Hike 9 — Lake Como

When I was reading through the hiking book months ago.  I stopped on this hike and thought about how I would really like to do this one.  I am pretty sure that I had never done this hike before.  I had been to the the other end of the lake and seen the waterfalls, but I am pretty sure we took a boat there.

This time we did not see the waterfalls.  We did not make it that far.  I think we got pretty close though.  I am guessing here, but I think we got 2 or 3 miles before we turned around.  Which would make the entire hike four to six miles, which is a bunch for me.  I am pretty sure the falls are about 4 miles in.

I have been kinda down on myself for not doing more epic hikes for this project.  I have been reluctant to give an entire day to it, which means I have been staying close by and choosing short hikes.  The one thing that could let me do a whole day was if I made it a Jorge and I experience.  What made it even more ok was to make it a social call as well.  So I didn’t do this one solo.  I brought my eight year old son, and we met my good friend Joel.  Joel is doing the best job at social distancing of any one I know.  Hiking was a good thing for us to do together.


Lake Como is 59 miles south of Missoula.  I had to give my god daughter, Sydney, a ride to Corvallis anyway, so it wasn’t much farther from there.  Jorge has gotten super good at these fairly long drives and for that I am grateful.

We got to the parking lot the same time as Joel which was nice.  We had to pay.  It is $5 for a day pass at Lake Como.  It is totally worth it.  Funny though, when I was a kid I remember coming to Lake Como all the time.  I grew up in Hamilton, which is only 14 miles from there.  But once the day fee was put into effect, I only remember going there once or twice with other people that weren’t in my family.

The trail starts out as a paved interpretive trail.  For a 1/3 of a mile it is pavement, which I hate.  And signs about the area, which I love.  We learned that if you smell the crack on a Ponderosa Pine that it smells like vanilla.  I can’t believe I didn’t know this previously.  We kept stopping to smell trees.  It was lovely.  The hike is great because it doesn’t have much change in elevation.  The only bad thing was that it was usually steep below the trail and above the trail and when we met other hikers it was hard to get off the trail for them.

Jorge asked why we got off the trail for them and no one gets off the trail for us.   And I told him that it is because we are trying to win at the courtesy game.

We hiked until I felt my body go out of whack and then start to hurt.  And then we climbed down to the lake and played in it a bit.  Jorge and I took our shoes off and waded into it.  But the lake is very low and the floor of the lake it very muddy.  Our feet would sink into it.  But it was still refreshing.  We got our hats wet to cool off.  It was beautiful.


Then we climbed back up the side of the mountain and walked back.  It was a great day trip.  We left at 11a.m. and got back at 7p.m.

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Hike 8 – Maclay Flats

I was hungover and tired and generally unenthused about everything.  For this reason I picked the easiest thing I could find that was close and had water.  What I hadn’t thought about is that it is a river access on one of the last weekends of the summer on a fairly hot day.  I almost couldn’t find a place to park, but I did.  I am not entirely sure it was legal, but there was no sign saying No Parking, so I think I was good.  This hike is a big loop that has surprise surprise a big flat space.   It is 1.8 miles and has is again flat, so no climb or descent which is particularly nice if you are not in good condition.  Fairly quickly in the hike it brings you to the river (Bitterroot). It is a bit upstream from where the river access is, so it was not totally overrun with people, but there were still a bunch of people.  Mostly folks walking their dogs.  I sat on a lovely bench and wrote some.

thebenchThe first line of what I wrote was, “I feel like I am dying.”  It did not lead to deep thoughts or eloquent wordage.  It mostly dissolved into self doubt and then wound back up into me figuring it all out with a solution and everything.  It felt very good to sit there and let the wind blow through me.  I had a nice long day dream about teaching a poetry class.  I really want to do this.  But because of covid it really is only realistic over zoom and I am not tech savvy enough to do that.  But maybe.  We shall see.  Most likely I will just keep dreaming.

The walk after that was mostly dry and hot.

But then there was this grove of trees.  It was an area that I think is usually under water, but since it is the end of summer it has dried up.  The trees are epic.  And it felt important.  It felt holy.  It felt like I was in a place that was made for the gods.  It felt like I was in a sanctuary that was old and made in reverence.   But it was just a bunch of trees, so I don’t know why it felt so special.  But it was.

holyplaceThe rest of the hike follows along the Big Flat irrigation ditch.  I enjoy a good ditch.  The fact that most of them were made really quite some time ago and that they are really complicated things to plan out and execute.  Man as god.  Tale as old as time.

And that is it for this one.


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Hi!  I am an artist and writer in Missoula, MT.

I write and publish a zine every month.  Find out more about it on My Zine link above.

I also make mostly fine art, but occasionally weird art books or sticker sets.  During the xmas season I make funny xmas cards.

Lately I have been doing a hiking project where I go on a hike every week and then blog about it.  So my usual art website is a little full of hiking pictures.


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Hike 7 – Boulder Creek

Boulder Creek isn’t actually in my hiking book.  But it is a hike, and this week is too busy for me to do another one out of the book.  We were camping up the West Fork of the Bitterroot, and this hike was right by our campground.  All the rest of the days of the week I am working or have things going on.

I love this hike.  We camp here often.  So I am pretty familiar with the beginning of the hike.  There are giant boulders here and there along the trail.


We often only get as far as a little waterfall, and for various reasons have to turn back.  Usually because Jorge is a child and is tired or bored or whatever.  This time I went alone and wanted to make it farther.  But again much like my last hike my bowels had an entirely different idea and this time I had no hope of holding it.  You know how you can just tell.  So I got as far as the little water fall and turned around.

waterfallselfieAll and all it was pretty anti-climatic, which I guess is the best kind of hike.

And there was this tree:


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Hike 6 – Main Corridor of the Rattlesnake Trail

















I am not sure why, but this hike has a spot that reminds me of writers block.  It has a place that I just can’t seem to get past.  We will call it the bubble.  All the hikes in this area always seem to turn around at this basic area, or continue up one of the forks instead or continuing down the main trail.  My goal for this hike was to get father than I have gotten before, which I succeeded in doing.  The main corridor has one big trail that is really the size of a road that is very trafficked by bicycles and then another trail that is small and intimate that mostly follows the creek and tucks in and out of lots of lovely places to sit and enjoy the creek.

I was just getting out of the bubble, and decided it was safe for me to stop and do some writing.  I want to write an epic nature poem inspired by the writing of Mary Oliver.  So, I decided that on my hikes that I want to pick inspiring places to read Mary Oliver poems and then work on writing some of my own.  I started writing and then read a poem to the creek, and wrote some more.  Then my bowels made themselves known.  Oh no!  I had to poop.  This was a problem because 1. I didn’t bring toliet paper.  2. Even if I did, this area is more like a public park lately instead of the great outdoors.  There are too many people for comfortable pooping.  3.  WTF! I still hadn’t quite gotten out of the bubble.


I packed up and resolved to go for as long as I could.  I feel like I can hold a poop for a few hours, so not all was lost.  I followed the little trail to a bigger trail and walked for a bit to a fork in some other trails and behold there was an outhouse.  Holy Holy!  I always scoffed at these bathrooms 1 mile up a trail. Why is it there?  But this time I quickly walked towards it excited.  My body was like yes!!  I went for the handle and …. fuck.  it was locked.  WHY PUT A FUCKING OUTHOUSE THAT FAR UP A TRAIL IF YOU AREN’T GOING TO KEEP IT OPEN AND MAINTAINED!!!! I still wasn’t out of the bubble! Luckily if I kept moving my body forgot about something else it wanted to move.

And I made.  I did.  I got out of the bubble entirely.  Finally.  I was hiking for a really long time on the main trail that is like a road.  It is was dry and very far from the creek and really not my favorite trail.  Finally I saw the smaller cooler trail that follows the creek and I threw caution to the wind and went off trail to get to it.  I just really wanted to find another place by the creek to continue my writing .  I finally found a place.  It was perfect.  It had a perfect sitting log right next to the creek and I was just starting to write when a man showed up.  My bowels also showed up so it wasn’t just this guy that sent me back to the trail before I could get much of anything written.  This was my turn around spot.  I started heading back for the sake of my but, but I still was looking for another inspiring spot.










And I found one.  I found a place that has a beautiful cliff face that hangs over the creek and was the place that I had made it to the only other time I had busted out of the bubble.  Josh Wagner and Jorge and I had made it that far years ago.  We all threw rock in there and generally enjoyed ourselves until the walk back when young Jorge he was maybe 4 or 5.  Whined terribly because he was tired.  He was only ok if we kicked pine cones down the trail.  So for the majority of the trip back we kicked the damn pine cone.  I remember hating it by the time we got back.

In this place I was just about to sit down and start writing when the same guy showed up.  I decided to wait him out and we had a nice conversation about his dog and bears and then he left and let me get a little bit of writing done.  When I would sit down to write is when my need to shit would be intolerable, so I didn’t linger and got back on the trail and didn’t stop until I got to my car.

I was glad to be on a hike alone.  I love my hikes with other people, but there is a magic that you have a hard time seeing because it is eclipsed by the presence of the other person.

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Hike 5 – Tower Street Open Space

This is less of a hike and more of a meander.  It is a one mile loop.  I am HUNGOVER after a crazy trip to Bigfork yesterday.  Terah had called me on the way home while I was pretty drunk and wanted to know if I wanted to hike or something in the early part of the day and I was like, “I have to go for a hike tomorrow anyway, so lets do that.”

Looking through the book I wanted to find like the easiest and most shaded hike and when I saw the Tower Street one I was like, “yeah.”    Terah did a big project in this open space when she was in her last year of art school.   She built all kinds of earth sculptures with two other people.  That part of the river always makes me think of her.

terahattheriverI was so hungover that I wasn’t the best company.  We dipped our feet in the river and then meandered back.  The river changes coarse every year and there is now a beautiful little off shoot that the trail goes right by.

riveroffshootIt is been really hot and it seems unrelenting.  Hopefully this next week we will find more of a hike hike.


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Blah Blah Blah V15 issue 7

bbb_v15is7_coverFigured I should post something that is not about hiking since this website is all over all my art business cards.   This is the cover to my newest zine.  I have been having a hard time creating lately.  The pandemic is fucking with me.  It is a little crippling.  But I still publish this zine NO MATTER WHAT!!!   Love!


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Hike 4 – Deer Creek Trail

This hike was awesome in multiple of ways.  First off it was one that was not on my radar at all.  I had never been there, I had never heard of it.  We followed the directions in my trusty hiking book, which led us up an unmarked road where we parked at an unmarked trailhead, which was just a gated road with no other cars parked at it.  When we pulled up clouds had filled the sky and it was a bit ominous.  I was glad Aaron had decided to come with me again.




[This picture is me looking back at my car at the beginning of the trail.]

It had a spooky feeling to it, but also a rad feeling of exploring a new place.  As we hiked it seemed way less spooky.  We followed the trail, which is basically an old logging road, up and around a side of a mountain.  And the sun came up and it was just straight up beautiful.  Then we found huckleberries.  And that was freaking rad.  We picked a bunch.


Then Aaron took a bunch of photos of me.  When we got home he turned them into gifs, which is rad.  I tried to post them here, but I didn’t work, and I just don’t know enough to figure it out, but I will post them on my instagram.  Originally, I had wanted this hiking project to be just me, alone, hiking.  But last night was one of the best date nights Aaron and I have ever had.  It had never occurred to us to go on a hike for a date.  But it is so good.  I think it may be our new go to thing to do.



[Check out that hair.  I rarely think about my appearance, especially when I am going for a hike.  So, there I am in all my raw beauty.]

Picking huckleberries was making my back hurt so I sat on a log while Aaron picked more and I examined the hiking book.  In the book it had said that the trail would eventually disappear about a mile up the trail and that is where you turn around.  We were pretty sure we had gone farther than a mile and it hadn’t disappeared.  Looking at the map I realized that we had actually left the intended trail and went up one of the off shoots instead.  We didn’t mind.  We ended up in the perfect place.  Now we have a whole other trail to explore next time.


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Hike 3 – Curry Gulch Trail to Curry Cabin

There were daisies EVERYWHERE!!  I love daisies.  Dandelions and daisies are my favorite.

daisyeyesAnd Aaron, my lovely husband, joined me for the hike.

aaronandiwithdaisiesThe hike was again up the Rattlesnake.  That is the first part of the book, and it is a short drive and there is enough shade and a creek to dip my hat in.  It was a hot day today, we definitely needed shade.  I am not sure what kinda effect the 4.8 mile hike had on me, but when I got home after eating a smoothy I was laying in the lounge yard chair in the shade.  I sort of drifted off and then woke myself up.  And then entered a weird dream state where I was awake and dreaming at the same time.  This has never happened to me.  It was terrifying.

This hike was the farthest I have made it yet in this project.  Having Aaron there definitely helped with that.  I guess when I am by myself I worry about pushing myself because I want to be as strong as possible because I am alone in the woods.  But with my protector with me I could push it a bit more.  It was also nice to go on a hike with him.  My son, Jorge, was at my parents house so it was just Aaron and I.  I think in our entire 13 year long relationship I think we only have ever went on one other hike just the two of us.  Not that we haven’t hiked together, there are just usually other people with us.

currycabinLook at me being totally tired.  I did it though.

I did this hike with Terah and Courtney 10 years ago.  I have a picture of me standing next to the cabin then too.  I wish I could find it and post it too, but I don’t have time to dig through a crazy lot of pictures.  I don’t even remember if it was on film or digital.  I would have never guessed it was 10 years ago, but I made a note of it in my hiking book.  That was when I first had made the goal to do every hike in the book.

I also found a tiny wild strawberry


And, well, it was a really good hike.  I am glad I am doing this project.


*******For those of you that noticed that I skipped a week.  Last week we went backpacking.  And since it was not a hike in the book, and I wanted something to write about in my zine, I decided to just skip a week in this project.  Also, I didn’t take a camera backpacking because they are heavy, so no pictures of that trip. ******

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