Quick afternoon Blue Mountain Lookout jaunt

For those of us that live in western Montana, we are extremely fortunate to have so many great hiking destinations in such close proximity to our homes. Blue Mountain stands over Missoula, and on top of its forested slopes is a little-used fire lookout. The hike to the summit is a rather quick 1.9 miles… Read more »

Hike to Glen Lake (with extension to No Name Lake)

Through a forest of gray spires, the hike to Glen Lake offered us the immense vistas of the Bitterroot Mountains. I have also enjoyed the Glen Lake hike as it is relatively easy and a cruise. The biggest plus is the short additional hike to No Name Lake, a small, shallow pond that sits in… Read more »

Evening hike along Bass Creek

O! Bass Creek, how I love thee? Is that flowery enough? But seriously, I love hiking the Bass Creek drainage with its proximity to my home and the vistas that abound on this trail. On this evening, I was joined by my two favorite hiking partners, Vida and Jeff. They are my favorites because they graciously… Read more »

Hopping along Big Creek, Bitterroot Mountains

Feeling a little tired and sick, but needing some outside time, Jeff and me decided to hike to pleasantly inclined Big Creek trail. Following the, well, big creek, the sweeps under and through western red cedar, western larch, and ponderosa pine as the stream creates a din of white noise that is occasionally broken by the… Read more »

Scooting up Skookum Butte

It has been 2 years since I have made the short hike to the historic lookout atop Skookum Butte. This time, Vida joined me, well, she rather tolerated me as my hiking speed was limited to a crawl due to a cause of bronchitis and asthma (together in some kind of oxygen-deprived stew of disease)…. Read more »

Camas Lake in the Bitterroots

Hiking into Camas Lake is one of the most enjoyable hikes in the Bitterroot Mountains. The nearly 3 miles to the first lake features some great stream crossings under a dense canopy. The trail switchbacks up a slope that has massive slabs of granite. Reaching the lake, we immediately noticed numerous trout jumping at a… Read more »

Cruising through the Ninemile Valley

Vida and I decided to take a quick cruise through the Ninemile Valley (located west of Missoula) to hike the Grand Menard Discovery Trail (actually more of a stroll) and fly the DJI Phantom 4 over a few of the picturesque meadows of the valley. The meadows were covered with common camas, meadow buttercup, and… Read more »

Chaffin Butte – Is It a Summit???

Chaffin Butte or the “C” Hill stands above Corvallis and is accessed via an easement through private property. The flanks of the hill are covered with big sagebrush and scattered stunted ponderosa pine. The soils are rocky and dry, and the plant life can be likened to those communities found in the Big Hole Valley… Read more »

Awesome Spring Hike – Bear Creek Falls

Taking full advantage of the terrific spring weather on Saturday, we hiked to and beyond Bear Creek Falls on the Bitterroots. Only a short and relatively easy 1.5 miles from the trailhead, Bear Creek Falls is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. I have made the trip to this… Read more »

Spring Arrives in the Rockies

This past weekend was definitely the start of the Montana spring with sun, rain, and snow…you know, spring in the Bitterroot. The Lee Metcalf NWR was alive with Great Horned Owls hooting and Red-winged Blackbirds carrying on.

  • Dharma

    A Different Kind of Independence on the Fourth

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    The Fourth of July, Independence Day. At the Garden of 1000 Buddhas, we are seeking true independence for all sentient beings. The liberation of all through a place designed to promote and, indeed, create peace in the hearts and minds of all that visit, see, or merely hear about the Garden of 1000 Buddhas. Everyone… Read more »

  • Dharma

    The Dharma abounds

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    Today, Vida and I worked in the Garden of 100 Buddhas inthe afternoon. What a fortunate we have reaped to be in the presence of such great teachers as Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, Khenpo Namchak, Khenpo Sonam, and Khenpo Orygen. The Garden of 1000 Buddhas is a place were the most compassionate people gather to perform… Read more »

  • Vancouver Island 2012

    Vancouver Island Trip – Days 6 & 7

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    Our last day of fishing off of Vancouver Island was a rainy one, but it was full of birds. Once again, I am going to let the images speak for themselves.

  • Birding, Photography

    Blessed morning on Lolo Creek

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    Yesterday morning stated with a mellow sunrise through a cottonball sky. The clouds hung high until they gathered in a solid cover that lowered until it rained. IN the shrubs MacGillivray’s Warblers sing and did the Fox Sparrows. Along a small oxbow, Willow Flycatchers called and defended their territories of willow and red-osier dogwood. The… Read more »

  • Birding

    Clark Fork River backwaters

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    In a weekend filled with work and teaching at the Garden of 1000 Buddhas, I managed to carve out some time for a little birding along a couple of sloughs of the Clark Fork River. The cottonwoods echoed with birdsong from Yellow Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, Least Flycatcher, Bullock’s Orioles, Gray Catbirds, and Cedar Waxwings. The… Read more »

  • Vancouver Island 2012

    Vancouver Island Trip – Day 5

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    What a day! I have been in a retreat so I will just let the images speak for themselves.

  • Dharma

    More blessings from the Garden of 1000 Buddhas

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    At the Garden of 1000 Buddhas, yesterday filled with more preparation work and a short audience with Rinpoche where we learned more about the activities for the upcoming month.

  • Featured, Vancouver Island 2012

    Vancouver Island Trip – Day 4

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    Today started with an amazing sunrise. As we headed out about 10 miles to sea for some halibut fishing, the sun played with the waves and the mountains. As we neared to area for our fishing, the seabirds to abound. Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklet leapt into flight from the swells. Pelagic Cormorants and Glaucous-winged Gulls… Read more »

  • Birding

    National Bison Range and Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge

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    At the end of May, Tom Forwood and I went for a little birding jaunt around the Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge and the National Bison Range. We encountered many species that were in a photogenic mood, and these are the results.

  • Vancouver Island 2012

    Vancouver Island Trip – Day 3

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    Waking in Tahsis is a muggy, damp experience. It had been raining all night and it was still coming down hard as I left my Dad and Nardy sleeping the motel room (which was rented from the Tahsis Lounge…convenient). I wandered through remains of an industrial town with rusting pillars and beams like bleaching bones… Read more »

  • Dharma

    Hanging Prayer flags at the Garden of 1000 Buddhas

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    Today Vida and I had the great opportunity to work at the Garden of 1000 Buddhas as the Ewam Sangha prepares for the month-long retreat in July. Along with Charlie Pearl (our personal favorite), we moved lumber and replaced the tattered prayer flags near Rinpoche’s house. Prayers flags are very important in Tibetan Buddhism as… Read more »

  • Vancouver Island 2012

    Vancouver Island Trip – Days 1 & 2

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    Earlier this June, I was more than fortunate to be able to go with my father and a family friend on an extended fishing/birding trip to the west coast of Vancouver Island. I tallied 18 lifers on the trip, including a Black-throated Sparrow near Vanguard, Washington (the first lifer of the trip even if the wind threatened to blow me… Read more »

  • Birding, Hiking, Photography

    Glen Lake in the Bitterroots

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    On Sunday, I undertook a “short” hike up to Glen Lake in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area. I was told that the hike was 2.5 miles, but it is closer to 3.25 miles and bit more uphill than I had anticipated. Almost the entirety of the trail takes you through the post-fire environment left by the massive… Read more »

  • Birding, Photography

    Plethora of Pied-billed Grebes

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    This year I have seen more Pied-billed Grebes than I can ever remember seeing before. The ponds of the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge seem to have at least one pair in each of them. The following images come from April and May (I know I am very late in posting them).

  • Birding, Butterflies, Hiking

    Summer keeps rolling along

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    Yesterday was a completely enjoyable, we went for a hike and last night was host to spectacular lightning storm. But the day got off to great start with a surreal sunrise. The hike was along Bass Creek to the old log jam at the boundary of the Bitterroot-Selway Wilderness. It was about 5 miles and just enough… Read more »