Monday, September 13, 2010

6 Months In and More To Go

Three days ago (September 10th) marked my 6-month anniversary of leaving DC and the old life behind. It is hard to believe it has already been 6 months and there are (hopefully) at least that many left ahead. But so far, I haven't tired of life on the road. I get antsy when I stay in one place for more than 3 nights (which hasn't happened since July something, by the way). Some folks have restless leg syndrome, I appear to have restless adventure syndrome. Life is outrageously good.

I am writing from a small coffee shop in Dillon, Montana, hometown of one fabulous rugger friend from college whose parents are generously hosting me for two nights in between Glacier and Yellowstone/Tetons adventures. As a recap: from Portland I drove to Seattle to pickup another hostage over Labor Day weekend and headed to the Olympic Peninsula for a backpacking trip. After recouping in Seattle for a couple of nights I headed east to Montana. I spent a few nights and days in Glacier hiding from grizzly bears and then worked my way to Dillon in southwest Montana. And, as always, more musings below:
  • Fog and general grey weather make cities look grungier. It seems to me that the whole "grunge" image of Seattle isn't about the music or people, but entirely created by the cloud that seems to hang over the city.
  • Portland, Oregon is a city of my people. Any town that is essentially obsessed with coffee, beer, bicycling, and the great outdoors can win me over as quick as a Yankee walks (that is fast, by the way). In fact, when I was in Portland they were having one of their monthly First Thursdays where we obtained both free beer and free food. Say no more.
  • If you ever happen to be driving across the state of Washington, do not be duped by the signs for free coffee at the rest stops. It will make you want to swear off anything called coffee ever again. It makes Waffle House coffee seem like Pete's. I'm still spitting it out.
  • For all those who say the stimulus package isn't doing anything, I can personally attest to the fact that there are people employed reconstructing what seems like every road I take. Thank you, President Obama, for slowing down my state traversal.
  • After being inundated with warnings from Captain Safety I invested in a bear bell to wear while hiking. So far, I have not been eaten by a bear while solo hiking so I suppose it is working. But it has the unfortunate side-effect of making me feel as if I should always hear a ringing in my ear. Life out of the wilderness seems eerily quiet.
  • In Montana, a store must sell three essential items to be called a "general store:" guns, liquor and beach balls. Why this land-locked state loves beach balls in their general stores, I know not, but alas there they are.
  • Dear Montana, I think you should meet my cell-provider, AT&T. Clearly, you two are unacquainted...
  • "Taking a float down the river" sounds like easy work, right? Well, you've clearly never volunteered to oar while someone is fly fishing off the stern, have you? It was a beautiful day in Montana and my gracious hosts took me out for a Montana experience. It was certainly fun, but oaring a little boat down a river that likes to push you into the rocky banks ain't just a "float."
    Camping spot on 3-day backpacking trip in Olympic National Park

    Hannah "Sauce" Wadsworth, my second official hostage on our backpacking trip

    Grinell Glacier

    Hiking up to Granite Park in Glacier National Park

    This photo is real, I promise. Glacier.

    Morning sky in Glacier from the Many Glacier campground

    I may have forgotten to zoom out before I tried the self-shot. Still, it's a pretty park.

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