College, Montana, Musings, Photography, Small Town Things

This morning, and other observations.

001_24A 002_23A 003_22A 004_21AI walked my co-worker’s dog at a way too early hour this morning- I was out until 2 am last night, and surrounded by way too many people I never wanted to see again. My only comfort came in the form of a few greyhounds.

This morning, the inversion in town made everything look misty. The light was gorgeous and glowing. Unfortunately for some reason my SLR camera decided to not give me the crisp focus I desperately wanted. I crunched through the snow and finished the roll of film, and enjoyed my time alone. I didn’t see a soul for the whole hour I spent tramping around, and that sort of total isolation was oddly serene.

I then spent the day reading in the Starbucks- I’m currently reading The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro- it’s riveting, and as an Art History major I love the spin of history with fiction, and how the author describes forging a painting and the intricacies of art (plus NPR recommended it).  I’m also reading Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut- I attempted to read his things this summer but didn’t commit enough, and I feel less flighty now. Another novel I’m currently perusing, Priceless by Marne Davis Kellogg, describes the world of an anti-heroine jewel thief in rich, visual detail.

Afterwards, I thrifted a vintage scalloped-mink-fur collared black silk cardigan, an extraordinary find that I was surprised by. I almost thrifted a gorgeous strapless blue and white lace party dress but it was floor length and reeked of a Cinderella-y vibe to the point that I wondered if it came with white gloves. I’ll be damned if it didn’t make my neck look longer and my pale shoulders nice, though.

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Adventures, College, Exploring, Montana, Photography, Small Town Things

A quiet source of inspiration.

I forget that there’s a mountain in the middle of my home town. It sits in a corner of the city, rather rotund, not ominous in the least- just there. Mount Helena is an omnipresent part of the landscape, a token rise in elevation, a constant in my view of the city. Apparently, it has so much presence I take it for granted and forget to reconnect.

While I spent a good deal of the summer running on the lower trails, many of them unmarked social trails, I had not actually made it to the top of Mount Helena in years. Literally. I can count the number of times I’ve made it to the top on one of my hands. Feel free to send me mental waves of shame.

Well, it just increased by one more. After a casual suggestion that I didn’t take seriously enough, AK and I set off walking towards the mountain, through downtown, past locked doors and dark stores. While he was wearing entirely appropriate clothing- Goretex shoes with treads, waterproof gloves, two layers of practical jackets, and pants- I wore leather boots with no treads, a red wool pea coat (another possible post- why is it called a pea coat?!), cashmere/wool gloves with a few holes and no waterproofing capabilities, and a leather bag to hold my camera. I looked, quite frankly, like a moron. Or somebody from out of town. (To be fair, I hadn’t packed boots, actual pants, gloves, or any sort of practical coat for the weekend.)

I went first. It was probably best- I didn’t have to match a pace, but was rather able to set it. A hobbled pace, to be sure- the boots were very good at keeping away water, but terrible at making me feel like I could stand up and stay on the trail. I slipped, slid, and had to engage in all manner of balancing moves that made me feel more like an amateur trapeze artist than a walker of mountain trails. (Note to self: Toss hiking boots in the car, you may need them in the future). I led us down a trail that was entirely erroneous (my apologies!) for a bit, too, to add to the utter ridiculousness.

The top was rocky and icy. A 360 degree vista of trees, valleys, faraway hills and mountains made my breath catch in my throat for a few moments. I have resented this landscape, felt violated by the isolation, and have loathed Helena as a backwater town of little to offer. Little by little I forgive this town, realizing that these feelings of hate are ill-placed. When I can see for miles on the top of a long-neglected mountain with a worthwhile human being and breath the crisp air and feel more vital than I have in a long time, things are clarified, life is simplified, and my caustic feelings turn less acidic.

As we descended, AK led us through drifts where the wind erased the trail for some yards, led us back down the mountain, and occasionally turned around to wait for me when my shrieks and curses for fear of falling grew too common. In the end, we hopped a fence and got hot food, a good afternoon spent outside in my own little-traveled backyard.

Here’s the path we walked, courtesy of AK’s smart phone:  https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=208866538666354606641.0004ce418d59a12300060

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College, Food, Montana, Small Town Things

Food and thoughts. Or, if we want to go cliche, food for thought. You choose.

 

 

What does it say that I’m super sensitive to spicy food but always find myself being with the people who love the hottest food possible? (I’m trying to eat more spice to get myself used to it!)

Seriously, though.

This weekend was mediocre pie with somebody not mediocre in any way, La Tinga and sharing our space with a bitter Michigander whose presence I found quite humorous, and Sunday morning donuts worth drooling over for a pittance.

Just so you know, writing a check for $4.50 for six donuts doesn’t make people, specifically older already feisty men, very happy. In case you were wondering.

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Adventures, College, Montana, Photography

I hate gin! Or, Hanging Valley, the hike that ended up being ridiculously hard.

First, let me preface this by saying that I’m in decent shape. Not GREAT shape, but I hike and walk and run and all that healthy stuff.

Ahem. Anyway, Kristin and I had been wanting to hike Hanging Valley for awhile- since about June, in fact. We got up there at about 9:30 this morning after getting bagels, and we promptly found a trail that wasn’t really a trail. Eventually finding the RIGHT trail, we marched. Uphill. A lot.

Hanging Valley is a round trip of 12 miles through dry timber. There is not a lot of gorgeous scenery, and the trail is mostly steeply uphill for the first two miles. For us, it was also really hot- we were literally dripping sweat after about 15 minutes because of the temperature.

Basically, the combination of steep grade, temperature, and our lack of enthusiasm for the less-than-spectacular scenery led to us only making 6 of those 12 miles. The end of Hanging Valley supposedly leads to a 300 foot drop off with views that are breathtaking, but we didn’t hold our breath to find out.

So, if you are in the mood for some serious 12 miles of hiking, go for it!  If you’re like us, you might just reconsider…after all, 200 meters down the road is the Trout Creek Trail. Our code phrase for turning around was, “I HATE GIN!”, which we both exclaimed after reaching a point that was dry and depressing.

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Adventures, Americana, College, Photography

Summer: Beginning

 

 

Summer is officially here. After winning a 3.86 GPA this semester, and beginning work full time next week, summer seems to hardly be staying with me at all, though!

I’ve been reading Nabokov, Heller, and taking lots of photographs downtown. Meghan left for D.C. yesterday, and Wednesday she and Jackson had a barbecue, complete with potato salad, chips, brownies, cookies, burgers and hot dogs.  I drove down for the day to pick up parking permits and do nothing at all. We drank mimosas, lounged on chairs outdoors, fended off wasps and played various backyard games. The day was almost as perfect as one could hope for.

Bower, the skittish cat, made a few cameos. Mark performed card tricks that left everybody mind boggled. Shelby and Jake didn’t stay long, just long enough to eat food and lament their early departures. We all discussed nothing and everything, and when the sun started dipping low, I hopped back into the car and departed. The 1.5 hour drive yielded some of the most gorgeous clouds I have ever witnessed.

Lately I’ve been running in the evening with Kristin, which has been beyond magnificent. I missed running, and my body is getting back into the rhythm beautifully. It’s like it was just hibernating. I find running to be a total release from everything stressful or confusing, and it smooths out the wrinkles in my life better than most things.

Anyway, enjoy some photographs from my life recently!

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Adventures, Black and White, College, Food, Montana, Photography

An enormous photograph post with not much text.

Self explanatory. I am at a loss for words right now, my mind is so full of various thoughts that pulling them out in some semblance of order feels to be a monstrous task at the moment.

So, instead, consume some visual evidence from the events in my life.

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Black and White, College, Favorite things, Food, Montana, Photography

Food lately

Target was closed on Easter, or you would have seen these much earlier! (That means about 30 something hours sooner). I’m still so pleased with how the f/1.4 lens is making everything seem! I guess I’m in the honeymoon stage with a camera lens- oops.

Emily and I went to Cafe Zydeco, a Cajun food place off Main Street, and it was delicious! Nova Cafe with Kristin was perfect, per usual, except this time I didn’t gorge myself! I got a nice, normal sizes meal (le sigh)- normally I leave feeling like I could sleep for hours with a full stomach.

There was snow this weekend, but it quickly melted. I’ll post photographs sometime later. It’s Montana, it’s April, but snow keep showing up, unwanted. Like that party guest who comes and drinks all your liquor and then disappears and shows up sporadically.

Anyway, back to the point of this post: FOOD!

Alright, so I’m in love with food in a way that I haven’t encountered in a whole lot of other people. To me, it’s a gorgeous creation that I couldn’t imagine not having in my life. I love photographing it and eating it, savoring the image later to rekindle how good the meal tasted. Good food is something to be savored.

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