Search and Rescue Operation Starts the Day
After leaving Great Falls at 7:30 a.m., we arrived at Silver Crest around 9 and were greeted before the parking lot by Search and Rescue vehicles. Then as we exited the car to use the outhouses, a helicpoter came in blowing snow into our faces.
We asked what was going on, but the crew wouldn't give us much information other than to say they were on an active search operation. We asked if we could watch for anything since we would be in the back country, but they said 'no, we have everything under control." But it was still on our minds all day.
After parking our shuttle car in the lot, we found we couldn't get out, due to all of the sleds, S and R vans and other vehicles gathering for the rescue. We had to get out of the car and ask them to clear a path for us.
Then it was on to the top of Kings Hill, all seven of us cramming into Katie's Highlander for the 10-minute ride.
The day started out cloudy and snowing just a bit as we headed on the uphill part of our snowshoe adventure. We took a few breathers but we all did well on this part of the trail.
Katie pointed out the blue diamonds along the way, so that others could learn the trail and, hopefully, lead others in the future and help guide the way as the trail is tricky in parts. Susan led the way on the last stretch going into the snowmobile park as a group she had been with earlier had missed a turn. And she had brought marking tape to tie on the trees in hopes no one misses turns again.
As we approached the flat area, we came across deep ruts that snowmobiles had made. It is frustrating when others don't respect the quiet trails and tear up the ski tracks. There is room for everyone if we are just cognizant of all users.
High winds had been predicted, so we expected to be blasted when we entered the snowmobile area, but really, it was more of a breeze than a wind. And the sun was out. Our moods went up a notch for sure as the sun warmed us and the blue sky shone on us.
This section can also have a bit of a trick getting across the park area, avoiding snowmobiles while looking for blue diamonds that mark the trail. Katie pointed out that if hikes just go straight across the park, they will hit the snowmobile road, turn right and be going the right way. And this is actually better for skiers than following the diamonds that make for a backtrack that cause more skiing on the snowmobile track than necessary and possibly dangerous, especially on weekends when the sledders are out in droves.
We saw a variety of tracks (snowshoe hare, canine, bird, vole, deer), hoping to spy lynx, but no luck. The few we thought might be cat, were dogs from the mushers. They must have had at least one dog off sled, possibly with booties on.
We arrived back at the cars in the Silver Crest parking lot at just after 12 p.m. noon, with the Search and Rescue just packig up and leaving. We spotted two SR workers we knew and quizzed them about what happened. Luckily, the two stuck snowmobilers who had spent the night outside were in good condition, just very cold, so we had a happy ending on that situation. Camille got after one rescuer who mentioned that the people were in their 70s and what were they doing? Given that some of our gals are in their 70s and many of us approaching, she was right to give them a word or two.. Read about it here.
Katie and Camille shuttled the cars. The roads were bare mostly, making the shuttle very quick. Then it was off to Bob's Bar for lunch, yum.
And home before 3 p.m. Fun day.
Read more about the Search and Rescue operation here.
Who went: Camille, Susan, Heather, Bonnie W, Nora, Doreen, Katie
Nora's GOLDEN LENTIL SOUP WITH SWEET POTATOES, COCONUT, SPINACH & LIME Recipe
SERVES: 6-8 NOTES:Only add salt at the end lest the lentils become tough-
1 medium sweet potato, peeled (mine was around 375 grams)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
1 ½ cups split red lentils
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 14.5 ounce (428 ml) can crushed tomatoes
14.5 ounce (428 ml) can light coconut milk
4 cups water
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 ½ teaspoons black mustard seeds
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
2-3 dried curry leaves (optional) ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups tightly packed baby spinach (or more if you like)
1 lime, juiced
sea salt, to taste
chopped cilantro and yogurt garnish
Set a box grater over/inside your slow cooker insert. Grate the sweet potato directly into the insert.
Grate the yellow onion directly into the insert as well. Rinse the red lentils thoroughly, until they stop foaming up in the strainer. Shake the excess moisture off and transfer them to your slow cooker insert.
To the insert, add the garlic, ginger, crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, water, turmeric, cayenne, mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves, and black pepper. Give it all a good stir. In all honesty it’s going to look sort of gross at this point.
Place the insert into your slow cooker unit, lock the lid on top, and set the cooker to “high.”
Let the soup cook for 4 hours.
Once the 4 hours are up, carefully remove the lid and stir the soup up a bit. Add the spinach, lime juice, and enough salt to season to your liking.
Stir the soup one more time and lock the lid back on. Keep the soup going on the “high” setting until the spinach is wilted. Serve the soup hot with chopped cilantro and a dollop of yogurt.