Saturday, April 24, 2010

I've Heard It's A Butte

Last week, I flew west over Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming...
...and landed in Missoula. Bam. I was met at the airport by several confused-looking stuffed animals. Wiki whisked me off to the diner and then to her sunny little house. That afternoon, I freaked out at the BEST FABRIC STORE EVER, and then we had cupcakes at Bernice's. Other stores of note: Shakespeare and Company(lots of really good graphic novels, like Skim by Jillian Tamaki), Joseph's Coat, the cool yarn shop next door, Worden's for candy/snacks/beverages/nice bearded cashiers, and Butterfly Herbs for tea, coffee, incense, stationary, etc. Looks like congregants of the church of Knitta have been hard at work. Anyone in Lincoln want to do this with me? There is a group of deer that like to hang out in Wiki's backyard. As I was leaving the house the first morning, I turned and saw this lady standing right next to me. She just watched while I got my camera out and then was kind enough to pose for a few photos.The University of Montana campus was really lovely. I spent a good deal of time reading in the library(which also has plenty of stuffed animals), laying in the grass and drawing, or going to the university center to buy muffins.
Yes, I consumed an exorbitant amount of baked goods on this trip, but only to keep my strength up for all of the hiking I did(or that's what I told myself). The two mountains that are most accessible from the downtown area are Mount Sentinel (in the photo above, behind the university) and Mount Jumbo, just across the Clark Fork River.You can follow the M trail on Mt. Sentinel about 600 feet up to the huge concrete "M" [for Missoula? Montana? Mighty Mountain?], where people seem to often forget their underpants, apparently. I would have been pretty proud of myself for huffing and puffing my way up here except for the fact that I was frequently passed by heavily pregnant women, toddlers, and old people.
A few days later, in order to have something to brag about, I climbed all the way to the summit- 2,000 ft above the trailhead. It was really cold, rain was coming, I forgot my camera, took a few wrong turns into the forest(pumas!? grizzlies!? poop of unidentifiable animals!), got lost, broke the rules and took a ridiculous short-cut, and made it to the top where I was rewarded with a stunning view and the letters MGMT scratched onto a rock - hipster hikers? I celebrated by spinning around and singing a mash-up of "Eye of the Tiger" and "The Sound of Music" until I realized that there were people right behind me.
The next day I hiked the trail to the big concrete "L" on Mount Jumbo - L for Loyola [High School].
Unlike the "M", there were hardly any other people on this trail. It was much easier going, and the vegetation was more varied.I broke trail rule number two by picking a crap-ton of wild flowers until I saw the little sign that says "Don't pick the wildflowers, stupid girl". Oops. I just can't keep my hands off of tiny pretty things. My first time out hiking, I went with jeans, a corduroy blazer, a large purse, my ipod, colored pencils and paper, wallet, cellphone, $7 smooth-soled canvas sneakers, and no water. STUPID. So this time, I prepared by wearing less clothing, taking less junk, wearing sunscreen[still got fried], and I had plenty of water and....trail mix. Back down in town, I found all of these little bicycles. Students can rent them from the university. I thought that was nice. UNL, why do we not have a fleet of little red bicycles, huh?Things were adequately artsy-fartsy.Here are some more photos from my previously mentioned squirrel encounters: I can't not mention all of the shamazing people I met while I was here. They must put some sort of awesome-solvent in the water, because everyone I hung out with was talented, charming, friendly, and good-looking. I'm not even exaggerating! Allow me to pimp some of them to you:

Wiki (of course). A.k.a. Alice Bolin. Poet. DJ. BFF. Generous hostess. Read her blog here.

John B. Bunny Meyers. Poet. Hilarious. Sassy. Makes a mean lasagna. Read his blog here.

Z. Cody Lee. Poet. Speaks French. Prints letterpress books. I do not have a crush on him. Visit his website here.

Molly Laich. Fiction writer. Cool, cool lady. Let me live in her house and hog her bathroom for a week. Read her blog here.

Additional props to all of my other new buddies whose blogs/websites either don't exist or elude my internet-creeping. AND, Thursday nights at 8 on U of M college radio 89.9 KGBA is the New Lakes poetry show which everyone should listen to.

The week ended with a small bang - poetry reading, poetry reading after party, poetry reading after after party+karaoke at the VFW, and the after-after after party at the Oxford Club with special guest, "Cheesy Fries".

I left on Saturday morning and flew again over Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska, back to Omaha. My happy parents greeted me with hugs, a bacon ranch quesadilla, and a Zhu Zhu Pet. The next day I drove home to Lincoln where I dealt with the sink full of dirty dishwater that I forgot about before I left. My bad.
P.S. Dear Wiki, I left my pink shoes in your bedroom. Sorry if they smell. You can throw them away.

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