Saturday, November 05, 2005

Pay no mind, I'm doing fine
I'm breathing on my own
I'm here and I'm on the mend...

Up and out (relatively) early, Ashton and I grabbed a breakfast burrito, then drove over to the Madison River Valley. We snaked south along the banks of the Madison, then cut west toward our destination in the Tobacco Root Mountains. We saw a bald eagle on the way there.

We were headed to a town called Pony, nestled in at the base of a peak called Hollow Top:

Pony was one swift kick in the nuts away from being a ghost town. Maybe 30 people lived there. If, in fact, it did receive the death blow, it is in a beautiful final resting spot.

There was this incongruously placed, life-sized sculpture of a horse in this "mostly dead" town... Actually, the sculpture was fairly amazing...

We cruised about five miles along an undeveloped road into the mountains to find Upper Potosi Hot Springs.

We parked, and bushwhacked until we found a trail. Along the way, we trespassed near a brand-new trophy home.

We found the hot spring, and settled in for a soak. I would guess the temp was in the mid-90's. I would have liked it a little hotter, but it felt good in the crisp mountain air.

It was a pristine setting with a great view. Initially we were lucky, and encountered no dirty naked hippies, a sub-species that is drawn to hot springs. You can identify them by Grateful Dead stickers, Volkswagon vans, a thick, heady scent of patchouli oil, hemp clothing and wafting clouds of dank marijuana smoke.

We soaked and shot the shit for about an hour... then wouldn't you know it, some young hippies showed up. Thankfully, they were not naked. They were fledgling hippies, recently out of the nest, and had not yet developed the full dirty naked hippie vibe. They were students at University of Montana, and had driven down from Missoula the night before. They camped near the spring, took mushrooms, drank whiskey and smoked weed for most of the night. They arose at noon, in accord with hippie custom, and joined us at the hot spring. They looked well on their way to developing into full-grown adult, dirty, naked hippies.

We soaked for another hour, and then took a drive. We tried to explore a place called the Lewis and Clark caverns, but they were closed. We did see a herd of about 75 mule deer, kicking back in a field.

It was another gorgeous Montana day.

We dined at an upscale joint on Main Street in Bozeman called Looie's Down Under. It was a pretty good meal, but our coneversation was not ideally suited to the quiet place and cramped quarters, focused as it was on oversized condoms (affixed with the assistance of rubber bands), shaving below the Mason Dixon line and other assorted off-color remarks.

Ashton and Demi jet out tomorrow. I am very happy for them and excited that they decided to get engaged here. They are dear friends, and I hope they come back to visit often.

Runnin' down the length of my thigh, Sharona.

Everyone is sleeping, and I have been up for an hour and a half.

I love this time of the day, even more so since I have stopped drinking. Oh, I still woke up at this time, but I felt miserable.

I didn't give any commentary along with yesterday's pictures because I was really tired by the time they were ready to post. We were watching a movie (The Interpreter, which was pretty good- Sean Penn is a damn good actor... is there anyone around who loses himself in a role quite like he does? Fast Times, 21 Grams, The Game, U-Turn, Dead Man Walking, Carlito's Way, Bad Boys.... all great movies), and I was also going through the tedious and laborious and tiresome and fuck-I-hate-it process of uploading and re-sizing pictures on a ghetto laptop with a low-rent wireless card over a bootleg, temperamental DSL connection.

Oh, and Puck, my trusty yellowdog, managed to help Ashton spill a Black Butte Porter all over the keyboard of Demi's work laptop, rendering it completely impotent. SOme keys are stuck down. Suggestions, anyone? There have to be some computer savvy people out there who know what to do when one spills a tasty malted beverage on his fiance's work computer...

Anyway, even without commentary, it was a cool day yesterday. We managed to entertain guests and explore places that were new to India and me. Ashton and Demi are very easygoing and fun, so the exploration process was less stressful than it otherwise may have been. Plus, it is more of an adventure when you are exploring somewhere gorgeous, and you don't know what is over the next ridge.

Ashton and Demi wanted to see wildlife all day, and of course, at the very end of the day, Montana obliged, and we saw a cow moose and her calf grazing at the edge of the woods.

Today, the boys and girls are going to split up. The girls are going to do typical girl stuff- check out the town and shop, and the boys are going to do typical boy stuff- explore a ghost town, hike and find an undeveloped hot spring.

News and pictures at 11.