Monday, September 29

LSNED 2014

I have been doing this class with Shimelle for a few years now, and one thing I found very interesting this year, was to compare where I was a year ago, which was easy considering I decided to use my journal from last year and continue. I retired from teaching science in June and my husband and I planned a three week camping trip to some of our favorite places in Wyoming and Montana. He drove all of our camping gear out, and I flew(brilliant!) out in September 2.
Beartooths
Beartooth Butte
I wanted to keep my journal simple, so wrote a page or two a day, and then used my watercolors and doodling to finish my pages. My original plan was to share this as I went on the blog, but I quickly learned there are vast spaces in the west that my cell phone did not work.
I learned you find coffee in all kinds of places!
Cattle, or horses, or...can block the road at any time
It can get darn cold at the "top of the world"

What I wrote here was a vision of the near future (about the Bears), so let me share one story from the Beartooths...Lots of wildlife where we camped, coyotes, wolf, elk herd bugling all night as they traveled down the lake, and then my encounter in the wee hours of the morning with a bear (most likely grizzly). Some of you ladies know, that as you get older, you get up more often in the night to use the facilities. Well, this is one of the things I worried about since we were camping in a tent. 2:30 am, I was headed to the outhouse, shining my flashlight all around, when I spooked a bear in the nearby campsite...all I can say is thank you, God, because he ran off! I have to add to my story that following thyroid surgery this summer, I really don't have a voice, so I couldn't have yelled to scare it (I did carry a whistle). I tell you, I have a guardian angel!! I am also thankful this was our last night there, because I needed to move on...But I learned I did not have to freak out!
To Yellowstone! Stayed at hotels for a few days since it turned cold, wet, and snowy. Of course we visited Old Faithful, but also saw a lot more even with all the construction in the fall. I learned I love traveling at this time of the year.
Lake Lodge, Yellowstone
I learned there are so many great Mexican restaurants in the west.

I learned to fall into the daily rhythms of camping, like go to bed at sunset and get up once the sun warmed the tent...sometimes this was the only way to stay warm. I learned to enjoy the simple things like music and painting and journaling.
To play with color, to write, to doodle...
I learned about Native cultures and beliefs, like the vision quests at Legend Rock, and the rock world.
I learned once again, how scarce water can be in the west...we drove about 40 miles to fill up our water jug for camping.
I learned to look for and enjoy all kinds of wildlife, like these bighorn sheep who walked into camp, or the owls hooting all night.
I learned that I really love looking at rocks and formations (must be The earth science teacher in me).
I learned how much I truly love the fall season...in the past it was always the hectic start to school, and somehow fall slipped by way too quickly.
I learned to let the stress go, to find some balance, to reconnect with my husband of 33 years, to play and have fun, and to look forward to this thing they call retirement!

Thanks for sharing my LSNED ramblings, and thanks Shimelle for bringing this around every September!

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