Friday, December 31, 2010

White December in Missoula

December has been a good month for Missoula, that is if you enjoy the cold and snow. I'm fresh off a powder bender, with over 2 feet of new snow this week at Snowbowl (15" day & 10" day). Being a skier and winter lover in the north country makes life more enjoyable. When the valley murk, gray and mist get me down, my mind is refreshed on the chairlift as fat flakes fall in my lap.

Wednesday was the classic storm skiing day that I have come to love. The trees allow you to see better when visibility drops, snow also tends to collect there. It sounds cheesy, but it's as if time stand still as the flakes pile up in the quiet shadows of the forest. I had the opportunity for thigh deep first tracks on one of my favorite runs. That same run called my name 4 more times, fabulous.

The day started off with valley rain falling most of the night. As I peeked at the mountains off and on through the night, darkness cloaked everything above the valley floor. The news channels were abuzz with winter storms warnings, you could feel the skiers stirring in their houses. Missoula skiers weren't fooled by the wet valley floor. Even before 9am, the lift line morphed into swollen monstrosity of an excited tentacled beast. I'd argue it's hard to find a happier bunch of people. Especially when Snowbowl's base is 48" and the summit has 78". That has to be one of the better starts to a winter in a long time. Does anyone remember what the base was during the big winter of 96-97 was?

Geeking out on the NOAA weather data, I gathered up a few stats. I had been curious as it seems that we've in the proverbial freezer (relative for Missoula) since Mid November.
  • first snowfall, 3" on Nov. 22 and the snow has not melted since. Total of 10" for Nov.
  • The thermometer did not crack 30deg for the last 11 days of the month.
  • December hasn't warmed much either; Avg of 29 degrees with 13" of snowfall.
The twins are adapting well and are now comfortable getting their snowsuits on playing or riding their bikes on the patio in 10 degree temps. We've stomped around the yard in their skis and shredded our snowbanks multiple times. They've come to terms with mittens and their associated lack of dexterity. We're all excited to share some family time at the ski hill. In the meantime we actually skied our friends backyard, they had a blast. A few snow angels and some hot cocoa, time well spent.

We found our new favorite sled hill in Missoula, the girls and I enjoyed some a luge track filled powder. They didn't think twice about enjoying the playground swings and slide despite the 20 degrees and snow falling. Check out Gwynn's version of a face shot.

I thought I'd leave off with a few shots of classic Montana stuff. Things that remind me of why I live here. Happy New Year to all, let it be as successful and joy filled as the last.

Smiles on the skin track

Firing up the old smokester for the first time this season

Eat it Soccer Moms!

Just another day in paradise

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Greg Hill pushing for 2 million vertical feet (human powered)

Greg Hill, the superhuman leg and lung machine is pushing for his goal to achieve 2 million vertical feet skied & climbed in one year. He's got till the end of this year to rack up the last 100k vertical, that's only 10k a day. He's already done 1 million in a year, so it's no joke. Greg also set the record for climbing and skiing 50,000 vert in 24 hours. I can't fathom what he has been through, not even one bit. For me a 5000ft day is a pretty big accomplishment.

If you got 9 minutes to spare, watch the video below. It gives you a great sense for the backing and support that he has from his friends and family. Kudos to those that support people with serious skiing addictions. I like to think I take it pretty seriously, but at this point can't even hold a candle to him. GO GREG! Inspiring.........

2 Million With Greg Hill from FD Productions on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Snowbowl lift issues

A recent article was published in the Missoula Independent that I thought might stir up some opinions. The article addresses some of the mechanical difficulties that Snowbowl has had at the beginning of this season and a local Rep's idea on dealing with them. If you take the time to read the comments, there are some great rebuttals.

As for my opinion on the matter (not that you probably care), I think Mrs. Hands heart is in the right place, but is going down the wrong road. We don't need government to rectify Snowbowl's issues with the lift. We need the owners to take responsibility.

From the Independent:
Montana Snowbowl opened Nov. 27 to a crowd of some 1,000 skiers and snowboarders in what co-owner Brad Morris describes as "the strongest start we've had that I can remember." The near tripling of the resort's opening day average resulted from the onset of what is expected to be a major powder year; snow depth at Snowbowl's summit has already reached 54 inches. But a day-one mechanical glitch on the Grizzly chairlift set the tone for a more troublesome early season trend: lengthy delays.

Morris confirmed that in the first four days of the season, Snowbowl's Griz lift shut down three times due to separate mechanical issues. The first incident, which led to the evacuation of several passengers by rope, occurred after ice formed on the lift's haul line, something Morris says is extremely uncommon at the resort. Concerns over a faulty brake and loose drive belt led to the second and third shutdowns respectively.

"It could happen any time, and those things are tested and the lift is inspected by the engineers from the insurance company before we even operate it," Morris says. "That was the first time we've ever had ice on the lift. It's a common problem in the West, where there's more precipitation. We've never even on the Lavelle [Creek] lift had that problem.".........

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Toddler transportation from Montana to Southern California

Thanks for coming back for the second installment of Roadtripping with Twins. The first look into the insanity of toddler transportation can be found on this post. We've just recently completed our second major roadtrip, this time to southern California. The Highlander rallied the 2364 miles and 36+ hours travel time (roundtrip) with no problems. This time we were armed with less baby gear (see pack'n'plays etc) but an insane amount of toddler distractions. Coloring books, movies, crayons, reading books, dinosaurs and an army of babies littered the back seat.

I can proudly say that I can now recite Mickey Mouse's Christmas Carol (1983) verbatim after listening to it 52 times. But I take a little pride in the girls old school taste in cartoons - Scooby Doo and Smurfs are favorites as well. The roads were clear of snow until we hit the San Bernardino Mtns, we're we had apparently dragged in the cold and snow with us. We checked in with my sister's family and began a years worth of catching up crammed into a week. The cousins were thrilled to see one another and had a blast.

We headed down into the LA valley murk for some sightseeing and fun for a day. The Los Angeles Zoo and its 1100+ animals held the kids attention for a few hours. The highlights seemed to be the loud Guenon monkey and the incessant requests to find and look at the llamas and horses. Strange, you would have thought the kids had seen enough horses and llamas here in Montana. Avoiding the stream of traffic that flows out of LA everynight we decided to try and soak up some ocean time. Santa Monica Pier has many shops and rides, along with a plethora of entertainers (think Venice Beach on a smaller scale). We were sucked into the tourist allure of Bubba Gump's with some tantalizing shrimp.

The remainder of the week we watched as our 4 toddler's friendship grew. Finger painting chaos, princess outfits, Santa visits, a Nutcracker ballet and candy shop pillaging made the week fly by. We also hit the weather right in the desert and soaked up some 70's around the pools in Desert Hot Springs. And of course no SoCal trip would be considered a success without multiple In N' Burgers. I even squeezed in a run to the best burrito in all of America, Rosa Marias (5 frozen burritos were smuggled back into Montana).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The first Pinneaple Express

I'm pretty sure this is what it's called, if nothing else its gonna be wet and heavy the next few days in Western Montana. They're calling for snow levels at 6500 ft on Sunday raising slightly on Monday. At least it's going to settle the already bomber base we've got in most places. The snow has been sticking around in the valley for a while, something I hope continues through the winter. The 10 day forecast is calling for a chance of snow every day!

Late Afternoon: Snow likely after 5pm. Cloudy, with a high near 28. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tonight: Snow. Temperature rising to around 32 by 5am. Southeast wind between 3 and 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

Sunday: Snow. High near 37. South wind between 6 and 13 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

Sunday Night: Rain. Snow level 6500 feet. Low around 32. West southwest wind around 17 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Monday: Rain and snow likely. Snow level 5700 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 36. South southwest wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Monday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 28. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

Tuesday: Snow. High near 33. Chance of precipitation is

Thursday, December 9, 2010

First lift served day of the 2010-11 season

And on new sticks! Great first day at Snowbowl today with excellent coverage. One of the better starts to the snow year that they've had in quite sometime. The mountain is 100% open, but only Thurs. - Sunday right now. Cautiously optimistic for a full week opening . The tree shots are filling in with a few lurking logs. Paradise is in as good of shape as ever, no rocks at all and smooth (f0r Snowbowl).

I was on a new pair of skis today that have just made my season that much better, a pair of 188 4FRNT CRJ's. Today's conditions gave me an excellent insight into what to expect for the season....SLARVE! Slarve defined by Shane McConkey: No effort = slarving = piece-of-cake- powder-turns. Or simply put a sliding carve. The CRJ's were fun to ski and very easy. If you wanted to shrub some speed, just throw'em sideway. The groomers were fun too, easily initiating into carves and holding a good edge. Crud was a breeze with not much deflection. The only thing I didn't sample today was much powder, but with the 2" new I did get a feeling for what surfing them will be like. I now have my favorite quiver to date: 1. 186 Dynastar Ledgend Pro's - a bomber superG-like ski that powers through anything; not a lot of float for the powder though. 2. 188 4FRNT CRJ - effortless fun and sure to be a badass powder machine.

The specs and description for anyone that cares:

Pro model with gradual rocker and reverse sidecut at the tip and tail to float. Normal camber and traditional sidecut underfoot. Fun-seeking attitude lives on inside this versatile, powder-hungry stick. [188cm] 130 / 118 / 128 with a 28 meter turn radius

Earlier this week a few of us got out and stretched the legs at Lolo Pass. The Snotel site is showing 24" with is about 80% of normal. Another 2-3 feet will cover up most of the hazards. It's coming though, I can smell it. Some small vertical, sampling some of the shaded aspects on the Granite Pass side. Gloppy melt bombs had dumped into the treed areas but the open shots in the shade were better than expected.

ViVa La NiNa!!!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

First bull 11/10/10

If there were a theme for my recent hunt it would be a toss up between anticipation and expectation. After spending a few springs branding cattle on my good friends ranch, I was invited for a rifle hunt for a bull. From that day on this hunt was in the front of my mind. I played out countless scenes of success, various bulls lay before my mind's eye, all just enchanted dreams. Several other friends had the opportunity to hunt this property, all of them were successful in taking a nice Paradise Valley bulls. The ranch sits in prime elk country 20 miles north of Yellowstone. When you think about this place, you think about elk.

I became more and more anxious by the day as hunting season began. Guys at the firehouse quizzed me on my plans and discussed the possibilities. In general, made me feel like I might actually have a chance of bagging something. During the first two weeks of the season I had several close encounters with elk (no bulls), giving me enough excitement to keep my nerves at bay for the upcoming main event. I hit the shooting range more than I have in the past, hoping that it might make a difference.

A good friend offered to film the hunt. He's gained some great experience from the bow season hunts he's been on the last several seasons. We loaded the meal plans, paired some Coors with a bottle of Makers Mark. Then there was only the driving. Four hours across the state, Montana fall was in a perfect state of being. River bottom cottonwoods still held there golden leaves and the golden grasses folded in the wind. The fall had been on the better ones in recent memory, with many mild days stretching into October.

Pulling up at the ranch the temperature hung in the upper 60s. We headed out immediately and hit the top for some glassing. From our perch up top we located several bulls that we would target the next morning.

Start abbreviated story: Day 1 hunt- Wake at 5, into elk right away. Get too close (50 yards) to two our same bulls from the night before. A 350 bull takes off; asses as they cross road above. Day 2- Spitting rain; Hit the top, and then 400 yards from ranger see antlers coming down; proceed to blow the shot on a great bull; see 2 other nice bulls with another missed opportunity; 6 inches of snow today. Day 3 - cold morning, bad visibility; Evening glass a 375 bull 7x7 from mile. Day 4 - Sit in dark as 150 head work 200 yards away, no bulls. Meet up with RS, head to top; Options are there, see a moose; Set up on a downed log, perfect prone. RS ranged the area they would first come out at 275 yds. 3rd bull looked nice and the Weatherby 30.06 barked. It barks more than I would like, but goes down clean.

He's down 100 yards below the road in the slash. I hoot and holler at the top of my lungs, pure rush and joy. First bull and he's a mature 6x6, not the true giant as some of the ones we had seen, but a perfect first. Gutted and drank whiskey. Kent called and comes up with saw and tractor, some saw work and he rallies the tractor to the elk. He goes down whole in the John Deere to the barn where we put him on the gambrel. Hung for the night in barn. Makers Mark and some steaks finish off the night with scoring the bull. Scored 265.

Back home I butchered him up in the garage, 8 solid hours of work. Ended up with 110 pounds going to the meat shop for sausages and burger. ~30lbs of steaks in the vacuum seal. H and H will hand back 45 lbs of thuringer/pepperoni, 45 lbs of breakfast sausage and 50lbs of hamburger. Anyone hungry?

Here's to the man that made it all possible. Thanks for the help and tolerating my rookiness.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

vote for Amy Hanneman - Extreme Huntress

A friend's wife needs your help and its a great deal. If you have 30 seconds, vote for Amy Hanneman.

Amy Hanneman

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Montana big game hunting season opener

I liked how my wife put it, "Opening week should be a holiday". I agree wholeheartedly. I opted to skip the weekend rush for hunting and went out today. I was like a kid before Christmas last night, going over my hunting plans as my head drifted off to sleep. I rolled out of the driveway at 615, a late start by most accounts. Down a gated road with my bike in the dark, then off through fluffy white snow for the morning. Didn't see any live critters, save a bald eagle that was spying on me. But I found a nice set of whitetail sheds, matching nonetheless.

Later in the day I met up with a buddy in a different spot and we checked out some new ground. Fat flakes fell sideways out for most of the late afternoon but failed to accumulate. We climbed a few ridges and saw lots of fresh sign. Finally close to the end of the hunt we found a cow elk just 50 yards away. Trying to grow horns on it, we ended up unsuccessful and were only able to take home the adrenaline and a good story. Twelve miles covered today, and big smiles.

Missoulian article on opening hunting weekend: Montanans seemed to ease into hunting season this year, taking advantage of a longer opening weekend to bag a lot more game.

Last year, game wardens at the Darby, Anaconda and Bonner check stations recorded 164 deer and elk at the end of the first weekend of big-game rifle season. The tally grew to 251 animals this opener. But hunters got to start on Saturday instead of Sunday, giving them two days to reach that total, and some had been in the field even longer.....

^^^ Make sure to read the comments, good wolf banter

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Missoula brothers both shoot big bull elk in New Mexico

A friend from work recently returned from New Mexico with his 2 sons and two massive bull elk. Very impressive and exciting to say the least. And then top it off, he goes down a week later and bags one too? Come on. Check out the story and photos from the Missoulian

Torrin and Quinlin Roe both bagged big bull elk this fall. That we know for sure.

Other details are not quite pinned down. Torrin is 13. Quinlin is 12. Both boys are determined to tell the story with such competitive intensity, the conversation sounds like a Wild West shootout.

"It's was a lot like regular Montana forest but with more brush," Torrin said of the New Mexico mountains where they hunted with their father, Missoula firefighter Brad Roe. "It was either flat or really, really, really thick."

"And there's a lot more elk," Quinlin said.

"There was a lot of hiking," Torrin added. "About two miles a day."

"Sometimes one mile," Quinlin said. "But some days we went in five miles."

"And the elk were bugling and eating their way around all over," Torrin said. "Sometimes they'd be 15 or 20 feet away."

"The first elk we shot at was in the 340 class," Quinlin said. "We walked right on top of the herd."

Take out all the punctuation and most of the spaces between words, and you get the sense of excitement the Roe boys brought back from New Mexico. Mixed in all that jumble of detail is one more significant point - they both brought back big bragging rights over dad.

"Both boys have beaten my record," Brad said. "I told them these might be the biggest bulls you shoot in your whole life."

After hunting for 25 years, Brad Roe said he wanted to help his boys get a sense of hunting's bigger possibilities. He contacted his friend, Robert Hannaman, a tag consultant with Corvallis-based Magnum Hunt Club. The business helps hunters find tags and guides in 12 states around the nation.

They applied for the New Mexico hunt last April, braving roughly 1-in-700 odds of getting drawn. Both boys landed bull tags for the region's youth hunt, which takes place during the elk rutting season.

"I wanted the father-son thing, but not with 3 million other hunters," Brad said. "I don't know how many times I've been on elk and had someone else shoot them out from under me."


So the family arranged for a week out of school and drove south. They arrived two days before the youth season began, which they spent scouting the territory.

"They got to experience elk bugles all around them, cows calling," Brad said. "These things are yelling their heads off, fighting everywhere."

Rifle hunting during the rut can almost be too much of a good thing. The boys had at least one possible shot on each of the four days they hunted, and sometimes had to dodge as herds rushed to and fro.

In the end, each bagged a 6-by-6 bull. Torin's antlers tentatively measure 335 7/8s points on the Boone and Crockett trophy scale. Quinlin's could be 373 5/8s points. The racks have to cure some more before final measurements are taken. The world record for typical American elk is 442 5/8s points.

The experience exposed a few new facets of the boys' personalities, mother Adina Roe said. Torrin appears to focus on his time outdoors with his dad. Quinlin is the hunting enthusiast, getting into the details of stalking and equipment.

"And I think Brad learned both boys were willing to work hard and not complain," Adina said. "That really moved him."

She was also an advocate for Montana kids attending a hunter safety course, even if they don't want to hunt.

"I love the fact they learn how to handle weapons and be safe around them," she said. "When you live in Montana, that doesn't hurt. And it's a life skill to be able to navigate in the woods and survive in the outdoors. People pay a lot to get sent in the woods and learn those skills. It's physically active. I kind of feel they left as boys and came back semi-men."

As for dad? We'll have to wait for an update. He drew a New Mexico elk tag for this week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall weather and winter outlook - La Nina

JW tearing up on the Ravine Trail on a mild October day.

First off I'd like to say thank you to everyone that reads this blog, I always appreciate any comments or suggestions. Its not always apparent if you guys enjoy the content or not. So if you do, maybe make a crack or wiseass remark every once in a while eh? Thanks for looking!

What a fall we've been having in W. Montana, you couldn't ask for much better weather. The temps have been pretty mild and even on the warm side for most of September and October. This week saw nighttime temps dipping into the 20's but daytime temps still in the 60's. The leaves are beginning to peak in the valley and upper elevations, I think most leaves have dropped. Contrast that last year when had a the super cold snap the first week of October, with many trees leaves getting a "flash freeze" only to remain on the tree all winter. Our garden this year was decent, definitely not as many tomatoes as we've had like 2 summers ago. But the peppers (green, yellow and jalapeno's) did great. Garlic was weak but we had huge onions.

And now on to some hopefully good news, only time will tell but the 2010-2011 winter forecast sure seems to be shaping up for a deep winter in Montana. - Meteo Madness | Henry's Winter Forecast for Dec. 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011

And from Lou Dawson's blog on La Nina

"The meteorologist magician who made our Denali trip a total success, Joel Gratz, comes up with interesting answers. In a Boulder Daily Camera newspaper article, he says during La Niña the PNW and perhaps northern U.S. interior areas such as Montana will get pounded. Indeed, he points out, during the 98/99 Niña season was when Mount Baker got the most snow ever recorded in a single season in the United States. I remember that winter, and the stories of how they had to dig out the chairlift towers before they could start the ski lifts."


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Insanity - Wingsuit action

This dude (Jeb Corliss) is crazy, at about 1:40 he actually flies through/under a waterfall, then last minute and half is it

Monday, October 4, 2010

Camping along the Blackfoot River

I can't say how lucky I feel to have camped the last 2 weekends and wore shorts with flipflops the whole night. Both spots were along the Blackfoot River at fishing access points. How was the fishing? Huh, nothing doing but the chilling, views and beers were great. We're guessing this will be the last camp trip of the season. All in all I think we spent 6 nights camping with the girls this summer. Much improved over last summer with only one night. They are really getting into it and refuse to wear shoes, that's my girls.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Early season rifle hunt

Sometimes I can actually act spontaneously, not usually, but this time I did. A good friend from Bozeman, RS called me up about a week prior to what would be our departure. An excited phone call with tentative plans was what I needed to get the wheels and logistics started. With very rough plans we both started printing maps and Google Earth images of the area. We would plan on traveling backpacker style, freeze dried meals, very small tents and some whiskey to warm us. RS had been into the area 10 years ago and had a few friends that had been in more recently.

With the very understanding and the most loving wife behind my plans, we rendezvoused at the trailhead. Donning a pack weighing close to 45 pounds was not as pleasant as I had remembered. My backpacking experiences had dropped off the charts in recent years, save a great trip into the Hellroaring Basin last year. PK (pre-kids), Tracy and I could be found regularly backpacking the areas around Bozeman, now it was a huge treat. I was quite sad to be leaving the home, especially with 2 sad little toddlers asking about my plans.

The parking lot was nearly at capacity but we eeked out a spot and gathered our gear. Sauntering through the burn up the trail we both relished in the possibilities of actually getting an elk. The country was thick, I mean thick with lodgepole, spruce and various underbrush. We set up camp near a body of water with no other camps in sight. The weather forecast seemed favorable upon our arrival, even bordering on a little too warm, 70 degrees the first day.

We gained a large ridge and began our search for elk. The top of the mountain turned up some old elk sign, which was somewhat disappointing. After sitting on point with a few cow calls we dropped into a saddle with dark timber. Minutes later, I was nudging my partner to stop! as I spotted a 5x5 bull creeping up towards us. At 40 yards we played with the bull and got him into 30. As I sat behind RS with the call, I expected his 300 Win. Mag to bark and drop the elk. He did not and we watched as the elk disappeared into the darkness.

The next two days the drizzle was almost a constant factor, soaking our gear as we busted through the understory. The only saving grace was it never rained when we were waking or going to bed. Freeze dried meals, a kick ass chili dinner (which produced non-satisfactory off gassing later) and some Jim Beam kept our spirits high. We covered 5+ miles a day and saw some great elky country. Rubs everywhere in the top of the parks.

As we descended back to camp from the opposite side of the valley we had been hunting, RS set out to see if he could locate the bull we had seen a few times earlier in the hunt. I posted up at the fire, content to sit in my slippers watching the nearby hillside. As the light faded, the radio crackled with RS on the other end, "I've got a bull down." I replied with a smart ass comment, calling his claim bullshit. Only to have another call 5 minutes later with a plead to hurry up and bring the headlamp he had forgot in camp. Confirmed bull. And a lonely hunter sitting in bear country with 700 pounds of meat. Dinner bell?

I hustled up the ridge and with some hoots&hollers we were able to meet in the crotch of a dark basin. RS was happy as hell, his first bull and a great one at that. He had heard the bull thrashing a nearby tree and was able to sneak to within 40 yards as it tortured another small sapling. The bull had dropped almost immediately. We began the but puckering process of quartering an elk in grizzly country. While one cut, the other posted up shining the light into the darkness, scanning for watching eyes. Calls into the dark would hopefully scare off any would be intruders on our game. Can you say puckered?

A couple hours later we each had 100+ pounds on our back and were headed downhill into the pitch black tripping over everything possible. The rack/head proved to be just one too many 50 pounds and we hung the head from a tree, planning to come back in the morning. At camp we used puny p-cord to hang the 250lbs of quarter from a log that someone had graciously strung up between to trees. Narrowly avoiding entrapment and amputation with the p-cord, we stubbled towards camp. With dinner at 1230am and some whiskey it was all I could do to crawl into my tent. I smelled something fierce of elk musk as I lay in my fart sack. As I closed my eyes I thought about being eaten by a griz. Whatever, I was too tired.

We awoke early and started putting our heads together on how to get this elk back to the truck, a mere 7 miles from our present location. The thought of having to take one trip with 85 lbs of meat a piece (170lbs boned out) and them coming back 7 miles to get the gear, then 7 miles back with the gear made my already swollen knee, ache even more. As luck would have it, there was a camp a few hundred yards away. They had pulled in late the night before with numerous pack animals. We propositioned making some money for them to pack the meat out. With some reluctance, they agreed to take it out once their people got back from the morning hunt. As we sat around the camp with the classic backcountry horsemen, we drank coffee and generally kissed their ass, big time. Don't laugh, you would too.

A while later, a horse and mule rolled up with one the nicest guys I've ever met. Ed from Great Falls then offered to take the load, he was headed back that way after he had a few cigs. Quickly breaking our camp down, we helped load the 170lbs into the panniers. He led the way and we pulled up the rear. Unfortunately, the mule would not take the rack/head so RS carried the 50+lb rack and his 40lbs of gear all the way out. The trail was one continuous slop-muck&mud fest interspersed with massive puddles ofmule shit. But you know what? I didn't care, we were on our way out and my Danner Pronghorns boots stayed absolutely dry the entire trip.

We had covered over 30 miles in 4 days but had the best time doing it. Doublehaul IPA at the trailhead and some sloppy-joes courtesy of "Great Falls Ed". Damnit, them thar were some good times. Thanks buddy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New fire engine

Missoula Fire Department is the proud owner of a brand new spanking fire engine. We took delivery of it a few weeks ago and should be in service soon. This is the first engine MFD has with the roll up doors.

Here are specs on it if you are nerdy enough to care:

Saber Pumper New!
Delivered to: Missoula Fire Department, Montana
Delivered: August 2010
Job: 23216

Saber Chassis with a 12" Raised Roof
Cummins ISL 425hp Engine
Allison Gen IV 3000 EVS Transmission
Hose Tray on the Front Bumper
500 Gallon Poly Tank
1250 CS Single Stage Waterous Pump
Husky 12 Foam System
Pierce Hydraulic Ladder Rack
Onan Homesite 6500 Generator

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tic, Tic, you hear that?

That's the sound of summer slipping away. With a mere 17 days left in the oh so short summer of Montana we eeked out another picture perfect day enjoying the bounty of the local area. Armed to the teeth with toddlers we struck out for the Clark Fork with the rafts and way too many snacks. Only an hour after our agreed meeting time we left for the put-in. Those kiddos seem to have an effect on punctuality, weird.

Five kids all under the age of five, good times indeed. They thoroughly enjoyed the 4 hour float, of course the lollipops, Cheezits, string cheese, juice and crackers helped. We were even able to wet the lines and land a few dinks. Another first for the girls.

And last week we had the opportunity to listen to the great music of Bruce Threlkeld at the Ten Spoon Winery here in Missoula. By the way the 2007 Prairie Thunder Petite Sirah is damn tasty. The venue is nothing short of perfect, wine, views, music and open skies.