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The Last Trip For a Long Time

A week ago today, two days before our daughter moved to Guatemala, she wanted to make a final trip up to our camping site on Corona Lake, past Mount Baldy. She plans on being in Guatemala for three years, so it would be her last chance to see it for a long time. So off we went on the last trip to Corona for a long time.

We didn’t get all the way there because of a leaking water hose in the car, but we did get partway and took pictures. We also went elsewhere on the way back, so it wasn’t a loss and we had a lot of fun anyway. 

To get to Corona Lake, we would need to drive up about 3,000 feet higher than we are here on the valley floor, so though we got within about 6 miles of the lake when the car overheated, we knew that we dare not push it any farther. None of us had any desire to have to walk out of there. This is wilderness.

Corona Lake

This picture was taken several years ago and this was where we were headed. It is a beautiful mountain lake and it wasn't surprising that Cat wanted to see it the last time. We even packed our fishing gear since the lake as perch in it. This is to give a frame of reference in regard to where we intended to go.

The road up Mount Baldy

In order to get to Corona Lake, it is necessary to drive over Mount Baldy, one of the highest nearby mountains. This is as far as we got. At this point, we'd already climbed about 2,200 feet above the valley floor.

In the forest

This area is heavily forested and the forest is dense. It is mostly pine, fir, and larch trees, as shown here. This was taken to the side of where we were standing in the last picture.

The beginning of fall coloration

Taken just downslope from the last picture, this shows that the deciduous trees and bushes were beginning to turn yellow, gold, and red. This adds to the beauty of the mountains this time of year. It would have been even more pronounced around Corona lake, which has a large number of larch trees that would already have changed color. Alas, we didn't get that far.

Mountain aster

Even with the chill of autumn, there were still wildflowers on the mountain. This little mountain aster clearly refused to stop blooming. It is also somewhat protected by the natural mulch of pine needles. Still, this added more color to the green, yellow, gold, red, and orange of fall.

Slate quarry

We turned around and headed back down the mountain and passed this slate quarry. A huge amount of slate is shipped out of Montana, destined to become everything from table and countertops to the siding on houses. Slate is a sedimentary rock, formed at the bottom of oceans, so even though this is at about the 4,300-foot level, it shows that the Rocky Mountains were once under the ocean.

The appeal of slate is that if fractures along even plate lines, so the rock is flat and it can be shaped by sawing or chiseling. This is why these pallets seem to be square. They have been pre-shaped, so they are indeed square and ready to be loaded on trucks. The scree that can be seen behind the slate is what it looks like before they select the better rocks and move and shape them. There are 4-5 slate companies in and around our town.

A swim for Shady

For the past 7 years, one of the dogs we've had has been Shady. She is a black lab that Cat and Carlos originally got as a pup. A few months ago, knowing that he wouldn't be back for at least another 3 years, Carlos gave Shady to me.

On our way back, we decided to stop at the river since Shady was with us. Shady rarely gets to go on car rides and she loves the water, though she hates baths. One of the reasons we specifically went to the river was to let Shady go for a swim, as she's doing here.

Shady loves having a stick thrown out into the river so she can go get it. In this case, she is actually not swimming out after a stick. We didn't have any. So Cat simply picked up a rock and threw it out into the river. Obviously, that was fine with Shady.

To her, this is a special treat and she will keep swimming out for a stick or rock, repeatedly, until she is totally exhausted. She doesn't want to stop.

On this outing, she got so tired that for three days, she couldn't lift or wag her tail. Yet, if we'd gone back out, she would have happily gone swimming again.

Wild turkeys

On our way back home, I spotted some wild turkeys, so we took pictures. Originally, they were laying down, but they started moving away when we started taking pictures. They are a little camera-shy. Only four can be seen in this image, but there were actually 11 of them, not counting 6 young ones that were a few months old and about the size of a full-grown chicken. All four of these birds that are shown are about 15-20 pounds.

This was our last family outing with our daughter. She didn't get to see Corona Lake, but she had fun anyway. It is astonishing to think that although these pictures were taken just a week ago (except the first one), the road to Corona Lake is now impassable due to snow. Things can change rapidly in the Montana Rockies.

I do have other pictures from this outing that I can share, but even in a week, the scenery has changed substantially, for at least all but the last two pictures.

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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10 Comments

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  1. First Rex, I am happy for you that your daughter is reunited with her husband. I am still saddened by the situation that forces the long trek away from home.

    What a special, but I would suspect a mix of happy and sad day.

    • Guatemala is a Spanish speaking country. Only a few people speak English. Carlos can speak English and Cat knows a small amount of Spanish, but part of the reason she wants to get her master’s degree in English is so she can teach ESL English. A lot of people there would like to learn English.

    • That would be a reasonable and accurate extrapolation. Yes, some areas of Montana got up to 4 feet of snow and a state of emergency was declared in a number of counties in the state. We didn’t get it bad, but a couple of thousand feet above us certainly did.

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