Camping at Duck Lake

Believe it or not, this was my first real camping trip.
Montana, last summer, at thirty-something years old. First one.  
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve camped in pop-up trailers, complete with real mattresses and air conditioning, before. But this was my very first, real life, camping trip where I had to sleep on the ground with nothing but a partially inflated air mattress and a very thin piece of canvas tent bottom between me and Mother Earth.

I loved it.

Since every good camping trip starts with a visit to a freezing mountain lake, that’s exactly where we began.

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

(the creepy orb was just a bonus)

The boys were in a hurry to get in. Me? Not so much. I hate cold water. I get flashbacks to my years on the high school swim team and getting pushed into freezing lap pools all the way through the end of season in November. Traumatic.

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

I’m accustomed to warm Florida weather, balmy ocean air, and a cool 90 degrees Fahrenheit for eight months of every year. A Montana lake is cold, even in the summertime. That’s why I flew my wetsuit across the county. For this very moment…
The moment in which I took a flying leap off of a very high rock and landed in ice water
In spite of the wetsuit, it still took me almost ten minutes to work up my courage before I jumped.
And ten more minutes to catch my breath afterwards. 
Did I mention I really don’t like being cold? Really, really don’t like being cold…

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

But I did it! And was rewarded with luxury sleeping accommodations.

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

The view of Duck Lake almost made up for it though. We got to our campsite early enough
 to watch the sun set over the lake and it was amazing.

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

Sam and his Mama, enjoying a moment by the campfire. 

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

Mini-fishing lesson underway.

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

The sun starting to go down over Duck Lake.

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

This was upscale camping all the way–complete with wine and wine glasses.
And the fresh scent of a citronella candle to scare off the mosquitoes the size of pterodactyls.

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

I promised a beautiful sunset and I delivered, no?

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

Grandma declared the wine all her own (she’s the life of every party! That’s why we bring her along!)

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

Spooky stories around the campfire. And s’mores too (‘a la citronella)

My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip

 I had so much fun sleeping in a tent in the woods. I couldn’t stop grinning, nor could I sleep, all night long.  My Gypsy Soul,Duck Lake Camping Trip
I was on lookout for bears and the northern lights. Luckily, I saw no bears but I didn’t see the northern lights either. That was kind of a bummer.
The bad news about camping? You wake up unrested, stinky from swimming in a lake the day before, wearing the same clothes you put on right after swimming in the lake the day before and then proceeded to sleep in (or attempt to) all night long. Then, to add to the indignity of your stinky-ness, there is the problem of being a lady in the woods. Grandma and I don’t have the strategic aiming capabilities the boys do and that made the early morning tree watering a serious adventure.You guys can just imagine how that went for me, can’t you? Considering my last post was one long rant about not being a morning person.
Long live indoor plumbing! Hooray!
Anybody else have exciting camping stories to share? I’d love to hear!

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Alligator Point, Florida

Labor Day Weekend, September 2012:

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

We drove over to the beach house on Friday night and got there just as the sun was going down. I love the lingering twilight in the above photo and the silhouettes of the sea oats.

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

I still haven’t mastered taking photos of the moon. The moon was so full and bright and beautiful that night; and I later learned that it was actually a blue moon and there wouldn’t be another until 2015. So it was a special moon too.

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

Gorgeous sunset shots on the way back from Posey’s.

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

A shot of the boardwalk behind the house leading down to the beach on the morning we left.

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

And this poor dead crab who became our mascot. It started on Saturday morning when the kiddo found him, newly dead, on the beach. He brought him in the house and put him in bed with his sleeping teenaged girl cousin. Words cannot describe the shriek that came from her room when she woke up and found him there.
Afterwards, I’m not sure who propped his sad dead body on the deck railing, but that is where he stayed all weekend long. Unfortunately, that is where he remained even after I snapped this last minute photo as we were leaving.
I think we should have named him Carlos, with his hollow eyes and vacant stare. 
Hasta la vista, Carlos.

Clouds while Going to the Sun

[Photos taken July 2012:]
As we were making our way back across Glacier National Park from the East Glacier side 
over to the West Glacier side traveling along the Going to the Sun Road, 
we were up near Logan’s Pass (the very top of the mountain) 
when something interesting began happening. 
Clouds started rolling in.

My Gypsy Soul, Clouds on the Sun Road

We looked on in amazement as the air turned thick right before our very eyes. 
We rolled the windows down in our rental car. 
We stuck our hands out and tried to “grab a cloud.”

My Gypsy Soul, Clouds on the Sun Road

It was one of the neatest experiences, from that vantage point, 
to watch a weather front literally roll in. 
This wasn’t Doppler radar; this was real life.

My Gypsy Soul, Clouds on the Sun Road

Something you lose sight of while on vacation: the weather display wasn’t cued up 
especially for us to give us a well-rounded experience of Glacier National Park. 
It was a problem. It was dangerous.

My Gypsy Soul, Clouds on the Sun Road

It got scary fast. 
We were very high up on a mountainside and we couldn’t see the back of the car in front of us. 
We couldn’t see the mountainside. Or the guard wall. Or the steep drop off that we knew was there. 
We couldn’t see the ground (which we knew was a long, long, long way down.)
In fact, that cute little hilltop sticking out of the clouds was actually a peak elevation of around 4,000 feet.

My Gypsy Soul, Clouds on the Sun Road

The bad weather that rolled in on top of us during our drive produced heavy rain 
which led to rock and mud slides. Several cars were stuck on the mountain 
over night because of road hazards.

My Gypsy Soul, Clouds on the Sun Road

We were far enough ahead of the weather that we were able to keep going…slowly. 
We made it over the pass and down the mountain on the other side. 
From that lower elevation, we could look up and see the cloud cover 
we’d just been driving through. Puts it in perspective, no?

My Gypsy Soul, Clouds on the Sun Road

Even at the lower elevation, the clouds were still thick and low. 
Fortunately though, they stayed above the windshield for the rest of the drive.

My Gypsy Soul, Clouds on the Sun Road

And even through the thickest of clouds…the sun still broke through every so often.

My Gypsy Soul, Clouds on the Sun Road 

Lighting up the world one little piece at a time.

 
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[Places I’ve Roamed] Sunrift Gorge, Glacier National Park

Photos taken July 2012:

My Gypsy Soul, Sunrift Gorge, Glacier National Park

My Gypsy Soul, Sunrift Gorge, Glacier National Park

My Gypsy Soul, Sunrift Gorge, Glacier National Park

My Gypsy Soul, Sunrift Gorge, Glacier National Park

My Gypsy Soul, Sunrift Gorge, Glacier National Park

My Gypsy Soul, Sunrift Gorge, Glacier National Park
I shared a couple of these Sunrift Gorge photos already in my photo gallery. The technique I was experimenting with was slowing the shutter down as much as possible so that I could get the movement of the water while keeping the stationary objects, like the rocks and sticks, in focus. I wanted the water to look silky and flowing, instead of choppy and still.

Clearly, this was my first try. As you can see, the rocks are not all that in focus but…the water is silky and flowing-looking, so it was a small victory for a wanna-be photographer.

After we got home and I moved the photos off of my son’s camera onto the computer, I found tons of photos of me taking photos. In so many of them I look so serious, so intense, like those last two with my wadded up pant leg and my strangely-embarrassing, slightly double-chin accentuating pose in that second one (what’s going on there?) No matter, it was so much fun traipsing through Glacier National Park and pretending I work for National Geographic like Andy Casa Grande.

If I really worked for National Geographic, I wonder if I’d have to change my name to Ana Dos Barbillas? Nah, it’s just the angle. (I hope).

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