As we all know in the northern hemisphere, winter is long and summer is short. Brilliant, eh? I know… it’s the big reason why more people don’t live up in these parts year round. It’s pretty much agreed that we need one more month of summer weather, and would love two. Yeah, well, good luck to us. That’s not gonna happen, global warming or no… at least not in the near future.
That understood, we try to stretch the summer season to its very, very bitter end. Believe me, we have our ways. We had a short Indian Summer this fall, but we had one, right after a fairly big snow and a cold snap. Well, we were ready for those few more warm days and we managed, once again, to make the most of them.
– One Last Ride –
Susi & me in our Side-by-side
Our two good friends, Gary and Cathy wanted, like B and I, to get one more 4-wheeler outing. So we picked the best of the last several decent days that we had before us, and headed for the hills. We left V.C. around 12:30 to let the air in the high country warm up at least as much as it was going to. The roads and trails down lower were dry, no snow, and it was fairly warm, middle 50’s.
Most streams in Montana in the fall run low, and very clear. There isn’t a bunch of color as we’re totally in pine forest, save for a few Alders and Quaking Aspen groves. So it was clear streams, blue sky, green forests with splatterings of yellow, and new snow waiting for us in the mountains and peaks above.
About two thirds up to our destination we hit the snow, and it was already deep in the shady spots. Several times, on our climb up to the top, we had to leave the trail and move out into the snowy sage and sunshine where the snow wasn’t so deep. Gary is a good rider, and we picked our way up the slopes easily and carefully, being sure to keep ourselves, and our ladies, safe. We found out early that B’s and my side by side doesn’t do well in snow when we’re on a steep grade in more than 4 inches of the fluffy stuff. The 4-wheel drive just doesn’t cut it. A good thing to know. I have no pictures for that part, as it got a little busy, getting up through there, and I knew better than to stop, just to take a picture.
Once on top, we enjoyed a little wine and cheese. What do we do up there? Why, we walk around, see the magnificent views, smell the air, take pictures of each other. Sometimes we stop at abandoned mines and look for critters or small slabs of weathered wood for picture frames. But always we stop long enough to once again be reminded of how very lucky we are to live here, in our version of Paradise.
One Reply to “Stretching Indian Summer”
It was a beautiful day! Incredible vistas, nice late-autumn weather, just enough of a challenge in the trail conditions to get one’s heart beating a bit faster, and a very pleasant après ride at Fort Apache. Thanks, as always, to you and B for sharing your stories and time with us.
PS: Go Steelers!