Ennis, Montana and pink hair

My husband wants to move to Ennis, Montana. At least he tells me that once in awhile. Usually after a fishing trip where he went to Ennis, Montana. When he asks if I will move there I always ask if there is an ocean in Montana. I know there is not. We currently live three miles from the ocean in Southern California. I like it for a variety of reasons but my top two are the weather and how the ocean air REALLY helps my allergies. But I want to be open to possibilities and when he started mentioning I hadn’t even been there I would counter that I hadn’t been invited. And trust me, I don’t want to be invited on a fishing trip, but if he really wanted us to consider moving to Montana he should take me there. I think the words I used were “Try to woo me with Montana”.

And when the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival trip became a reality phase two of the trip was to Ennis, Montana.

T (the husband) kind of planned the trip and we brought bikes and his canoe. He booked a campsite he had stayed in before and we drove through a pretty epic summer storm to Ennis. We arrived later in the evening and everyone was hunkered down in the rain. The campground had nice showers and laundry.

The next morning was dry and clear and T started showing me the town he loved. We had breakfast at “The Pharmacy” where he ran into a guy he had fished with. Then we walked the main street looking in the different stores. When T would stop at a fly shop I would stay for a bit and then continue my exploration. From town we drove to look at the Madison River to see where we wanted to put the canoe in.

I learned a lot of things about fly fishing in Ennis during this trip. Things that T had mentioned before, but the visuals helped me understand. For example, there are “drift boats” and fly fishermen “drift the river”. This means that there are boats that have oars and an anchor that fishermen (we saw up to eight people on a different river but they were having a party and not fishing) float down a river and use the anchor to stop the boat when they see fish they want to “cast to”. The Madison River was filled with these boats and a lot of the times a fly fishing guide was taking out a paying customer.

Because you are drifting down river in a boat, you need to figure out how to get your car to where you take the boat out of the water. There are “car shuttle services” that you can call to do this. You get them a copy of your keys and tell them where and about when you are taking the boat out of the water and they drop off your car for you for a fee.

Our first full day in Ennis we scouted out where we wanted to “drift the river” in T’s canoe. Some locals had given us some suggestions and we drove some different routes to see if I could be the bike “shuttle service”. It turned out not as it was a pretty long bike ride and on the highway. But on our scouting adventure T kept saying it was so cool that he got to explore Ennis and see things he had never seen before. He explained that when he goes fishing with my uncle all they do is fish from sun up to sundown. There were a lot of things he had never seen before. Like the backside of the lake. Or Bear Trap Canyon where he ended up fishing on our trip. And places he had never eaten before like at McAllister for dinner (we ate in the bar) or the Gravel Bar. Places I might add that were really good! So even though T had been to Ennis, Montana numerous times, it was kind of an adventure for him too as he got to explore a different side of the town he already loved.

The next morning we were up early and took his canoe down to the Madison River. We used the canoe on our Lake Powell trip and T passed on his canoe knowledge in preparation for the trip down the river. A lot of it was about how to get back in a canoe if it tipped over. Actually almost all of this information was about that and I really thought we were going to be on a river where the canoe had a strong likelihood of tipping and I was going to be in deep water and use all these techniques to flip the canoe back over. He also kept calling the Madison River the “40 mile Ripple”. And when you looked at the river you could see how it had these really tiny rapids in it. That was the “ripple”.

Between all the talk of the canoe tipping and the “40 Mile Ripple” I was pretty paranoid about the canoe trip. So much so that even though I am a really strong swimmer, I always had my life vest on. Even when I realized how shallow the Madison River was. As in hardly past my ankles in some places. And other places so shallow that T got out of the canoe to move us. Or the time both of us had to get out of the canoe and walk it down the middle of the river.

So…. A lot of things were lost in translation when T was talking about the river and tipping canoes and the “40 Mile Ripple”. But the drifting part was fun and T got to fish so that was nice for him. I even got to take a nap in the canoe at one point during his fishing and brought a book for the other stops.

Ennis was pretty cool but by the time we had been there a day I was starting to have some allergy issues. Itchy eyes and sneezing had started in Wyoming at the Bluegrass festival and got much worse in Ennis. It was a bummer and made me miss the ocean air of California.

Another thing I noticed in Ennis was that T said he was from Washington (state) and that I was from California. I had noticed he said that when we were at the Bluegrass Festival but I really noticed it in Montana. It was more like “he was from Washington but we lived in California. And that I was a native Californian”. Almost (almost) like it was a bad thing. When I noticed this I said something to him and he apologized. I told him it was weird and that I felt like I needed to defend California. That I loved the state and would defend it. He stopped after we talked but I wonder if I was hyper sensitive about it because I had pink hair at the time and felt like I was that “weird girl from California”.

Yes. Pink hair. Actually a pink streak in my hair.

My hair guy had suggested it and it was this fun (temporary) thing I did before our trip. But I didn’t realize that having pink hair said a lot about me that I never intended it to. Before our trip people at work had made comments that made me realize I was making all sorts of statements I didn’t realize I was making. Like pink hair for feminism, for breast cancer survival, or for punk rock. Not anything I was going for. And when we were on our trip and T would make the comment about me being a “native Californian” I got self-conscious about my pink hair and what that was saying about me. In California I saw lots of people with pink hair, but not so much on our trip. So I wonder if I was extra sensitive to the comments T made about this topic or extra sensitive about pink hair. It might of been the hair even though you can’t see it very well in any of our photos.

Ennis, Montana.

Nice town. Short summer. Long, cold winter. A place I will never call home. Thanks for your hospitality and a chance to get to know you. You have captured a piece of my husbands heart and he shared your charms with me for a couple of days.

Unfortunately our next stop in Tetonia, Idaho eclipsed (literally) my time in Ennis… =)


Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival

How did I find myself at a Bluegrass Festival in Wyoming this summer? The short answer is T asked me to go. His long answer is that he heard a bluegrass band he liked on the radio and looked up to see the places they were playing. They weren't playing in California but they were playing in Wyoming, and T likes Wyoming. So he looked up the concert and it was at the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival. I light bulb went off and he remembered a friend from Idaho (he likes Idaho too) telling him about the Grand Targhee Bluegrass festival and he felt like all of this was a sign and asked me to go.

And that is how I found myself at the 30th Annual Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival this summer. There wasn’t a lot of information online about it but we learned you could camp there and we bought the airstream. We made a bigger trip out of it and the Bluegrass Festival was the first third of the trip. After that we went to Ennis Montana and then Tetonia and Driggs Idaho to see the eclipse.

This was my first festival and I learned some things for next time. I was glad we had the airstream. We camped in a meadow with a ton of other people. We arrived the day before the festival started and found a place for the airstream. T leveled and secured it the best he could and then sat back and watched as other people found places to stay. It was entertaining and kind of amazing how many people eventually filled in the meadow. I don’t have a photo to do it justice, but here a few I have.

The band that T came to see, the band that got us to the Bluegrass Festival in the first place was Mandolin Orange and they were the first band to perform. They went on at 3pm but the gates opened at 1pm and earlier that day we heard people were lining up. We lined up about 11:30 and after going through bag checks we waited with about a hundred other people to get our seats. T and I had decided being by the sound booth was a good idea and I was surprised when the people took off running to get their spots. They had tarps that they staked down. We had just brought chairs and were a little caught off guard. But we ended up getting pretty good seats and I went back to the airstream and grabbed a big tablecloth that we ended up using as our “tarp”.

A lot of people tarped their spots and left but we stayed and started the Bluegrass Festival with Mandolin Orange.

They were AMAZING.

I didn’t mention this yet but T has been playing Bluegrass non-stop. Over and over and over. Six hour drive to Mammoth - bluegrass. Ten minute drive - bluegrass. So much bluegrass. I was kind of getting over it. And his favorite bluegrass group was Mandolin Orange so I had heard them over and over and over again. So when they were about to play and he asked me if I wanted to go down to the stage with him I said no. But then they started playing and they were awesome and I thought it would be cool to be at the stage with T. And that was how the rest of the festival went.

There were seventeen bands over three days and all of them were amazing. We went to the stage for some of them or hung out in our chairs. During the evening everyone would get up and dance. And the shows would go late. So late one night that I was sleeping in my chair and T woke me up to walk back.

All of the people were nice and the people who were sitting in front of us had been going to the festival for twenty years. They kind of adopted us and were fun to be with. They were staying in the condos and it was cool to see the inside of those.

We brought some food with us each day but also bought some food from the vendors. No outside alcohol is allowed in, but they will sell it to you inside. I wasn’t thinking when I packed and didn’t realize Grand Targhee is a mountain resort which means there was some COLD nights. Layers are the name of the game for these kinds of events. I was really glad to have my beanie and wool socks! It did rain a little during a few shows and that was something else I wasn’t ready for. But it was just short showers during the day.

On the last day of the festival we got up early and hiked to the top of the ski hill to look at the backside of the Grand Tetons. It was cold hiking that day and really cold at the top of the mountain. The good thing was that we took the ski lift down so we only had to hike up!

The festival was supposed to end around 5pm on Sunday but multiple bands had problems getting to the venue that day. It was amazing to see the bands play extra long sets and even a local band that wasn’t scheduled on Sunday played again to keep the festival going. Good vibes kind of things. But all the bands eventually made it and the festival wrapped up about 8pm. It was an amazing festival and we will go back.

That night it poured rain and I was once again thankful for the airstream. In the morning we had breakfast at the resort and got on our way a little before lunch. We stopped in Driggs, Idaho and then start our trip to Ennis, Montana through a pretty big storm. T keeps telling me he wants to move to Ennis and I keep asking if there was an ocean there. Our next stop was Ennis, Montana and I will report on that soon. Spoiler alert, I am not moving there….


A week at Harvard

The day after I returned from Hiking and Biking South Lake Tahoe I was on a red eye flight to Boston.  A friend picked me up at 6am and we went to free yoga in the park and then had an amazing breakfast at The Beehive before she dropped me off for a week at Harvard.

Yep.  Harvard.

THE Harvard.

In a strange twist of events or maybe in the way that people make their own fate, I found myself accepted to a Library Leadership Academy at Harvard after being awarded a scholarship from a state organization in California.   I recently accepted a new position (remember my How to Resign from a Job post?) and have found myself in more of a leadership position and was looking for a little guidance to be more effective in my job.  

I ended up getting some great tools at the Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians at Harvard.  And because what happens at Harvard stays at Harvard (just like Vegas until Instagram came around) I don’t have a lot of stories to share about the details of the program except to say that it was one of the best programs I have ever attended and my fellow attendees were a big reason for that.  If you have an opportunity to attend a program through the Graduate School of Education at Harvard, I highly recommend it.

I had a good time during my trip and here are a few photos.

Sunrise landing in Boston.

Waiting for free yoga in the park.

Bloody Mary at The Beehive.

My “home away” studio that I loved.  Murphy Beds rule!

Walking to “school”.

Harvard tour. Ironically the tour guide was a Harvard student who was from a town close by.

Late night entrance to the apartment building.

The Library featured in the movie “With Honors”.  We went on a tour.

The “dead-center” of town.  Literally and figuratively.

I walked through this door everyday.  I loved that the door was bright yellow and the stairs were green.

I got some Harvard swag!

We had a “clam bake” which was really a lobster fest! (photo by Katie).

Taking public transportation to the airport.  A five year old sat next to me (with his dad) and talked to me the whole way. I tried to look intimidating but he saw through it.

Boston Cream Pie at the airport.  Is this a real Boston cream pie?

I was happy to be within walking distance of everything I needed during this trip because the roads were really confusing in Boston.  At least to me and my friend that lives there!  The people in Cambridge (where Harvard is) were less friendly than I usually run into when I travel.  Maybe it was because it was a transition time in the college town, but when I run in the morning in most places I find people are friendly and respond to greetings from me.  Cambridge was different and I noticed it.  

I love to eat and I tried a lot of restaurants in Cambridge.  The Beehive in Boston was amazing and then nothing stands out until I went to Mike’s Pastry for cannoli the night before I left.  If I could have brought cannoli home, I would have!

The weather was warm and humid but not overwhelming.  It rained a few times and it was kind of nice.  

Cambridge was an interesting town and Harvard is the oldest university in the United States.  It was cool to see all the history and as I mentioned above, the program I attended was outstanding!

So I got to attend Harvard…. check that off my list and onto my next summer adventure including a Bluegrass Festival and Eclipse 2017!


Hiking and biking South Lake Tahoe

Holy Moley my summer is busy! A week after my epic Lake Powell trip the Little Sister and I loaded our bikes in the car and drove to South Lake Tahoe to do some mountain biking and see our Uncle. When we showed up our Uncle was under the weather and not feeling up to mountain biking with us. That was fine, we decided to try a few trails without him.

And that is when we had a rude awakening.

Do you remember that I got a new bike about a year ago? It was a hybrid road bike that could handle “light” mountain biking. Well the first ride of our Lake Tahoe trip I realized how light that really meant. The Little Sister and I got up early and headed for the start of the Power Line Trail off Saddle Rd. I don’t think we even made it five minutes when we realized we were in over our heads. 

The Power Line Trail I have come to discover could be classified as an intermediate trail. Some of the websites we looked at said it could be a beginner trail, but there was A LOT of sand on the trail and our tires were slipping all over the place. And not just my tires. The Little Sister was having issues also. We were bummed, but knew we couldn’t mountain bike the trail. It was a rude awakening to realize that we needed real mountain bikes (not hybrid bikes) to ride the kind of trails we were hoping to ride in Lake Tahoe. Very quickly our mountain biking trip turned into a hiking trip. It was a bummer but we tried to get some biking and hiking in during the week we were there.

I forgot to mention that we started the trip with a short bike ride in Mammoth Lakes. We took the Lakes Basin bike path from Horseshoe Lake to town and then hitched a ride on the trolley (with our bikes) back to Horseshoe Lake and the car.

When we realized that we could not bike the Power Line Trail we decided to hike it instead. Our hike was a bit of a loop through Power Line Trail - Cold Creek Trail - Power Line Trail. Overall it was about seven miles of hiking and I was starving and sweaty afterwards!

The next day we left early to hike the Rubicon Trail in D.L. Bliss State Park. Our Uncle highly recommended it and it did not disappoint. Parking is limited so we got there early and were happy we did. The hike goes from D.L. Bliss State Park to Emerald Bay along Lake Tahoe with some amazing views. The hike is fairly level but it was pretty long for two girls who live at sea level and where now at a much higher elevation. We made it to “Boat Camp” at Emerald Bay before turning around and hiking back. This was a beautiful hike and I would do it again!

I feel like a made a few mistakes on this trip and one of them might of been not having hiking boots. My hiking boots fell apart during the Mammoth trip I did right after Memorial Day. Literally fell apart. The soles cracked on the Parker Lake hike and by the time I was in the grocery store that night they had come off completely. I had those hiking boots for years and loved them. I wasn’t in a hurry to find a new pair and for that reason I only brought converse tennis shoes (with arch supports) on the Tahoe trip. Probably not my best idea considering we were doing 7-8 mile hikes and I was wearing converse….

The following day my Uncle was feeling better and took us on a bike trail behind his house. It was a about 3.5 miles and I had to walk my bike twice, but it was fun and I was inspired (again) to get a real mountain bike! The rest of the day we laid low as the hiking had done a number on my feet. I had some quality hammock time!

Our final day in Tahoe we took advantage of the paved bike trails and biked from Myers to just past Baldwin Beach where the bike path joined the highway before Emerald Bay. Round trip it was about 22 miles. The trail was beautiful and my hybrid bike did great. 

This Lake Tahoe trip was a lot of fun. I realized I need a real mountain bike if I want to bike in the mountains (which I think I do) and that I need some new hiking boots. Lake Tahoe is about a ten hour drive from my house and I wish it was closer. I am trying to see if some more biking / hiking trips can be in my future!