I started exploring Montana just before Labor Day weekend and soon found a serene and picturesque lake in the Flathead National Forest, Holland Lake. I appreciated how, unlike so many other lakes, this lake did not have wealthy lake houses all along its shoreline. It was a completely natural setting, apart from a humble lodge and marina. Due to the holiday weekend, there were many campers along the lake’s trails, and many paddleboarders, canoers, kayakers, all in light and merry spirits enjoying the perfect weather. For just a high northern lake, the water was quite comfortable, water you could play in all day without a shiver. I spent the weekend fishing, paddleboarding, and playing flute in the woods. I’ve become quite addicted to the trout fishing out west actually, especially here in Montana where big trout of all varieties can be found in abundance in nearly any stream. After a few days at lake Holland, I spent several more fishing the Blackfeet and Clark Fork rivers, both with flys and spinners, and I’ve enjoyed quite a few good meals on the freshest trout: rainbows, cutthroats, and brookies. Since I was so close to Glacier National Park, despite warnings I had heard about crowds, I also took the opportunity to visit the park and drive the famous “Going To The Sun Road”. I have to say, though the park was indeed breathtakingly beautiful, I’ve fallen a bit out of love with our National Parks. Too many roads, regulations, and tourists. At both Yellowstone and Glacier, you’re not allowed to take your dog on any trails, nor does a statewide fishing permit allow you to fish the parks. You have to buy a separate park license. All I really wanted to do at the parks was find a nice scenic pulloff to play my flute and drum, but every pulloff were jampacked with cars and a frenzy of people, and the roads were contstantly roaring with traffic. If you travel with a dog, it’s nearly impossible to find solitude in these parks. I camped nearly every night of this journey in national forests which I FAR prefer: way less people, roads, and regulations, only a thin network of dirt forest roads and the wide open wilderness without rangers constantly watching you. The forests have just as much scenic beauty and wildlife as the national parks, only less accomodations, people, and paved access roads, which makes them significantly better. The only drawback of the forests, especially here in Montana, is heavy logging. They “thin” the forests, saying it’s good for a whole list of bullshit reasons. In reality, logging interests just want a homogenized crop of profitable timber they can harvest in regularity. Whatever “good” the thinning does for the trees, it’s absolutely devastating to the wildlife and natural ecosystems of those areas. Some areas of the forests feel sad and desolate, more like graveyards than a vital and thriving ecosystem. Make no mistake, the US Forest Service does not serve to protect our forests, but to pimp them out to the highest bidder.
I’m currently at Sandpoint in Northern Idaho. It’s a very charming town that seems chock full of pretty women, however, I’m not really interested in towns, or even women so much on this journey, at least as much as I can help it, but my biological makeup has priorities of its own. So I’m just doing a load of laundry then heading back over to Montana’s most northwestern and least visited national forest, the Kootenai NF, home to wolves, grizzlys, and cougars. Being so northern and sparsely populated, this is probably my chance on this journey so far to encounter and view wolves, which is a prime goal of mine. Maybe I could even glimpse the northern lights, another goal. I’m gonna spend at least a week up their wandering around hoping for such an encounter. As of last night, I had intended to go visit the beautiful coast of Oregon, an old friend in Grants Pass, and then continue on to the holy and sacred Mt. Shasta. The unprecedented amount of wildfires has derailed that plan. Even the friend I intended to visit is under evacuation. I can’t even imagine how much smoke their must be in the air. In two weeks I’ve signed up for a pistol course in Reno Nevada so I can get my Arizona concealed and carry permits which reciprocates with 36 states and allows out of state applicants. I’ve noticed that gun courses all over the nation are sold out and its very hard to get a slot in one. As many have heard, gun sales this year have skyrocketed due to tyranny and riot fears, but their all clamoring as well to get their conceal and carry permits. I got the last slot in Reno, and if I miss it, I probably won’t be able to get the permit until after the election, and by then it will be too late when civil unrests sweeps across the nation with more ferocity than these wildfires. But perhaps by then a permit won’t be needed anyhow in such a brutal and lawless climate. Anywho, over the next two weeks I’m gonna fish my way down through Montana and Wyoming. In southern Wyoming, at the Red Desert, or Great Basin, I’ve been told one find stones of natural tourqoise. I definitely wanna check that out. From their I’ll get across Utah as fast as possible. That mormon compound freaks me out and the cops are crooked as sin. Then I get to look forward to the very long haul across northern Nevada to the Reno/Tahoe area. I actually enjoy that drive a lot. I love barren emptiness. It’s why I’m out here. It’s what I seek.