            Rain! Rain! Rain!  That’s all we heard during the night, including a major downpour just as we were getting up to leave at 7 for our hike.  Ugh!  Later got the email from Rick and Paula that they weren’t going to go.  We figured as such when the RV was dark and no one stirring!  So, our gang was down to 5 – Rusty, Peter and Wendy from British Columbia, and Rick and me.  We all piled into the Honda – thank goodness for those comfy large backseats! 
            Up to Apgar by 7:40a, but the last shuttle available only had room for 4 people, and we were a group of 5.  L  We ended up waiting almost another hour for our shuttle it seemed, but as Rick said, ‘God has something in mind for us!’  Up to Logan Pass, drifting in and out of clouds, more rain.  Limited views!  And when we got out of the shuttle?  BRRRRR!!!  It was 34 degrees or so and windy!!  We couldn’t see Mt. Oberlin and we couldn’t imagine hiking fully exposed to that wind the entire way.  Wendy would have frozen to death!  (She doesn’t have the insulation I have!)  We re-group and decide to take the longer Highline Trail back down to the Loop.  Not as much uphill climbing, but more downhill, and MANY more miles!! 
            It is about 10am when we head out on the Highline Trail, which will be busy on this Labor Day weekend.  The rain has stopped for the time, but the clouds are ever changing with the wind.  Fortunately, as we round the edge of the pass and get into the alcoves of the Garden Wall, the wind abates (for awhile, anyway!)  We find evidence of a recent freeze – the hellebore has frozen tops.  But we still find the last vestiges of a myriad of flowers along the way: paintbrush, fireweed, spirea, purple asters and fleabane, yellow composites, yarrow, beargrass, sulfur-flowers, pink monkeyflowers, cinquefoil, harebells, penstemon, and gentians!  Also a couple white flowers I am still working to identify! 
            You have to love the lush greenery, wildflowers, and frequent cascades of waterfalls along this trail.  Most of the streams were dry, but occasionally we passed one that had the musical melody of trickling water falling down the steps of the rocks.  And constantly the rock colors of red and green. 
            It rained steady for about 20 minutes along the trail.  Rick and I finally donned our yellow rainwear.   
            Shortly after the tunnel area, we spotted some mountain goats high on the cliffs above us.  And then Wendy first spotted what ‘God had in mind’ to use Rick’s terms:  a grizzly bear and her cub on the grassy hillside below us.  It was far enough away (although closer than the mountain goats!) that I didn’t panic – much.  She did move uphill at one point closer to the trail, but then turned and went back down a short distance and started digging. The cub was just frolicking in the grass all around her mama.   They were right below the switchbacks going up to the Haystack Butte pass, however, so you stayed right above the bear for considerable distance!!  The wind was blowing away from the mama but I am very sure she was aware of all the people watching from the trail above.  I have to admit I hightailed it past the end of the switchback closest to the bear in pretty much record uphill time for me!  Pretty exciting! 
            We stopped at the pass for a quick snack and I made my Inuk for Luke there, with a peak of the Garden Wall in the misty background.  Also shed my polar fleece shirt at this point, having gotten VERY WARM coming up the switchback!  The rain had stopped. 
            The 4 miles to the Chalet always seem much longer to me as we wind along the wall of the Continental Divide, the peaks several thousand feet above us, the glacial valleys of Logan and McDonald creeks far below.  We saw a couple of bighorn sheep shortly after our break right above us on the hillside.  Later, several marmots scurrying about the rocks. 
            About a mile before the Chalet, the rain started again, plus a little wind.  Wendy was blazing a good pace in front of us, the warmth of the chalet calling to her!!  Such beautiful meadows and vistas as you approach this 102 year old beauty set high on the ridge of the park.  I welcomed the outhouse stop!  Inside the main room, it was packed with wet jackets and people warming up, the tiny woodstove crackling with heat. 
            By the time we left just 15 minutes later, the sun was shining again for our 4 miles DOWN, DOWN, down to the Loop.  All of our knees were feeling it by the time we finished the hike – maybe because we were all 50+ years!!  We stopped briefly at the top to forage for huckleberries, having already sampled some thimbleberries earlier in the hike.  The bears have left a few!!  The trail passes through a thick forest of the 2003 burn, so the undergrowth is heavy, with the spikes of dead trees sticking up above.  The sun was out and it was steamy warm.  Peter finally stripped down to a t-shirt, and Wendy unzipped her jacket slightly!!  AND she had taken off the gloves we loaned her! 
            Down to the Loop around 4pm and we literally walked right on to a shuttle that pulled up with room for 3.  Wendy, Peter, and I climbed on board, with Rusty and Rick waiting for the new one that was on its way.  We were suppose to have to stop at Avalanche and transfer, but our driver was on his last run of the day and heading clear back to Apgar.  So….we stayed on!  I was able to pick up the post cards at the visitor center and we only had to wait about 15 minutes for Rick and Rusty to arrive. 
            We didn’t leave Apgar until 5:45pm, so any thought of stopping for dinner was nixed.  Both Rusty and P/W had dogs to get back to, and I had tie-dye to wash out!  Back to camp around 6:30…..tired!! 
            I gathered Becky, Diane, and Paula while I ate a little salad, and we headed down to the laundry to rinse out the tie-dye and get the laundry process started.  Then the three of them camped in the laundry chatting, while I got my shower, etc.  I finally left at 9 to crash, and they finished up the load by 9:45.  A little later than I had planned!!  But I sure appreciate the rest of them taking the lead for the laundry part. 
            A long day, a tiring day, but a great day!! 

SUNDAY-MONDAY, 9.4 and 9.5
            I wish I could say we did a lot the past two days, but it would be a lie.  I didn’t even get dressed on Sunday until 1pm or so.  I never walked any further than the garbage cans about 100 feet away.  Rick did the laundry Sunday afternoon and I ‘cleaned house’!  I wrote devotions and drew pictures!  We thought briefly about getting ready and going to church, but both of us were so sore and tired from the hike on Saturday that a morning spent in our jammies sounded good! 
            Monday wasn’t MUCH better.  A leisurely morning and then two outings: one for breakfast out and a fill of the propane tank.  (Rick discovered the tank was empty when he went to take a shower – no hot water!)  We had to go to three restaurants to find one open and not filled with people waiting for a table.  Ended up at Perkins because it was convenient.  It was crowded as well, but we had a good meal.  Then off to the mall area to find me a pair of New Balance tennis shoes (sorely needed!)  A successful venture at Sportsman SkiHaus.  Then a little grocery shopping at Walmart.  Back to made some family phone calls, write postcards (made some!), and listen to a thunderstorm and downpour of rain.  Hopefully we will get better weather tomorrow so we can build as necessary. 
            P.S.  My calves are still quite sore from the hike!  Oh well, I’ll live!  And it was worth it!

TUESDAY, 9.6.16
CAV Build Day 6

            Rain! Rain!  But….we managed to get a lot done today in spite of it!  In fact,  we kept Steve hopping to get materials to us!  Rick and Tom set up scaffolding to the fourth level in preparation for putting up the final trusses.  Others were building the partition walls for the upstairs rooms, final sheetrocking in Davida and Ben’s house, painting siding, while my crew was putting up more of the foam in front of the house.  We had to wait abit for Steve because he left the tool trailer keys in the wrong truck and had to go back to Somers to get them.  But we did a lot of measuring, etc. while we waited. 
            After break, the men started to help with the foam and putting up the tape at the bottom of the house in prep for the rockwork.  Steve had me start putting the tar paper and wire on the columns.  I WILL start rocking them tomorrow, while the guys finish the front so we can tar and wire it.  Diane is shifting from painting on Wednesday to help with the mortar.  I have my first row of rocks selected for the first column. 
            Steve brought more rock, sheetrock was delivered, and progress is being made!  Rick climbed scaffolding all morning so he got a good workout! 
            Enroute home we stopped at the Honda dealership to inquire about purchasing a new lightbulb for the front headlight.  Got a nice surprise in the price….just $12 and they installed it for free! 
Flaming my meal at Hu Hot
       Back to RV park to find no electricity and no water….hmmm guess that means no showers! Rats because we were slightly damp and just a little cold.  Evidently someone hit a power pole down on Helena Flats Rd and knocked out power to the area.  Guess the water is on a pump of some sort that needs power!  We decided to move up our departure time for dinner at HuHot Mongolian Grill to 4pm, which was a good move – not so busy!  And a warm place sooner than later.   All but one couple went and we had a great time, as well as a great dinner!  I’m full!! 
            Power back and we took some LONG hot showers! 

CAV Build Day 7

            Finally!!  Rock and mortar time!!  We have a very full crew today as our 18 CAVs are joined by homeowners Jen and her mom, Mary, Corey, and Mary’s grandfather.  And, of course, local Steve Maneras, plus local Jan from Whitefish.  Jan, however, didn’t really come to work, but just to say hi to all the CAVs she knows before she takes off on another trip. 

            Paula and Leigh finished up the wire on the second pillar while the rest of us gathered the supplies for the rock work, including running a hose over for Diane to mix mortar, tools, and setting up a table to lay out the stone.  Charlene came to help me, while Jen’s mom, Karen partnered with Mary.  Mary was excited to do one of the pillars for her own house!  I gave Mary a few pointers and we started to work.  By break we had two rows up and by lunch halfway.  Diane was mixing the mortar.  Paula and Leigh got diverted to another job, but they will put up the wire and tar paper tomorrow on the front wall. 
      Rick and Tom worked all day on finishing up the front wall in preparation for the rock board.  They will do the trim work tomorrow so I can get started working from the corner over.  While the wall is getting ready, I can start laying out stones! 
            After a lunch provided by McDonalds (bless them for their offering, but it sure would be nice if the fries were still hot when they arrived!), we finished up our pillars by quitting time.  Mary did a great job for her first efforts at stone work.  She should be back on Friday. 
            Happy Hour tonight is down at Leigh’s campsite with the fire pit.  We had a group of about gather, some scared away by the drops of rain falling right at the 5pm hour!  But it cleared off and was a beautiful evening! 

THURSDAY, 9.8.16
CAV Build Day 8
            Well, the house sure changed its looks today!  In spite of interruptions for rain and wind storms, the front of the house is completely prepped for rock work, the trusses for the top floor were installed, and a lot of smaller projects finished.  The sheetrockers moved from Davida and Ben’s house to Jen and EJ’s.  The mud man will begin work taping tomorrow. 

            Charlene and Diane were my stoner crewmates all day long.  It took awhile to get started as Tom and Rick had to install the top board, and then Paula and Leigh worked to get the tar paper and mesh installed.  Then…just as we got a few stones up, the skies opened and it dumped rain for about 10 minutes.  Tom called us all inside the house because the wind was whipping around as well.  I put two more rocks up and it was break time!  Agh! 
            Around 11:30, Steve got all the CAVs EXCEPT the stoner crew out to raise the trusses.  He patiently explained everyone’s job and then positioned people according to strength and ability.  Needless to say, Rick was up on top, along with both Steves, Tom, and Peter.  The first truss is the most difficult and Steve had the stoners move out of the way ‘just in case’.  (He didn’t need to tell me twice…if the truss had slipped off it’s intended board it would have chopped my head off!)  A steady wind didn’t help matters, but all went smoothly and the truss was positioned, leveled, and anchored.  After lunch, the remaining 11 trusses went up much more quickly. 

           Charlene and Diane worked much of the afternoon to finish off the corner.  They handled many rocks before finding what they wanted, but it got done.  Charlene even put them in herself, as I was busy trying to make as much progress as possible across the front.  We probably finished a total of about 7-8’.  Tomorrow Mary will be back and I will start her on the other corner.  Another training day as Mary will probably be finishing much of the rock herself!  Definitely a way for her to invest in her own home! 
            Showers and then a night out to Five Guys Burgers and Fries – a Give Back to Habitat night fundraiser.  The chain was donating 15% of all sales between 5 and 7pm to Habitat.  Davidsons and Shultzes were there in full
force.  Mary had all four kids, three sisters, a friend, plus her mom and an aunt!  Ethan Schultz told his mom that he was going to sit next to his football friend (Rick).  Mahrias shyly came up and asked to sit next to me.  Such great kids!  Jen pulled me aside for a moment and gave me a couple pictures she had fixed up: one with the family in their tie dye and another of Rick and I at work on the job.  So sweet.  We seemed to have made a connection with them!  (Probably since Rick took the kids to play at the park in June during Happy Hour!)  Vicki, family selection, was there with a new sign board advertising Habitat, and then Erin came to take over.  Katy was in.  Just a fun evening with some really good burgers!!  Made to order but fast! 
            Another cloud burst as we were leaving.  We stopped at Home Depot to pick up some supplies I wanted to donate to the affiliate just for the masonry work.  Talked with Luke about his job interview while I wandered the aisles! 
            Cooling down as the skies are finally clearing for the next few days.  One more day of work. 

FRIDAY, 9.9.16
Final Day CAV Build

            BRRR!!  Back in the thirties this morning, but a nice ‘mild’ 55 degrees in the trailer.  We are over at the job site, after witnessing a gorgeous sky over the Swan Mts east of park – rays of sunshine reflecting off the low lying clouds in the valley.  
       I have the devotion this morning and use my Tie Dye Habitat one, partly in summary of the huge tie dye party we hosted last Friday.  And then time to get busy…we have A LOT to do today!! 
            I meet Allison Ashley, the mother of the new partner family.  We met her husband and two daughters on Wednesday.  This was Allison’s first day to work and start logging their hours as new homeowners.  Their ground breaking ceremony will be in a couple of weeks, with the house to be finished by next September 30.  Allison was to work with Mary for the day, learning how to do the rockwork, under my ‘tutelage’.  Oh boy…my job today was to make sure they knew what they were doing and could carry on! 
        While I was waiting for Mary and Allison to arrive, I moved all the base boards, and Leigh and Paula finished putting the wire on the left corner in anticipation they would start there.  Not a big section to the left of the front door and we couldn’t work clear to the door since it hasn’t been installed yet!  They did a SUPER job and I will be excited to come next spring and see the finished wall. 
            On my side of the door, I worked from the middle of one front window to the end of the second – about 7 feet progress for the day.  Overall, about halfway across the front toward the door.  If I only could have started sooner…..:)  Charlene was amazing – she must be great at puzzles (in fact she said she loved to do puzzles!)  She would find me pieces as I asked for them….or first thing in the morning laid about 10 pieces out on the table that would fit into the empty space.  
            Rick spent the day putting up boards on the trusses that keeps them in plumb (overlooks or something like that!)  They make the eaves on the gable sides.  He also did considerable monkeybar agility efforts in taking down some scaffolding and moving it to a different location.  A little unnerving when they were working right above me! 

            Lunch was hosted by a local gal with a cake provided by Habitat.  All four of the current homeowners were represented as well as Angela, Kali, her boyfriend Dillon, and Kialani.  All were dressed in their tie-dye!  The rest of Allison’s family joined her, Davida and the two kids, Mary, plus Jen.  A good crowd!!  I gave copies of the Luke Scriptures to Mary, Allison, and Jen. 
            Back to work for just an hour and we laid as much stone as possible in that time!  Then a massive cleanup before Steve grouped us all together and said the CAVs were his favorite group and shared again what an impact we make. 
            Showers and Happy Hour, where we also enjoy visits from Katy, Erin, Steve and Genia!  Katy gives a reprieve of her ukulele Habitat song, we try out the Huckleberry Liquor that Jim and Tina offer, and celebrate Diane’s birthday!  I passed out the postcards for everyone to select one or two.  Leigh bought a Luke Scripture book!  
            Around 8pm, Tom came knocking on the door to say that Angela and Jason had arrived with the potato salad she had promised for Rick.  Amazing!  We went into Tom and Diane’s trailer and visited for over an hour.  After goodbyes, we split the huge bowl of salad and kept a big serving while the rest will go to Happy Hour tomorrow night. 
            Time to hit the sack! 

Link to all Build Pictures

SATURDAY, 9.10.16
Kalispell, MT to Baker City, OR
518 miles

            Yup, we drove the whole way home today!  We got away around 8:15 and just cruised.  Rick drove to St. Regis, I took us the interstate to Post Falls, Rick to Elgin, and I drove us home, arriving just before 6pm.  We bought gas in all four states!  The wheat fields are being put to rest for the winter, everything is gold and dry, but the skies were warm and clear.  In fact, it was in the 88 degree range all through Eastern Washington and LaGrande.  Much warmer than we anticipated leaving a chilly Kalispell.  Around Post Falls, when we remembered that we gained an hour heading west into Pacific Time Zone, we said ‘All the Way!’  I guess 500 mile days don’t feel so bad when you haven’t been driving for a couple weeks. 
            Home to find the yard is the greenest its been all summer, grass needs mowing, and tomatoes are everywhere!  GIANT round zucchinis, and three beautiful pumpkins!  Hallelujah! 

            PS.  Montana did give a great farewell….a gorgeous sunrise this morning which I will use to end my blog!