Sunday, June 23, 2019

Mosaic Monday #33 - Roses, Rainbows and Reflections

Wild Rose
Our first back-country camping adventure is in the rearview mirror, and as with many events in the past, it already looks better from this perspective!  

Don't mistake me, we enjoyed many aspects of it, but the swarms of mosquitoes and the encounter with the black bear are not among them.  But as often happens, I am ahead of myself!

We left the house at 8.30 am and enjoyed a leisurely drive along the North Fork Road to the Polebridge Ranger Station to pay our remaining reservation fees and to watch the 30-minute backcountry video.  (We could afford to take our time since the hike is only 5 miles.)  And what do you know?  The Station was not staffed Monday morning - and a quick look around the grounds scared up nothing more than a pair of chipmunks hopeful for a handout.  We drove on, secure in the knowledge that we would have another chance to settle our debt on the way out of the Park.

On our way to the trailhead, we realized that another ranger station is located near it, and hoped to find a ranger there.  No such luck.  But we did discover a roomy restroom that had been freshly cleaned - always a bonus in the woods!  After parking, we began our final preparations.  Another car arrived and two couples emerged; they shared our destination, but only as a day hike.

The sun was shining and a light breeze stirred the trees as we shouldered our packs and took our first steps down the trail.

Quickly, I was struck by the wild roses in bloom.  To the left, to the right - all along the trail.  Mariposa lilies dotted the spaces in between, and sweet pea clusters peeked out from the rampant foliage.
Left: Mariposa Lily and Baldhip Rose   Right: Sweet Pea

Bunchberry is a low-growing perennial with a woody base - if it reminds you of a dogwood, it should - it's part of the dogwood family!  Stands of yellow penstemon waved to us from the prairie-like openings that were a feature of the first mile of the trail.  We walked high above Logging Creek and could hear its rushing waters through the canyon to our right.  In the distance, mountains with lingering snow reminded us that winter just left us and will be soon to return.
Upper left: Yellow Penstemon  Upper right: Bunchberry

Hind foot of a Black Bear
After a couple of miles, the trail enters a thick, brushy section that retains moisture even during the warmest days of spring.  You betcha - the perfect breeding ground for Culicidae (mosquitoes).  And the mud of the trail reveals every creature that has passed that way - human, wolf, bear ...

But it wasn't the bear paw prints or even the bear scat that made us hoof it the remaining three miles without a stop - it was Culicidae.  Even a pause for a photo brought a cloud of them onto every exposed piece of skin.  Just not worth it!

Fortunately, lakefront must be expensive land for mosquitoes, 'cause they were scarce at the campground.  We had our pick of three sites, and within 30 minutes had our camp set up.  Tent assembled, sleeping pads and pillows inflated, down sleeping bags in place.  Backpacks hung from the provided bear pole.  Good thing, because the sky was ominous and thunder rolled across the lake with increasing frequency.  It was all the excuse we needed to doze in the tent while a light rain pattered on the fly sheet.

We emerged to clearing skies as the weather moved off to the east.  A cup of coffee revived us while a gourmet dinner of chili mac reconstituted itself.  After our meal, Man with Hat tried his hand at fly fishing while I managed the campfire and wandered the campground, snapping rainbows and reflections.  Responding to a shout of joy, I rushed to capture a fish picture, but it slipped the hook.  Fortunately, another was snagged in no time, and both were attracted by flies that he had tied himself!

Dessert was Dark Chocolate Cheesecake, and I also roasted some marshmallows over the glowing embers of the fire.  An altogether satisfactory end to the day!

As the sun began to set, the mosquitoes picked up, and it was time to turn in.  I don't think I've had 8.30 pm as a bedtime since I was a teen!  Sleeping was quite comfortable, even if turning over was noisy from the inflatable pad and pillow.  Early to bed, early to rise - my phone read 6.30 am when I awoke to the birds singing, and decided it was useless to try and get back to sleep.

Man with Hat had left the tent shortly before me and already had the fire lit, and coffee underway.  I am so blessed!  The sun was working hard to break through the clouds while he fished, and I watered transplanted trees near the cooking site.
Sign says "Please help Glacier National Park restore this degraded area by watering the native plants we have
planted here."

More coffee accompanied our breakfast oatmeal, and then it was time to pack up camp.  By 9.20 we were on the trail, and this time I was well-prepared with my waterproof jacket and mosquito head cover.  I could still hear the whining buzz of the winged ones, but they couldn't find an available capillary anywhere!
So happy I could pause and take these photos.  Upper left: Canada Violet  Middle: Sticky Geranium
Upper right: Bog Orchid         Bottom:  Bear Grass

Halfway back, I thought I heard a bear grunting, and said as much to Man with Hat.  Sure enough, shortly thereafter we saw an adult black bear on the trail 30 yards ahead of us, heading in our direction.  We went back the way we came until we could no longer see it, and then went off the trail on the downhill side since it appeared it wanted to use the trail.  We shouted all the while and had our bear spray at the ready.  After 5 minutes or so, we worked our way back to the trail and it was nowhere to be seen … So glad our first real bear encounter ended well ...
Left: Groundsel    Right: Gooseberry

The pumping adrenaline took some time to wear off, and by then we were into the dry section of the trail and could stop for a drink and a snack. Before we knew it, we reached the trailhead and it felt so good to sponge off and change into dry clothes in the coolness and mosquito-free environment of the ranger station bathroom.  

We tried to pay our camping fee on the way out of the Park, but the young ranger staffing the station said "This is my first day and I am not set up yet to accept cash or credit cards."  Oh well.  So we contributed to the local economy another way by spending the money on baked goodies at the Polebridge Mercantile.

As is our custom, we stopped at a watering hole on the way home.  What is it about hiking and camping that makes everything taste so good?

Now that we're home, a friend told us that no-one camps at Logging Lake before July 1 due to mosquitoes.  Maybe now I understand why that backcountry application was so quickly approved!

Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
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As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
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Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.

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  1. ...I'm in the Adirondacks for a while enjoying hiking in the woods. Saw a bunch of bunch berry today and enjoying sleeping in my cabin in the woods! Enjoy.

  2. Thanks for sharing your adventures:)
    Beautiful photographs and I like the sound of 'Dessert was Dark Chocolate Cheesecake'

    All the best Jan

  3. Your photos of the woods, lake, and flowers are so beautiful. You're really blessed to be in that area.

  4. Well it is a pretty place and with the mosquitoes the price was absolutely right!

  5. I must say I am also delighted your "first real bear encounter ended well" as I would miss your funny commentary and gorgeous photos. Angie, you are a funny, funny girl! Thank you for my Monday morning laugh. Gorgeous scenery at your camping site. How peaceful to sit by the fire and drink in all that amazing nature before you. I'm guessing if indeed you should retrace your steps on this hike another time, it might be a different time of the year.

  6. That's really an adventurous tour. I prefer my comfort in my house and garden. I admire your Courage.

    Have a wonderful week... happy MosaicMonday

  7. You are wilderness champs! Whoa! Glad your bear encounter ended well. Thanks for naming all the plants! Oh my...mosquitoes. Glad you could enjoy that watering hole on the way home.

  8. What a wonderful trip!! Your photos are great. And I consider you so brave to camp out in the wild. No way this girl is sleeping in a tent unless its in my I look forward to hearing about your next adventure! :) Kit

  9. What an experience you had Angie! I'm not a camper but thumbs up for you! In the neighbourhood of our summer cottage (sold by now) there was a brown bear seen a few times. I did not see him, but our dog barked like crazy! I quickly took the dog inside.... It happened there that a brown bear attacked a jogger and the poor man died. Obviously there was a bear puppy around...

    That Cornus suecica - Bunchberry is stunning. Your photos and mosaics were a joy for the eye. Wishing you a nice week.

  10. I enjoyed hiking and camping with you, Angie. with the comfort of my living room. I got goose-pimply when reading “swarm of mosquitoes” and felt like that I heard their buzzing sound. The views of the lake is breathtaking with the reflections or a rainbow. The wild flowers are so lovely; thank you for telling us their names. You look so active, energetic, and adventuresome. As for myself, such guts for camping wore off already and I’m backsliding to an easy, non-adventurous life but still enjoy hiking, not the whole trail but partiall, avoiding ups and downs as much as possible. Have a nice week.


    1. Thank you, Angie, for reading my post with interests.

      I’m not sure who planted the hydrangeas. The narrow lane runs beside a small mountain which belongs or belonged to the temple. So, I guess temple staffs or city staffs for landscaping.

      The third celebration for longevity is “Kiju (77)” followed by Sanjyu (80), Beijyu (88), Hakujyu(99), and lastly another Kijyu (100). Ki of the last “Kijyu” is “century”. As to the rite of passage from birth, there are Miyamairi (the first visit to shrine, about 1 month), Shichi-go-san (3, 5, 7) and Coming of Age (20).

  11. Thank you for taking us along on your hike, I really enjoyed it. I would be worried a bear would come explore the tent! Thanks too for naming the flowers, it is interesting to see what grows in your part of the world. So happy you are safe after your bear encounter!!

  12. Hello, I enjoyed reading about your camping trip, the photos are beautiful. Love the views of the lake. The wildflowers are beautiful. I am glad the bear was not a problem, I like seeing them. Usually they are frightened by the noise and will run. Thanks for hosting MM. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

  13. Wow! What a trek. How exciting, but the bugs...
    Good for you for contributing to the economy. We always try to do that when out and about.

  14. Happy Monday, i luv best of all the wildflowers

    much love...

  15. I read most of your hiking adventure to my hubby over coffee this morning. We always loved to backpack and it was neat to hear of your adventures. Good news about the bear going on it's way. And I'm glad you were prepared for the mosquitoes. They sure are a nuisance! Love hearing about the fishing...was always one of the best parts of a mountain hike. Thanks for sharing! Too hot to hike here now! Hugs, Diane

  16. Lovely countryside, beautiful views and flowers and great photos, Angie. However, the older I get the more I do not enjoy camping and search for the creature comforts of a good hotel/motel/cabin close to the great outdoors...

  17. Seeing evidence of a bear at large where one hiked would make one rather apprehensive, to say the least, Angie. It brought to my mind the bear scene in the film "The Revenant"...

  18. I loved reading this post. YOu and Hat Man had such a wonderful experience, perhaps you could have done without the wildlife almost encounter and the mosquitoes, but otherwise all heavenly. Btw, there has never been a recorded incident of a black bear attacking a human in Canada. But lots have been chased!

  19. lucky you weren't carried off! I enjoyed reading about your experience I'd never do it myself!

  20. Mosquito and bear not withstanding the hike was wonderful just seeing all the wild flowers.
    Glad you had a good time

  21. Angie, So glad you had a great trip. Mosquitoes are a pain while being still to take a picture for sure. They seem to find the tiniest piece of skin visible. You ate well! Lovely flowers and scenery. Thanks for sharing and have a great week. Sylvia D.

  22. Ha-ha! Oops! Despite being early campers, it sounds like you had a good time. I especially like the bear grass photo. I love hiking, but can't sleep unless I'm completely comfortable, so don't think I'd fare well in tent conditions. Glad you were able to backtrack and give the bear it's space. I'm reading "The Forest Unseen" and learned that only female mosquitoes bite. They need the blood so they can make their eggs. Otherwise, they feed like the males, from nectar or rotting fruit.

  23. Great post! That was quite the adventure. Love the photos, glad I can see the sights through your pictures without fighting off mosquitos.

  24. Cheers to your first backpacking trip of the year, Angie! Your photos and tale have me yearning to backpack. Another reason to get new knees. I recall the tired satisfaction I got after a backpacking trip. But the mosquitoes, yuck, they love me to pieces, too. Happy Hiking!

  25. Fabulous images hiking, I love the Black Bear and its paw.

  26. Thank you for taking me along on your hike and camping trip Angie. I sensed that you dislike mozzies as much as I do. Even though we meet them only on holiday to warmer climes, I simply do not want them anywhere near me after reading of the nasty viruses they can spread.

    I was interested in your reaction to the oncoming bear. I guess there are many rules and lots of advice about beards. Maybe you could mention some for those of us who have no such dangerous wild animals on their doorstep?

  27. Mosquitoes and insects can be so annoying when camping or trying to enjoy the outdoors. However sounds like you enjoyed your campout. Glad you managed to avoid the bear. Where is the photo? Enjoy your spring and summer travels.

  28. Fabulous shots! The mozzies do disturb my walks with the dogs here too.

  29. I would have been more bothered by the biting insects than the bear. Plagues of mosquitoes can really make life miserable. I have encountered bears several times on wilderness walks and we have always parted company amiably. This is not to say that they are not potentially dangerous animals and the very greatest caution should be exercised - and above all else don't be one of the idiots feeding them, or the next meal might be you.

  30. What a wonderful camping adventure. I hate mosquitoes and don't miss them. Excellent photos, Angie and thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

  31. Beautiful nature photography ~ love bear paw print ~

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  32. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  33. I don't blame you for hating the mosquitoes, you are quite brave for even attempting to hike in that area. Eeek, a bear spotting! Beautiful scenery though and wonderful wildflowers spotting. Love the idea of watering plants around the campground. That is such a great picture of you!!


  34. Beautiful pics and wonderful adventure, nature is stunning!:)

  35. oh what an adventure, it would have been good to know about the mosquitoes ahead of time!! it sounds like you had fun, and that the encounter with the black bear did not shake you!!

    they have hotels you know!?!? when you turn over there is no noise, there are no misquotes and you do not have to drive to bathe!!! hehehehehehe, it really did sound fun!!!

  36. I love the account of your adventure. Mosquitoes are always spoilsports it seems. I remember being almost crazed by them on hikes in Utah when I was a kid.
    Glad you had an uneventful encounter with the bear. I went hiking with my sister the Yellowstone Ranger last August and we did not see a one. I was both dreading it and looking forward to seeing a bear, off in the distance.
    Great post.

  37. Dearest Angie; I must say I haven't experienced camp much and so interesting to read your adventure. Oh My; Bear!!! Half of inside of me, wish to see, haha.
    So sorry for my late comment and Thank you SO much and appreciate you for hosting wonderful link.
    Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

  38. Mi piace molto il tuo blog e ti seguirò con piacere! Bellissima la flora dei tuoi boschi, soprattutto la bear grass che non conoscevo!

    Ti auguro una buona domenica :)


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