Facemasks, Hand Sanitizer, Social Distancing Mix with Snowshoeing at Mary's Cabin
No, we didn't wear facemasks, but we worried, as the coronavirus ramped up and went from a concern to serious while we enjoyed Mary N's cabin, probably the last trip most of us will take in a long time.
While we snowshoed and played games, Governor Bullock closed schools and casinos and shut down visitation at prisons and senior-care facilities. Missoula, Billings, Butte and Helena shut down bars and restaurants, except take out. We learned the term "social distancing." And so it went.
So much changed since we headed out on a Friday for Seeley Lake that it almost felt like a different world that we came back to.
In addition to the coronavirus scare, we also faced bad weather and possibly very bad roads on our return trip, but we soldiered on. After checking with our drivers, Roni and June, who said they were fine with driving home very slowly if the blizzard really hit, we left Great Falls at 8 a.m., stopped at the Deli Vaughn for breakfast, stopped again at the High Country Beef Jerky store since a bus was at the gas station. June had never stopped at this store, so she was in for a treat.
The snow was just starting as we crossed Rogers Pass, but lightly. We arrived at Seeley around 11, unpacked, ate lunch and headed out for snowshoeing. We figured it would be our best day. Mary led us on the Canoe Trail, one most of us had done before. The day was calm, but the snow old and icy, not the powder we have in the Little Belts. The mountains were surrounded in clouds, and the pussy willows just starting to come out.
After, we went back to Mary's to cook dinner. Susan made her lasagne, Deb some garlic bread and Katie asparagus with Parmesan bechamel.Jeanne provided apple crumb pie for dessert.
Then it was game time: we had a rousing three games of Catch Phrase, with Jeanne providing the most hilarity of the night with her definition of "hickey." Ask her if you want to know, but maybe you had to be there.
On Saturday, the snow was still coming down from the night before. June, Katie and Susan headed out on a walk before breakfast, seeing a small herd of deer, the veterans memorial and then stopping for a latte.Then Katie and Gail cooked breakfast as we took our time since the snow was coming down and the temperature around 10 degrees. But we were still lucky to be out of Great Falls since GF had a foot of snow instead of two inches and was well below zero.
So we held off until after lunch to head out. And who should knock at the door, but Kuntzie, carrying a spray can of disinfectant and a roll of toilet paper! She said she came to save the day. Actually, we were concerned about using all Mary's TP since everyone had made runs on the stores for food and TP. Everyone was out. We talked to our husband's who were trying to get some supplies to be told the store shelves were basically bare, especailly the paper and cleaning aisles.
Then it was time to get going if we were to get any exercise in for the day. June got us going, but Gail and Cathy decided to stay behind.
This time, Mary took us on a walk without snowshoes on a snowmobile trail on the closed Clearwater Creek road. We even got a glimpse of blue and some sun off and on, revealing some of the peaks in the Swan Range.
Then we headed back to the cabin to clean up, go to the Chicken Coop to do Shake a Day and finally to dinner at the Double Arrow Lodge. No one was lucky at dice; however, several of the gals caught the eye of one of the men at the bar, who kept buying them free drinks. The Double Arrow didn't disappoint. Everyone's dinner was excellent, but dessert was pie again back at the cabin.
We were too tired to play games, so we headed to bed after checking the road report. It looked bad: several roads closed, including Rogers Pass with black ice most of the way back to Great Falls after the Ovando junction.
The next morning, we were in a hurry to get back to GF to give us lots of time to travel the bad roads and get our ahead of the new snow predicted. June made her special Amish pancakes; then we packed and headed out.
We were smart, the roads weren't too bad except on Rogers Pass where it was snowing and a bit of a ground blizzard, but nothing compared to the night before. We got back to over a foot of snow on the ground.
Who went: Mary, June, Susan W, Roni, Deb M, Gail, Katie and surprise guest, Kuntzie