28 February 2015


Yesterday we went to Lone Pine State Park so Kinsey could practice with her Bushnell d-tour, GPS thingy she got for Christmas. Lone Pine named for a lone pine which no longer exists is on a hill overlooking the Flathead Valley. Great view and good place to get some exercise. It also has a confusing trail system, at least, so says Kinsey. Personally, my attention was on the whitetail deer and squirrel activity and I don't need any trail.

It's good exercise because the park sits on a hill and just about anywhere you go you're going to get some great uphill aerobics. Kinsey wanted to try and make a loop, which we eventually did but not without some backtracking. And speaking of backtracking that brings me back to the Bushnell test. The device does point you in the direction you need to go to get back to your marked location but it doesn't tell you which trail to take to do that. I could care less myself. All trails are the right trail in my book.

Kinsey has a good sense of direction but that doesn't help much if you have several trail options which basically take off in the right direction but end up not where you need to be. That actually happened on this hike so we had to retrace our steps and try a new trail. In this case our car was due west of us but the hill was in between. We needed to pick the right trail to take us around it. Our first choice was a mistake. The d-tour definitely would not have helped us last spring on Chief Mountain. Thank heaven for the Chief!

Lone Pine State Park - On the lookout 02-27-15

The d-tour has it's limitations but Kinsey will still be using it when we head out for adventure this spring. The important thing is to recognize the d-tour limitations and use the device accordingly. Kinsey will still be making her little cairns as we go. Unless, of course, she forgets like she did on Chief Mountain. As in that case, it's always best to have reliable spirit guides.

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

27 February 2015


Yesterday Kinsey went to a late breakfast with a pal. Ever so rudely, she left me at home in the house. I, naturally, got bored and roamed around looking for some mischief to do. My favorite mischief is finding things to eat. I am very good at finding things to eat and very clever at reaching it.

When Kinsey got home it was time for my lunch. Our routine is; Kinsey gets the food, I snap to attention plopping my butt on the floor. Kinsey puts the food down and I wait for permission to eat. Well, I not only didn't plop my fanny down I showed no interest in my food whatsoever. This was the first time in my life such a thing happened. Kinsey was very worried but couldn't think of a thing it could be. She watched me like a hawk the rest of the day.

I knew exactly what the problem was but I sure as heck wasn't telling.You see she had left the butter dish with a brand new quarter on it on the counter just within my reach. I was able to lap it off without disturbing the dish. I quite happily gobbled the whole thing down. It was enough for even me to lose my appetite.

Too much butter!

This morning Kinsey was making her mock Ouevos Rancheros and went for the butter dish. It wasn't in the cupboard where it normally is. She saw it on the counter, empty. She immediately had an ah ha moment. And, I'm in the dog house.

Ouevos Rancheros
I'm just fine today but gads Kinsey needs to keep that stuff out of my reach. As good as it was it nearly made me want to puke!

Ciao for now!
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

20 February 2015


Yesterday we had to make a dog food run to Murdoch's. So it was a great day for me. A lot of girls like to go shopping on Rodeo Drive, not me. I'm a long way from there and I don't care. This girl finds shopping nirvana at Murdoch's in Kalispell. Murdoch's is a ranch store here in Montana. The store started out in Bozeman, Montana in 1994 by, of all things, a man named John Murdoch. The Murdoch's Story. It is also one of those few enlightened retail outfits that welcomes dogs.

Just my luck, Kinsey loves the place as much as I do and has been coming here for 14 years. Also helpful is, the Canidae dog food I relish is carried at Murdoch's making it essential that we visit regularly. The particular dog food I get is Canidae ALS. ALS stands for all life stages. It was recommended by my breeder. It must be good stuff because I am fit as a fiddle and have a coat to die for.

Canidae All Life Stages
This store caters to the ranch crowd and if you can't find it here you probably don't need it. I mean they have everything from tack and livestock supplies to Carhartt work clothes for men and women. They have fancy duds too. The aromas in this place? OMG! I nearly go crazy walking up and down the aisles. I look like a blood hound on scent. They have a dog treat selection second to none. Kinsey let's me sniff everything. There's so much wonderful stuff I simply can't choose. I want it all!

Not only does the store have everything a rancher could want, the people are doggone friendly, if you'll pardon the pun. Everyone is so nice to me I nearly don't know how to behave. If you ask Kinsey I don't know how to behave. :)One of our favorite people is Terri in the boot department. She has been helping Kinsey out in this area, and others, for years. We don't always run into her but we did this time and it's always a treat. Almost as big a treat as the ones I get at the checkout counter. ;) What's not to love?

Terri Arnst - Boot Specialist

There is an Ariat boot display there behind us in this photo. Kinsey loves Ariat boots and you won't find a better selection than at Murdoch's.

Whilst I get aroma therapy all over the store Kinsey get's it in the tack department. From the time she was 5 until she went out into the business world, horses were her everything. The love is still there. We could have horses at the ranch but we move around so much it just wouldn't be fair.  Maybe one day. Today Francine took time to visit with us.

Francine in the tack department
You all know how I love to hike and explore but going to Murdoch's is no chore.  I wish there were more places like it. And, in truth, there are a number of stores that allow dogs in Montana, it's a very dog friendly state. But, of all the places that welcome me, Murdoch's is my favorite. It's Kinsey's too. I just wish I could eat up my chow faster so we would have to go more often. I could eat it faster if Kinsey would let me. That isn't going to happen. She thinks it's a crime to let a dog get overweight. That probably makes me lucky too.

And, do you think Kinsey has to lug that 44 lb. bag out to the car? Not on your life. They cheerfully pick it up off the shelf and deliver it to the car.

Did I mention I really love this place?

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

16 February 2015


This past Friday was a glorious day in Montana. The sun was shining and everywhere you looked snow was glistening. A perfect Friday the 13th. We could hardly pass up the chance to walk in such splendor. With no destination in mind we headed out on highway 93.

On a whim we turned off on the road to Upper Whitefish Lake in the Stillwater Forest. In winter, unbeknownst to us, the road is closed to all but snowmobiles. The road is groomed for snowmobiles and looks to be a great place to enjoy the sport. As luck would have it, we are having the longest, warmest winter melt we've ever experienced, for Kinsey that's 14 winters. The melt usually last about ten days. So far, this one is a month old. As a result the snow is receding at a rapid rate.

There is a staging area just a few hundred feet in from the highway. Only few trucks were parked. The conditions did not look at all good for snowmobiling. The track was bald or slushy. Even though the road indicated it was closed, except for snowmobiles, it didn't specifically say anything about foot traffic. If conditions were different we wouldn't recommend walking this road. You'd risk getting mowed down by a snowmobile. It would definitely be dangerous. We made the decision to do it anyway because there wasn't likely to be much traffic and what traffic there was you would be able to hear coming a mile away in the silent Stillwater Forest.

We walked a little more than three miles in. In that time we saw exactly one snowmobile. We heard him coming in plenty of time to place ourselves far out of his way. It wasn't hard. He was hugging the edge of the road trying to stay in the snow. He didn't look like he was recreating. He was towing a sled with gas cans and a propane tank. Looked like he was on a supply run to us.

Stillwater Snowmobile

Even if the walk was slushy it was beautiful. With only one snowmobile to break the silence it was like having the forest all to ourselves. That's one of the things we love most about this part of the world, there are millions of acres of public forest and very few humans out in them.

Stillwater State Forest 2-13-2015

Stillwater State Forest 2-13-15
We also learned that although we were in the Stillwater Forest some of the time we were not all of the time. A lot of the land the road passes through belongs to Plum Creek Timber who allows the public to enter their property as long as they are proper guests. We hope the people who use the road are respectful.

Plum Creek Timber
And, of course, no post would be complete without a photo of moi. Dang I am pretty. I mean get a load of those eyes!

Molly Montana Stillwater Forest 2-15-15
So, here's what we learned. If you like to snowmobile this looks like a great place to do it when conditions are good, which they are not at the moment. If the conditions are good you do not want to walk here in winter. It would be dangerous for everyone. This is a road we are putting on our to do list for this summer. We'll report back what it's like when the hiking is good.

Ciao for now!
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

12 February 2015


Near as I can tell, Kinsey is passionate about two things; eating and exploring. Thank goodness for the exploring part. If that weren't the case she would weigh five thousand pounds and I wouldn't have nearly as much fun. I might even become a little porky myself.

Contrary to what the "experts have to say, she believes you should consume lots of calories. She thinks our bodies are like cars. They stay in better working condition with use, which requires fuel. The trick is you gotta burn that fuel. The car burns only as much fuel as the work it does needs. We just need to do the same, limit our fuel intake to just what we use up. Anyway, we think eating is a GOOD thing.

Yesterday Kinsey had a hankering to go out for breakfast. We headed to her favorite breakfast spot in little Somers, Montana.

Somers Bay Cafe. (If you look real hard Kinsey & I are in this photo.)

Somers is a tiny town at the head of Flathead Lake. In 1900 the Somers Lumber Mill was built and with it the town of Somers. Somers was the name of one of the executives. The ego of humans never ceases to amaze. They just love to name things after themselves. The mill and company town of Somers died around 1948. Today it's a quaint patch of Montana history. It's also home to the Somers Bay Cafe.

When it comes to breakfast Kinsey doesn't go for pancakes, waffles and  french toast type fare. She's more the eggs, breakfast meats and potatoes sort. Her favorite is an omelet. They don't actually make omelets at the Somers Bay Cafe. They make what they call a "scramble". It's like an open faced omelet and really good. Kinsey likes the Denver Scramble which is ham, cheese, onion, bell pepper and melted cheese. It also comes with yummy potatoes, not hash browns, more like an O'brien and toast of your choice. Plenty of food, even for Kinsey. A cup of coffee will run you $1.50 with endless refills. The cafe is run by a couple who could not be more welcoming and friendly.

Naturally, while all this culinary delight was going on I got to sit in the car. I'm just telling you what Kinsey reported. The good part for me came after breakfast. That would be the exploring part.

Somers Ice House

As mentioned, Somers is a tiny town. Just a couple of blocks really. What we did find was a Rails to Trails path that took off just a block from the cafe. We think this path goes all the way to Kila. I don't know how far that is but maybe 20 miles? We only walked a couple. Point is you can eat and walk it off all in Somers.

Kinsey thinks the Somers Bay Cafe is the best place for an eggy breakfast you'll probably find. Give it a try if you are in the area. If it's lunch and a hamburger you're looking for try The Craggy Range in Whitefish.

I'll leave it to you to get your directions on your own GPS.

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

04 February 2015


This morning my personal photographer and I walked a pretty little suburban trail called the Rocksund Trail named after the people who donated the land. I call it suburban with tongue in cheek. In these parts 100 yards off any given road is the wild. The trail is paved but covered in ice at the moment. It's a very nice little walk along Whitefish River.

Whitefish Trail

Apparently, not all ducks go south for the winter because we saw bunches of them, mostly mallards and goldeneye. They seemed perfectly happy to be feeding in the crystal clear but very cold water. They are so funny the way they pop their bottoms up in the air as they search for food. These guys looked like they had circled their wagons, I mean their bums.

Mallards and Goldeneye ducks on the Whitefish River
Town trails are never long enough for us and this one was no exception. Nevertheless, it's a very pleasant stroll along the water and very much better than nothing.

Molly Montana checking out an artistic post.
Tired now time for a rest.

Molly Montana takes a nap!
 Oh, for pity sakes! What kind of crazy photo is that? Gotta  have a word with my photographer!

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

01 February 2015


On September 24th we headed north back through Yellowstone on our way to Lake Hebgen. I got to see an elk which would be my only large animal sighting other than the buffalo I saw on our brief sortie into Yellowstone earlier. Like the buffalo, it was a road siting whoop de doo!

Elk in the Road
Kinsey decided, I seldom get a say in these matters, we would stay in the Yellowstone Holiday RV Park on Lake Hebgen for a few days. We had scouted it out previously on our hike up Red Canyon. I must say it was a good choice. We got a space right on the water and it was very nice all the way round.

Sunrise at Hebgen Lake
After we got ourselves set up we decided to pay a return visit to Ghost Village and the Madison River which is located beneath the Hebgen Dam. Boy what a difference a week can make in the fall colors. They were mostly all gone it paled in comparison to what we had seen earlier. And, of course there was no Willam Devane.

What we did find was a Cabela's photo shoot going on. There were all kinds of people running around like chickens with their heads cut off. There was a gal in waders with a baby out in the river and a photographer shooting her as she kicked up the water. Kinsey, who almost never photographs people, thought it was cute and starting taking a few pictures. The photographer went ballistic when he saw her and yelled for his crew to get us out of there. Kinsey has little use for people who take themselves too seriously and this buffoon took the cake. Talk about unprofessional.

Photographer yelling to get us gone

Model with baby
We allowed ourselves to be herded away but seriously doubt they were within their right to require us to do or not do anything on a public river. Kinsey didn't care but couldn't help but laugh at the fact they had missed the fall colors. If I was Cabela's I'd be looking for another photographer, what a boob.

We continued on down the river as far as the trail would take us. Kinsey took a few more photos of the things she likes to photograph. Things like old buildings and natural beauty.

Ghost Village Remnant

At the end of the trail is a wide spot in the river that looks almost like a lake. The pond is filled with old snags reflecting in the water. Kinsey loves water and reflections.

Madison River Snags
All and all it was another long and winding day, much enjoyed by us both.

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard