Sunday, March 29, 2009

Greetings From Big Sky Country!

I find my human is using a lot of swear words as we discover the beauty of it all.

Anyway, we had a little trouble getting out of Boise the other day. While the human and Seamus were packing up to leave after a very pleasant stay at a friend’s Idaho estate, I managed to wander off just before departure. I must have been missing for about 45 minutes before I was finally found. I could hear them calling my name but I had no way to get to them. See, I had wandered into a stranger’s garage when suddenly the door went down. I was stuck, no way out. I don’t even know why I wandered in there. I think I thought I smelled some food, but when I got in there I realized it was just cat food high up on a shelf I couldn’t reach. The human and Seamus seemed to get more desperate in their calls. I decided to yelp to help them out, but with each yelp they seemed to get further away. Just when I began to wonder if they would leave me behind – would they? – a stranger opened a door and spotted me there. She pushed a button on the wall and magically the big door I entered through opened. I was free! I ran out and back toward our van to find the human wearing a dual expression of relief and rage. I promised this would be the last time I wandered off, knowing full-well it was a promise I couldn’t keep.

Anyhow, no small potatoes, we made it through Idaho and into Jackson, Wyoming by sunset. The human and Seamus sweet-talked our way into a Motel 6 that supposedly had no vacancy. I am very impressed by those two and how they gain trust and make friends with people so quickly. I think they would make great dogs. They kind of remind me of puppies what with how strangers think they are cute and want to take them right in. This Motel 6 thing was looking bleak but a couple of flirty minutes later and we had ourselves a room.

We made our way down to the famous "Cowboy Bar" where we met all sorts of interesting people. Seamus befriended an older cowboy with a worn out hat and glasses as thick as the bottom of the beer mugs I could see above. The guy was drunk as a skunk and had a herd of cowgirls around listening to his stories. From my vantage point at the foot of the stool, it seemed Seamus had found his hero.

Before the night was over the human had met the famous nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen and planned a rendezvous with him at his place first thing in the morning. His place just so happened to be one of two houses at the base of the Grand Tetons. When we arrived I heard the human let out another swear word. Mr. Mangelson wanted to give the human "his shot". “His shot” was a picture that he hadn't taken yet but knew he would one day. "His shot" was a picture of his dog diving into his backward lake with the Grand Tetons as the backdrop. I gotta say I was going bonkers watching Mr. Mangelson’s water-loving dog go flying into that lake time and again chasing after the tennis ball they repeatedly whacked out there with a tennis racket for extra distance. I couldn’t stand it! Problem is, I don’t know how to swim. So I had to stand there at the edge of the lake pretty much going freaking mental.

The human got the shot. Mr. Mangelson’s dog got the ball. And all I got was freaking case of the anxieties. If there is one thing I can’t stand in this life it’s another dog having the ball that I want. The human thought he was doing me a favor by letting me out of the van, but next time I hope he thinks it through a little more and overcomes whatever guilt he feels by leaving me behind.

After chatting with Mr. Mangelson for awhile at the base of the Tetons we said goodbye to our new friend and headed out for Montana. Helena would be our destination. We bypassed Yellowstone due to construction and took the I-15 north. We passed through the most beautiful storm right as we were crossing the Montana border. We pulled over to take a snapshot of the "Welcome to Montana" sign and just as the human was ready to step out of the car a flash of lighting struck and a crack of thunder followed like a gunshot going off in our ears. Now I ain't afraid of much, but that thunder crack made me shake like a tea leaf in a hurricane. I kinda wished I was still stuck in that garage in Boise!

So we rolled into Helena at about midnight. We could have made it earlier but we had to pull over and take so many dang pictures. The sky is so huge here. Today we will travel to Ft. Benton, MT to learn more about the history of Old Shep. Old Shep is a dog who used to walk his master to the train every day. His master would take the train to work and when he returned Old Shep would be there waiting. Well, one day the Master didn't return. He died instead. Old Shep waited at the station for him for the next five years. He checked every train that came in until one day when he slipped on some ice and got run over. Now there is a monument in his honor. Noble dog, that Old Shep.

P.S. Did you know that the Grand Tetons were discovered by the French and named in honor of their women that they left back home. As the story goes, they were very horny and missed them much. Hence, Grand Tetons. I'll let you translate. I’m a dog, after all.

Here I am above the giant Hole that is Jackson, moments before descending on our fate.

Fate would be meeting the famed photographer Thomas Mangelson on the stool next to us at the famous Cowboy Bar. The following morning is when we found ourselves on his beautiful grounds at the base of the Tetons. Above is Mr. Mangelson's dog Loup. The human snapped this shot from my POV. You can see why I was having fits inside. Damn water dogs.

Here's Loup posing for the human with the Tetons in the background. Not a bad environment to mark in the mornings. Loup was born into the good life, for sure.

There I am down there, mere minutes after the loudest thundercrack ever known to man or beast. You can kind of see the residue of the terror that remains on my mug. Anyway, the storm passed and we had to get out of the car for another photo-op - this time the Continental Divide.

Little history lesson for you two legged creatures out there: A continental divide is a line of terrain, mountainous usually, which forms a border between two watersheds such that water falling on one side of the line eventually travels to one ocean or body of water, and water on the other side travels to another, generally on the opposite side of the continent. There are a few divides in America, I hear, but this one seems to be the granddaddy of them all. Hence it's name, the Great Divide! The Great Divide runs all the way from Alaska to the tip of South America! Don't take me on that walk!

Ah, the big sky of Montana. Roll down my window and step on it, human.

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