Sunday, July 03, 2005

I'm a flea-bit peanut monkey, all my friends are junkies.

Life Altering Things, each presented in chronological order ...

Top Five Life Altering Albums:

1. The Beatles - Rubber Soul
2. Led Zeppelin III
3. U2 - The Joshua Tree
4. Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street
5. Nirvana - Nevermind

Top Five Life Altering Movies:

1. The Empire Strikes Back
2. Breakfast Club
3. Monty Python's The Holy Grail
4. Pulp Fiction
5. Braveheart

Top Five Life Altering Books:

1. The Lord of the Rings
2. Run With The Hunted - Charles Bukowski
3. Old Man and the Sea - Hemingway
4. (tie) Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk/Trainspotting - Irvine Welsh
5. The River Why - David James Duncan

I can change, I can change. But I'm here in my mold. I'm a million different people from one day to the next..It's a bittersweet symphony, this life

We had fun with Mr. & Mrs. Bells last night. We went out to the nicest restaurant we have frequented during our brief stay here- Boodles, on Main Street, downtown. We took the Bells out to thank them for watching over our house before we got here, and for taking a day off work to help us unpack the truck.

In turn, though, we must really thank Tiffany W. from back in Wisconsin, and Chantelle from Bozeman, for the gift certificates that we used to pay for dinner. Tiffany W. gave us gift certificates to thank us for some stuff we did back in Wisconsin. Chantelle gave us gift certificates to thank us for using her as a broker to buy two houses, as well as thanking us for referring Mr. and Mrs. Bells, who also used her to buy a house. We, in turn used the gift certficates to take those very same Bells out to dinner as a thank you, and here I am, thanking the givers of the gift certificates on the internet, completing a veritable circle jerk of thanks and gratitude.

Well, guess what?

It was another fantastic day here in the Southwestern Montana Rockies.

I woke up, got coffee going, and set to work on the den/office. I had a lot of organizing to do, and I almost finished. I had the Tour de France on while I worked. I got sucked into the coverage last year, as the time of broadcast coincided with my daily workouts, so I ended up watching most of the Tour last year. I figured I would check in again. Lance Armstrong is in 2nd place, two days into his quest for #7.

We grabbed lunch and headed up the Gallatin River Canyon for a hike along "Hell Roaring Creek Trail." (Antuan Randle El, I do not know if you read this, but the trailhead is practically across the road from where we rolled the blazer in 2004.)

The hike climbed a ridge on the west side of the Gallatin River. During the climb, there were some stunning views across the Gallatin.

There is India climbing along the trail:

We climbed for about 35 minutes, pretty steadliy, and then came to the top of the ridge, where we overlooked Hell Roaring Canyon.
Another good view, into Hell Roaring Canyon:

From there, we descended to the canyon floor, through which ran Hell Roaring Creek. Along the way, a ton of wildflowers were blooming:

Near the bottom of the descent, we came through a stretch where there had been a fire, probably years back.

Trying to get artsy fartsy with the camera:

Then we came to Hellroaring Creek, which runs out of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness through the canyon. The creek was very pristine and clear, which I tried to show in this picture:

It was indeed roaring like hell.

There was another log bridge. This one was kind of rotten, and gave a little with each step.

From there, the trail went along Hellroaring Creek into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, occasionally breaking out into meadows. It was really beautiful.

I liked this one... It was unintentional, but it looks like India is playing stoneface with the boulder:

We took the trail another mile or so into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, then turned back, out of concern for our dogs' bladders.

I feel like I need to pinch myself every day out here. This town is surrounded almost 360 degress by mountains. There are trails like this everywhere. I have a book called "Day Hikes Around Bozeman, Montana" that has 57 day hikes in it. That book just scratches the surface of what is here. (For instance, it doesn't cover hiking within Yellowstone Park, or the Horseshoe Hills, or the Beartooth Moutains... or the Crazy Mountains... or the Tobacco Root Mountains.) You could take a gorgeous day hike like this (leaving from home in Bozeman in the morning and returning later in the day) once a week, and it would probably be three to four years before you had to start repeating trails.

It's incredible, really. And that's just hiking. There is mountain biking, kayaking, hunting, fishing and skiing galore.

Someone asked me why the hell I would move here, and I described it thusly: "As Manhattan is to urban culture, Bozeman is to outdoor recreation."