Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Part II, Harvest Moon Over Montana and Friends

Harvest Moon Over Montana, Part I is here.

Sept 11, early morning our friends continued east
as we headed back west and destination Butte.

Sept 12, leaving Butte and on our way to Drummond for a lunch date. We arrived at the restaurant a little early and anxiously kept looking out the window at each vehicle pulling up, until suddenly, there she was. She walked into the dining room and right toward us, wearing her warm and beautiful smile. We hugged! just like old friends do. The difference is that Susan and I had never met, but over the last several years have gotten to know one another through our blogs and shared common interests. If you haven't been to her site, please do so. Susan, of Schnitzel and the Trout, would love to see you and share some of her travels and recipes.

Susan and the Trout (as she calls her husband) live in Florida in the winter and in Montana during the summer; once our trip was finalized, she and I planned how we could meet. Disappointing was that the Trout couldn't join us due to a recent surgery, but now that he is on the mend, I have confirmation that we will all be together sometime soon. As we departed, my husband asked if it was what I expected. Absolutely... but above expectation. One of the highlights of our trip! meeting-up and sharing special moments together. Thank you, Susan, for taking the time to be with us.

After several hours we were on our way to Missoula to meet-up with longtime friends.

So here we were with our friends and with an added bonus of meeting their extended family, Ken's aunt and uncle. As we overlooked the beautiful mountain range, he voiced his disappointment that the view was not crystal clear. Wildfires had been burning for several weeks prior to our arrival, and the haze continued in the area and surrounding mountains. But tell me that is not beautiful.

We brought some wine to share, and dinner this evening consisted of Kyong's Bruschetta, Ken's smoked salmon, a Korean cucumber salad, steamed rice, with corn and cilantro, and Phyllis made a pasta with lemon. Everything... so delicious!!!

Full Harvest Moon Over Montana

Sept 13, a drive with our friends to Flathead Lake, a picnic lunch they had prepared and that we enjoyed alongside the water...

... and back home.

The evening was outstanding! Three women cooking, Kyong, Phyllis and me... such fun! We served my Grilled Eggplant Bruschetta (and Kyong's bruschetta was so good, she made it a second evening); I sauteed green beans we brought from our Oregon garden and made a Caprese salad with the still perfect heirloom tomatoes. Ken, Pete and Jim, the latter two supervising of course, grilled steaks. And we were all around the center island, chatting, sipping wine, enjoying appetizers, engaging one another, sharing stories, laughing, feeling the love...

Kyong's Bruschetta

Simple, delicious... simply delicious! Mix the following together and serve on a crostini.

Roma tomatoes, chopped
spring onions, chopped
garlic clove, minced
basil, chopped
avocado, diced
touch salt
touch EVOO

An extraordinary reunion! We hadn't seen our friends for years, but it was clear that no time had passed... we picked up where we left off. It wasn't about going out to dinner and being entertained, but rather what real friendship is about. People come and go in your life, and you don't have it with everyone, but those with whom you do connect are like-minded, value the same things, enjoy life, accept and love one another for who and what you are.

Kyong, Ken and Edward, these few days were clearly our grand event!

Early morning of our departure, and with a promise that we would be together again within months, a cool breeze ushered in a wonderful clarity. We drove beneath the beautiful big blue sky country with wispy clouds, and the moon watching over us on our now waning trip homeward.

Soaring hawks and cattle graze,
buttes and granite walls, amazed.
Antelope race the ridge above,
rivers, streams, what's not to love.
Hillsides dotted hooker green,
silence speaks, it is as seen.
Sweeping, stretching green and gold,
replete with stories yet untold.
Mountains, valleys juxtaposed
humbling moments, disclosed.
Southern mountains rising blue,

Montana moon, this country's true.

~ Diana

Monday, September 19, 2011

Harvest Moon Over Montana and Friends, Part I

We are back home following nearly two weeks of wonderful as we traveled across Montana with good friends; new ones shared in a piece of this journey; and on our final leg, as they continued east, my dear husband and I began our return.

The two of us relished in a stop to meet a special blogger friend in Drummond, Montana, and then continued west to be with a favorite family with whom we share a most special fondness (both in Part II).

From Oregon to Washington, Idaho, Montana and return,
the Harvest Moon was our constant.

Hot sunny days ensued. Blustery Columbia River Gorge, wide and rushing are its waters and towering are the mountain walls; giant windmills stand as sentries, their blades lashing and flogging the air about it; miles and miles of golden freshly cut wheat fields follow.

We trekked along with history and the Lewis and Clark Trail as the sinuous Snake River and the cliffs to the east kept us narrow in our journey; mountains, rivers and streams, undulating farm land for as far as the eye can see, and then rest for our first night. No phones, tv, or internet service, only the softened sound of our voices within the hush of this pastoral campsite,
Dayton, Washington

Sept 7, early morning breakfast: freshly ground coffee, garden tomatoes, a vegetable quiche, and grilled brats, all prepared ahead and brought with us to make the journey most relaxing and feel like we were home; a pause for the turkeys, walk along the river, clematis blossom spent, but the Solidago in its prime.

Pristine are the reflecting rivers, broad and beautiful. Coyote Gulch. Large is the landscape, lunch along the river, and Nez Perce trail. Fish Creek, Dead Mule Flats, Hard Creek, Indian Meadow Creek, Ash Pile Creek, Burnt Cedar Creek... mountains, island ranges, rivers, valleys and streams.

241 miles later and we were camped at Lolo Hot Springs. Tonight's dinner: two couples grilled steak, we, salmon, and all shared in fresh garden produce.

Sept 8, we awoke to 35° F, but the sun continually warmed our day.

Expansive plains, 6393 feet and the great Continental Divide; 266 miles from Lolo Hot Springs to Livingston, Montana. Dinner: Prosecco served with eggplant bruschetta for an appetizer, grilled flank steak with chimichurri sauce, Caprese salad, and sauteed fresh green beans... our treat for everyone.

Sept 9, 180 miles from Livingston to Garryowen, Mt, an early afternoon arrival, two nights of camping, relaxing and dinner shared around the picnic tables.

The evening train whistle lulled us to sleep and stirred our early morning
as distant sound increased with its approach.

Sept 10, Custer Little Bighorn Battlefield... beyond words and the landscape is vast

Part II to follow.