Summer in the American West







Got a Dream Boy?


            Got a Song?








And Come Along…



Polson, Montana

July 25-28, 2019


Flathead Lake at Polson. (Web capture)

Flathead Lake in Montana, is the largest natural fresh water lake west of the Mississippi in the lower forty-eight. It has about 185 miles of shore-line.


It is named for the Salish (Flathead) Indians, whose Tribal Land is at the south end of the lake.




The glacial damming of the Flathead River formed Flathead Lake. The Kerr Dam near Polson, provides power and irrigation to the area.

Today The Kerr Dam provides electricity to approximately 125,000 homes, and is a major source of revenue to the Salish and Kootenai tribes, as it resides on Tribal property.

Kerr Dam Photo curtesy: G.L. McDonald






The Happy Hippo is a military grade amphibious vehicle from the Vietnam era. Captain Bob proudly motors his guests about, to show off some of the highlights of the town he loves…

Dad and Mom: After performing a rendision of “The Chicken Dance” out on the water.


And then; he drives right out onto the lake for a very fun water adventure!





When the notion strikes Captain Bob-


VIP’s are treated to his first love… music!

Since Flathead Lake lacks the nutrients necessary to promote algae growth, this body of water has become world famous for its clarity.


Its maximum depth is about 371 feet.




McDonald Lake


This beautiful oasis is:

McDonald Lake.

It is located in the Mission Mountains. And is also on Tribal Land.


Gary and Mary McDonald


Gary and Kim McDonald





A perfect place to celebrate our namesake.




A short ride from Polson brought our party to the St. Ignatius Mission.








St. Ignatius is located in western Montana about forty miles north of Missoula. It is nicely nestled among the mountains and hills of the Mission Valley.





The St. Ignatius Mission and the town that grew up around it was founded in 1854. It is named for St. Ignatius of Loyola, the co-founder of The Society of Jesus. (The Jesuits)


But the story of this mission in Montana begins long before 1854. It begins with a faithful French Canadian Trapper/Trader. His name, Old Ignace La Mouse.



La Mouse grew up near Montreal Canada, among the Iroquois Confederacy of Tribes. Many of these Indian fur trappers came to faith through the earlier work of Canadian missionaries.


Ignace La Mouse likely became a Christian through the influence of these Iroquois Catholics.


The fur-trading expeditions of Old Ignace eventually led him and twenty-three Canadian Iroquois to settle in Montana.


Ignace and his band of trappers were welcomed by these Montana Indians, and began to marry into the Flathead tribe. These Catholic Iroquois became witnesses of Jesus Christ to the Flathead Indians.



Thanks to the ministry of Old Ignace, the Flatheads learned the Sign of the Cross-, several Christian prayers and to keep the Lord’s Day Holy.


The Last Super depicted at St. Ignatius



As time passed, The Flatheads and the Iroquois both desired to learn more about Jesus Christ.


Jesus depicted for these Montana Indians


In the spring of 1831, a delegation of four Flathead Indians set off for St. Louis in an attempt to secure some missionaries for their people. They arrived in October 1831, but the language barrier and the eventual death of all four men made this attempt unsuccessful.


In 1835, Ignace and two of his sons journeyed to St. Louis to again secure some priests for their people. But the Jesuits in St. Louis were poor, struggling and few in numbers.

In 1837, Old Ignace accompanied by a Nez Perce Chief and three Flatheads set out once again for St. Louis.

But they were attacked and killed by a renegade band of Sioux on the North Platte River near Fort Laramie in Nebraska.

Mother Mary and Our Lord Jesus depicted for these Montana Indians

It was not until a fourth journey was made in 1839, that their task to bring a teacher West to their people, was successful. This two-man delegation met with Jesuit Father Peter DeSmet at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Father DeSmet began his work among the Flatheads in 1840.

St Mary’s, the first Jesuit mission in Montana, was established in 1841 on the Bitter Root River, in the present town of Stevensville.


Under construction due to earth quake reinforcement


In the spring of 1845, the first Mission of St. Ignatius was established on the Washington-Idaho border, before being moved to its present site in 1854.




Just over the hills to the west…




Oh give me a home…


The most photographed barn in Montana




Where the Buffalo roam.









Did you say Buffalo? 


Well now, where is Buffalo Bill Cody when you need him? He would know, don’t you think?

Web Capture

Turns out, these gigantic critters are properly called Bison.





As the story goes, the first explorers to the American West gave them the name Buffalo because these Bison looked similar to the Water Buffalo. Animals the frontiersmen were familiar with.

Asian Water Buffalo (Web Capture)


So for clarity, just to add to the confusion…bison is a Greek word meaning Ox-Like animal.


The term Buffalo originated with French fur trappers who called these mammals Boeufs, also meaning Ox… Go figure.


But I think it is fair to say that even Buffalo Bill would agree that the Asian Water Buffalo and the American Bison are different.

It is believed that the American Bison crossed over a land bridge that once connected the Asian and North American Continents. Estimates of up to 75 Million Bison once roamed in North America.


“The moving multitude…darkened the whole plains”, Lewis and Clark wrote when they encountered a herd at White River, South Dakota in 1806.






Where the Deer…







And the Antelope play all across our American west…


The Wilson River

August 2019

Not far from our place on Cooper Mountain is the Wilson River. The Wilson navigates through the Coast Range until it finds its way to the Tillamook Bay.


Well, we hitched up the team…



Two cows fighting over a calf.

…and drove as far as we could go.




And then we had to walk.































Finally. Here we are at Keenig Creek.






I mean…






Here we are at…


Keening Creek






All right fellers…


now, which one is it?






If it weren’t such a nice place to be, I was just about ready to call the whole thing off!


Home sweet home for the next couple of nights.




Now our first day and night was very pleasant indeed. We enjoyed our very peaceful surroundings.


















But sometimes, as every trailblazer knows, the night sky can make things look and sound, just a little different.



The rocks along-side the trail can seem to change.




In the dark, even  the smallest pebble can make you slip.



When all the animals get still and quiet; You just know that something’s a-foot.







And so it was, we were a-wakened from our field of dreams, to an un-welcomed atmospheric disturbance.

But the force was with us!







And at first light we were on the road to Tillamook…












Ice cream is a good way to end any day!





September, 2019


Where am I goin’?



I don’t know…




When will I get there?




I ain’t certain…





All I know is, I am on my way…



The Tygh Valley

In the mid 1840’s pioneers in route to the Willamette Valley followed a wagon road that crossed over the Tygh Valley Ridge.



After a steep and rocky traverse down hill, they landed across from what is today the Wasco County Fair Grounds in the Tygh Valley.




The early Pioneers traded with the Tygh Indians.



It was here in Tygh Valley; travelers rendezvoused to decide whether to continue north to The Dallas and raft down the mighty Columbia River…

The Tygh Valley


or to journey over the shoulder of Mount Hood on the Barlow Road.     

Mt. Hood




The Destination:

The Willamette Valley!

Native Fishermen



This area of the Deschutes has been a River crossing and fishing location for a long time.


Sherar’s Bridge


Peter Skene Ogden made note of the bride, and the Indians camped here in his journal when he crossed in 1826.




Pioneers who chose the Meek Cut off to the Barlow Road, passed here on their way to The Dallas.


Game Trail?


Game Trail? I don’t think so.

Animals make ir-egular cuts in nature.

Paths carved by human resilience; are more uniform. Next time you are out and about-

Take a pause, and have a look.

The Deschutes River

The Tygh Valley is considered by some to be the beginning of the Barlow Road- because many wagon trains crossed the Deschutes River at Sherar’s Bridge, proceeded west and bypassed The Dallas.



The National Park Service considers the First tollgate at Gate Creek on the White River, as the beginning of the Barlow Road.



After refreshments, we were on our way…





To Bend or Bust!





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