Apr 29, 2011

Follower Freebie - friendship bracelet by Pigtails (updated)

Christine, Cari and Brent signed up for Pigtails' friendship bracelet.  If anyone else wants a piece of this gnarly knitted noose, knotted with love, scratch a comment below.

She asked to sing and recap the hot new schoolyard wiener game, press play: (link)


Apr 26, 2011

The assault on Bomber Mountain - 13, no plane, no gain

Big Bertha post alert:  this mother will eat your bandwidth, spool the Internet turbos.

Windy clip atop Bomber, a smidgen under 13,000 feet.  Hope your Droid does video, roll it:

Our goals were to topple Bomber Mountain and to sniff out the elusive B17 WWII bomber plane.  Climbed the mountain, check.  But no aluminum in sight. “Darn, no plane,” said Fish with disappointment.  

I gave Fish and Sherpa a wink, “By golly, we came here to find the plane, I’m gonna find that stinkin’ plane.  I’ll skirt around the top perimeter of Bomber before spilling over the opposing face we climbed.”  

They scoffed and slipped on their angry eyes, trying to convince me a boulder bonk to the brain would wake me in heaven.  They were probably right.  They failed to scare me down the mountain the way we came up, a less steep and safer descent.  So we gave each a nod and grunt, I was off!  Note:  had the movie 127 Hours played before our mountain hike, I'd probably reconsider the solo airplane search.  How would I play my electric piccolo with only one arm?

 My hat didn’t blow off.

According to the topographic map, I needed to descend a quarter mile before heading west and skimming south atop the northwest rim of Bomber round the Golden Lakes. I worked efficiently, trotting at times.   

It was great, out there alone high up, Wyoming spraying shale in every direction for miles.  A tiny sparrow tweeted, the first bird I’d seen for days.  Appeared she was pumping her feathers double time to stay afloat in the thin air.

Sherpa camera'd the photo below after we parted and I headed along the northwestern rim looking for the crumpled B17 bomber.  Beefy boulders were tossed like piles of dice, they shrank me to insignificance.  Bring it on, Bomber!

I wheeled west towards Cloud Peak Mountain, a lifeless slab of granite that chews 13,200' of sky.  It could play stunt double for the rock on Prudential commercials.  Cloud was on our ascension hit list, a secondary target, but it wouldn’t play out this trip.  We'll climb it later on in 2011.

To the north of Cloud Peak is a sizable crystal green glacier containing enough mass that it's tinkled runoff for 3,000 years.

Kept an eye on the Ironman watch, wanted to land at the bottom of Bomber roughly the same time as my friends.  Three hours to climb, I estimated two hours to descend.  Kept an eagle lock on the landscape, squinting for a torch of sun off metal that would beacon me to the aircraft.  No luck.  There were several false peaks and no lookout points where I could see out more than a few hundred meters ahead or above.

After nomadding for 30 minutes and not finding the prize, adrenaline fizzled as nerves pulsed.

I didn't want to get lost.  

Two options:  

A) Keep following Bomber south until I came to a spot that angled less sharply.
B) Cut it short and take the angry express slide down to the Golden Lakes.  

I was concerned about getting lost or trapped on southern route, it’s disorienting up there. You can see for many dozens of miles, and while you may only see one or two lakes from the ground, you can see ten from above. Which one exactly was Florence? Was it that one or the other one over there? From the top, they looked close together, but I knew they were actually several miles apart. Descend at the wrong angle by a few degrees and you'll end up five miles from where you should be. 

Golden Lakes, triplets.  Looks close, but the lake in the middle is one mile away.
Option B, I'd take the short and steep route.  Locked onto three lakes that I recognized from the map, the Golden Lakes.  They are tiered, number one flows into two, two to three and three to Florence. Descend down to the lakes, follow them southwest and I’d in theory kiss Florence. 

I boarded the elevator down to the first Golden Lake.  Dropped 100 feet and estimated the pitch at 60 degrees.  It was nasty, especially with pebbled footing.  The small rocks washed out like polished marbles.  Perhaps I should pull back up and head south a ways before descending, the angle waters down in that direction. I tried to climb back up, but it was impossible.  The damage was done.  Gravity bullied up with low friction footing, making climbing out a no go. “Elevator goin' down, hold on tight,” I said, then went for it. 

the start of the rock coaster down to the Golden Lakes, don't slip...
Triggered two rock slides and decided it would be best to descend at an angle, crab style.  Move across the bowl rather than straight down. This way, if a large slide started, the boulders would fall to the side of me and not crack my cranium. 

It was terrifying.  

I loved every minute of it.  

My heard pumped and my face had a big goofy grin on it.

looking up from halfway down to Golden Lakes

I could see the first Golden Lake, It’s right there, just a little more to go, I kept telling myself. The closer I got, the farther away it appeared.  

No doubt,  one tumbling rock from above to the head, it would’ve been lights out. Mental note: next trip, pack a full-face motorcycle helmet. 

If something happened, hopefully the search crew would peel the Panasonic from my skeleton hands and enjoy the sweet digital slideshow.  

Bomber was doing her best to beat me.  The rocks shriveled as I came down, but were loose and knife-edge sharp, itchin’ to open up a leg. 

After 45 minutes of fighting through the slide, I made it to the first Golden Lake.  Relief!  Sat on my butt to respawn and looked up ahead. 

Discouraged, I wondered if Sherpa and Fish were already at the bottom at Lake Florence, grilling steaks and radioing in helicopters after me.  

At that moment, I noticed two figures approaching from 300 yards.  Is that…it couldn’t be…yes!  What in tarnation where they doing here?  They were supposed to be a half mile east taking the easy street to the bottom.  

Trotted up and asked, “If you guys are lost, and I’m lost, but we find each other, does that put me back on point?” They were too shot to respond.  Bomber had deceived them too, they got off track and were sucked into the same Golden bowl that I was.  Fish was breathing hard, “We heard two rock slides over there, that must’ve been you.” 

“Yep, that was me, surprised I didn’t see you ladies until now.”

Bomber had nearly done us in. 

pumping liquid glacier
We squatted for a few minutes at Golden Lakes while I tried some desperate humor to cheer them up a little.  Refueled on Nutter Butters, pounding them down like apes on bananas.  Whipped out the filter and quenched cotton mouth with ice water.  

And Monkey Mix, we chomped on what looked like gooey nut vomit. Fish somehow found the world’s only unhealthy trail mix, a Target-sourced heart attack of chocolate blobs, peanuts, candy-clustered cashews and crushed coconut.  It’d melted and looked as if a chocolate grenade had fragged inside the clear pouch.  Yum, it was like eating from a colostomy bag.

almost there, we wrestled rocks like this for hours
We climbed down to Golden Lake number two and three, Florence was patiently waiting below.  It was reassuring to see that familiar icon again, after duking with Bomber for a solid five hours.  

Sherpa looked good, Fish was not saying a word.  It was the first time I'd ever seen him bite his tongue for more than 18 seconds.  Fatigue was chewing his quads.

At 1:40 pm, we made it to Lake Florence's trail.  

We had successfully carried out the assault on Bomber Mountain, but not without a couple asterisks.  We weaseled out of the trap Bomber set for us, but missed the B17.

Lake Florence with veins of footpaths

Apr 20, 2011

Follower Freebie - friendship bracelet by Pigtails (updated)

Attempting to hock a friendship bracelet crafted by the hooves of Pigtails.  Leave a comment to sign up, Pigtails will pluck out a winner from among the thousands of entries.

Christine asked the following:

I want to know what colors Pigtails is choosing for the bracelet and why?  They say there are meanings for each of the colors, but I would rather hear the Pigtails meaning for each.

Pump up the volume and action! (link)

-Beard and Pigtails

Apr 19, 2011

Pigtails' second grade clip - holy belch

Kindergarten recounted, check.  

First grade digested, done.  

Batting second grade today, brace for burp. 

Note:  I'm sure this is obvious, but these sound clips are highly polished and require months of careful planning.  Pigtails dons a Britney Spears headset microphone and records inside a glass cage on a multi-million $$ studio:

Click here if fail whale on above sound file.

Pigtails also asked readers to respond with a comment below.  I promised her toads and toast for dinner until we get some answers, stat!  Based on her questions, it appears her life skill set and aptitude point to the nunnery.
  1. In second grade, did you have nuns?
  2. What did you do in school?
  3. Did you make crafts in school, and if so, what kind?
  4. Did you go to church?
The best part is when she showed me her school journal for the day.  On her own, she started to sketch out her interview during free time in class.  I smothered her with a big hug when she pulled this out of her daisy flower backpack.


Apr 17, 2011

The assault on Bomber Mountain - 12, the summit

Wednesday, August 30

We staggered out of our tents at 6:45 am with the mercury thick at 35.  Breakfast was a Country Kitchen husky skillet minimalist affair; eight ounces of pulverized cocoa and two packs of apple insti-oatmeal.  We loaded our daypacks with bulk quantities of Nutter Butters, oatmeal bars and fluids.  I also stuffed the filter so we could pump and drink water, not urine, if we got in trouble.  Fish and I topped off our backpack-mounted hydration systems, Sherpa stuffed two Nalgene bottles full of spring water into his hip pack.  Note: we'll never again hike with Sherpa unless he has a hydration system.  He stopped us every 20 minutes and asked us to unzip his pack, remove the bottle, hand it to him and replace it.  We were pretty much bottle feeding a grown man.

Surveyed the map one last time and planned our ascent to thwart any surprises up Bomber.  Bonus points if all three of us made it to the top and back in one piece.

We hiked two miles to Lake Florence and sucked glacier drink through the filter into bottles.  

It was time to get down to business and climb the mountain.  I put on my game face, cracked knuckles and muttered “Bring it on Bomber, let’s see what you got.” The three of us spread and began the two mile boulder scramble that would take us up 3,000 feet.  

Would we find the crumpled B17 bomber plane up top?  We'd Googled photos of the wreckage from SummitPost.org for months.  Other hikers blogged that they found the plane and posted pics to prove it, but they always seemed to leave out the coordinates of where exactly they spotted it.  We had an idea where the B17 was located, but it would be a tough Easter Egg to dig up unless we lucked and the sun lit up a corner of aluminum. 

We were embarking on an expensive goose chase, fueled by chicken ramen and piles of Nutter Butt's.

The climb grated but wasn't steep enough to require ropes or harness.  Everything was oversized; the rocks, the crevasses, my too-big pants that tried to fall down.  Bomber was putting up some strong resistance to our assault.  

Glance at the photo below, I took this about a third the way up Bomber.  What's your guess on the size of those rocks?  Now zoom in and notice Sherpa in the middle, near the bottom, specked by the boulders.  The rock to the right of him is eight feet high with the girth of a bus or a small whale.

Paused every 15 minutes to check back on my comrades, it wouldn’t be wise to split up too much.  Something minor like a sprained ankle or exploding hemorrhoids could become a big problem if one of us slipped behind a crag out of sight and earshot.  

My hat blew off.

"Hey Fish, have you called the plumber yet to have that crack in the back looked at?"
We squinted and smiled at what we thought was the crest of Bomber.  False alarm, it was a phantom peak.  We climbed higher to another peak, gawked up and saw another.   "Yeah, you move across that little pebbly area, skip up those rocks, and we’ll be there” Fish said. The mountain mind/eye scale illusion was in full effect, as those small pebbles inflated into multi-ton limestone chunks as we got closer. 

My hat blew off.

“Heeerreee plane, where are you??!!” I yelled.  The temp slipped 20 degrees as we rose, with wind whispering at 40 MPH.  A little snow could be found here and there, but not enough to lay down a nice snow angel.  Don’t eat the yellow snow.

I reached the top of Bomber Mountain before noon.  

It was excellent!

Could see Wyoming rock rollout maybe 75 or 100 miles on this hazy day, over 250 miles with a clear sky.  The altitude shrank the large lakes below into small puddles of turquoise ribbon.

Waiting for Fish and Sherpa to pull in, I cupped hands and yelled “Yodel lay he hooo!!”, spun in a circle and sang “The hills are alive, with the sound of music!"

They arrived coated in fatigue a few minutes later.  High fives all around!  

A marmot photographed us, note the look of disgust tossed with sheer pain on Fish's face.  He affixed a death grip on the rock behind.  Inches back was a cliff that plunged a couple thousand feet.  Fish later told me the only thing he could think of at the top was him missing his wife and two daughters, wishing they could be there to experience it with him.  

I think he was also thinking about pooping his pants.

My hat blew off for the last time.

“Sherpa, ready your Canon!” I snapped over the wail of the wind, with a smile and a wink.  It was high time to give the bloody hat a proper farewell, a moment I’d looked forward to since the first time it blew off four days ago.

"Good riddance!" I bellowed while launching it on an unattended journey off the face of God’s rocky Earth.  

It would blow from my greasy scalp no more.  

Maybe Bon Bon the bighorn sheep is bleating around the base of Bomber, showing off his slightly tattered straw hat to his fellow curly-horned brethren. That is, until it sails off 274 times like it did me, and he tramples it to death.

Apr 12, 2011

Pigtails's first grade clip - farting armpits

Pigtails' gave a kindergarten brief last week.  Today, she revisits first grade.

Take one started out 25 decibels above the level that damages the human ear, with a nasty case of giggles mixed in:

I cut power to the microphone after take four, her armpit farts were getting out of hand:

Click here and here if above sound files don't work on your browser/phone/iPad/abacus.


Apr 11, 2011

Blogging about the blog - blogrole and Facebook

If you scroll down and take a gander at the right side of the blog, you'll see a few new widgets.  

The blogrole is a list of links to blogs I'm following.  I'll continue to add to it as I splice connections and meet other writers.  Thank you to Memoirs of a Single Dad, Single Mom Seeking, Bubble Gum on My Shoe and Ramblings of a Single Dad for answering questions and adding Beard and Pigtails to your blogroles!

I've also started to toss new posts to Facebook, you'll find the link over there on the right and down a ways.  Hit the Like button and pass on to anyone that might be interested.

Finally, if you'd like Beard and Pigtails posts to arrive via e-mail, scroll down and enter your e-mail address.  Feedburner will automatically deliver the goods to your inbox.


Apr 10, 2011

The assault on Bomber Mountain - 11, Gunboat and Fortress Lakes

How did Bomber Mountain get its name, you wonder?  Glad you asked.

Rewind to WWII.  A B17 Flying Fortress bomber plane was heading east to Europe, ready to unload some hot packages on the Germans.  Pushing through dense fog, a moonless night and malfunctioning navigation equipment, it crashed into this Wyoming mountain in 1943.  Ten young men died.  Today, 65 years later, a plaque at Lake Florence and aluminum bits of wreckage can be found near the crest of the mountain.  Tomorrow, we'd step off the trail and claw up 3,000 vertical feet against gravity to try and locate the wreckage. 

After lunch, we hauled past Fortress and Gunboat Lakes on a two mile recon trip to Lake Florence, which squats at the base of Bomber Mountain.  Along the way, marmots popped their heads from the rocks and chattered at us.  Fish did his best to peg them with shrapnel.    

"I hate these things! I'm gonna get you!!" he yelled.     

They tucked down briefly to avoid Fish's rock bombs, then popped up again to cuss.  Marmots were going Chuck E. Cheese on  him.

We passed Gunboat (above left) and Fortress Lakes.  Squint to see the thin thread of the footpath splitting them.  We'd just come from there, I turned and ka-chunked the camera shutter.

Fish's safari shirt was by chance cut in the same pattern as the rocks rising in front of him.  As he moved out, his torso disappeared chameleon style, we could only see his bobbing hat and gargantuan calves.

Gawked at Lake Florence, Bomber Mountain is behind us in this photo.  Although it doesn't look so, that small snow triangle top center is 700 feet above the lake, according to the topo map.  It was difficult to judge scale and distance with the landscape eating us, we were small.  

We compared the map with eyeballs to ensure we understood the lay of the land.  Bomber Mountain butts directly to Florence, this is the spot tomorrow to exit the trail and climb.  We craned up and plotted the snaking route we'd scramble up, but couldn’t see very far before the rock angled out of sight. 

The three of us returned to camp, Fish pulled out the pole and fished for trout.  They weren't hungry for lures today.    

My hat blew off. 

On the buffet was was chicken tetrazzini, instant garlic potatoes and freeze dried green beans.  The potatoes got the thumbs up; they required only one minute to cook, thickened into a pound of salty starch and were buttery on the tongue.  Nice and hardy stick to the ribs quality to ‘em.  We bragged on about the lunch lady taters. 

“Beard, there’s another apple cobbler in my bag, why don't you cook it up”, said Fish.  

“Not on my life, you do it!” I demanded.    

The apple cobbler was the lone item that followed us out of the Big Horns and back to Fish's kitchen cupboard. 

I retreated to the Moon to pull three gallons of water.  600 reps on the pump, but I didn't mind.  Some alone time to relax and stare at nature.  And a sly way of weaseling out of sudsing dirty dishes. 

Fish helped Sherpa wash potatoey plates.  He later told me he overheard Sherpa muttering under his breath about the dishes, he didn't much like washing them.  Hey, Fish and I cooked the meals, I filtered most of the water, so we thought it was fair.  Plus, Sherpa mustn't overlook the biodegradable Camp Suds dish soap making his hands soft and supple.  

Piled on the nighttime body armor of base layer, two mid layers, outer shell and winter hat as the sun skedaddled.  Hit the sack at a toddler-like 8:15 pm, read a little, then did my best to ignore the glacier spring gurgling 4' from my tent.  The sound of water flowing wrecked havoc on my mind and bladder.  Felt like I had an incontinence issue.    

Do I really need to go or is that stream making me think I need to, I wondered?   

I asked that question six times that night.  I visited the outdoor tinkle pit six times.   

Would we make it to the top of Bomber tomorrow?

Apr 7, 2011

Follower Freebie - friendship bracelet by Pigtails

A reader offered up a smart idea today...hock zee goods crafted by Pigtails.  Activate teleprompter in 3...2...1...

If you'd like a shot at securing Pigtails' friendship bracelet, follow this simple 22 step process:
  • Zap the Follow button up on the right side of the page and sign up to follow if you haven't already.
  • Click the comments link below and post using your follower (Google) account.
  • Tap some friendly words, starchy sarcasm, ask a question or give me the weather forecast, let's hear it!
  • May Day, Pigtails will stir from hibernation and draw from the hundreds of thousands of comments and select a random winner.
I'll update with a photo of the spoils once Pigtails pulls out the razor-sharp knitting sticks and gets busy weavin'.


Apr 5, 2011

Pigtails' kindergarten clip

Pigtails asked to give a quick kindergarten recap.  I gave her 90 seconds, speakers on and hit it:



Apr 3, 2011

Google Reader PSA

Public Service Announcement:  If you normally track this blog using Google Reader, note that it likely doesn't notify you when I make updates to older posts, such as today's update:

You may want to occasionally check the homepage for any stealthy posts that ninja-slip past Google Reader.


Follower Freebie - pen the pic 1

** 4/3 update **

We have a winner!  Christine claims the cookies with this entry:

As spring arrives, the blue-tongued pigtail emerges from hibernation full of energy. After shedding it's winter coat, it embarks on a search for much needed sustenance.   In this rare sighting, a particularly brave pigtail enjoys it's sugary find in an abandoned laundry basket. Those who are lucky enough to encounter these amazing creatures often speak highly of their beauty and spirit.

Thanks to the multitudes Christine for participating!  I'll deploy the Thin Mints via carrier pigeons, keep a window open.

A little about that basket case...it started in 2003 when Pigtails was a year old.  She'd try to climb into the blue plastic tub while I was folding underpants.  So I'd chuck her in to contain her, think livestock holding pen.    

Holding pen eventually became a race car, I'd drive her around the living room making VROOOM! sounds.  She wasn't old enough to talk, but her squeals told me to keep doing it.  

As she aged, magic basket transformed into a helicopter, we'd fly around the house and land in odd spots to make her laugh.  Such as on the toilet.  Or the front porch in the middle of winter with lollipop in hand, then lock the door and leave her there for a minute as concerned neighbors pointed and whispered.  Up on the roof deck, you name it, basket o' child has been there.  

You'd think she would have outgrown this ruse by now.  But occasionally, if I'm in the middle of folding laundry, those walking by with their dog may spot through the window a gangly Pigtails giggling hysterically as Beard lands her and blue basket on a massive heap of underpants.

 ** 3/26 update **

In 1999, Sears and Roebuck produced a limited batch of Giggle 'Bot 2000s.  Available only by mail order,  these customizable cyborgs were shaped like small children and promised to offer all the joys of parenthood, without the messiness and litter boxes associated with real kids.  Powered by the sun, simply drop the Giggle 'Bot in its blue basket charging station to juice her up.  Sales slumped when customers realized 8 hours of solar charging were needed for approximately 3 minutes of run time.  The item was discontinued when a Y2K glitch caused the smiling android to roam the house, seeking and destroying all lollipops, sticks and all.

That's my pen the pic.  Does anyone else have one to compete with Christine?  If so, let's hear it!  Contest open for one more week, the Thin Mints are hers unless a challenger brings it.


** 3/16 update **

Thanks Christine for joining the fray and bravely leaving the first pen the pic comment! 

For the rest of you that have not yet participated:  VIRTUAL PURPLE NURPLES!!  

Perhaps you misunderstood the prize.  Maybe you thought I was giving away a frozen sack of unsalted Brussels sprouts?  Or a pair of my gently used running windies?  Maybe next time.  But for now, you'll have to settle for a fresh pile of Thin Mints.

Sock it to me.  Open that can of sarcasm and squirt a greasy pen the pic in the Comments for me and the rest of the readers to grin at. 


Two problems:

1.  My fingers are bleeding from overactive typing.  I wish for a break to give my readers a chance to make the keys dance.
2.  I don't know what to do with all these boxes of Girl Scout cookies stacked floor to ceiling in my house. 

The solution:

A Follower Freebie!

I'll call this contest pen the pic, with a box of Thin Mints for the winner. 

Tip:  if you are sick of G.S. cookies from overloading on them like me, toss them in the freezer and pull 'em out in May.  Allergists claim they help cure spring hay fever.

Gaze at the photo below of my odd offspring.  Yes, she's sitting on the front stoop in a laundry basket clutching a blueberry lollipop with snow on the ground.  Leave a comment with a funny one-line caption or a one-paragraph post describing what exactly is going on here.  You'll want to be logged in with your Google Follower account when dropping the comment so I can contact you via e-mail if you win.

Bonus points for submissions that contain wit and absurd humor mixed with nearly believable details.  Multiple entries per person are accepted, and this contest will remain open for some undetermined long period of time.  Beard and Pigtails will pick the winner.

I've already got my own pen the pic sample in mind, I'll share it after the winner is announced.

I hope each and every one of my Followers will leave a comment, that would make me smile!  Plus, Pigtails will bawl if you don't.

Thanks, and good luck!


The assault on Bomber Mountain - 10, mullets and marmots at Mistymoon

Tuesday, August 29 - Migrating to Mistymoon Lake

2:00 am: "Beard, Beard, wake up, look the sky!" Sherpa was bleating like goat from his tent.  I groggily entered the night freeze, craned up and couldn't believe my eyes.  Zero haze to muffle the light show, it was HD astronomy.  

The commotion stirred Fish, he attempted to exit his tent and join us.  Didn't have his bearings yet, was wobbly in the legs and the tent was pitched on a slight incline.  He stepped out and lost his balance, which triggered an elaborate Shawn Johnson floor routine consisting of windmills, near falls, swaying hips and "Whoa, whoa, whaos!"  He couldn't quite pull it together and finally performed a shattering 10.0 belly flop squarely on his tent.  

It popped like a balloon.  Instantly flat, poles and all.  

Sherpa and I did our best to repress guffaws.  I thought the tent was dead, but as soon as we pulled him off, the thing went JA-BIP! and snapped up perfectly.  That Fish Flop happened five years ago, we still laugh about it today.

I moved the temp gauge inside my REI dome and took a reading.  32 is not terrible, but is certainly "refreshing" when trying to sleep, with the metabolism crawling while sawing logs and my drool puddle freezing into a small skating rink.

Up and Adam at 6:30 am.  I stayed warm last night, didn’t shiver with mummy layers rolled on.  Fish and I cooked up a sweltering batch of hot cocoa and oatmeal for breakfast. Anything with steam rising hit the spot.  We watched the elk play as the sun poked, took pictures, pumped water, washed dishes (Sherpa hated life when it was his turn to wash them, said he was used to his wife doing them), then dismantled camp.  Efficient, we folded camp into backpacks in 20 minutes.  

Mistymoon Lake, onward!

Had this in my journal for the day: 
There's a clear and present battle waging between hairy pits and the Old Spice Endurance Pure Sport deodorant.  On day two, the battle commenced, with the Old Spice maintaining a slight victory. The combatants pulled to a draw on day three, and today, the pits waved their stink flag high in the air. 

The pull of gravity was slowly losing control over my hair.  I could feel it turning wild up there and going to seed.  It was mulletizing.  At least Fish and Sherpa looked and smelled equally bad.  So it all balanced out, a wash.

The two-mile trip to Mistymoon Lake was a little tougher than yesterday since we were packing hobo style today.  

Above, the distant mountain left of center is Cloud Peak.  We intend to climb it later this year.
Slip on your monocle to spot Sherpa and Fish below.  The landscape swallowed us.

We pulled into Mistymoon Lake at noon, this would be base camp for the rest of the trip.  Looked and looked, couldn't find even a single Starbucks.  

You've seen Caddyshack, right?  Bill Murray bleeds unrestrained rage towards a gopher that wrecks havoc on his golf course.  And you've played the whack-a-mole game at Check E. Cheese, bobbing the daylights out of plastic gopher heads with a fat foam mallet?  Well, it was kind of like watching the movie while playing the game as we built camp. 

Lightheaded from blowing up my air mattress, I noticed a friendly coarse-haired critter, a marmot, eying us (marmot = obese mountain gopher).  Our new friend, Martha, didn't seem nervous around us, she casually circled the perimeter sizing us up.  A little later, I was reading in the tent and could hear the sounds of scurrying rodent.  Spying out the tent flap, a few inches away was a hairy leg with sharp claws.  Martha was panhandlin' for a hamburger, wanting a free handout. 

"Get outta here, skedaddle, scat, you filthy yellow bellied marmot!!" I shouted as I sprang towards it, armed with the corkscrew attachment on my Leatherman multi-tool.  

Probably looked like the loud pistol-totin', handle-bar-mustached sheriff on Bugs Bunny.  Martha yawned, scratched her nose and slowly waddled away.  No fear of humans, unbelievable!  It appeared hikers have been hand feeding this ratball since birth, she would have nudged in beside me for a nap if I'd fed her a bowl of shrimp ramen.

Fish and Sherpa watched this unfold from their tent, they thought it was hilarious.  Until Martha turned and headed to their tent.  She lumbered up to Fish, rocked back on her butt and begged for scraps.  Fish's face tightened, wasn't smiling as much when rabi'-beast was messing with his casa.  He sprung to his feet and battle charged towards Martha.  

She jumped once and squeaked, turned and took her time wobbling away.  Fish chucked a rock and missed.  Martha climbed up on a boulder and belted out a long tirade of swears.  Now I don’t speak fluent marmot yet, but I’m confident she was using some salty language up there.  We were half expecting she'd grab her marmot buddies and flank us that night, sneaking Nutter Butters and Crystal Light lemon chasers.