Hiking Glacier National Park and family visit, Montana

Montana

August 5-14, 2017

 

Yeah, off on another adventure, this time with hiking friends and “locally” in the US.  Funny thing is, the trip is no cheaper as a result, it’s pricey to travel in the US even when we’ll be spending our days hiking.  Hotels are exorbitant compared to traveling abroad, air fare is similar and time getting to these places can be the same or longer.  Due to a change in flight times by Alaska Air, we had a 6 hour layover in Seattle on the way to Missoula making the journey about 11 hours, same as a flight to Europe.

 

Joy and I decided to make a bit of an adventure out of the layover and head to downtown Seattle to the famous Pike’s Place Market and surrounds taking advantage of the light rail train.  I guess the good thing about traveling in the US is that we don’t have to bother with customs along the way saving a bit of time.  Arriving in Seattle felt like a homecoming for me. I really did love living there!  The train left us off at Westlake Village and from there we headed down to Pikes Market.  Along the way we passed a huge Columbia store and a large Mountain Hardware store, additionally REI’s flagship store is here all catering to the outdoor enthusiast like us.  We longed to go inside, but with less than 2 hours before we had to get back on the train to the airport, we had to keep things brief…and we were hungry and keen to find some good eats.

 

The longer we were there the more we both craved a return trip with more time to explore.  This Emerald city has changed so much since I lived here, I can’t wait to return to explore more…likely as part of my post-house-sale road trip.  We enjoyed a fresh organic smoothly, watched cheese being turned in a store window, were completely consumed by the smell and sight of the truly spectacular flower arrangements in the flower stalls.  Cute creative Asian ladies were lovingly combining a stellar variety of gorgeous flowers into bouquets that made us want to take some with us as well.  Quite a few guys had them in hand for a special someone and a few women carried them to accompany their big smiles.  Other stalls were offering all sorts of hand made nick knacks, jewelry, pet rocks, tiles, paintings, scarves, hair decorations, house decorations, hats, honey, lotions, potions, dried nuts, fresh berries, and so much more.  It was a feast for the eyes and nose.

 

The place has been expanded with a large outdoor area to enjoy.  We bought delightful lunches at a little deli and ate at a perfect table with a view of the Sound, the Ferry, the bit Ferris wheel, Bell Town and such.  Folks from all walks of life abound here.  I remember that being so special here.  Everyone seems to be just who they are and no one really thinks much of it.  There remains a bit of a homeless situation, as there is everywhere these days.  A pan handler was sitting with his fat rolls and small boxer shorts looking rather naked holding a sign saying “Big Fat Woman Wanted” …or some such thing as that.  He had a cup next to him that someone accidentally kicked over.  He said “watch out, that’s my pee cup.”  Not sure what he was really going for there, but he sure was in his own world and rather hopeful in his own way.

 

Joy and I were also very taken by the gigantic flower baskets everywhere.  All along the rooftop of Pikes Market, baskets overflowing with color the size of that huge woman that pan-handler was hoping for, from widows and along decks.  So much love and life abound there.  Gosh, we sure wanted to stay.  I could so easily live there again…wishing I’d never left in a way.  Especially with real estate prices up there these days…well, it’s like that in Orange County too.

 

We told Bob we’d meet him at the gate at 2pm and it was exactly 2pm when we arrived and saw him.  What a great call!  That was after taking the train back, retrieving our bags from storage, going through security and finding the gate.  It was obviously a side-adventure meant to be.

 

Flying to Missoula, was tough to see.  The fires in this part of the US are leaving a thick layer of smoke everywhere.  I sat next to a fascinating guy who works with the helicopters who are working the fires and learned Crater Lake has been closed as well as other major attractions, due to the thick smoke.  The sun was orange and views quite tainted.  Of course we had concerns about what it will be like in Glacier National Park for our hikes.

 

Norma and I took a walk as the bright orange sun set into the smokey horizon while Joy and Bob went to dinner.  The moon rose with an orange shroud as well.

Below;  Information Kevin, my seat mate shared to seek alternative sources for truths the media fails to share, the government hides and folks really don’t want to know about. We were kindred spirits in our thinking.  He’s cured himself of cancer with the BioSuperfood and Carol Rosin’s info.  We talked about living abroad and having “back up” plans for our lives.

 

 

August 6th

To Apgar, our base for the week and 1st hikes.

 

Missed out wake-up alarm, but got on the road just shortly after our target time to make the beautiful dive toward Glacier National Park.  Loved the open hwy between the foothills along the river, it’s just such a feeling of freedom to be out on the road like that with “nothin’ in the way.”  That is cherry growing country, so friends were happy to indulge in a stop at an organic stand to load up on the red and Rainer cherries.  I couldn’t decide on red or Rainer, when the lady replied “this isn’t rocket science ma’am, just buy one of each!”  So I did and ended up with loads.  Later in the morning I did give a good bag of them to the lady at the Lodge who seemed a little down somehow.  She said she loved cherries and was so happy to have them…yeah!

 

“Trail angel” moments are popping up all along the way, me being able to be that for this lady, the folks who happily steered us onto the right train in Seattle, the lady who walked by to tell us the quirk about the card reader in the door to the room we stayed in last night, the bear spray rental place and something else.  Of course group photography always brings in happy generous folks willing to take a snap or two…then we can return the favor.

 

Met with Ted and Cyril in the village at the visitor’s center.  The park is a popular one and with today being Sunday, was all the more crowded.  Being hikers, we knew we’d be away from the masses, but parking at the various locales was the challenge.  We decided to pile into Cyril’s car to head to the McDonald’s Lodge to park and join the trailhead up to Fish Lake.  The walk took 3 hours in total taking us through stunning tall shady trees keeping us cool on this warm day.  The skies were blue and still a bit tinged with smoke, but nothing like what it was down in Missoula.

 

We made it to the lake and enjoyed a snack there watching the stunning view, watching the dragon flies play among the grasses and water lilies. Walking back up, we were intrigued by a couple bright iridescent blue bugs, wasps of a sort we’d guess, when a deer quietly walked just past us about 25 feet from us.  The white tailed deer was so quiet and calm, we all stood in awe at her beauty, snapping a few photos in admiration.

 

Early dinner, drinks at the “guys” cabin, feet in the cool clear river, cabin rearranging for 3 girls, finding our routine is always a but of fun.

Evening walk to viewpoint…less all we should have brought.  Sandals, no bear spray, no bug spray, etc…lots of fun.  Clapped and sang our way to the view as the sun set.  The adventure was worth it as we arrived as the sun set over the glassy lake.  Kids played in the water below as part of a larger group of 3 families touring some national parks together in their motor homes.  Such fun to know they will remember these times for the rest of their lives.

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August 7

To the Sun Road, then more hiking.

 

5:30am start time after a night that turned quite cold.  I struggled a bit in the night, but did get some sleep.  I was looking forward to the long drive over the pass with the fabulous views along the way.  Bob called it having us depart so early to beat the crowds and get us up to Logan’s Pass by about 7am.  A lovely heard of big horn sheep clip-clopped around the parking lot licking up whatever was left from cars and licking around the tire rim of some empty vehicles, likely looking for minerals and such.  Nothing they were ingesting could be good for them, but that is life in a busy national park.  It was an honor to be able to be in their presence and watch them for a while.  I could easily have stayed for hours watching them, but the group was eager to get hiking, so off we headed back down the hill on the other side of the park heading for our day’s trail head.

 

Notes:  Gentle trail, lush landscape, loads of flowers, plants and trees.  Chipmunks, ground squirrels, mountain goats, immature eagle in flight, Iceberg Lake, Ptarmigan Tunnel, long switch backs.  Cyril and I enjoyed photography and learning about the environment, but the others took off.  We had to run down to the junction to catch up.  They get the award for “heads down” hiking.  Pretty lake, Loved Iceberg lake and all the flowers there!!!! About 17ish miles in the end, leaving us a bit tuckered, my feet were quite sore…as they get with long hikes like that.   Like most NPs, this one gets very crowded, so drive home was congested and all the lots had filled.  Rain, hail, wind, lightning and thunder added to the hot sunny day.  As the saying goes around these parts, “if you don’t like the weather wait 5 minutes,” but in this case it was a wait until evening for the excitement.  It all started the moment we got in the car to drive home.  We did stop at a market that mads us all so darned grateful for the markets we have in OC…yikes, how do folks live on the poor quality of food.  Funny thing, the alcohol department was huge.  Crazy lightning storm at night. Went out to watch in the warm wind. The flashes were a bit orange from the smoke but some flashes were stunning!  One even curved around like a wave crashing,another just as bright as can be.  Magical.

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8 August (Wednesday)

Slight change of plans to have a lighter day driving.

 

Garden Wall Hike (High Line to Lookout Trail).  11 miles, truly a garden, started early to juggle cars, eerie fog “pouring” down mountains.  Loads of flowers and interesting rocks.  Happy to walk with Cyril enjoying the surroundings rather than racing to the finish.  Norma is in training/fitness mode, so we kinda hold her up a bit, but others join her as well, so we end up hiking in 2 groups most of the time.  Scenery reminiscent of Switzerland with mountains, meadows, and unbelievable numbers of diverse flowers.  Peaceful water falls that make me want to stop and meditate, but we are moving too fast as a group to do such a thing.  These are the trade-offs to walking with friends, we all must make concessions along the way to appease the group as a whole.  I know I’ll be happy to have my own room the last couple days of this trip, but am enjoying and trying to learn from the current wonderful folks I’m traveling with.  The hikes have been strong, my feet ache a bit after about the 10 mile mark.  Friendly squirrels, chipmunks and a pika ran right past us on the trail.  Animals here are quite habituated to humans and seem to be free of fear, which is so refreshing.

 

Eating is a challenge with limited good food available.  Getting tired of various bars every day for most of my meals.  I did find some healthy home-made bars and a bit of non-organic fruit.  I looked so forward to a salad in the evening, it’s the same one I had the other night and likely will have in the coming few nights as my only real meal of each day.  It’s just a week, so I’ll manage even if a bit board with the cuisine.  I can think of it as saving up for a good meal with Jake in Bozeman this coming weekend.

 

Tomorrow we head to Two Medicines Lake area on the south east portion of the park.  It’ll be a long drive, but a new area to hike to add even more variation to this trip.  Bob’s done a great job putting all this together bringing us the “best of the best” and taking us away from the big crowds that play and frolic in the valley and around the areas accessible by vehicle.  Good to have the parks utilized though for their protection.

 

9 August

Two Medicines Lake area to Old Man Lake.  About 16 miles of lovely mostly flatish trails through berry fields that could feed a small army.  Definitely bear country!   Although we were ready, we only saw a few piles of scat made up mostly of the delicious sweet huckleberries.  We ran into a guy up there who was out harvesting them sharing local knowledge about the berries, like the difference between the huckleberry and the wild blueberries as well as the thornberry, we’d snacked on that was a definite relative of a raspberry…yummy!!!  Of course we left plenty for the bears to graze on to fatten themselves up for the winter hibernation months.

 

The day started off with magic!  Another uber-early start to get us around to the south east entrance to the park around why 2.  We drove past the historic Glacier Lodge and all agreed we’d stop in there after our day’s hike. We arrived at the end of the road overlooking Two Medicines Lake to a truly special view.  The lake was glassy, the mountains were glowing in the light of the raising sun and the nearly full moon rested perfectly next to the pyramid peak.  It was a postcard perfect scene, I couldn’t resist spending time looking at and appreciating.  I returned to the car to encourage others to go have a look, but only Joy and Cyril took me up on it, the others truly missed out.  Some in this group are so keen to get out and power hike these trails they miss out on the special bits from my perspective, as these are the moments one travels out to such places to witness.

 

We ended up driving around to the other side of the lake where the trailhead actually was, but the moment to see that earlier view has passed, the moon had sunk behind the mountains and the sun was rising higher.  As we readied our selves for the hike and stared for the bridge to the trailhead, I looked out and saw a moose across the lake in the most beautiful of lighting.  I pointed it out to the others and again, it seemed only 2 others were interested in this truly special sighting.  I stayed to watch the big beauty trot through the water, and stop here and there to have a drink and take in the morning light.  People were taking notice of him as he was of them so made his way into the trees to get away from the encroaching humans.  I looked to join the others, but they has walked on already, having lost interest it seems after they got their photo.  I’m part of their group, not the other way around, so I much continue to play catch-up after I stop for nature sightings.  I long to spend more time in these wonderful moments nature provides, but power hiking is the agenda this week.

 

Joy waited for me and tears fell from her eyes having been overwhelmed by being in this beautiful place, the privilege of having Mother Nature touch one’s soul.  I love those kind of tears and get them frequently whilst traveling too, so I loved sharing that moment with her.  We came to the trail sign and noticed this is part of the Great Divide Trail.  As hikers, it is special to walk part of these grand long-distance trails as they have historical significance having been designated as such trails and play a big part in the conservation of a huge part of our countries natural places.

 

Our walk was lovely and so glad for the berries to give us excuses to stop and enjoy.  Cyril, Ted and I took up the back of the pack and saw some beautiful waterfalls down in the valley below, a natural bridge and looking up, a bighorn sheep, likely a youngster, as the horns were quite small.  The rocks, the views, the flowers, the trees, all continue to elicit awe in me.  It was more of an incline through gorgeous trees getting to Old Man Lake, but oh, what a reward to see that glassy emerald green lake with a peaceful duck in the middle.  A few playful fish jumped here and there and I hope they stay way out there to avoid those with deadly fishing gear.  I love just sitting up by such pristine lakes, taking in the views, smiling at the cheeky squirrels and chipmunks who venture in to attempt to usurp a snack or two.  We watched bees harvesting pollen (I assume) from the fur trees and found interest in their choice of that over flowers.  I’m so glad everyone was happy to stay there for a while, also happy we all chose not to continue around the lake as that would take us up a bit climb and around the back side of a mountain range, over another pass then back down clocking over 18 miles.  My feet and legs were’t up for such a day, this being our 4th strong hike in a row.   Glad others felt the same.

 

We eventually packed up and headed back the way we’d come.  The usual ones powering forth in the lead, truly earning their gold stars as “heads down” hikers (Cyril’s term…and most appropriate).  I found myself growing in frustration along with my feet hurting a bit from the boots.  I’ll take the boots back and am seriously thinking of taking tomorrow off for a mental and physical break.  It’d be the perfect day along the way to do so, even if I would miss seeing more of this glorious park.  As a bit of an introvert, I have a limit to my abilities to be around people before I need to take a break and just be on my own and I feel I’ve reached that.  My brain seems to reject even the sound of constant chatter and endless power hiking.  I’m also feeling very tired.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed taking our shoes off and soaking in the lake after the hike, our feet thanked us profusely.  Joy had a bit of a tumble on the way down do she got to soak her wrist and elbow in the cold water just in case she’d strained something…she got lucky on that one.  Driving back, we stopped at the Glacier Lake Lodge to ooo and awww over the massive historic lodge and sits adjacent to the cute log train station.  The Lodge’s frame is made of massive logs from trees, no longer seen in these parts.  The length and width of the trunks takes one’s breath away, what beauties they were.  I hope they know their past embodiment continues to be appreciated so many years past their felling.  The old lodges here really are something to behold.  If I return, I think it’d be wonderful to spend a night or so in each of them to experience a good piece of American history.   Perhaps a train ride from Oregon to Glacier Park Lodge, rent a car in town at the tiny car rental to continue the sightsee, then taking the train onward or fly out of Missoula onward.

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10 August

A special day off all on my own

 

These days I find magical.  To others they may seem lonely and dull, but I relish in my time just being in natural place.  I parted from the plan and stayed back in Apgar Village.  The others left super early to head to the Sei area for some good hiking that includes a good bit of gain to get over the pass.  I heard it’s a wonderful hike and one that made my decision a difficult one to go our not to go.  I pondered my options all night it seemed and came to the conclusion to stay behind.   I slept until nearly 9am!  Something very unusual for me, so I must have really been tired.  I sat outside next to the beautiful emerald water of the inlet by our cabin for a good bit of time.  No one else was around, they’d all headed out for their day’s activities by then.  I was graced by a truly awesome (in the true sense of the word) sight of a bald eagle that seemed to be offering me a very special gift.  It flew right past me along the inlet in all its glory.  He/she took my breath away!  Just after a crow flew by and I had to recognize him as being just as important and beautiful.  A chipmunk plays around the cabin, various birds fly by catching bugs or just getting from one place to another.  A brood of water ducklings scoots, then dives looking like they’re catching the little fish under the water or something.  Their mum looks after them with such pride.  A paddle boarder gently floats by and mama duck gathers her flock and hurries them to the other side of the inlet to let the board pass before they all spread out to continue their fun in the quiet waters.  Later I see other ducks playing, flapping and diving in a small group just out in the lake.  I sit by some flowers and watch the bees harvest their pollen busily. Some buzz in for a short visit, but I’m not of interest to him, so off he went.  I’m thrilled to have taken this day off!!!

 

I know the others are enjoying their hike and I look forward to seeing their photos and hearing their stories later this evening, but I’m so happy to have this day.  I fear I’d have turned a bit sour on the hike today.  Also my feet thank me as they have a lot to do on my upcoming trip to Alpamayo in Peru 4 days after returning from this adventure.  I do love hiking, but am learning we all enjoy it in different ways sometimes.  This group is a fantastic group of folks, “professional hikers” Bob likes to say.  I appreciated their passion for hiking in new locales and like their style, so long as we’re doing training hikes locally.  Whilst traveling and hiking I’m one to stop and smell the flowers.  I could watch the wildlife for hours and prefer a slower pace on the trail.  I think Norma and I might frustrate one another as she preferred to keep her head down and power hike for fitness even in places like this and I change my ways and take things leisurely.  Just different strokes for different folks, she’s got Mt Whitney on her mind, I have Peru followed by a break.  I love taking in nature too much to accommodate the fast pace for too long…just my way these days.  I appreciate theirs as we all are on our own journey in this life and do things accordingly.

 

I feel so at peace having enjoyed some truly spectacular hiking here in GNP and now get a chance to take in this magical place quietly, mindfully, in my soul.

 

Of course there’s always a yang to one’s yin and that involved an early return of Cyril and Joy.  Joy forgot some important items like water and Cyril was keen to take it easy on his Achilles, so they did a super pretty short hike to Hidden Lake at Logan Pass along with loads of other tourists. They headed off to lunch and I took in the local Ranger talk on Bighorn Sheep.  Learning things like their habitat at higher open elevation with steep cliffs nearby to flee to if necessary.  The don’t “do” forests due to their keen vision but poor smell and hearing, so won’t wander that way.  With the glacier’s receding and being replaced by forest, that shrinks their habitat, so they become more and more limited in space.  We saw them in the parking lot, which is often patrolled by “Gracie” the Ranger Dog to keep them in their natural surroundings.  The horns are very heavy, would tire quickly lugging those ram-rods around.

 

We all were going to go for a bike ride, when Norma and Bob said they’d be back shortly, so we waited.  Then they wanted to talk on and on about hike details and other options, but landed back on the original plan.  My head began to throb in frustration that my lovely afternoon was being taken away by tedious jabber and no action.  I sat outside to at least get some fresh air.  Dinner around 5pm then I left the table early to go rent a paddle board in the calm still evening. I was determined to have some playtime today!  I admit to having vented a bit to Norma and perhaps Cyril a tad, but not too bad.

 

Anyhow, off I set on the paddle board in the crystal clear glassy lake heading over to see if I could see where the Eagles are.  The water was so clear I could see all the tidbits that had accumulated in the lake over the years in a beautiful hue of brilliant blue.  Trunks of trees, barrels, old fixtures from the logging days.  So peaceful paddling along the lakeside.  Some lovely houses line the lake, which seems odd in this National Park…hmmm.  I spotted the eagle a ways away with his stunning white head.  He chose a treetop protected from winds but on the front row overlooking all the goings on upon the lake.  I laid my paddle on the board and sat to just be in his presence.  I did what I could to summon my animal communication skills and got a message that I need to “slow down my mind if I’m going to have any chance of this.”  So I took deep slow breaths and thought of all the loving things I could.  With that we had moments of connection.  I thanked him for flying by in the morning and felt his pride there for his 2 chicks.  He liked to perch there where he could see all that was going on from a prominent locale.  He seemed really appreciative of my tuning into him rather than just staring at him.  I asked him things, like his past life and got that he’d been a water being before, so was a good provider of fish as a result.  He was quite in sync with the natural world around him.  In storms he huddles with his “wife” and rides it out on a lower branch.  Weather is normal to him and not a drama issue as it is with humans.  He is aware of fires and has a concern there with chicks in a nest.  I admired his flight from earlier and shared how spectacular that was.  I’d love to see him fly and with that he made my heart sing.  He took flight and did a lovely circle right around me then back to his perch.  Just that single gesture…wow, wow, wow!  I thanked him profusely and said what an honor that was.  People in a house ran to their deck to have a look, but he flew around me.  I could feel my heart beat faster, fuller and in such a loving way connecting to my “third eye” animal totem.

 

I shared with him that I was going to stand up and paddle back to where I’d come from and thanked him again.  I stood up and he remained relaxed.  Oh, what a gift!  I later learned he did in fact have 2 chicks in his nest.

 

The water was glassy all the way back.  A darker cloud was forming, but all was calm.  I put the board back on its wheels and returned it to the rental place.  The guy who checked me back in said I was just in time as the weather was about to change.  As a So Cal girl, it didn’t phase me much, until the lightning started as I was walking back.  I sat by the lake a moment then went to fetch Cyril who wanted to see a lightning storm.  He came out with me in a huge wind that struck up suddenly and a falling branch nearly took us out.  A large branch did take out the windscreen of the vehicle next to theirs.

 

Walking out to the lake again, huge drops started to fall, then hail drops.  The lake was full of white caps, wind pelted water and ice drops in every direction.  Then a rainbow appeared.  Lightning flashed, thunder rumbled and aspen leaves glistened in the sun light… What a sight.  Unfortunately one kayak didn’t come in when the wind started and capsized leaving a man and his son floating in the lake.  Emergency was called, and all I could thing of what that they deserve the “Darwin Award” for being in the middle of the lake, where we were told not to go for just his reason and for not heading to the weather when it started.  An emergency boat from across the lake finally arrived and all was well.  I just hope they learned their lesson and went back out the next morning in the calm to return some courage.

 

I loved the excitement of the storm, even if it did put the electricity to the area out and cut off our water for most of the night.  We all had enough and headlights to get us through.  I loved going to sleep to the sounds of the windy night as the last of the storm passed overhead.  Unfortunately, that bit of rain isn’t enough to extinguish the new fires that were started once again on account of the “dry lightning” that raged.  So apparently much of the park was closed the following day as a result, we heard from sources in Missoula.

 

11 Aug

Lovely hike through Cedar grove to Avalanche Lake, then back to Missoula

 

A perfect 7.5  mile hike through forest to Avalanche Lake.  Bob had a dear walk right past him.  Would love to have seen voles, a cute little rodent that lives in the underbrush.  Stop in the nature center in Apgar to learn more about some plants we’d seen and return the rented bear spray, then back to Missoula.  Dinner in vibrant down town, with a red setting sun at Plonk Wine Bar.  Wow… Incredible food with a chef who really knows here food combos and a vintner who knows his wine pairings!  What a treat after so many days of eating bars and basic salads, even if it did cost a pretty penny…it was a treat celebrating a wonderful week with exceptional folks.

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Joy, Norma and Bob leave early tomorrow for OC, I booked a taxi to the rental place later in the morning so I don’t have to get up at 3:30am!  Cyril and Ted are driving to Salt Lake tomorrow, which I ironically am flying through on my way to OC.

 

12 Aug

Drive to Missoula, love the 80mph speed limits on the freeways. Check in and meet Jake for lunch and a lovely 5.5 or so mile hike in “his hood”, his local mountains.  What fun to catch up with him!  Drive around his university, downtown Bozeman, cute colorful art gallery, dinner at “Rice”, a yummy Thai restaurant. For desert we shared a mango and sticky rice.  It was a first for Jake, and I really liked it…yeah!  Good conversation.  I keep picturing him when he was 3-4 years old, same lashes and expressions.  We parted as he had to help his roommate on move into his place this evening.  We’ll meet for a little while tomorrow too.

 

 

13 Aug

Morning with Jake.  Met him at tea house, a charming locale.  Think we both were a bit tired in the morning, but headed to the University to have gander anyhow.  What a beautiful campus with so much on offer.  I loved Jakes historical facts about the old buildings and sharing prospects about what the future engineering building might be like.  The one crooked grate on the parking lot got us both and we pondered the predicaments the grates will cause in the winter with broad icicles blocking entrances, slow plowing issues and potential ice falls from the said icicles all around.  We wandered past the “warm” pond inhabited by ducks and coy and made friends with the Walt Whitman iron work sitting happily next to whomever will join him on his bench to indulge in creative contemplation.

 

I loved spending time with Jake and look forward to more time with him in the future.

 

I find is to sad and disturbing that his folks are burdening him with a financial debt to pay at the end of his education due to their complete irresponsibility in saving for their own beloved children.  It’s a slap in their face to send them off into the world without a good financial education and clean fiscal slate to go from.  They failed their kids miserably in this area and it hits me in the heart to see them have to pay the price for their parent’s selfishness, especially after conning my mom into paying for their exclusive private school education through high school so they’d be candidates for the best schools available.  Again, my sibling lets me down miserably at the hands of his terribly greedy and entitled wife.  I’m so glad I’ve been able to separate myself from them to a large degree, or I’d b going far more crazy over things.  I do feel for my mom, who is the true victim of it all having shelled out so much money to help, only to have Steve and Chris fail so unnecessarily in the end having their own kids suffer the burden.  Shame on them!!!

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