28 August 2011

Fisher Bird Trifecta on the Tobacco River.

August 26, 20011

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I took a hike to Wolverine Lake in the Ten Lakes Scenic Area. On the way up I pulled a muscle in the back of my calf about a quarter of a mile from the lake. It was painful to keep walking up the mountain but I wasn't about to wuss out. Coming back down the mountain didn't seem to hurt much at all.

I know that, upon returning home, I should have immediately applied the RICE (Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation) treatment but you see my guest was thirty five years younger and I wasn't about to show any weakness. Pride goeth before great pain. 

Needles to say I didn't take proper care of myself and have suffered dearly for it. Koty has been going nuts waiting for a walk and since I live on a mountain all trails lead uphill either coming or going. So, today I decided we would take the Tobacco River trail which is flat as a pancake.

The river has come down quite a bit. One casualty I noticed was the old wreck that has been gracing the bank of the river for as long as I can remember. I liked looking at it. It had character. The old dear is probably resting at the bottom of the Koocanusa.

Old wreck on the banks of the Tobacco River

About a half mile into our walk I heard quite a bit of bird chatter. Someone was quite annoyed. The voice sounded like an angry osprey. I slowed my pace and tried to identify where the chatter was coming from. In a gap in the bushes I could see across the river. The first thing I saw was an osprey sitting in a cottonwood. Very nice.

I kept searching the far shore and low and behold right next door I saw an always elegant Great Blue Heron sitting atop a fir tree.

Great Blue Heron

And, a little to the left of the heron was an ever regal Bald Eagle!

Bald Eagle

These birds are pretty common around here but to see all three sitting not twenty feet apart is pretty special even for these parts. I never did see who was making all the racket. Pretty sure it was an osprey and probably upset with all these other guys invading "its" territory. They looked to me as though they were staking out there spots for the fishing derby that is soon to begin. It won't be long now before the river turns red with spawing  kocanee salmon  and these birds will be fishing fools.

I did see one osprey get up and take flight.

Osprey Up, Up and Away

On the return we ran into a whitetail doe and her fawn. The fawns are getting pretty big now, lots of feed this year,  and their spots are starting to fade. This cute little fawn is very leggy.

Whitetail Doe and Fawn
As things turned out deciding to take a lowland, level walk was a great idea. Good for me in every way. I can never quite get over how fortunate I am to be able to see these fabulous images everyday of my life. If this isn't the Garden of Eden it's pretty darned close to it.

Oh and if the above wasn't enough I got this for my sunset.

Dancing Deer Sunset

I will soon be entering my 10th winter here in northwest Montana and I still feel like a kid in a candy store. I sometimes feel as though I must be the luckiest woman alive.

©Kinsey Barnard

25 August 2011

My Apple and iPad2 Review

It was sad to learn of Steve Jobs stepping down. From recent photos it is clear he is losing his battle with cancer. At least he was able to see Apple go from a cult computer company to a consumer electronics behemoth. Apple has now eaten Microsoft's lunch and there has to be redemption in that.

I've been using PC's since before they were PC's, back in the day they were called IBM clones. I switched to Apple about five years ago and wondered why I had not done it years before. Yes, they are more expensive than a PC but, for my money, worth every penny. With Mac you get what you pay for or at least that has been my experience.

Recently, a Canadian chum of mine suggested that I would enjoy an iPad for reading books and surfing the web and encouraged me to buy one which I did.
We got off to a rocky star, my iPad and I. The first thing it told me was that I needed to download the most current version of iTunes. I downloaded iTunes but when I tried to install it I was advised that my operating system did not support it. I called Apple Care support got put on hold for fifteen minutes, then got a person that asked a bunch of questions and then transferred me to another area where I waited, not so patiently, for another fifteen minutes and was disconnected. I called back, was on hold for another twenty minutes, repeated all the information I had provided before and was transfered again and put on hold again. After about ten minutes I got a live person. I explained my problem. He said he would help me but he needed to put me on hold which he did. I waited another fifteen minutes and the guy never came back on the line. I finally hung up.

Whlst on my second attempt to get help I was reading the box and saw printed in tiny script, and I mean tiny, "compatible with Mac OS X 10.5.8 or latter". Since I live in the middle of nowhere I always buy my Apple products via the online Apple store and I hadn't noticed this bit. I'm sure it's there but I didn't see it. Then I read iPad is compatible with Windows all the way back to XP. That really frosted me. My OS was not nearly as old as XP.

The irony is that I would have had a 10.5 OS on my laptop if Apple had come out with it when they said they would. It was supposed to have come out in May of 2008. I deferred the purchase of my laptop so I could have it. Well, it got pushed forward until, by the end August, I could wait no longer as I was preparing to leave for a six month photo safari. What had held up the release of the new operating system? Oh, just a silly little product called the iPhone.

So, here I sat with two Macs with the wrong operating systems whilst PC users could cruise right in to an iPad with XP! I didn't want to spring for a new operating system as I plan to buy a new Mac in the next moth or so. I felt very angry and betrayed.

With muder in my heart I dialed the support number again. After another ten minute wait and I got a young man named Brad. This was not his lucky day. He started to ask the same questions for the third time and I said "Brad, wait just one minute before you go on" and I unloaded a barrage of frustration that would have knocked down all but the very courageous. To the young man's credit he took it like a trooper. I basically told him if he transferred me again I would never buy another Apple product again as long as I lived! An empty threat but I was going for all I was worth.

Brad listened to my tirade and said he would transfer me to a senior tech specialst and stay on the line until we were connected. I explained the situation to Christopher who was very professional and sympathetic. I got the feeling I wasn't the only loyal subject who had had a fit over this issue. In any event Christopher offered to send me the OS upgrade at no charge. Now, this was the Apple I was accustomed to dealing with.

About a week later I got the disk. It took forever to install the new system, all the updates, the new version of iTunes, and the iTunes account stuff. But once I got that nasty chore done it was smooth sailing.

All, I can say about iPad is what a cool toy! It was a snap to start e-mailing, web surfing, game playing and reading my favorite books. It's Apple quality through and through. You can get much less expenive tablets for reading books. I think the Kindle from Amazon is only about $149 as opposed to the iPad I bot which was $599. But, with the Kindle all you can do is read books. With iPad there is no end to the stuff you can do. I'm sure it will be awhile before I discover even half of them.

The really cool thing about iPhone and iPad is now the world knows what we Mac users have known for a long time Apple = Innovation and Superior Quality. All I ask is that Apple not forsake us loyal Mac users. I think they won't. I think instead more people will consider buying a Mac and that will be great for all concerned.

Apple reminds me of a racehorse I greatly admired as a kid. His name was Silky Sullivan. Old Silky would just lounge around about twenty lengths back and then just when you thought there was no chance for him he would stretch out those long legs and fly by the pack to win. Apple is certainly in the winners circle today having coming from a small cult computer manufacturer to a consumer electronics juggernaut.

God bless and keep you Mr. Jobs. You've done fine things for which you can be very proud!

©Kinsey Barnard

24 August 2011

Wolverine-Ten Lakes Scenic Area

 August 16, 2011

One of my favorite places is Ten Lakes Scenic Area and one of my favorite hikes is the hike to Wolverine Lake. Usually, people are celebrating 4th of July at the Terriault Lakes campgrounds but not this year. It was well after the fourth before the road was clear all the way to the lakes. It was even later to get in to Wolverine. I have been told by the ski mobile people that at one time they had to dig down eight feet to get to the cabin that is at Wolverine. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the cabin because I forgot to take one. But, It's in great shape with a brand new roof!

On this particular outing I had the great good fortune to have my friend Nick hike with me. Nick is from California and I wanted to share with him what I think is a very special place.

Nick takes a pic of Little Terriault Lake

I told Nick it was only a forty five minute hike up to Wolverine. I don't know where I got that idea because it took us more like and hour and a half. The trail is a truly lovely one wandering through forest shade and sunny fields of wildflowers.

Nick & Koty take a break amongst the wildflowers
Wolverine Lake is, in my opinion, one of the loveliest little lakes anywhere. The water is so clear you can watch the fish leisurely swim by. And the water color changes from deep blue to turquoise depending on the light. Sheer granite walls rise up in front of you in a rather dramatic sort of way. They even still had a dab of snow left on them. Utterly amazing for the middle of August.

I don't know how I managed it but I got water spots on my lens and wrecked this image but I'm putting it in here anyway because it will at least give you an idea how pretty and dramatic a landscape it is. All of the photos here were taken with a little Panasonic point and shoot. I left the big dogs home for probably the first time in my life.

Nick at Wolverine Lake
I had prepared a picnic lunch for us and we ate in total beauty and solitude. It was a real treat to share this spot with someone who had an equal appreciation for the beauty and grandeur of it.

Lunch Break

We had the lake all to ourselves for our time there and that was great good luck because as we returned down the trail we met two groups on their way up to camp. If you are ever in the area and you have the time, it's around thirty miles on a mostly a dirt and gravel road to the trailhead, I highly recommend a walk up to Wolverine. Unlike Glacier, you won't find a lot of tourists here.

©Kinsey Barnard

07 August 2011

Stock Market Went To Hell I Took A Hike

Friday August 5, 2011

Yesterday the Dow was down 500 points. It was a no place to run no place to hide kind of day except for gold. Today started out punk so I decided to give myself a break and get Clem out for the day.

Here it is August and I still hadn't de-winterized Clementine, my Winnebago View, let alone take a trip. Too much going on here at the ranch and no one to delegate chores. I figured it was a good day to get away and exercise Clem. I really enjoy driving her.

Off we went down 37 along Lake Koocanusa. The Lake is now very close to full pool and it is gorgeous after the record lows earlier this spring. The water is right up to the tree line, something I have not seen since I lived here. Normally the Koocanusa isn't all that pretty because it really isn't a lake but a reservoir that was gouged and blasted out leaving a normally long, narrow water body with raw, vertical banks. Not this year. It looks like a real mountain lake.

Kootenai River Trail

My destination was the Kootenai River Trail near Libby, Montana. It's not much of a trail anymore. The power company has made it a road so they can get in to service their lines. Too bad, it has taken a lot of the flavor of the walk away but it's still a wonderful walk.

Kootenai River

Like the lake that feeds it the Kooteenai River is full and running bank to bank. It was hotter than the dickens, for me anyway, around 90 degrees. Neither Koty nor I is very keen on hot weather. I got down in that creek and dunked my head and threw water down my shirt. Oh, mama, what a great feeling!

Stopped at a little creek for some cooling effects

Thistle were blooming and I happened to see this bee scrounging for nectar. I always marvel at how many seemingly not so nice things, like thistle, there are in nature that are also so very beautiful. I guess the answer is that everything is beautiful in its own way.

Thistle and Bee

About three miles in you come to an old settlers cabin. I just took a few shots for fun. These old relics always seem to transport me and my imagination.

Kootenai River Trail Relic

Kootenai River Trail Relic

Kootenai River Trail Relic
The old cabin was about as far as I got this day. I forgot to bring my water and I was dying thirst. Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. I suppose I could have drunk from the little creek. I drink from mine at the ranch all the time. I'm wondering if you can get all the way to falls. Have to come back on a cooler day and go the distance.

The views of the river seemed to be lovelier mostly due to the fact the sun was behind me. The Kootenai really is an awesome river and in the fall a great place to come watch the eagles fish. There were quite a few human fishermen in their dories.

Kootenai River Montana

Kootenai River Montana

Kootenai River Montana

By the time I returned home I was tired but totally refreshed. Nothing like a walk in a beautiful, natural setting to clear the head. Lucky me, I am surrounded by beauty.

©Kisney Barnard

03 August 2011

Is Gold a Crowded Trade?

Some of these financial images are better than anything I could produce with my camera.

Back in 2000 I was telling everyone I knew to buy gold because I believed it would go to $1,500. I was universally laughed at or looked at as some kind of a kook. Well, it appears I was wrong. Gold is going a lot higher than $1,500. Yesterday it stood at $1,660 and it's hittin' licks again this morning. I would not be surprise if it didn't eventually go to $5,000. But, in my defense who could have ever predicted the stupidity of the US government and it's lackey politicians?

Is gold a crowded trade? You be the judge.

©Kinsey Barnard