Friday, June 22

Chief Plenty Coups

Chief Plenty Coups was a Crow Indian Chief that lived in the late 1800s as the white men were spreading westward across the US. He was, in his early years a great Crow warrior, and later in life, a leader of peace. One of his trips to Washington D.C. he visited Mt. Vernon (George Washington's homestead) and came back to Montana with the inspiration to leave his homestead to the state, as a place where all people could come and fellowship. Today his homestead is one of Montana's State Parks.

One of our youth crews spent the day resodding the Chief's store, and de-skunking the Chief's house. Earlier this year, the park staff trapped six skunks that were living under the Chief's porch. Our job was to dig a trench around the porch, attach wire mesh to the porch and backfill the trench with dirt to keep animals from finding refuge under the house.
Sod Cutters

On top of the Chief's storehouse

Saturday, June 16

Wiley and LuLu

The newest additions to 3385 Granger Ave. S. #5
Wiley and LuLu
Mischevious, Energetic, Adorable, and Plum Tuckered Out

Calli Gets an Unusual Taste of Montana

Calli visits Montana. Not a normal touristy type of visit. As soon as she got here we went to work. Off to visit one of my youth crews in Makoshika State Park, Montana's largest state park. The crew was spending the week working on a folf (disc golf) course. Needless to say, Calli's introduction to the Big Sky state may have been quite different than most.
Night number one in the park, we slept on picnic tables under an awning in case it rained. Rain, it did not, but the mosquitoes snacked all night on our exposed flesh. Night number two was quite perfect. We pitched a tent on top of a bluff, underneath a rainbow. The morning brought streams of sunlight parting the clouds to shine on the valley below.
Calli was a good sport. She hiked, she worked, she did not bathe, she was bitten by bugs, and she brought laughter and fun with her to our crew. Thanks for visiting Montana, Calli! I already miss you.

A Trip to Montana's Badlands

Wednesday through Friday I traveled to Makoshika State Park to check up on one of my youth crews. They were dutifully working on a series of steps and platforms on the side of a washed out hill. Makoshika has an 18 hole folf (disc golf) course that was in need of a few bridges and a staircase to allow the folfers easier access to the holes. All of us learned some basic construction skills during the project week, and by the end product the park managers were quite impressed and grateful for our work.

Tuesday, June 12

Billings Youth Crews: The Season Begins

Jon and Brandi's crew spent three days last week in Cody, WY working with the Humane Society of the United States and with Bureau of Land Management on a Wild Horse Range. The crew cleaned up some dump sites, old ranch sites, and placed and GPS located bluebird boxes on the land. It was cold, rainy, and super windy, but the kids loved being in the open range.

Noah and Alison's crew stayed in town last week getting to know each other, performing team initiatives, and doing day projects with local non-profits. In this picture they are performing a team-building activity called the "helium stick".

This week, Jon and Brandi's crew are working at a local state park (Lake Elmo) taking out barbed wire fencing, and resurfacing some trails. Noah and Alison took their crew to Makoshika state park in Glendive, MT to construct an 18 hole disc golf course. I am leaving tomorrow to visit the crew in Makoshika for three days.

Back into the Beartooth Mountains

Froze to Death Plateau (10,000 ft) - Yes, that is me wearing the cowboy hat!

Steep Canyon Wall - on our way up to Froze to Death Plateau

Lake in the Beartooths - elevation 8,500 ft

This was my second big hike in the Beartooths. I experienced altitude sickness again. Splitting headache and nausea. I didn't feel like I wasn't getting enough oxygen, but my body was definitely depleted. Froze to Death Plateau is just 2,000 ft below Montana's highest peak - Granite Peak. This summer I hope to climb Granite once most of the snowfields melt. Hopefully my body will be accustomed to the altitude by then.

Friday, June 1

Recreating in Montana

Mystic Lake - Deepest lake in the Beartooths

Big Horn Sheep - Yellowstone National Park

Green Thermophiles living in hot, acidic spring water - Yellowstone

Dragon's Mouth - Rolling, steaming, hot ground water, smells like rotten eggs

Another Youth Project

The Youth Crew Leaders from Bozeman and Billings met in Livingston, MT to work with some local high schoolers in rejuvenating a park that was in serious disrepair. We spent two days with the youth, played games, painted, sanded, raked, planted trees and grass, and repaired tables and benches. The finished product was amazing.