Saturday, June 27, 2015

Luccock Park UMC Camp, Livingston, Montana

Note - this blog was written in early June while we were volunteering in Montana.  Right now, we are home, home, home.  

Oh! What a gorgeous place to spend three weeks volunteering to help a camp! Right now, we are sitting cozily in the RV with a steady rain hitting the roof, lulling me to sleep. But who caresIt's around 9:30 p.m. and no work in going on anyway.

View of the camp from the dining hall - you can barely
see the RVs parked in the very center of the picture.
This is a view of one of the three mountains that framed
the back of the camp.  That's all Forest Service land behind us.
Luccock Park UMC Camp is located outside Livingston, Montana, about 50 miles due north of Yellowstone National Park. The camp has been here since 1923. Originally, it started as a location where Methodist churches from the surrounding towns could get together for camp meetings. Each town/church built their own cabin. Most of those old cabins are gone now, replaced by newer structures. Years ago, the camp meetings were discontinued and eventually the buildings and land were made into a camp for kids. The buildings surround a huge center field where a softball field, volleyball court, covered picnic pavilion, etc. are located. The road runs between the buildings and the field. Along the outside of the road, a snow-melt creek constantly runs. The water is cold!

Another view of the camp - looking out of the cove towards the
mountains to the west.
The RVs are parked at the far end of the camp just across an area from a National Forest campground. Behind that are three super tall, rugged mountains that still have snow on them. You drive up here about three miles from the main road – the access road to the camp is paved but winds back and forth and makes one really good hairpin turn. Until you get to the top where the camp is, you drive through private property. One rancher has three gigantic long horn bulls – and I mean gigantic! Horns must be two and half feet long each with a span of at least three feet. And we never fail to see little ground squirrels scurrying across the road and lots of deer. Yesterday evening, we saw a doe with two tiny fawns – they could hardly be older than a day old.

The baby bear we saw running across the field just outside the back
of the dining hall.
Oh – the other day, we were all in the dining hall for dinner and someone spotted a bear cub running across the field that's just outside the camp's property. Of course, we all ran outside to the deck and I was able to get a couple of pictures of it. Little fellow! Worried me where his mother was. He was running as fast as his little legs could carry him across the field. The next day, someone spotted him again but this time with his mother. Now, I don't want to come face-to-face with either of them, but I'm glad the little guy had his mother!

Anyway, you look one way and see the mountains. Then you look the other way and can see down the into the valley and across to the mountains on the other side of Hwy. 89 that leads down to Yellowstone. This area is known as Paradise Valley and we can certainly see why! The mountains are so huge and the valley is very wide – something we are not used to. At home, our mountains are right on top of you but here the vistas are long and vast. Right now, the mornings are very cool (comfortable in jeans and a sweatshirt) but the afternoons warm up considerably into the 80s. Then it cools off as the early evening comes along. If it wasn't for the long, very cold winters, both of us could see ourselves living here.

Add ambiance at the camp.  These tepees were put up for a group of
Special Forces soldiers who were have a retreat with their
children.  Purpose was to bond with their children and to
give them a glimpse of what they do while deployed.  A great
group of boys and girls and dads.
What have we been doing here? We were supposed to be building a small cabin but the fellow who was supposed to dig the six foot deep foundation hole in mid-May didn't get the hole dug until today. Now we have to wait for the concrete foundation to be poured and hardened. And we are now halfway through the project. Oh well, as they say - “NOMADS are flexible!” In the meantime, we have kept ourselves busy – building a new wood shed, stacking wood in the available space in the old wood shed (there's a lot of firewood around here!), fixing doors that don't close properly, burning scrap wood, building new bunk beds – you know, all that sort of camp stuff.

Last weekend, we made the drive down to Yellowstone. Interesting place to go in the summer – you are exposed to all kinds of languages. Melissa McGee, one of our team members joined us, and we ate lunch outside at a picnic table with three people from France. One of the ladies spoke English but the couple did not. So we had a nice conversation with her and she
Norris Geyser Basin on a clear day.
translated it for her friends. Later, a man from Italy came up to Bill when he was sitting with Lexi and Belle and started showing him pictures of his dog that was home in Italy. Then Melissa and I offered to take a picture of a couple from Spain.

We drove out Yellowstone's Lamar Valley hoping to see some wildlife. As you would expect, we saw loads of bison but only a few elk and a spattering of pronghorn. When we were here in January 2011, we saw herds and herds of elk, but they migrate back to their usual summer habitats in warmer weather and away from human views. Our winter guide mentioned that the
American bison - not buffalo (they live in Africa) - bison live
in the USA.
elk like to winter in Lamar because the weather is much more moderate than their usual home territory. And, of course, on this visit, we did not see any of Yellowstone's famous wolves. I really didn't expect to see any of them. Besides being very elusive, they would be almost impossible to spot as they blend in naturally with the surrounding vegetation and during mid-day, they normally bed down to sleep. Best time to see them would be at dawn, and, if you know me, that's far too early for me to be awake! We did see one grizzly bear sitting way, way off under a tree munching on something. Didn't get to observe it very long because it had started to rain and, as we ran back to the car, we started getting pelted with hail.

Melissa getting her Senior Park Pass on her birthday.
This next weekend, Bill's brother Rick and his wife Ginni are driving over from Boise, Idaho to spend the weekend with us. Really excited about seeing them! Not sure if we will go back to Yellowstone with them, but we promised Melissa we would take her down on Friday so she could get her Senior Park Pass on her 62nd birthday. She does not tow a car so we are happy to take her with us or where she may need to go. Anyway, we should have a fun time with Rick and Ginni and even get together with their son's in-laws who live here in Livingston. Russ and Jo Ann Ferguson run the Livingston airport and Russ has a crop dusting business. We had dinner with them a day after we arrived here and thoroughly enjoyed their company.

. . . until next time . . .
Photo was taken by team member Walter Leonard - beautiful
sunset on an overcast evening.

No comments:

Post a Comment