September has been full of exploration. Always one of my favorite times of year, this time I’m actually getting outside more than usual. A quick tour:
1. The daily wanderings, around Bozeman. Getting out despite waning daylight, weather, and such.
Dusk descent back into Hyalite canyon.
Blustery day in Bozeman.
2. Working on some stories about Yellowstone National Park. A week on horseback in the backcountry.
My tent, perched next to the horses, in a backcountry camp.
Coming down from Bighorn Pass, Yellowstone National Park.
Mules and horses moving over Fawn Pass in Yellowstone.
It’s been a good trail running summer so far. After nine months of plantar fasciitis and a glute-busting physical therapy program, I’ve been pain free for two weeks. Finally.
Because I want to spend all the time I can, right here, on these trails:
The “M” trail.
Bridger Foothills Trail
Spanish Creek, Madison Range
Trying on a new town: Bozeman. Learning new trails with old friends. Trying out being 100% freelance.
This morning, spontaneous bike ride with my friend Heidi.
Which meant early dinner and time to work on the novel with a glass of Malbec this evening. I could get used to this schedule.
Spring, season of all seasons, calls for a certain kind of hyperactivity. When it’s 65F and sunny, you–quick before it changes–get out on a run in shorts. You pull out the mountain bike but agree to meet the snowbanks with a smile, or at least stamina or the reasoning to turn around. You multi-sport it. Bike. Hike. Ski. You take a nap when it rains all day.
You think you might take up birding because of the meadowlark alone. And wildflowers, too. But you also refocus on writing dreams. Life dreams. The days are longer now. There’s time.
Here’s a new side project I’m working on with a few friends: Montana Backcountry – a new adventure blog. The four of us spend a lot of time cavorting around the mountains, but we all have different interests and passions. Hunting, skiing, mountain biking, backpacking, wild game recipes, trail running, rafting, climbing, camping with toddlers. And so on. Whether you want inspiration or arm-chair adventure … I’ll be posting there from time to time.
It’s easy to give in to the pattern of working life, to convince yourself you don’t have time. My three jobs are wearing me down this winter. Friday, I nearly turned the wrong way on a one-way street. Cause: burned-out brain. I try to remind myself that being outdoors is the thing that brings relief and recovery. I spent the last two days skiing with fabulous women. Good times. Vitamin N (nature). Powder. Trees. Trees covered in powder. Tonight, lying on the couch, I feel exhausted in the right, relaxed way. Revitalization achieved.
Powder hound, Rupert, breaking trail for the ladies.
Amy, getting her grin on.
Headed towards Monday, and more snow on the way.
Found winter laying down its bed in the Sapphires.
Borrowed a young dog, ran some mountain trails. Fixed a burned-out brain.
Tomorrow, archery season opens in Montana and it marks the beginning of what we call the “hunting widow” period. My man is off in the backcountry, where few hunters go, very close to where I took this picture a few weeks ago, waiting for the elk to bugle. I, and the other hand, am eating my favorite dinner with my favorite dog. It wears lonely by October, but for now I can’t complain.
Yesterday, I was on this ridgeline above Queener basin. Today I am completing Hour 12 of computer work. My eyes are weary and I’m wishing, wholeheartedly, that my legs were aching in a tent somewhere.
Sidenote: Two days of hiking and we only ran into three people. If you want spectacular views, alpine lakes, and an actual sense of solitude, this is a great destination.