After a boring drive through the far western portion of Montana, a quick jaunt across Idaho, a sweltering night spent on the blacktop of a Casino parking lot, and one final drive through a remote section of forested rolling hills…we made it to Washington. Our home for the next two weeks is on a lovely piece of property owned by our friends Leigh and Brian. They have generously provided everything we need for a very comfortable stay. A free place to park, an internet connection through their satellite dish despite the almost complete lack of cell service here, excellent company for us, a dog friend for Phineas, and just look at this view!
Even though this is our first time here it almost felt like coming home. Why? Because we had some friends waiting to greet us. Last winter we spent an entire month with Leigh and Brian and got to know them better than anyone else we have met so far on the road. We have been meeting lots of fellow travelers lately, but when you only spend an evening or two with someone it’s difficult to form a real connection. Since the nature of this lifestyle means everyone is constantly on the move, it’s rare for us to meet the same folks more than once (it does happen though, and I suspect the longer we travel the more often we will run into the same people).
A month is a long time though, and during that period we developed a true friendship rather than just an acquaintanceship. It goes without saying then that we have been anticipating this reunion for months now. It was sooo great to finally see them again. It feels like we picked up right where we left off and have been enjoying nightly happy hours, communal meals, and evening strolls all week long.
Phineas and Curtis have also happily reunited. Since they’re just about the same age these two make great companions. It’s cute to watch their version of old dog play.
Curtis was nice enough to scope out some of the nearby lakes for his water-loving doggy friend prior to his arrival. On our first day in the neighborhood we drove a few minutes down the road to picturesque Long Lake where Phineas swam, Curtis & Leigh gazed at the view, and we even met some other local pooches.
A few days ago we visited another nearby lake. This is Turner Lake.
It was a little muddy around the edges from the cattle that roam around here, but that didn’t stop Phineas from jumping right in.
The hills around here are criss-crossed with hiking trails (otherwise known as cow paths). I’ve been out twice by myself in the morning for some exploring. The first time I climbed straight up the hillside behind the spot where our trailers are parked.
It was a nice mile long climb that offered up some awesome views of the surrounding hills. The air is a little hazy right now because of nearby wildfires, but that didn’t take away from the beauty. As someone who grew up in the dense forests that cover much of the northeast, it has surprised me just how much I love the wide open spaces that dominate the western half of the country.
I also took a longer hike that followed an old rutted road around the back of the hill, climbed nearly to the top of the ridge, and then made a very wide circle back around through the meadow covered hillside.
There are a lot of small cabins, funny looking shed-type things, folks who live in RVs, and even a few real houses sprinkled around the hills out here. The road I hiked up traveled very near a few of these places, and I suspected that people out here really enjoy their privacy so I tired to be as unobtrusive as possible. Especially after I saw this very serious No Trespassing sign. Good thing I am not a public official or agent of the law because I think I might have accidentally walked across this person’s property.
As the road snaked around to the north side of the hill the landscape changed and I was soon walking through a forest of evergreens.
When I hike by myself I tend to stop often and take a ton of photos. This hike was no exception. There was so much beauty all around!
This is free range cattle country which means you can almost certainly count on encountering a herd or two out on the trail. Most that I saw were lounging under the shade of the trees, but a few like this large lady were out in the open. Leigh had mentioned a surprising statistic about how many people get trampled by cattle every year so I was bit apprehensive when I encountered my first group. I don’t think I needed to worry much though since they all scattered immediately as soon as they saw me.
I continued along the backside of the hill and came across a few more old homesteads, including this one with a very nice bovine manicured lawn.
And this one that looks like it was once a fairly large log cabin, but is now nothing but a roof.
Finally the road traveled back around to the front of the hill and after a hot, sunny hike through the open hillside I spotted our home in the distance.
We have a few exciting things planned for the rest of our visit, including a weekend excursion to a lakeside camping spot, and the much anticipated arrival of many, many more Airstreamers next week. Can’t wait!