Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


(Click on the pictures to enlarge) As the proud owners of six year old Baron, the large GSD, we were on a mission, traversing the
back country roads of Bluff Country. Our
friends Steve and Jewel were gone for the weekend and had asked us to help
out. Come on along….
The land is mostly hills and valleys but there are rolling areas of corn and soybean fields as well.
And a few scattered farmsteads along the way.
Oh. There she is. Her name is Lily She is a "rescued" dog and a real sweetie. She had adopted to farm life very well and guards the property zealously.
Lily follows Mrs. T in hopes that dinner is in the offing!
Good girl, Lily see ya later....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pot Of Gold

Long trips on the freeway can become tiresome but somehow I felt this one looked good....

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A New Hat

"Well you see Norm, it's like this . . . A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the
slowest buffalo; and when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest
ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the
herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps
improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way,
the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we
know, excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks
the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of
beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more
efficient machine. And that, Norm, is why you always feel smarter after a few
And so in search of being smarter, we (center left to right, Mary, Mrs. T and cousin Joe) pilgrimaged to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. There we toured the fount of my favorite lager. That would be Leinenkugels Honey Weisse. A few days later Baron and I prepare to head out for our morning hike. You might notice me wearing my new "Leinies" hat from Chippewa Falls.....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Night The Mountain Fell

We had left our campsite at Swan Creek in the Gallatin Canyon and were heading south on Montana state #191 going south toward West Yellowstone. Our intended destination though, as we approached the park, was a campground at
the point where the West Fork of the Madison enters the Madison River itself. As we turned west on County #1 we headed along the south shore of massive Lake Hebgen . There we, Mrs. T, Gary, Rosie and I would stop at a lookout and I would tell them about an amazing geological event that I had first seen on TV . It was
the summer of 1959 shortly after my graduation from high school. Two years previous to that event I, my younger brothers and parents had visited the selfsame area on our first trip to Yellowstone National Park. Come on along…..
Looking down
from our vantage point at some geese and lots of dead trees, a bald eagle flew over us. “Do you see that bare
area on the hill we’re looking at across the lake. Well, actually, that’s a mountain across Quake Lake”. It was there,
over 50 years ago, that
a very strong earthquake in the area caused the side of the mountain to
collapse. It blocked the Madison River
below Lake Hebgin and its earthen dam. The
initial shock ( they last for
hours) caused a twenty foot tidal wave to
top and seriously damage the earthen dam which created Lake Hebgen and
and then roared into the canyon below at same time as the mountain
collapsed. In the process it buried, with 80 million tons of rubble,
people who were camping in a National Forest Service campground at the base of the mountain. The slide blocked the river to create Quake Lake. Survivors were trapped as roads & buildings throughout the area were damaged and destroyed. A eighty year old woman awaken by a rumble went to her front door and managed to leap to safety with her dog as her house
fell away underneath here into the lake (yes the dog survived as well). A
massive rescue effort began that morning to save the trapped and the injured.
An addendum:
As I was writing up this post about a famous earthquake my thoughts were drawn to the power of mother nature and stories I had read of the survivors and rescuers of the Montana/Yellowstone .
My sons family has a similar story. He and his wife went to Haiti several years back now to help after the massive earthquake which destroyed so much of that country.
The picture below shows their family. One from Fargo, North Dakota, one from Ethiopia, one Rwanda and one from Haiti, who survived being buried in the ruble of that catastrophe for three days. Unable to walk she was brought to Denver Childrens hospital for two major operations. She can walk to school now and argues with her new siblings over whose turn it is to ride a bike....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Black Hills

I didn’t much care for the Black Hills of South Dakota at first. That was in the
mid-fifties when I first traveled and camped there with my parents. The Bad
Lands were bad, hot and dusty. Wall Drug, famous throughout the land, as a
tourist Mecca was just that. Crowded and chintzy. There were junky stores
everywhere. And later gambling at Deadwood was not my thing.
For years my
brothers and later sons and I zipped on by the Hills on our way to the fabled
fly fishing streams of southwestern Montana. No time for traffic jams and
tourist traps for us.
And then one
Easter vacation in the new century, with a new camper in hand, we, the empty
nesters, decided a short trip to the Black Hills would be a just in order. It
was a late Easter that year and the weather in Minnesota was mild and sunny.
Highs in the mid fifties. We weren’t tenting anymore and the new camper had a
furnace. We imagined the crowds wouldn’t be to bad. Heck, I might even try some
trout fishing.
We made camping reservations at a place named Custer Mountain Campground. Naturally, it
was a mile or two from Custer, South Dakota on the southern edge of the Black
Hills. When we arrived the temperature was a balmy 75 degrees. Even more
surprising the campground with 60 sites, 4 camper cabins and 5 new luxury
cabins had only one other camper.
The owner
informed us we were " a little early in the season." After discussing
things to do, we took his recommendation to drive the Custer State Park
"loop road." We did the next day. In July and
August the road might have hundreds cars checking out the beautiful vistas and
wildlife. On this first occasion though it was magical. For hours we had it all
to ourselves. There was wildlife everywhere. I fell in love right then and
there. The owner
informed us we were " a little early in the season Since then we have made
it a habit to visit the fabled Black Hills at least once a year. The joys of
retirement living now make it possible for us to pick either spring or fall.
The magic never goes away. A couple of years back our son and grandson came up
from Colorado to join us for a week of camping. This summer again on the way to
Montana we stopped in the Hills for a few days with our friends Gary and Rosie
and drove through Custer State Park. It was as beautiful as ever…..

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sunrise Sunset

Is this the little
girl I carried,
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember
growing older,
When did they?
When did she get to
be a beauty,
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday
when they were small?
Sunrise, sunset , Sunrise,sunset,
Swiftly flow the days.
Seedlings turn
overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.
Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laiden with happiness and tears.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wildflowers of the Prairie and the Mountain West

Okay folks. Lets cut to the chase. Mrs. T took these pictures and I can't identify them all but some are from Hayden Prairie in Iowa and the rest are from the Rocky Mountain West. Next time we head towards the setting sun, I'll get myself a book on Rocky Mountain wildflowers and try to name a few....

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Flying D Ranch

Having spent the morning climbing the rather precipitous trail up along Swan Creek we all opted for an afternoon ride. The plan was to look for buffalo. Apparently the gang hadn't had there fill when we stopped in South Dakota's Custer state park. I had the solution, a first ever visit for Gary and Rosie to Ted Turner's Flying D Ranch south of Bozeman With
approximately two million acres of personal and ranch land, Ted Turner is the
second largest individual landholder in North America. Turner lands are
innovatively managed and work to partner economic viability with ecological
sustainability. All Turner ranches operate as working businesses, relying on
bison and outfitting as principal enterprises. The Flying D
is an 113,613-acre ranch. A nine mile public road crosses the ranch on the way to a National Forest Campground and trout stream. Naturally I'd been there before. Take a look at a few thousand buffalo.......
In the middle of increasing development pressures in the Gallatin
Valley and Big Sky, the Flying D remains protected open space by virtue of a
conservation easement donated to the Nature Conservancy in 1989.