As I said earlier, some of the photos are not in the order they were taken!
Scott and I did some fishing as soon as the weather cleared a bit. I thought he was taking a real interest in what was going on but after a few minutes he was sound asleep! In this photo I'm fishing just above the first dam. The dam is mostly rocks with some drifted logs and the beaver have plugged a few holes with mud and sticks. It's spring run-off time and we've had a lot of rain so the creek is running high.
I did manage to catch my first brook trout here. I used an orange twister tail. This is one lure (in orange and white) I keep in my survival kits, BOB's etc. It's worked on perch, trout, and pike which are the three most common species around here.
Our oldest son and his wife came by for a surprise visit on Tuesday. It had rained constantly for a week or more and everything was soaked. We finally got a fire started using newspaper for tinder. Fire starters just didn't have enough heat to get the wood going. We broke some dead limbs and twigs off trees for kindling but they were so wet that I could literally squeeze water out of them like a sponge. I cut some larger stuff and split it but it was wet almost to the center. We worked about 30 minutes and never got a fire hot enough to dry out even the kindling so we finally called it quits. Birch bark and pine pitch would have been the best option but there were no birch trees nearby and most of the growth was new so there was little pitch to be found either. We had the wood stove going in the camper so we did have a warm place to go if we got chilled.
The next day I did some searching and found a dead, standing lodgepole pine and cut it down. Even it was wet for an inch below the bark but it was big enough to split and get some dry wood from the center. I cut it into firewood length, split it and built a decent fire outside. I also cut a bunch up in short lengths for use in the wood stove. My only complaint about using a 20 lb. propane bottle for a wood stove is that the wood needs to be so short. It isn't a problem with a chain saw but if you're cutting it with a bow saw it's a lot of work! I'd hate to depend on a bow saw for cutting our winter's supply of wood. Cutting anything over three inches in diameter is a slow, labor intensive, process.
Two of our kids and thier spouses and thier four kids came to see us on Saturday. It was a great day for company with good weather and lots to do. Here, Kevin and Bryan are fishing. They are both good at it (much better than me) and caught lots of fish. Most were squawfish with a few brook trout thrown in.
Meanwhile the younger kids played in the kayaks in a shallow lagoon. Scott's having some problems with his "swim suit."
In the meantime some of the adults are going on a horse expedition. This is good horse country with lots of old logging roads to explore. Amy brought one of her horses and Bryan and his wife brought three of theirs. (Well, two-and-a-half horses anyway.)
After the long day of riding she took Bryan's horse into the lagoon to play in the water. Naturally, when I had the camera ready he wouldn't do much but finally splashed up the water with his feet. After I left he really got into it and stuck his hed in the water and splashed it everywhere. It's the only horse I've ever seen that likes to play in the water.
With a toddler around the laundry never ends. Susan is washing a batch of Scott's clothes in the bucket. We dump the bucket away from the water when we're finished.
Anna had a blast as did everyone else. Here she's running to the camper with one of Scott's toys. The biggest hit though was a little car that she and Andrew must have rode down the camper's ramp about a thousand times during the day.
Jonathan giving his little sister a ride in the kayak. The water in the lagoon was about knee deep and perfect for the kids to play in.
David in the closest kayak, Andrew in the farthest and Jonathan wading. Ice (the dog) is in the water and those who took off on the horses are returning to camp.
Sunday morning we rode into Olney to buy some ice at the general store. It's a pleasant ride about 4 miles each way. Here Susan stopped to send a text message. At this spot we had four bars of service.
Susan filled the cooler with ice then put it in the shade with an old bean-bag cushion over it to insulate it further.
We had just barely enough service at camp to send text messages if you held the phone up high eneough. Another daughter brought her Jet Pack (mifii) to camp and we could even hook up to the internet using it. It may open up some new possibilities for us.
Our middle daughetr and her husband came on Sunday. Logan is about two months younger than Scott and loves to play in the water.
Scott did a nose-dive but caught himself. In stopping his fall though he also splashed water and mud on his face. This is kind of his "somebody help" face! When camping, keeping the laundry current with an active toddler is a full-time job.
Justin and I did a little fishing. We caught literally, hundreds of fish but most were squawfish. We kept these six brookies for eating though.
And they were good fried in butter with a little lemon pepper seasoning.
Monday ... We took the bikes out for a ride to the Upper Stillwater lake. The road parallels the train tracks for a while. Since this is the only east/west line for a hundred miles it gets lots of traffic. The wind was blowing and raising whitecaps in the open parts of the lake. This is a bay towards the south end of the lake. Note the beaver lodge off the spit of land.
We like to keep our eyes open for wild foods on our excursions. This mushroom was well hidden in a patch of kinnikinnik with orange leaves. With all the rain there are thousands of mushrooms growing. Just prior to taking this photo I saw one of the largest puffball mushrooms I've ever seen in NW Montana. Unfortunately I ran over it with the bicycle before I saw it.
Anyone want to take a guess on what kind of mushroom is pictured?
These are Thimbleberry bushes. They're like a mild flavored raspberry and are very common in our area. They won't be ready to pick for another month or so but it's good to see so many blossoms.
The largest brookie out here yet! I caught him on a Panther Martin spinner. I went fishing one last time before we left and caught three more brook trout. I was using ultra-light tackle so this guy was fun to reel in. I startled a muskrat in one place. I was next to the beaver lodge and the muskrat walked up out of the water. When it was all the way out it looked over and saw me in my kayak about three feet away and it jumped back into the water with a big splash. Muskrats are usually a little more discrete when they enter the water.
It was a great week camping. We had 15 of our 20 kids and grandkids out there at one time or another during the week.