Smoke on the water

When it’s 5 degrees, the cold air on the (relatively) warm water is awesome. Here’s the view across seven miles of Flathead Lake water:

Today the fog was more substantial than a few months ago. In retrospect, I should’ve made a video. The breeze was blowing the fog back and forth– in the lower left you can see a large oval area that’s been “cleared” as the air sweeps across it. Super cool to watch!

Too lazy to catch the sunset

I looked out the window and noticed the sun was setting and the water on the lake was more still than I think I’ve ever seen it. There were amazing reflections of the snowy hills across the lake, and the orange sunset lit up the expanse of water to the southwest. I grabbed my camera and raced downstairs to get some boots and jump in the car, thinking I’d drive a couple miles to a little trail that leads down to the shoreline. That would be a fantastic spot to capture the sunset and the smooth water.

But I looked at the sun and it was probably only ten minutes from slipping behind the horizon. I was too late. By the time I drove to the trail and hiked down, it would be gone. Oh well. I sadly put the camera away.

After maybe fifteen minutes, I glanced outside again and was startled by the sunset. It was even more brilliant than before. Far too late to get to the waterline, I grabbed my camera again and walked outside. Unfortunately the sun is far to the south this time of year, and the trees surrounding our house block much of the view. I snapped a few shots, disappointed that I hadn’t just committed to the hike.

Perhaps five minutes after that, the clouds were tinged with pink and the darkening sky was a brilliant orange. It was spectacular. And I wished I was at the foot of the trail.

Next time, I won’t be lazy.

Warm(ish) in January

Although Montana is beautiful in the winter, we felt like it would be fun to enjoy some warmer weather. So we bought a couple of airline tickets to Arizona, and headed down for the week.

I snapped a selfie to make my friends jealous:

Although the weather was definitely warmer than Montana, the mercury barely touched 60. I’d been expecting 70+ so that was a little disappointing, but when I saw people out shopping or in restaurants, bundled up in parkas (no kidding!) and sweaters, it made me smile. I was wearing short sleeves, of course, and enjoying the heat.

We managed to catch up with some friends we first met 25 years ago, and who we haven’t seen in a few years.

Dave and I went on a hike along the Lost Goldmine Trail outside of Mesa.

I asked him if there’s actually a gold mine out there. He wasn’t sure. Regardless, it was great to be back in the desert again (shoutout to the Canyonlands last fall) and this time it was peppered with saguaro, barrel cacti, and something called “jumping cholla”.

Those thorns are pretty impressive, and Dave says although they don’t actually jump off the plant, they’re really easy to detach so if you brush against them while walking or biking, you’ll be sorry later when you sit down.

Afterward we were thirsty (of course) so we made some fresh-squeezed orange juice. We went down the block to a house that was advertising free oranges (pick ’em yourself). Orange juice is my favorite drink already, and pouring a nice glass of it right after squeezing the fresh-picked fruit was amazing.

We paid a visit to the local temple, as well. There’s no “local” temple in Montana– the closest one is three hours away in another country.

It was a great trip, and I think we’re going to head back down in the fall. We’ll drive then, and make some stops along the way at places like Zion and the Grand Canyon. Until then, we’re back in the land of snow…

Hola mi amigos

In my never-ending quest to find interesting hobbies and improve myself, I’ve decided to learn Spanish this year. I’m using the Duolingo app as a starting point, although I suspect it’s only going to take me so far. I’ll need to figure out some other ways to learn the language. In the meantime, the app has a fun game-like interface and I’m learning key phrases like “Where is the museum?”

Part of the app experience is having a user profile with a little profile photo (so friends can find you and link to you). Obviously that photo should involve a sombrero. Fortunately, I have a friend who’s spent a lot of time in South America and has a fancy sombrero. I asked him to take a picture of me wearing it.

So that’s my profile pic, and the start of my Spanish journey. Wish me luck! Adios!