E Pluribus Mores

Archive for March, 2014|Monthly archive page

Big Sky Country

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2014 at 6:14 am

montanaThey say Montana is Big Sky country.  And they got that right.  Driving  the plains, it seemed at times we were Apollo’s chariot hauling the sun across the aether.  Vacation we called it.  The whole family was out visiting Karen’s grandfather, who was turning 90.   Beautiful, wild country.  Mountains so high, you can’t see the tops.  Karen’s grandfather had retired near Flathead Lake, south of Glacier National Park.  I recall it was the third day into our visit, and we decided to do some hiking.  And who could blame us?  It was Big Sky country, and we wanted to get a piece of it.  So we piled into two cars; there were eight of us.  Flathead Lake sits halfway up a peak, and on the map there wasn’t but one road leading up.  With the switchback roads and half-marked trails…well, we were soon pretty lost.  The lead car had pulled off of what passed for a road to examine a map (folks used maps back then to navigate), and we in the back car took some time to take in the sights.  Beautiful, wild country.

On either side of the road were towering fir trees, the kind you just don’t see in the Midwest.  That summer there had been fires, or maybe we were just into a cloud, but I remember it was hazy.  The road quickly disappeared to the front and back of us.  But everywhere around us you could hear the sounds of the forest.  We had sat there for some time–as I said, we were pretty lost–when I noticed a squirrel, carrying an object.  And I called out to the others, “Guys.  Look!  It’s a squirrel carrying its baby.”  And indeed, a miniature version of itself was cradled in its arms.  It was then one of the other passengers said, “The baby looks like it has blood on it.”  I found it incredible, the baby had clearly been in some danger, been attacked, and the mother squirrel was carrying it to safety.  “No, seriously, that thing is bleeding.”  “HOLY SHIT, the baby has no head!  IT’S EATING THE BABY’S HEAD!  IT’S EATING THE BABY’S HEAD!!!  Make it STOP!!  It’s a cannibalistic, baby-eating squirrel!  That eats heads. For the love of GOD, make it stop!  AAAHHHHHH!  AAAHHHHHH!  AAAHHHHH! No, Dude, I think that’s a chipmunk it’s carrying.  It’s eating a chipmunk.  That’s sick.  That is sick!”

Later Mark chased a baby grizzly bear trying to get its picture.  Great hike.