Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake
Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Friends

My first day of work at National Bison Range was on Migration Celebration Day. It was also the day the Auto Tour Opened for the Season. Consequently, we had several activities planned with the public. The first was a early morning bird walk.  I was happy to see a family with two girls join Pat and me on the walk.  I enjoyed visiting with Zoey, the mother and her girls. Later that day, I ran the Migration Headache  Game for visiting youngsters and Sierra and Morgan ended up playing it twice. I later sent Zoey the files for Migration Headache because she thought it would be fun to play it for a birthday game for one of the girls.

Imagine my surprise, several weeks later to get an e-mail from Zoey, inviting me to spend the day with her family.  She is an avid birder and gardener and raises honey bees so I was excited to get to see her yard. And she had planned a hike with hopes of seeing  some birds.

Her house is a little over an hour away from the Bison Range and I was due there by 7:30 A.M. She was waiting with lunch all packed. We gathered up the girls and left her husband to repair a leak under the sink and went off to hike in the Welcome Creek Wilderness Area. We leisurely walked about two miles up the trail, stopping to chase butterflies and bees and find beautiful rocks and flowers. The girls and I were hungry by this tim,e so we had lunch before starting back, but left desert for when we got back to the creek.  The girls had a favorite rock and wanted to eat desert there.  The only pictures I took were on the hike.  Here are a few of my favorites:


Zoey took this picture of me on the foot bridge across Welcome Creek

The girls on a bridge that crosses a little tributary

Wonder if these galls are called Christmas galls?

Crescent Threesome

The sharp-eyed kids found this interesting bug

Dew drops coalesced into this huge droplet

We brought back pictures of favorite rocks

Bumblebee on thimbleberries

Water striders mating

These blue coppers would land on the girl's fingers to their great delight

We got back to their house about mid afternoon, which gave me time to make a quick run into Missoula for a hair cut before supper. Then I enjoyed a few more hours of exploring the gardens, enjoying the bees, admiring husband Clay's work on his shop/man-cave, and eating a delicious supper. Zoey is definitely a kindred spirit and  I hope we can spend more time together. She used to work for Wildlife and Fisheries until she decided she needed to stay in one place and have a family, so she is very knowledgeable about the outdoors.  And gardeners can always find lots in common. Meeting people like her is one of the perks of traveling. It lets us find more kindred spirits than if we stayed in one place.

And now for my excuses for being so late with the blog:

My six week old computer crashed and I had to take it back to the repair shop twice. The second time, I couldn't get it before leaving for three days in Glacier National Park. And I couldn't access my files between trips to the shop.  (There are a few blogs waiting to be written about my experiences at Glacier where I walked a total of about 25 miles and took 509 pictures - all of which are waiting to be edited.)

And I was late in the first place because I've gotten into my old bad habits of offering too much help. And both the projects I'm helping with were at the crisis stage of needing everything ready for them. We had the third Talk-to-a-Biologist event today and I've helped with all the Tuesday ones and the first Thursday one. I also spent a long weekend helping to produce the brochure about it.  I'm still trying to make sure we have decided on the children's activity for each day and will probably be building them. I've spent my first day with the Montana Conservation Corp, collecting bees in nets and with bee bowls. I'll tell you more about that later but we spent a long, fun, and tiring day chasing bees, then preparing them and pining two groups of them.

Summer just hit with a huge jolt. Two weeks ago, I was freezing in long Johns and two coats.  But we are in a major heat wave and many places have hit 100 degrees today.  I really sweated for the first time up here on Saturday on an eight mile hike with 2000 feet elevation changes. Now its almost 8:30 and still 98 degrees. None of us are ready for this kind of heat. I think maybe my truck will not be getting the major interior/exterior cleaning it needs.  I'll try to get in a short bike ride and then go to bed.

Have a happy fourth!  My fellow volunteers and I will be working and will be the only people on the refuge. I'm working for my boss and she will reciprocate when a friend visits me in August.