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Saturday, August 13, 2011

WHAT A PLACE!

We are loving being here at Glacier National Park. The first seven days we camped with our friends, Bill and Diana Plyley, who are visiting from Australia. So much time has passed since we were together last, yet we felt like we just continued where we left off nearly 30 years ago. We met them in 1978 and traveled together before they moved to Australia where Bill took a job in a gold mine. We had fun catching up on our children, family, jobs, travels etc... It’s interesting listening to the different words they use and we started using a few of them too. MOZZIE - Mosquito, LOO - bathroom, FANG IT - step on the gas, BREAKKY - breakfast, MATE - friend or buddy, TELE - television, QUEUE - line. Whenever Dick saw a line up at the restrooms he would say, “Is this the queue to the Loo?” It’s also interesting listening to their thoughts on America after being away so long. Diana loves Walmart - “It has everything and cheap.” “Everything over here is a bargain compared to Australia.” They are also amazed at how friendly everyone is. “Strangers approach you and look you in the eyes.” “Americans seem more confident and always say hello and start conversations.” Another observation is how big our cars and trucks are and no matter what level of income almost everyone here has an RV. Diana also commented on how Americans are “giagantuan.” There are overweight people in Australia, but Americans take it to the next level. One more thing they observed is how we have TV channels that rehash and beat the news to death.
Of course you know living with Dick there’s never a dull moment. The morning we were heading into Glacier I was percolating coffee and Dick decided he would get the RV ready to go. He checked the oil and the tires. The coffee wasn’t quite ready so I asked him to let me know when he’d be rolling off the leveling block so I could hold onto the coffee pot. Enough minutes must have gone by that he forgot to tell me to hold on and down we went. It was quite a fast drop. The stovetop cover that I had leaned against the back wall fell and knocked the coffee pot onto the floor. We were so busy wiping up the hot coffee off the floor as fast as we could that we didn’t see the stove top cover was now on top of the burner that was still on. So we then had a fire to put out. It was a wild time.
The next “PreDickament” was after a day of hiking several miles Dick sat out in the sunshine drinking a cold beer and got sleepy so went inside for a nap. When he got up he said he wasn’t feeling well and a little dizzy and sat down. The next thing I heard was a loud snore and his head was tilted back in the chair and he was chalky yellow. I tried shaking him but got no response. I then put his head down to his knees and tried carefully to lower his dead weight to the floor, all the while yelling at the top of my lungs for someone to help me. I was frantic trying to decide whether to stay with him and start mouth to mouth or run and get help. I saw Bill was at his campsite so I yelled out to him to get Diana and come help that something was wrong with Dick. By the time they arrived he was lying in a pool of blood. Fortunately, he then came around but was still weak and confused. He then could sit up. We all came to the conclusion that he didn’t drink enough water on the long hike and then drank a beer that isn’t good for dehydration and fainted. As far as why the bloody nose? Apparently when I lowered him to the floor he must have landed on his nose which started the bleeding. I was accused of hitting him.
Now for the last “PreDickament.” Dick was getting ready for his first overnight backpacking trip here in Glacier and realized he must have left his tent back in Michigan. That’s a big problem but that didn’t stop him. He went over to the Swiftcurrent Campground Store and bought a 10 X 12 tarp and away he went. When I told someone he wasn’t sleeping in a tent she said, “Oh, you’ve seen the cartoon where two bears are looking at two backpackers sleeping on the ground with no tent and one bear says to the other, “Mmmmmmm, soft on the outside, crunchy on the inside.” I didn’t need to hear that one.
There’s only been one mini-maul since we’ve been here. The man was bit in the arm and the leg but was able to hike out to get help. It made national news and when I finally got a phone connection I had several messages wondering if it was Dick. I think he’s bear proof. He assures me that he’s safe because he sleeps in a rip stop nylon tent. Three years ago a young seminary student from Kentucky was hiking alone and turned up missing in an area Dick knows real well. He’s been following the story over the years and while we’ve been here they finally found some of his remains. Dick tells me there is no danger but I still worry if he doesn’t show up at the time he says he will.
We stayed in three different areas of the park on the East side but just moved to the West side and will be here until we leave for home at the end of the month. It has been amazing so far. Dick has hiked over 120 miles and plans to hike at least another 120 before we leave. I’m a day hiker and stick to shorter hikes. I enjoy ranger led walks, not only because there is safety in numbers, but they explain so many things about the area. We loved camping at Many Glacier and every evening a volunteer had a scope set up to view goats and bighorn sheep and sometimes a grizzly with cubs on the mountainsides. There are grizzlies everywhere in that area. Also in the evenings we loved sitting on the Swiftcurrent Store porch and eating huckleberry ice cream. We have met so many great people. We’re like one big happy family enjoying this incredible place together.

NOTES to KNOW: In the Youtube video the guy in the costumes is Pat Hagan, our favorite park ranger, giving two of his famous campfire talks. The background music is Jack Gladstone, musician, storyteller, poet, philosopher of the Blackfeet Tribe. He gives concerts throughout the park.

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