Home Sweet Home! by Jan Wingenroth  – From Upstairs/Downstairs

Missoula OCT  2009


We attended a “grizzly” homecoming at University of Montana.  I’m sure every homecoming parade reflects the quirkiness of the town it’s held in & Missoula is no exception but 11 degree wind chill puts a little twist on it.  Four child care centers had floats loaded with freezing tots.   My husband insisted the babes in arms were fakes but I know one smiled at me.  The school bands canceled but the UM Alumni band persevered in spite of the cold.

Cold Clarinet

I can’t imagine putting metal on my lips at that temperature or how you play a clarinet tucked into your coat.  One bicycle powered float got hung-up on a hunk of ice running down the main street.  Another highlight was the book carts saddled by the Missoula Public Library book cart drill team.  Missoula’s horned blue bookmobile.  was different as was the physical therapy club parading with crutches and walkers.

We were relieved that we were NOT able to get tickets for the Calpoly/Missoula game. It was a great match-up and those Grizzly fans packed on the sunny side of the stadium appeared to be having a great time.  We opted for the Pulitzer prize photo-journalism exhibit inside and a hike to the Army/Navy store to pick-up some warmer gloves.  I can’t express what a relief it was to return to a sunny Spokane Sunday with a comfortable, reasonable 40 degree temperature.

I           f you want to imagine life in a cool climate click on the picture link and make the slideshow full screen.  http://picasaweb.google.com/Janwingen/Missoula09?feat=directlink#


It took us a little longer to push off for the camping trip than expected.  I got the brilliant idea to make waffles with 3 different fruits for toppings & syrup for Leigh & two friends.  We fed the girls & unstuck everything and then we practically pushed the girls out the door & on their way.  Leigh’s friends were headed to Seattle & Leigh of course was headed back to a work week at camp.

Jordan Creek

Jordan Creek

We drove 2 hr. 40 minutes to Jordan Camp in the Idaho Pan Handle National Forest.  There is a sign that says “dispersed camp sites.”  I think this is a euphemism for: primitive facilities camp wherever you want.  The camp is in the middle of National Recreation Trail number 20 so you can take off either direction and hike about six miles before you hit a road.  It’s also near the junction of Jordan Creek and the North Fork, designated as catch & release cut throat trout fishing.

Jordan Camp

Jordan Camp

I was totally amazed that Dennis still remembered how to set up the tent.  He even had this inkling that one pole has to go on top of the others.  I was the one who remembered how to put on the rainfly though, which was a good thing since it rained all night.  Dennis woke up with his feet wet.  I guess we should have pitched the tent on higher ground although I don’t remember that there really was any.   He had practiced with the stove and charged up his GPS & almost figured it out so after hike of  “about” 6 miles we successfully cooked dinner.

North Fork; Hike no. 1

North Fork; Hike no. 1

I was surprised we didn’t see any deer or even any squirrels in camp.  We did watch a kid about age 6 or 7 drive a 4-wheeler around the campground.  His feet couldn’t even touch the footrest.  At least he drove very slowly but it was nerve wracking nonetheless.  The campsite that had “dispersed” across the road from the designated campground put on some music loud enough entertain the entire area.  All this served to remind us that perhaps we better see if we can get it together to backpack.

It was raining on & off in the morning and we jumped into the car with our breakfast during one brief downpour.  At that point we thought car camping wasn’t really such a bad idea.  When it quit raining we went on a fairly level hike above the north fork of the Coeur’de Alene River.    The GPS was functioning well and indicated it was exactly 7.3 miles round trip.

Hike no. 2 above the North Fork

Hike no. 2 above the North Fork

I think our trip may have been a little too successful because Dennis has assigned me to research a place for our next  campout in two weeks.  I’m not sure I can find such a great spot.  Link to slideshow

Camping trip #2 .written July 21, 2009


Much better weekend, I think regaled by Leigh with tales of her 250 m, bike trip with 24 high      school sophomores.   Everyone arrived back at camp safely but just to add a little challenge she & 4 or 5 friends decided to try sky diving.

Seeing her off safely to camp, we began the 2 hour drive to Sherman Pass between Kettle Falls & Republic.  Good news no rain, bad news no campground.  Even though I checked the NFS web site the campground described no longer existed.  We decided to hike first & worry later.  First hike was around the White Mountain burn area ABOUT 5.3 miles.  (Dennis was still struggling a bit with the GPS.)  They need a forest fire every once in a while to clear the view.  Hike was not too rigorous and the wildflowers especially Lupins

were beautiful.  It is a bit more elevations than we are used to, 6000 ft.

We found the  Canyon Creek campground near the base of the mountain.  The place was OVERUN with huckleberry pickers.  When they went home there were only about five QUIET families in the campground.  Dennis theorized that this was much quieter than our last campground (no six year olds driving four wheelers, no music, no families driving 200 yards to the outhouse) because it is close to the highway.  campDennis suggested that when you drive two hours  from anywhere & over miles of washboard roads you expect to be able to do “whatever the Hell you want without any complaints.  This is as good a theory for crazy behavior as any I guess.

The night was cool & dry.  I again slept well but we both agreed that the level graveled tent spot was not as comfortable as our previous floating pine needle bog.  The ground felt like we were sleeping on  the granite rock that surrounded us.

Monday was a rigorous hike about six miles round trip up Columbia Mountain.  The altitude was just under 7000 ft.  Nice wildflowers without  a fire and great views all directions if you ran around the top of the mountain.  One other couple made the trek up and they made us feel rather like wimps as they were backpacking & this was apparently a little side trip from the main trail for them.

We were plenty tired and ended the day having dinner with Leigh at Camp Reed.  Dennis was starved & a bit disappointed that we landed on “Breakfast for Dinner” .ft French toast wasn’t quite what he had in mind.  Skits, singing & the ghost story lasted until almost 10pm by the time we made it home it was 11ish & we were beat! Album Hikes & Camp Reed


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