Friday, July 31, 2009

Crystal Lake

Last weekend Kelly and I hoped to go camping at West Rosebud, a popular spot not far from Billings where a river runs into a lake, so there is fishing and swimming. Our friend Kenny went up ahead of us to claim a spot, but was rained out and returned to Billings at midnight the evening before we were due to head up. A last minute plan was hatched with Mom and Dad to find Crystal Lake out of Lewistown, over two hours away. Casey and his friend Hank came too, so we headed off in a three car convoy. I enjoyed quizzing Kelly along the way and got lots of information about Montana, his family's farming history, and summer jobs he had as a teenager ... like the time he got a summer job with Robbie Clark in Roundup climbing up poles to salvage telegraph lines. Robbie was dating a local girl who broke her curfew one night, and the boys had to exit hastily in their pick up truck while the girl's mom unloaded a shot gun in their direction! Anyway, a much more serene setting was waiting for us at Crystal Lake.

I got to cross off an item from my wish list for this holiday because I camped by water and woke up to the smell of a pine forest. I even took my yoga mat and did sun salutations amongst the beautiful trees. We had the forethought to buy a little inflatable raft. Casey and Hank floated across the lake as we walked around it, loving the views and the wild flowers. Then we swapped.

A national forest volunteer came by to warn us that a bear had been spotted in the park the previous night, so we were careful to pack up all our food before we went to bed. Kelly had his 357 pistol by his side in our tent. I don't think any bears came by, although the boys had trouble sleeping because of various noises in the night. We did have a doe and fawn hanging around before dinner, and they were very happy with potato chips. Mike said it would be the salt they craved.

It was such an incredibly beautiful place to camp. On Sunday morning we did a little hike to the top of one of the hills and were rewarded with a beautiful view of the lake.

This camping area is only open for a few months in summer. In winter it is snowed in, and a popular spot for snow mobiles and cross sountry skiing. The lake itself is actually spring fed. There are a couple of spots along the side of the lake where you can see and hear the spring water bubbling up through the stones. The water there is freezing cold, oozing out of the mountains as the winter snow pack thaws and feeds the lake. We filled our water bottles here.

On the way home I had to take a couple more pictures. These are a few of my favourite things - Montana's abandonned farm houses / ghost towns, and the ribbons of gold formed by road side sunflowers.

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