Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


It started out a nice evening. I wanted to go for a ride to look for some wildlife. My friend JoeDifulgentis and I have been talking about doing some spring skiing so I also wanted to see how far I could drive up the mountain. This way we'd have an idea of how long of a day we could have on skis. Katie decided not to go, and I loaded up Hattie and Pfeiffer, my two dogs, and up the road we went. Here's a shot down the valley. One of the houses I caretake is on the bottom right of the photo.

I started to see a few animals right off the bat. These rock chucks make Pfeiffer go ballistic.

Here's a few young bulls just starting to grow their antlers.

I kept driving up the logging road taking in the views. I had gone further up the road then I've ever been and it was completely dry the whole time. When I came around this one corner, there was a bunch of snow. I thought for sure that I could barrel through it and come out on the other side to dry ground. It only got deeper as I went along until I ended up off the road in the drift. High centered. I am from Connecticut originally, so you could blame it on that. But I've been around a bit. Living in Vermont I did my fair share of getting stuck. Mainly it had to do with my best friends being a bunch of hunyacks. I built ski lifts for a few years as well and drove the ski area roads in the spring. We got stuck all the time, wether it was with the snowmobiles or the flatbed trucks. This was the most stuck I've ever been. The only other time that was worse was with my crazy boss from Doppelmayr CTEC, Vern. We were building the new Collins lift at Alta and we got high centered in the snow with a truck full of concrete forms.

Well, the smart guy I am, I didn't bring a shovel or a come along. So I started digging with sticks and branches. 2 hours later, with a bloody head from hitting myself with my stick/shovel, and with it starting to get dark, I decided I needed to call Katie on the radio in the ranch truck for a rescue.

I was almost 7 miles from the house. Katie had only been up the road once, early in the morning. I knew this would be an adventure. And not the fun kind. She has re-injured an old broken rib injury and the bumpy logging road would not be good for her healing process. So I gave her a bit of direction, then decided to start running downhill to meet her halfway. In hopes that she stays on the road that I was on.

So off I went for an evening jog. No gun, no bear spray. The glacier lillies were everywhere. Bears love to eat those little yellow flowers. Hmmm...

It actually was a really nice evening. I stopped running down to take a few shots. Here's a shot of Lone Peak (Big Sky Resort) on the left, and Fan Mountain on the right.

If you look closely at this shot, you can see Pfeiffer and Hattie running down the road, and a small herd of elk up on the hillside. Hattie noticed them and began to chase them. She recieved some serious disciplinary action. They've been really good about not chasing wildlife, actually.

I met Katie about halfway down. I decided that we should try to pull the truck out with my GMC 3/4 ton pickup since we still had some daylight. As we rode back up the hill, I saw a black bear scamper up the hillside. The same hillside that I just ran down to meet Katie. Whoops. By the time we got up to the truck that was stuck, Katie was rather unhappy with me and very sore from the bumpy ride. I decided to not try to pull the truck so that we weren't stuck up there till midnight.
The next morning I had a meeting with a girl who has been working with the horses a bit. We were supposed to go for a ride at 8:30. To make this meeting, I went and grabbed the tractor, and started driving up the road at about 5:45 AM. An hour and 15 minutes later, I got to the scene of the crime. Luckily I had a full cup of coffee and a nice view for my ride:

And, needless to say, Green Monster to the rescue. I pulled it right out.
Here's the aftermath and the scene of the crime.

That evening I went up and grabbed the tractor and on my way down I started sliding on some mud that had been created from the recent rain. As I looked over the side of the hill, to see where the tractor might be rolling, I noticed this big elk shed lying on the hillside. They shed these horns every March or April, and I think this one is from this year.
There were some lessons learned here. I'll always carry a shovel in the ranch truck from now on, spring, summer, winter, and fall. And when I see snow, I'll stop and turn around and wait for it to melt. I kind of have a problem with always going too far, so this one is gonna take some work. Anyone wanna go for a ride???!!


  1. Hilarious - you need to make these stories into a book! Was there a chance the tractor or truck was sliding down the mountain?? Yikes!You're right I think you may take things too far but I guess that's what makes your life interesting!

  2. HA!! Done it. "If I just get enough speed I'll cruise right through. Don't stop! don't stop, ah, you stopped". I got my pick-up stuck in CA top of the tries deep in mud. We needed 150' of toe rope just to be able to pull from a dry spot. The road was on top of a windrow with 10' deep drainage ditches on either side. When we started to pull the truck was bouncing so much I thought I was going to bounce right into the ditch. Ha!

    Cool tractor. Is that the Deere 4000 Series? I thought it came with a backhoe. I could use one at my house for the flower bed work.

  3. Kevin (McAleer?)Musta been when you were workin in CA? I have no clue what series that is. It does have a back hoe with a mini bucket on it right now. You just can't see it in the pic. But you can switch it out. He has a backblade for plowing, a snowblower, and a big mower. Its really pretty cool actually.