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Old Memories, New Adventures, and Bison Revenge

Created 9/8/2017 by David Bopp
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Article printed on August 30,2017 in Flathead Beacon:

I’ve preached about high efficiency homes, railed against poor construction practices, attempted to get people to make a change in their home, and today I started to write about the potential irrelevance of heating system efficiency.  In fact, it is a very nice article but I realized, while writing it, that I wouldn’t want to read about it this month.  It is summer and I am busy enjoying adventures with my family.   

This summer we took a trip with our three boys (5, 3, and 6 months) to Yellowstone where my wife and I met (in Silver Gate) 16 years ago while working our way through our mid-twenties.  I remember clearly; it was a glorious time of deep powder ski runs, epic mountain bike adventures, and the summiting of any peak that could be seen.  After sixteen years we finally made it back to re-live old adventures and create new memories. 

Day 1: We headed for a waterfall up a short hike.  We trekked through the woods with clear blue skies overhead as I boasted to my boys that we would walk behind the falls.  The smooth trail turned into loose scree on a side hill with boulders and a rushing river below and virtually no trail.  We could see the waterfall and the place behind it that I used to sit.  I could also see there was no safe way to cross with three little ones and this was the end of our hike.  Oops, I forgot about that scree.

Day 2: A little wildlife watching, brunch at the delicious Log Cabin Café and a simple hike.  Heck, I’d even hiked it in the winter at night.  With our littlest in a carrier and our two older boys in tow we headed out for a gorgeous waterfall in a canyon.  We climbed over alder, under willow, scrambled up and down the river bank, and in general got poked by every bush and tree for a mile and a half as we worked to re-create a trail that obviously had not seen much use since we left.  Within site of the canyon we gave up.  The bush was too thick, the river too deep, and our three little ones were done with bushwhacking.  We headed back to our campsite. 

Day 3: Scrap the plan to hike to a high alpine lake… my memory was telling me this was the hardest hike we had contemplated re-hiking.  If the others didn’t work this would be an epic failing.  Instead we talked with some locals and found a new lake with a short hike, large trout, and different but equally beautiful scenery.  New memories were made!

Day 4:  We weren’t quite over re-living old memories.  A simple flat hike with no complications to search for animal tracks in the river bottom.  Sixteen years ago bison were rare in this area but not anymore!  Time after time we were blocked by bison and forced to change and eventually abandon our plans.  Finally we returned, hot and tired, to the river below the parking lot.  We took a careful look around with nothing to be seen but a short small clump of willows on the other side of the river upstream.  We removed our backpacks and shoes and dipped our toes in the water while the boys played in a shallow riffle downstream.  Several minutes later I heard an odd noise and turned around from watching my boys.  I found myself facing yet another bison quietly crossing the stream directly toward us.  He had emerged from the willows where he must have been napping.  Scooping up our boys we high-tailed it uphill toward the car and took a seat on the bumper.  There we sat through the afternoon heat watching the bison munch grass three feet from our backpacks and my car keys!  Revenge came the next day with bison burgers!  Yum!

Day 5 and on: We scrapped our old memory plans, talked to some local guides, got some good information, and enjoyed our last days before heading home. 

I came away from our trip a little smarter and with lots of good memories.  I learned that life is full of adventure but it is better to make new memories than try to re-live old ones.  I also learned that no matter how much you think you know since you did it “once upon a time” it is good to talk to the local experts.  Here at Flathead Electric let us help you make sure you are on the right path.   We are here waiting to answer any questions you have about energy use, efficiency, electric vehicles, renewable energy, or anything other questions you dream up around energy.  Go and enjoy life’s adventures and rest assured that when it is time in your life to buy, rent, build, or upgrade a house or business that we are here to help you avoid unnecessary adventures.  

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