The months from June through September of 2008 will go down in my personal history book as the summer that wasn't. It isn't just that we had the wettest spring in history, making the prairie green and the mountains white far later in the year than normal, or that the brutal heat of the season didn't even manifest itself until August was well under way - no, it is the combination of those things plus many more. The biggest thing preventing this feeling like summer even now is that Ken and I have not been to the mountains even once. In fact, Ken hasn't even been around for most of the last few months. His work has kept him in Cincinnati and he has only been home twice in the last 45 days - the first time for three days which we spent visiting his folks in Jackson Hole and the second for four days, three of which I spent in Douglas helping judge the State Fair!
That is the other thing that is different about this year - I have been traveling a lot in an effort to work toward my NQA Judging Certification. Getting the required experience means attending a lot of shows which means putting in many miles. I have also been spending a crazy amount of time doing the paperwork required for the program. It is surprising how intense and time-consuming the whole process is.
Many months ago we talked to Ken's daughter about having her son spend a couple weeks with us in July and August. The plan was that Allmon would arrive, we would load up the llamas and we would head into the Beartooths for a week or so. That was before we realized I was going to be a work widow for much of the summer. Allmon and I got along fine despite the change in plans but it was surprising to find out how little time I had to call my own while caring for a 12 year old for 14 days! Ken actually came home for a couple days while Allmon was here and we drove through the Park and down to Ken's mom and dad's place for a few days. While there I took the obligatory photo of Ken and his grandson next to the "mushroom" rock.
Since Allmon left I have been trying to catch up on my quilting and other chores but I still feel like I am behind for now.
Even Search and Rescue has been a little strange over the past few weeks. We seem to be getting lots of calls but they are resolved before we get to do anything. For example, we had three calls in the last week - the first was for a horse wreck in an area of the Beartooths with which I am totally familiar and I would have loved to hike in to assist. But it just so happened there was a med-evac helicopter in the area and he was able to fly right to the guy and load him on before we could even get to the trailhead. Then, a couple nights ago, there was a call for a missing child in Cody. Happily for all concerned he turned up at home before I even made it as far as my garage. The latest call came yesterday morning when it was announced that four kayakers were overdue on the Clark's Fork River. The Sheriff sent up our plane to locate them just to find they were all fine and had just decided to spend an extra night on the trail.
My photos are completely out of sync so I will just stick them all at the end and hope you enjoy seeing them.
This first one is called "Dreams of being a peacock". This bunny knows exactly where the shade is and he spends every day next to this aptly named "rabbit bush".
Allmon and I went for a hike while he was here and discovered this pack rat trying out his climbing skills in this crack in the rock!
Here are Ken and Allmon at "the mushroom".
Last but not least - A photo of a baby swallow. Doesn't he look mad?!