A ghost town, sapphires, and drumming

After a leisurely early morning enjoying coffee and steel cut oats with hand-picked huckleberries (thank you Marcia) and visiting with Hank a bit, the two of us set off for the next adventure.  We took her jeep this time, and after stopping to get water at the local spring, we headed up narrow unpaved road to see the remains of a once thriving mining town high up on the mountain.

The weather was beautiful and unseasonably warm, and being up that high on the mountain and looking at the crumbling mine buildings, I imagined the work that went on there and the hardships faced. Some of the stone and brick buildings remain standing, a tribute to the amazing courage and skill of the pioneers of our nation.

We went to Phillipsburg for lunch, and had a delicious lunch at Sunshine Station.
241d2-20150608_152000-animationThen we went to Gem Mountain and spent an interesting couple of hours digging through a bucket of dirt looking for sapphires, and found quite a few.sapphires I decided to spend a little money to have the best ones heat treated. I can expect to get them in 3 to 6 months.
 In the evening we went to the drumming circle. Marcia has connected with an amazing group of women. She had tried to convey to me what this is about, but there is nothing like the experience. We went outside the town to Barbara’s house, where she and her husband live in a beautiful house “off the grid” – sustained with solar and wind power, and delicious well water. Their two friendly dogs greeted us and their horses grazed nearby.
I was warmly welcomed by Barbara, who makes drums and has a connection to the earth and to the animals whose skins are used. She told me to choose a drum and I was immediately drawn to one which was made from buffalo skin. She has a brochure which told me that:
The buffalo, Tatanka, is a symbol of abundeance and manifestation. The massive head implies a need to combine our efforts with the divine Creator, and is a symbol of the heavens and the divine. The messge of the buffalo is that both the mundane and the spiritual are necessary for manifesting what we are seeking. Tantaka usually follow the easiest path. When we joint the right action with the right prayers, the path opens and flows easily. The buffalo energy may indicate opportunities to manifest or for you to manifest abundance in some area of your life. Buffalo energy implies that the law of synchronicity is operating in your universe. 
 We did four rounds of drumming, and during the last one I felt very connected to the other people in the room and to the earth. I heard, very faintly, Native American chanting in the distance. It was an energizing spiritual experience. Afterwards, we stayed around and talked for a while, and a lady named Marlene, obviously intuitive, told me that amazing things were happening in my life. This is an affirmation for me.
And she gave me a tourmaline stone, said “It wants to go with you.” She said it will dispel negative energy around me, that she had been wearing it in a medicine bag.
It was an amazing end to another wonder full day in Montana.

A detour, a good night’s rest, and the rest of Yellowstone

No matter what you read or hear or see in pictures or movies, nothing compares to actually being there. The mountains, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs – all amazing natural beauty. (Picture gallery after text below)
While we were at the Old Faithful visitors center, we found that the direct route to Moran, where our room was reserved, was closed for a bridge repair. The way we would have to go was to retrace part of our route and make a circular path back to the road we needed beyond the bridge. It would only take about an hour longer, we were informed, so, still cheerful, off we went. It was about 7 by then, and we expected at least two more hours of daylight.
It had started raining off and on by then, but the beauty of our surroundings kept our spirits up. We had a lot to talk about, sharing stories from our adult lives, lessons learned, spiritual experiences, just everything. I was very happy I wasn’t driving, and that we were in a four wheel drive truck, because when the sun went down and it was still raining, the winding roads with wisps of fog made visibility challenging. Marcia was up for it and got us to our destination at about 11 pm. It wasn’t until the next morning that she confessed that she was feeling very challenged!
Our room and our beds at the Hatchet Resort were perfect! I think I slept pretty well, and in the morning we ate at the restaurant there and I got a tall stack of huckleberry pancakes. They were so delicious! I have never had huckleberries before. Marcia says they grow wild and she picks them every summer.
The day was beautiful, and as we headed north we immediately could see the Grand Teton mountain range. What an imposing sight that was. We leisurely wound our way through the mountains and stopped frequently along the way to take pictures and enjoy the views. The pictures tell the story.
Wild Bison
Beautiful Elk
Grand Tetons
Yellowstone Lake
Wilderness beauty
Lewis Falls
Another view of the lake and mountains
Upper falls – Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Lower falls – Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Snow – upper elevation
Glacier Lilies
Volkswagon van camper
This is how to travel!
Mammoth Hot springs
Amazing natural sculpting
Mammoth hot springs
Mammoth hot springs terraces
Sunset Pintler Mountains through bug flecked windshield
We got back to Marcia’s as the sun was setting. It was a wonderful two days.