Friday, March 30, 2007

Planning 2007's hikes

This morning I cleaned up the remaining debris from where the tree branch went through my garage roof. Then I returned Tony's camera and ended up chatting with Tony and his wife for over an hour. Tony is part of a movement to build an ice skating rink in Kalispell for the kids who play hockey.

Since I would be driving part of the hiking group from Bill's house to Joyce's ranch I cleaned my car by taking a water hose to it. I air dried the car as I drove to Bill's house. I was running a couple minutes late and everyone was in the driveway waiting for me.

Joyce's driveway is no longer a sheet of ice. But a few frost heaves were present and I hit one hard. A red flag was stuck in the road marking the other one and I drove around it.

Everyone was there by 2 pm. Joyce, Sue Ann, Gary, Bill and Marianne, and Arnie and his wife. Marianne and Arnie's wife don't hike much but we convinced them to join us. They were slower hikers but the group waited for them.

The hike was NW of Joyce's ranch on the same logging trail she and I cross-country skied less than a month ago. We only saw snow in one small area. The rest of the road was dry.

A beautiful day: clear sunny blue sky and no wind. The temperature was around 50 F.

On the top we could see north across Flathead Valley to Big Mountain and the Whitefish Range, and east to the Swan Mountain Range and then as it went SE. From this height we could see over Teakettle Mountain by Badrock Canyon and into the many mountains in Glacier Park. All the mountains are topped in white and the Glacier mountains especially so. Gorgeous, gorgeous view.

An Ecuadorean multi-millionaire owns a lot up here. He drilled a well some years ago and it went 720 feet down before striking water. He still hasn't built a house.

Gary used to live in the area and we could see his former house below. Gary has a gold washing machine that he built on the lot his ex-wife owns. One of Gary's hobbies is panning for gold. Instead of swirling the gravel in a pan he uses the machine to shift and shake the gold loose. He hasn't done this for a few years, but when he does it again he promised to take me along. Once I realized he has done this I added this to my imaginary "things to do before I die" list. Mining for gold would be fun.

We took a shortcut back to Joyce's house. Down the side of the mountain through the trees. I found a couple of interesting rocks - and you know me - ended up carrying them down the mountain back to my car with the larger rock balanced on my shoulder. Earlier I had found a full un-opened can of Pepsi on the logging road.

Joyce's calf, who had a broken leg from another cow stepping on it when the calf was a newborn, has healed and the cast is off. He walks well. We saw a few mama cows and baby calves in a pasture. Cute little calves!

We returned at 5 pm. 3 hours of hiking. Marianne and Arnie's wife survived, but I am sure they will sleep well tonight. Not bad for ladies in their 70s and 80s.

The ticks are out and many people kept finding ticks on their clothing. Arnie and I wore dark clothing and were the least affected. Arnie ended up with one tick and I had none. That makes me suspicious as some people had many ticks on their clothes. Even after the hike was over, and while we were inside eating, Sue Ann and Gary each found a tick in their hair. Am I missing my ticks?

After our return it was time to eat. Joyce had sloppy joes made from beef they raised. Joyce also made the whole wheat buns from scratch. Arnie and his wife brought a salad and another dish. Bill and Marianne brought two homemade pies: apple/cranberry/pecan and a gooseberry pie made from gooseberries that grow in Bill's yard. Both were delicious. Joyce kept bringing me more sloppy joe burgers until I was stuffed. Gary and I are the single guys in the group and the women like to keep us well fed.

Gary is taking dancing classes through the local community college's adult education program. He finished the class on jitterbug dancing and is now taking a class on two-step dancing. The classes are equal number of men and women and are limited in size to the number of men taking the classes. He is having fun and claims to have two left feet. The jitterbug group got along so well they are meeting informally now that the class is over and will get together at Gary's house tomorrow night.

Arnie - at 81 years - went downhill skiing on Big Mountain a few times this winter. If you are 80 and over you can ski for free on Big Mtn.

After everyone was full from the meal we got down to picking the hikes we plan to do this year. In the summer we will try to hike twice a week. Everyone had hikes they wanted to go on and at times it was chaos trying to decide what hike and when. Complicating matters was some people's vacations and not scheduling at that time a hike they really wanted to go on. I have several people planning to visit me this summer but no firm dates so I didn't have much to work around.

I got a few of my suggested hikes accepted. The rest either are new to me and therefore trails I want to do, else trails I have been on and would welcome doing again.

We have our long planned "Bowman Lake to Goat Haunt and into Canada" hike planned for July 6. This is a 22 miles over the Continental Divide and one we have been talking about doing since last year.

The group will also hike the Gunsight Pass trail again. Part of the group hiked this 20 mile trail over the Continental Divide last August and enjoyed it. I missed this hike and I've always wanted to do this hike, ever since 1991. I don't remember when we scheduled this hike... sometime in June or July. If you visit me that day, plan on either hiking 20 miles or using that day for exploring the Flathead Valley without me.

It was almost 8 pm when we broke up our meeting. Full from good food, good friends, and with a list of awesome hikes planned for this year.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

New cross country skis

Here is a photo of the cross country skis and poles I bought Sunday at the auction.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Glacier XC skiing

"We are what we repeatedly do."
Aristotle   Greek critic, philosopher, physicist, and zoologist (384 BC - 322 BC)

Tuesday morning Sue Ann called and asked if I could go cross-country skiing in an hour.  I had to rush to get ready then drive to Super 1 in Columbia Falls to meet Joyce and Gary at 10:45 am. Gary was back from his vacation that included a week long Caribbean cruise and extra time driving around Florida.  He said he had a great time.

During my drive to meet them I was delayed a little bit as a government official had stopped a dump truck driving north of my place on the road. I think the Spring road weight limits are in effect and I wouldn't be surprised if that is why the truck was stopped. The road is breaking up badly this year.

I was one minute late, and after waiting a few minutes, wondered if I had arrived too late. Five to ten minutes later Gary and Joyce drove up. After picking up Sue Ann, Gary drove us to Glacier Park.

We decided to ski on the Going-to-the-Sun road. This was the site of my first cross-country ski trip last year. The difference between then and now is that the snow is melting away. Because of the need to start repairing the Sun road damage from last November's rains the park has plowed 2/3 width of the road from McDonald Lodge to past the Avalanche creek area. We were able to ski on a foot of snow covering the right 1/3 of the road.

A few miles up the road we took the side road that went around the north end of Lake McDonald. The road was plowed to the bridge that crossed McDonald Creek. Beyond the bridge snow covered the entire road.

This road goes past private cabins along the lake's northern shore. These cabins pre-date the Park's creation. Priceless views of the lake from the north shore. And I mean priceless. Several of the cabins were large old log buildings that were well maintained.

Gary and Joyce were hungry so we stopped and ate our lunch as we sat on a bench on the lake's shore. In the open we got a taste of the brisk south wind that came across the lake. The lake is still mostly frozen on its north half. We buttoned up our coats and put on hats to keep warm as we ate. Before we left I tossed a few small rocks onto some odd ice features and found the ice was slush. I tossed rocks onto what looked to be "regular" frozen ice and found this was also slush.

We continued west along the lake's north shore but after a while the snow turned to ice then to large areas of bare ground. We turned around.

On the way back we took a side trail and found a corral and a large log building. We didn't figure out what the building was for but it appeared to be barn-like.

Before we returned to the bridge Sue Ann and I decided to check out the McDonald Creek trail. The trail was narrow and went up and down. Sue Ann decided the effort wasn't worth it.  We caught up to Gary and Joyce at the bridge.

McDonald Creek was rising from the snow melt and was higher than when people visit in the Fall.

Back at the Sun Road we met the jogger who started out around the time we started skiing. He was returning back to the cars. He had jogged a few miles past Avalanche Creek. 9 miles one way.

We continued on Sun Road as we wanted to reach where the road goes along McDonald Creek. The water was roaring nicely.

Joyce had turned around to head back and Sue Ann skied to join her. They were well ahead of me when I began back. No sign of Gary. Strange. I doubt he fell into McDonald Creek, but where was he?

When I finally caught up to Sue Ann I learned Gary had twisted his back earlier and had already returned to his pickup.

Back at the pickup we ate some of Joyce's orange nut bread and some of Gary's homemade fudge balls. Yum!

As we stood around the pickup's tailgate and ate a person driving by stopped to talk. Earlier in the parking lot, before we left for skiing, I had seen a car with Minnesota license plates. What's up?! Every time I visit the park I see a vehicle with Minnesota license plates. Sue Ann confused that car with this car and thought this person was from Minnesota and questioned him why he was here. It turned out he was from Wisconsin and today had driven from Boseman to the Flathead for sightseeing.   He picked a poor day as today was a mix of sun, wind, 40s F, and rain/sleet/snow.

Later we took a vote as to whether the Wisconsin person was a man or woman. A close vote had the person be a man.

As we drove back along Lake McDonald we saw wind driven whitecaps on the parts of the lake free of ice. We came across a van heading deeper into the Park. Another vehicle with Minnesota license plates! I can't escape them.

We only skied for three hours and estimated we had covered 6 miles. After my previous ski adventures with the women, this felt like a light-weight adventure. I didn't fall once, though one time when we standing still looking at the mountains and creek I almost toppled over.

This probably will be the last ski trip of the season as it is harder to find decent snow to ski on.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Patrick Creek XC skiing

Thursday I went cross-country skiing yet again. Man, what a great life I have!

Sue Ann arrived at my place at 10:30 am. After loading her skis into my car I drove us to Joyce's ranch. Sue Ann was leery about driving on Joyce's long driveway.

Sue Ann being Sue Ann talked a mile a minute during the drive to Joyce's ranch. Once I drove on Joyce's driveway Sue Ann stopped talking. The driveway was a thick sheet of ice most of the way. The temperature was still below freezing so the ice was hard and slick.

I drove slow and kept the car's tires in the shallow frozen grooves where previous vehicles had traveled. A few times the back end of the car started to slide sideways. I have a front wheel drive car so the sideways sliding wasn't because of my driving. I kept the car on the road. Sue Ann was quiet as mouse as I drove.

Once we reached Joyce and Edley's house Edley started their pickup and we loaded all the skis, boots, and poles into the pickup bed. The pickup was a crew cab so Sue Ann and I rode in the back seats.

We drove to Kila, MT then on Truman Creek road. On the map below find "Truman Creek" then continue right on the road until the white square. That was as far as we had Edley drive. By now the road was a single lane forest service logging road.

Even though the road had been plowed it was covered in a few inches of hard snow. Edley had driven a logging truck for several decades and was used to driving on these types of roads. Still, we didn't know when another turn around opportunity would come about.

The weather was great when we set out. With the mountains and trees we didn't feel any wind. The temperature was near freezing and the sky would alternate between sun and clouds. Occasionally it would snow, sometimes heavily with large snowflakes. When it snowed I would get my cap out of my backpack bag and put it on. Otherwise my hair would get all wet.

It was a little disappointing that the road was plowed. At times we skied in wheel tracks, other times between the wheel tracks. The slope was gentle and on and on we skied and climbed.

We stopped for lunch at a creek that ran year round. Someone, years ago, had built a square wooden box several yards in diameter and a yard or so deep. From the creek they had built a wooden trough to catch the creek and lead the water into the box. A drain must have been under the box which led the water under the road. An old weathered wooden sign was by the trough saying "Dedicated in memory of ___, Brian, and ___". The blanks are a male name and female name (remember, I am terrible at remembering names! ). We took off our skies and sat on the box and ate our lunches and admired the mountain and valley views.

As we climbed higher we could see to the south and see the north side of the Blacktail Mountain ski area with four or so runs clear-cut out of the forested mountainside. Those north runs looked steep!

We also skied past some side roads that were gated to prevent motorized vehicle traffic. The locals who travel these roads are not happy about this. When their kids were young Joyce and Edley had ridden snowmobiles over these roads and mountains. That is banned now too.

I stopped and checked one gate to see how it works. This one wasn't locked though it was closed. The locking mechanism is inside a round metal cylinder. I guess that would make it harder to break open.

Near the top we found recent logging activity, which was the reason the road had been plowed that winter.

At the mountain top the road was no longer plowed. I was ahead of Joyce and Sue Ann. As they ski downhill faster than me (due to my crashing), I decided to start down the other side. We had started skiing around noon and it was near 4 pm now. Edley was to drive up the Patrick Creek side to meet us between 4:30 and 5 pm.

Even though the road had not been plowed here someone had driven the road and left deep wheel tracks. I tried to ski between the wheel tracks. There was only an inch or so of new snow and the snow below was hard and somewhat icy. I quickly gained speed. Not being able to steer well I dropped my left ski into the left wheel track. I found that this uneven stance was worth it as with my ski in the wheel track I was able to stay on the road and not go off and down the mountainside.

Sometimes my right ski would also drop into the wheel track. Even though the tracks were made by large tires I found it hard to ski with my legs so close together. Crash! Other times my left ski would be in the wheel track but my right ski would want to go right. Crash!

I would pick myself up and the moment I stood upright I would take off down the mountain again. Not that I wanted to, but the skis wanted to go. Whoa!!

After several more crashes I came to a place where the road split. I was sure the correct road was to the left but as this was a relatively level area with views of part of the valley and logging road below I stopped and waited for Joyce and Sue Ann. After about five minutes they caught up to me. They had noticed I had crashed a number of times. They admitted they had also crashed a few times.

As we continued down the mountain Joyce and Sue Ann skied ahead of me. The road was more torn up as more vehicles had traveled this far - some not wisely as it looked like they had gotten stuck - which "tore up" the snow even more. It was hard at times to find a good area to ski on. Sue Ann cursed the rednecks who stupidly drove up here.

Once we skied over the remnants of branches where someone had lit a fire in the middle of the road.

I am heavier than Sue Ann and Joyce and on a smooth stretch I picked up speed. I could not slow down and yelled for Sue Ann to move to the right. She did and I got by her. Ahead Joyce was using her ski pole to try to get a full unopened car of beer out of the snow on the road. I somehow got around the right side of her and then I had a sharp corner to turn. My goal by now was merely to stay upright - to heck with steering. Finally I came to a flatter section and was able to stop without crashing. *whew!*

Joyce failed to get the beer can out of the snow as she accidentally punctured it with her ski pole and the beer sprayed out. No matter as none of us drink beer.

The road was flatter now and occasionally we actually had to work to move forward. On one corner I looked back to see Joyce fall over sideways in slow motion. Even the best fall.

We noticed fresh vehicle tracks in the snow. Someone had driven up then back down the mountain.

The road again quickly went down the mountain and with my faster skis I again took off like a bat out of Hell. This time I tried to ski on the right side of the road as the left side had few trees to stop me if I went off the road and over the mountainside. I found skiing with my right leg in the wheel track and left leg higher was harder for me to do. More crashes! For these crashes I was traveling pretty fast so it took a while for me to stop sliding.

After a half mile to a mile I found Edley sitting in his pickup on a turnaround point. I made it - though I crashed again when I saw Edley and tried to stop. 

I had my skis off and in the pickup by the time Sue Ann then Joyce arrived. We made it!

We think we had skied about 10 miles in 5 hours. I guess it was 6 miles up one side and 4 miles down this side. We skied to where the words "Patrick Creek" are on the map.

It was a long drive down the mountain side. I was glad Edley was driving as the road was steep and icy in many spots and slipping over the side of the road would not have been good.

We passed private land mixed with national forest land. If the loggers don't plow the road to do logging the locals have to plow it. The county doesn't plow these roads.

A long ski day, but a rewarding day. I expected to be stiff and sore the next day between my crashes and my efforts at keeping my legs from doing the splits as I skied. But I felt pretty good the next day. I guess I am getting in shape for skiing.

While the map shows a break between the Truman Creek road and the Patrick Creek road, they actually are joined together. Also the place where the Patrick Creek road splits is not shown on the map. Joyce said that road eventually goes to Lakeside.

On the map:
  • white = private land
  • light green = US Forest Service land
  • dark blue = US Fish & Wildlife Service land
  • light blue = Montana State Trust land (to be used for schools)
  • pink = Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks land
  • dark green = Flathead County land
  • yellow = Plum Creek Timber company land
  • orange = FH Stolze Lumber Company land


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

More xc skiing near Joyce's ranch

Tuesday I went cross-country skiing again as I had recovered from being stiff and sore from last Friday's skiing. And as the temperatures the past few days were near 50 F the snow is melting! Ski now or wait till next winter!

I skied with just Joyce this time. Sue Ann wanted to ski up the North Fork and didn't want to drive across the Valley to Joyce's place. As it is calving season (4 more newborn calves the previous night), Joyce wanted to stay closer to her ranch and not drive across the Valley to go to the North Fork. I like both women, but as Joyce had skis for me to borrow and Sue Ann doesn't, I skied with Joyce.

As on Friday we started our skiing at noon. Because of the warm weather we did more walking across much of the snow-free pasture than skiing. On our return we took a route across the pasture that had more snow. The reason for the snow - trees. No trees: little snow. Trees: snow. No good choices. At least the cattle weren't in this pasture so I only had trees to avoid.

Once again I climbed through the barb wire fence with the skis on my feet. Again Joyce had to untangle the barb wire from my shirt. When we returned back through the fence I ended up sitting down after getting one leg and my body through the fence - otherwise the skis wanted to take off downhill with me on them before I was through the fence! Straddling a barb wire fence on skis is not a good thing.

We took the logging road W/NW up a different mountain. The temperature was warm, the sky mostly clear, and the sun was warm so I quickly took off my coat and skied in a flannel shirt. I had brought a small backpack to carry some food and water and now my coat. At the mountain top I found I had sweated and soaked my shirt under the backpack. Boy, did that feel cold when I stopped skiing!

This area is part of the area that had been logged 10 or so years ago. Some trees, some open areas. In one area with more trees, the inner part of a bend, were the old remains of a settler's log cabin. Only the bottom half dozen logs remained of the walls. The cabin was located in a great spot. The mountain bent around from NE to the South/Southeast and the view was to the east across the Valley to the Swan Mountain Range. Gorgeous!!! Joyce said the remains of an old saw mill were across the logging road and up higher in the draw.

Nearer the mountain top a large pine tree fell across the logging road and over the side of the mountain. We had to find a way across and through the tree. I snapped off some of the branches as I passed over the tree so when we returned the crossing was much easier.

We stopped below the mountain top. The logging road curved SW and up higher. From here we could see over the north ridge into Flathead Valley and all the way across to the Big Mountain ski resort and the Whitefish Range. The mountains were blue and white and the valley floor was mostly white. What a wonderful view!

Skiing down naturally was quicker than skiing up. But it wasn't as fast as Friday's ski down on the other mountain road. I think it was because the snow was melting and wet. Still I had my number of crashes. I am amazed my skis stayed on my feet. From how my shoes were bent sometimes I thought the skis would have come off.

I had mentioned to Joyce before we skied down that I was certain I would crash a few times. "Don't be a wus!" she jokingly told me. These Montana women are tough cookies!

At one point I had skied way well ahead of Joyce. When she caught up to me she joked how she seen signs of a bear rolling in the snow in the logging road. Ha. Ha. That was one of my spectacular crashes.

Once we left the logging road to cross through the forest and then across Joyce's pasture, I had the problem of avoiding trees. At one point I sat down to stop - else I would have done the stereotypical face plant into a tree trunk with my legs on each side of the tree trunk.  By the time I was done skiing my knees and butt were wet.

We estimated we had skied 5 to 6 miles. A great time. Last night I was a little stiff and sore, but I woke up this morning feeling great - not stiff or sore at all. Nor was I black or blue from my falls. I am surprised! And happy!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

XC skiing near Joyce's ranch

A 63 year old and a 71 year old woman kicked my butt Friday! Yes, I went cross-country skiing with Sue Ann and Joyce again. I had to work at keeping up with them. Montana women are tough.

In the morning Joyce called me to say that she and Sue Ann were going cross-country skiing at noon. Ah ha! Just what I need to get back to my Montana way of life.

The skiing would be from Joyce's ranch on to adjoining Plum Creek timber company land. I hadn't been to Joyce and Edley's ranch before. Their house and ranch buildings are at the back of their ranch and I must have driven a mile to reach their house. Their driveway is a single lane road and the snow had not been plowed as Joyce likes to cross-country ski on it to go get her mail. She said the road gets too icy this time of year when it is plowed. My car is low to the ground but I had no problem driving the road as I made sure to stay in the wheel tracks. I did have to slow down a couple times when I crossed cattle guards in the road.

Sun Ann was already there with her purple Geo Tracker. Joyce had made a loaf of orange and nut bread and we had a few slices and caught up on events since my return. The group had gone on a number of interesting cross-country ski trips while I was in North Dakota. Bill and Gary currently are out-of-state in warmer climates but after they return we have an interesting and challenging ski trek planned.

I borrowed Joyce's son's skis and this time I put the skis on the right feet. They didn't fall off either this time - no matter how hard I crashed.

We skied across a pasture and crossed through a barb fence and onto Plum Creek land. Joyce and Sue Ann took off their skis to cross through the fence. I didn't want to take my skis off so they held a strand of barb wire up as I awkwardly got each leg and ski through the fence. Joyce had to unhook the barb wire from my coat a few times.

A short ski up and through the woods and we were on an old logging road. Much of this area had been logged ten or more years ago. There were tall trees left here and there, and new trees were growing again, but we had open views as we climbed one of the mountains. On high we could see back to Joyce's ranch and open pastures. Beyond we could see to the Swan Mountain range and towards Glacier Park. The mountains were all snow covered in white. Extremely beautiful!

Our skiing was mainly climbing a mountain. Sometimes we had to angle our skis outward so as to not slip backwards. Other times it was more like walking with skis than gliding. The previous day's weather when I had sun-snow-sun at my ranch; at Joyce's ranch it was lots of snow. There was almost a foot of fresh snow to ski on. Fortunately it wasn't deep enough to make breaking a trail difficult. At least Sue Ann didn't complain as she broke much of the trail.

On and upward we went. On a switchback, when we stopped to look back at the Swan Range view, I got distracted by the view and fell over sideways into the snow. Joyce and Sue Ann got a good laugh. I was covered in snow. I brushed the snow from my pants and in the clear sunny skies quickly dried off. I also learned how to get myself up off the ground by using my ski poles.

Joyce's dog - Laddie - joined our ski adventure. Laddie is a Rottweiler with some German Shepard. She would bound around and around and put her nose into the snow and move it about searching for a mouse or something. She never found anything but kept trying. Occasionally Laddie would stand on the trail in front of us blocking our way, or she would stand on the back of our skis. That made skiing harder. I thought of my friend Rod back in North Dakota and his dog Buddy, and how they like to cross-country ski.

We had skied for two hours and estimated we had skied four to five miles before the logging road came to an end. After eating a few snacks, we turned around to ski back down the logging road. Joyce and Sue Ann were looking forward to skiing down. Me? I was so enjoying my surroundings earlier that I forgot to think that "what goes up, must come down". Uh, oh.

Sue Ann was in lead, then me, then Joyce. Going down was definitely faster than going up. I concentrated on staying in the ski tracks and to remain upright. I figured out that to help slow down I should ski out of the tracks and in fresh snow. I started to go faster and faster and moved entirely out of the tracks. The problem was that I am not good at steering. I made sure I skied on the up-mountain side and not the "over-the-side-of-the-mountain" side of the logging road.

My first fall was when I went too far on the up-side of the logging road and I had one foot way higher than the other foot and toppled over. I found that having fallen it is tricky to get one's balance again, especially when the area where I had fallen was steep enough that my skis took off as soon as I stood up. Joyce had a laugh as I had fallen a few more times before I got the knack of staying up again.

I let Joyce pass by. No sense slowing her down if I fell again. And I did.

Joyce and Sue Ann zoomed down the mountain. Every so often Joyce and Sue Ann would slow down or stop and wait for me to catch up. They explained how to "snow plow" to slow down. My first attempt at doing so had my skis crossed in front of me. I quickly did a forward tumble. Sue Ann and Joyce had another good laugh.

After a long period of remaining upright I had to pass between the tops of two trees that had fallen partially across the road. I passed between the trees but in doing so got distracted and fell again.

Once we left the logging road to return to Joyce's ranch I found the terrain to be steeper than what I remembered. Lots of obstacles of fallen branches and trees and tree stumps. I really used my ski poles to keep my movement as slow as possible. Sue Ann almost skied into the barb wire fence and had to fall over to stop. She did so in time.

Once again I awkwardly got my body and skis through the fence. Once again Joyce had to unhook a strand of barb wire from my clothing.

The road on Joyce's ranch was snow packed and slippery. The skiing down was fast. I weigh more than Sue Ann and Joyce, and starting from the same point, I quickly moved faster and ahead of them. More crashes on my part when I tried to slow down.

Joyce and Edley's cattle are calving now. One of Joyce and Edley's newborn calves - a week old - got a broken leg. They believe another cow accidentally stepped on the calf's lower leg just above the hoof. Joyce and Edley took the calf to the vet the day before and the vet put a cast on the leg. The cast is also wrapped in duct tape to help keep the cast dry. Mama and calf are kept in a building while the legs heals. This reduces the chance of getting stepped on again and the need for the calf to walk around following the herd. The cast will be on for three weeks. Not only is it trying to learn to walk, it has this cast on its right hind leg that makes it harder to walk. Poor baby calf. It is so cute.

While Sue Ann and Joyce skied from the barn down to the house I walked. Enough falling for me.

While our trip up the mountain lasted 2 hours, the return trip lasted about 30 minutes. I told you it was faster going down!

The temperature wasn't cold as it was in the 20s F. I worked up a sweat skiing up the mountain. After our skiing was done Joyce had us in for hot chocolate, cookies, and more orange and nut bread. Like me, Joyce and Edley like big windows in a house. They have a fantastic view of their ranch and the mountains out their window. It is gorgeous!

I felt great and had a wonderful time skiing. I drove home slowly in order to appreciate the mountains shining bright white in the late afternoon sun.

The next morning I woke up very stiff and sore all over from my skiing adventure. This feeling lasted a few days. That's what I get for laying around much of the winter!