Rick and I went for a drive in the Jeep yesterday. It was a beautiful day so we took the top off. We decided to check out some local forest service roads. I got a few pictures during our trip. The one above is not too far from our house, heading towards Swan Lake. We kayak there every now and then.
The picture above is one of the roads we went on. It got much narrower as we went deeper in the forest. The photo below is the Swan River. We've stopped at this spot to put-in before. The water levels are pretty high right now with all of the rain, so we probably won't kayak here until later in the summer or early fall. Last time we were there, we saw two black bear cubs eating berries in a bush. I'm sure mama wasn't far, but we didn't see her.
The Indian Paintbrush flowers are starting to bloom. They look really neat when you photograph them in a big cluster, but I only got this single one taken. The bugs were horrible. We had to keep driving or we'd be eaten alive.
The picture below shows what we came up against. Yeah, that's the road. We were about halfway on our route. A few days ago we had a really nasty storm and lots of trees came down all over the place. Rick walked past the first one to see how many more there were. It was just one tree after another. Apparently, we had driven as far as some residences, so they probably cut the ones we drove past to get in their homes. This was as far as we could go on this road, so we had to turn around and go on some other roads.
The picture below is a forest service look-out tower. Rick's been talking about staying here for years. First, we thought we'd have to hike in for miles to get there. Not true. You can drive right up to the base of the tower. Second, I thought it was a tiny, little platform that you camped on. As you can see, it's pretty big. I've read it sleeps four, has a table and chairs, and even cooking items. And third, when Rick told me about some crazy tower in the forest, I assumed there'd be no bathroom. All I pictured was climbing down a ladder to go to the bathroom in the woods -- at night -- with grizzlies. Imagine my surprise when I saw stairs (no ladder!) and a pit toilet right next to the tower. Well now ... that changes everything!
So, of course, I started ragging on Rick for not telling me all the stuff this place had. He honestly had no idea himself. As soon as we got home, we looked it up online to see if there were any available dates. Again, this place sells out all summer and sometimes a year in advance. The first available night that came up for us was September 11th, so we booked it. I can't wait! I just hope we have good weather, no fires, no snow, etc.
The photo above is some sort of flower, but I can't remember what it's called. My Montana wildflower book is downstairs and I'm too lazy to go get it. Below this is a sign at the Swan River National Wildlife Refuge. This is a cool place to stop to see wildlife, although I have to admit, all we've ever seen there are a variety of birds and some muscats. It's home to a lot of animals, so maybe we'll see more next time we go. If you ever go to Disney's Animal Kingdom, there's a place called Rafiki's Planet Watch. I believe the Swan River National Wildlife Refuge is listed there. Funny seeing that in Florida!
Below is some grass. Not too exciting, but I thought it was pretty with the mountains in the background. And then there's a lame picture of me, looking all wind-blown from riding around in the Jeep.
Below is my little, black Wrangler. We bought it in 2003 or 2004 sometime. All my life I've wanted one. We keep a hard-top on it in the winter and then put the soft-top on in summer. It's great to take the top off, especially on the Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.
Below this is some sort of water flower. I need to look this up because I've never seen this flower before. It was also taken at the wildlife refuge.
And finally, here is another lame self-portrait of me. I know it looks a lot like the other one, but the reason I'm posting it is because it shows where the look-out tower is. If you look to the right of me, right on the darkest section of mountains, that's where the tower is. It's right at the peak of that section.
I took a lot more photos, but I hope you enjoy seeing these for now. All of this stuff is less than 30 minutes from where I live, so you can see why I love it here so much. If you click on the pictures, you should be able to see them a little bigger. I hope you're having a great Sunday!