A Time to Till

Spring is spriiiiiiinging, folks! The time has come for the great spring farmstead effort to begin. For us, this means clearing all the piles of manure that are no longer frozen into rock solid heaps, organically fertilizing the pastures with llama beans and horse manure, harvesting rocks from, leveling and replanting last years pig pasture, cleaning up all the random messes we left last fall, and tilling and prepping the GARDEN!

It’s a lard load of work we’ve had going on for the last weeks and still have ahead of us, but it’s so absolutely amazing to get to be OUTSIDE again and back to the natural state of having dirt under my fingernails 100% of the time.

At the end of the growing season last year, we moved our meat hogs into the garden to finish out the plants and root around and till everything under. They made really great work of this task, and also helpfully located all the rocks that we didn’t manage to till out last year. Sighhhhh.

 

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Hiking Camas Lake

Yesterday, we played hooky and took our first hike up Camas Creek Trail No. 125 to Camas Lake. It will not be our last. Despite being somewhat strenuous in incline, it was a gorgeous climb that ended in a pristine alpine lake with several excellent campgrounds. We cannot wait to come back and backpack up for a few nights of camping.

Getting There

The drive up to Camas Creek Trail is looooong. The paved part is not so bad, but once you hit FR496, it’s gravel for SIX MILES, which you have to take at 10-20 miles an hour because its full of wicked ruts and your truck is only two wheel drive! (I mean our truck is only two wheel drive. Too bad we couldn’t see the future when we bought it back in 2011.)

Important note about the Camas Creek Trail: FR 496 is close to impassible until the snow has completely melted in the summer. We tried to do this hike in June, but the ice was so thick and slippery across the narrow gravel road that we actually had to back down the mountain half a mile before we found somewhere we could turn around and drive back down to Coyote Coulee, the lower, non ice covered trail at the base of the mountain below. 

Arriving at the trailhead, we found ample parking but only one car. (Awesome!) When we first started hiking in the mountains last year as newly transplanted California suburbanites whose previous relationship with nature consisted mainly of beaches, parks and short vacations at the cabin, we were admittedly unnerved by an empty trail. (We were also afraid of the dark. Eeek, is that a WOLF? What was that sound??? But I digress.) Now, nothing is more exciting than an empty trailhead. Aside from the CRAZY, mind blowing concept of literally being the only people for miles, it’s nice to know you won’t be running into Dolly Dog Wrangler and her eight insane and untrained dogs running amok off-leash. A peaceful, deserted trail is bliss.

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Hiking Bass Creek

Today being a lovely day, we decided on a whim that we’d go for a hike. Normally, we avoid the trails on the weekends, but after being deprived of the outdoors for close to the whole month of August due to the smoke in the valley, we thought we’d give it a go. We hadn’t hiked Bass Creek yet, so despite it’s somewhat lengthy distance from us (about 25-30 minutes away from home base), we gave it a try.

First of all… don’t hike in the Bitterroots on the weekend if you want a relaxing time to be at one with the wilderness. Weekends are bizzaaaayyy. (Do as I say, not as I do, kids.) The proximity of this particular trail to Missoula probably doesn’t help with the busyness. We probably passed a total of between 7-8 other groups of hikers, which over the duration of two miles out and two miles back, I would consider to be a bunch of peoples.

We didn’t get to stop and take many shots of the trail thanks to an older lady with three off-leash Springer Spaniels on our heels. Diesel’s a pretty good dog, but he definitely isn’t a huge fan of packs of loose dogs. Here are the few that we did manage to get…

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