Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Golden Leaves and a Golden Sunrise

     As I left Libby, Montana last week, being back on the road after three months, I realized it was autumn! I love road travels in October. Doesn't matter which state or highway it is, October is always gorgeous. This photo is the Cabinet Mountains near Libby, Montana.

     Just south of Libby is the Ross Creek Cedar Grove of giant cedar trees. My plan was to hike the one-mile loop. As I walked, I ran into a woman with three dogs on a leash TWICE from the same opposite directions. She asked me which path led back to the parking lot. I asked her how long she had been walking, because I too was expecting to finish this loop and see the parking lot soon. She told me she had been walking "a couple of hours" and I told her 30 minutes max was one mile!! So, she and I back-tracked the direction I had started from, and miraculously, we found ourselves back at the parking lot. Minimal signage there . . . . but a very pleasant walk.

     The next day I was in Idaho, and bare with me, long story here. I was driving on a lonely beautiful road and saw a sign about the county dump/trash site down this other road. I had trash to dump, so I did a U-turn and proceeded down this narrow paved road. Turns out the site was only for construction debris, but I decided to continue on this narrow paved road with beautiful scenery. Soon enough I passed a crowded trailhead parking lot and a large group of folks returning to their cars. A sign said it was the North Menan Butte trail which sounded interesting. I did another U-turn and took a parking spot someone had just fortuitously left. One of the nice things about a ProMaster, it can be parked in any parking lot with normal-size cars. There's no way a travel trailer or motorhome could park at trailhead parking lots which are typically small. And so, it took all of one minute to park, and another minute to gather my hiking gear -- my boots and camelback of water, corn nuts/dried peas munchies, SPOT unit and hiking poles -- and I was on my way up to the top of this butte. 

     As I climbed, a friendly woman returning from the top began a conversation with me, encouraging me to endure the climb. She explained that most of the folks had done this morning group hike as a fund-raiser event for Uganda women. It was a fun hike; a bit on the arduous side sometimes.

But once at the top, I could see in the distance the Teton Mountains.

     Later that day, I stopped on the road for lunch at the Teton River with the Teton Mountains in view from the west side (Idaho). Little did I realize I'd be camping that night on the east side of those mountains just north of Jackson, Wyoming.

     That afternoon as I approached the busy touristy town of Jackson, I queried a wonderful database that I had downloaded on my GPS unit to locate a camping spot near Jackson, Wyoming. There was a federal forest free dispersed location (translation, no-services off-road) located directly on the eastern side of the Teton Mountains. I settled in there with two other campers a respectable distance away. It wasn't a spectacular sunset, in fact, the mountains looked black and dark. I wasn't too impressed with the camping site, and went to sleep early.

      The next morning about 7 AM was very windy and cloudy. I hurried to pack and get out of there because I thought a storm was approaching. It was about 7:15 AM when I decided the view was worthy of a photo . . . .

About 7:18 AM the view changed and I became increasingly impressed.

About 7:20 AM, I was misty-eyed with a lump in my throat as I had forgotten to breathe in my moment of being stunned by such unexpected beauty . . . . a spectacularly golden moment!

It lasted all of two or three minutes . . .

And as I drove away, I had a wonderful grand finale of that sunrise.

A camping spot to remember forever!


  1. Terri, Those are fantastic photos of the Teton sunrise. Ted H (The Ultimate CG Guy)

    1. Thx, and by the way, your database of camping spots has helped me in tight fix several times.