Well, it didn't exactly happen that way that I was able to obtain a piece of Bonnie's writing and some of her photos from a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but I've got 'em, and I'm posting both her writing and her photos this morning.
On Tuesday, the kids will be back in school after several weeks of vacation, and, of course, the standard perennial joke is that some crazy English teacher will assign them an essay: What I Did Last Summer.
Well, I'm bettin' that not too many of them could rival Bonnie's experience in the "BOB."
Plus, from my own English teaching experiences, I can say that she did a pretty good job on her essay, written a couple of weeks ago for another friend after returning to her normal life as one of Sandpoint's beloved cartoonists/artists and all-around fun gal.
Among today's collection, I did insert a photo of Bonnie, taken yesterday after she told me she was gonna go have lunch down at Trinity with a bunch of her Sweet Potato Queens/friends.
That's a whole 'nother story, and Bonnie was looking pretty good in those glasses, don'tcha think?!!!
Here's Bonnie's story of the BOB, to go along with the photos above.
My big adventure for the summer of ’14 was my nine days in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana with my mule Iris.
I learned about an artist-in-residence program, sponsored by the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation last winter when my friends, the Padelfords, who volunteer for this outfit in the summers, told me about it. So I got my act together and applied, like the idiot I am and behold!
I GOT a position for this July. Well, I was kinda jazzed over it, as I think it is, first of all, an honor to be chosen and, second of all, it was ten days in an old CCC cabin in the Wilderness on the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
What was required of me was three or more gallery-quality art pieces for a fund-raiser show for the Foundation the following July.
I had my choice of several cabins, and I chose “Shaw” Cabin on the Owl Creek Trail about 14 miles into the Wilderness. It was on a spot on Shaw Creek where two trails meet, and it came with a corral, running water and an outhouse.
Whooo-eeee! For someone who has usually had to sleep in a tent on the ground and move camp all the time, it sounded like the High-Country Hilton to me.
I was “allowed” one companion. Usually, folks pick a dog or a boy-friend or someone who can do all the work, but I didn’t have anyone like that handy, so I picked my mule.
OH MY! The govt. types nearly had a cow over that one.
“It’s never been done.” So, they had to get their pencils out and come up with a bunch of rules for the mule. I kid you not.
Luckily, we do all that stuff whenever we take our critturs across state lines out here, so it wasn’t a big thing, and Iris was ready to comply.
The pass we were to ride over was not free of snow until July 2, so they kinda kept me hanging for a week until they were shure we could do that trail. Then, there was a mix-up over if any hay had been delivered (by pack mule) to the site for Iris, but it kinda worked itself out between my packer friends, and the word was “Go.”
It’s a five-hour trip by trailer (from Sandpoint) to the trail head, and my great friends, Bob and Sue Padelford, had volunteered to pack me in (and out, I hoped). We traveled together and got to the trailhead on a Sunday night, July 20.
That night it rained like a son-of-agun, and all was soggy and grey that next morning when we were supposed to load up and go. We put it off for an hour or two and finally said, “Let’s do it,” and we packed up and rode out about 11 a.m.
They each rode their horses but packed three of their experienced mules. Tigger carried my two panniers and top pack.
It is a very rocky and hard trail for the most of the up-hill to the pass and then a hard drop down for maybe two miles until things kinda leveled out a bit. Iris was in the lead most of the way----until she came to a back-packer. Then, it was boogertime and pull in behind Cookie, the pack mule, for safety. She DID get better as the trail wore on.
We got to Shaw Cabin about 5 that afternoon, and that ground shure felt good.
To make this short, Iris and I survived just fine on our own, and we thoroughly enjoyed all the pack strings and fishermen and Boy Scouts and hikers that came by our camp. Met some awesome folks, experienced many mice in the cabin and deer by the door but no BEARS.
It coulda happened as the hillside behind the corral was thick with huckleberries, and you know bears and berries. That was a big reason I high-lined Iris by the cabin every night. She was my “early-warning system,” and I was her protector.
Worked out just fine.
I tried sketching on the spot for two days, but I had to finally give that up because as soon as you got quiet, the flies and mosquitoes and “no-see-ems” swooped in and ATE you. So, I did some fast ones and took lots of photos and saw things worked out in my head.
I will spend lots of time this winter doing the art work---and the cartoons---about my Cabin in the Wilderness experience.
Oh, by the way, riding OUT on that trail, Iris ignored the back-packers. She was ready to go home!
Now, I’m covered in company and working on a fund-raiser for our county fair next week and doing an article for Range Magazine on a family up here in North Idaho. Those sweet and lazy days at Shaw Cabin look mighty good right now. This might be a lot harder to survive than the “Bob.”
Wish me luck.
Hugs and Grins,