Friday, August 14, 2009

Picnic at Hellgate

This is what you do when you want to go on a picnic.

We knew we needed some sun for the teenage girls, some shade for the older generations, some water for splashing and wading for the younger kids, good food, rocks to pick and scenery to admire.

We chose to drive up Hellcreek Gulch for some adventure.

The steep rock walls remind me of the Wild West when bad guys lived in smoky, cave hideouts, waited around such eery corners and robbed anyone that passed by.

I knew we probably didn't have to look out for bandits, but I knew with all the rocks, rattlesnakes might be a possibility. Years ago, we spotted one during a picnic adventure and my husband, Scott, screamed like a little girl. It has been harrassment fodder for years.

This is what you do when you find a spot that meets all your criteria.
We found a flat surface with only a few cow-pies, a few weeds, a lot of rocks, some shade, some sun and a tiny mountain crik.

My Dad, nicknamed Jungle Jim by my Mom for his affinity with the great out-of-doors, was so excited with this find.

As I was shooting, he was exclaiming, "Mushrooms growing on a cow pie? Did you know those are probably the kind you can eat?"

I was hoping he meant the mushrooms, not the the cow pie. But, nowing my Dad's earlier interest in Eulle Gibbons , I wasn't really sure. I wasn't interested in eating either.

This is what you do when you forget lawn chairs.

We love our Town and Country mini-van. The seats are so comfortable, even when they are sinking in sand.

This is what you do when you get a bee sting.
Bethany soaked her stinging hand in the crik, which is basically melted snow. It was clear and cold, but we knew better than to drink it. There were cows all around.

This is what you do when you freeze feet while wading in the Crik-of-Melted-Snow.
Jon, the tenderfoot, was trying to explore the crik while yelling, "This is so cold! This is so cold! Hurry and take your picture, Mom! This is SO cold!" I made him be quiet and stand on the log.

This is what you do when you are feeling daring.
Grace, who was living up her last day as a 15-year-old, decided to create an adventure attempting to climb to the top of the mountain. In flip-flops. Without any water. I warned her about all the things a Mom should, rattlesnakes, falling, prickly pear cactus, and dehydration, then followed her to take pics. In flip-flops. Without any water.

At one point I heard a lot of rocks sliding down the mountain in the direction of my camera and Grace casually called out, "Mom what is the word called when all the rocks are sliding down the mountain?"

"Do you mean landslide?"

"Uh, huh, I think I just caused one."

She got mid-way and freaked out when she heard rattlesnakes. I assured her it was those huge grasshoppers just rubbing their hind legs together, but she thought rattlesnakes made for a better story. This is what you do when you want to wade in deeper water.
Boys will be boys. Jon and Gramps didn't think the beaver did a very good job on his house down the crik, so they tried making their own dam.

This is what you do when you need to rest.
Granny and Gramps relaxing in the shade trying to ignore all the commotion.
I wonder if they're thinking how quickly their six kids turned into 20 grandkids and 4 great-grandkids with no slow-down in view. Only the two oldest grandkids are married and are just starting their families.

Their six kids averaged 3.3 kids each. If each of the 20 grandkids marries and has 3.3 kids, that is 20 spouses plus 66 great-grandchildren for 106 ancestors in that generation.

If those 66 great-grandchildren marry and have 3.3 kids each, that could be 66 spouses plus 218 great-great grandchildren for 350 in the next generation.

That's a lotta commotion. No wonder they have to sit in the shade and relax.

This is what you do when you see some water on the road.

On the way out of the gulch, Scott got a little adventurous in our mini-van. He almost got my camera wet.

Then, since we were in the backwoods of Montana, he decided to go off-road. Look at that wheel nervously and precariously perched on the weeds. Like a scene out of "CARS" I can almost hear the van whining, "But, I've never been off-road before!"

Cuz, these are the things you do when you are on vacation.

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