Written by Wildcat Dianne on 16 Aug, 2007
My friend Ivan and I did a lot of hiking and biking throughout Slovakia during the summer of 2002. One hiking trip had us taking the bus to the gypsy village of Bezovec and hiking from there to the ruins of Hrad Tematin. The hike…Read More
My friend Ivan and I did a lot of hiking and biking throughout Slovakia during the summer of 2002. One hiking trip had us taking the bus to the gypsy village of Bezovec and hiking from there to the ruins of Hrad Tematin. The hike up was on an easy trail, but it was rocky and hilly and I was wondering if I was going to go back to Idaho on crutches.
After the arduous hike and a couple of hours exploring the castle ruins, it was time to leave to catch our bus back to Ivan's home in Borovce. But Ivan had another path to take to our bus. It was a downhill hike which was a lot easier than the trip up to Tematin to the little village of Luka, which remains untouched by communism and the ages.
Before we entered Luka, Ivan and saw a canal on our path and since it was a hot sunny day, we needed to cool off. So we cupped our hands and threw water on each other to cool off. I had a bandana to protect my scalp from the heat, and I wet that and put it back on my head as temporary relief from the heat.
More relief from the heat in Luka came in the form of the village bar. Ivan and I stopped there for a little refreshment, Topolcany beer. While Ivan was at the bar getting our beers, the town drunk came over to our table and started talking to me in Slovak. Only understanding a little of the language, I pretended to understand the drunk, and I was relieved when Ivan came back and shooed the drunk away after talking with him and giving him about 5 Koruna. I told Ivan I was hoping the drunk wouldn't return to our table thinking he was getting more than a little money, but the drunk stayed away from us while we enjoyed our beers.
After the bar, Ivan and I headed to the bus station on Luka's main street. We passed an old church (Kostol) and the tiny castle (Hrad) that is a public building now that was probably used by the local nobility in its hey day. Ivan and I stopped to take pictures before getting to the bus stop. Both the church and castle were nothing spectacular, but their quaintness warranted a few minutes of taking pictures and looking around before going to the bus stop.
There were some young girls at the bus stop waiting for the bus to Piestany with us, and then our friendly little drunk from the bar showed up and started talking to the girls. They looked a little uncomfortable with the appearance of the town drunk, and then the drunk started taking off his pants either because he was hot or too drunk to control his own behavior. I thought if he had done this at a bus stop in the USA, he would have been thrown in jail the minute he unzipped his fly. It was one of the weirdest experiences with Slovakian drunks during my 3-month stay in Slovakia in 2002.
After a while and to much relief, our bus showed up, and we gratefully climbed aboard for the ride back to Piestany and then to Borovce. Exhausted from the hike to Tematin and fending off drunks, I rested most of the ride and reflected on the day's fun.
Luka can be reached by bus from Piestany if you don't want to hike up from Bezovec to the ruins of Tematin. The trails are rated from Beginner to Expert, and wear good sturdy shoes and be in good shape. Bring a picnic and plenty of water, but there are bars in Bezovec and Luka for you to have a drink afterwards. For more on Hrad Tematin, please read my journal on Hrad Tematin in a previous journal.
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 12 Jul, 2007
All of these hikes around Idaho with Dad during the Summer 1988 could have killed a weaker person, but I went along like a trooper with a taste for adventure and fun during my first visit to a state that I only knew was famous…Read More
All of these hikes around Idaho with Dad during the Summer 1988 could have killed a weaker person, but I went along like a trooper with a taste for adventure and fun during my first visit to a state that I only knew was famous for potatoes. WRONG! Dad said that my sister only whined and moaned and was in worse shape than I was when he took Mom and Erika to Hell's Canyon in 1987, and he didn't want me whining and moaning when he took me.
Once again Dad, Tyler, and I jumped in his 1979 Oldsmobile Station Wagon for our adventure to Hell's Canyon along the Idaho/Oregon border. Hell's Canyon is the second largest canyon in the USA next to Arizona's Grand Canyon. At 3,000 feet deep and situated along the raging Snake River, this natural wonder was a popular campsite for the Nez Perce Native American Tribe who summered and fished at the bottom of the canyon.
My Mom is deathly afraid of heights, and it's a miracle that Dad got Mom to hike the treacherous trail at Hell's Canyon at all in 1987. When Dad, Tyler, and I arrived at Hell's Canyon after a 2-hour ride, I understood why and I was surprised that she hiked as far as she did. The trail that Dad and I hiked at Hell's Canyon had canyon wall and bushes on the left. The right side was a very long and steep drop into the Snake River. Dad joked, "I don't know what is worse, snake bites and poison sumac on one side or falling off the cliff!" Locals call the Snake River here "The Kidney Buster Highway" with its raging waves throughout. Dad thought of taking his elderly mother and brother on a boat ride here, but decided not to. Smart move!Dad, Tyler, and I hiked about 2-3 miles on this high trail taking pictures along the way and looking down at the snake river. About two-thirds on the first leg, Dad said, "Let's go faher! This is where you mother chickened out! Hee Hee!" Grr!
After doing that extra mile just to satify His Lordship's oneupmanship on his ex-wife, we turned around and went back to the car. It was boiling hot that day, and Dad, Tyler, and I sat in the shade to have our lunch. There was a little creek in the shade, and Dad filled a container full of water and poured it on Tyler, who was dying in his long thick black fur coat. Then Dad and I had a little sip of the water. Dad said when I got home to Rhode Island to watch out for signs of Giardia, an ugly illness that one gets from drinking unfiltered water. Gee thanks, Dad!
After resting and more pictures, Dad, Tyler, and I headed home to McCall. It turned out that the creek water Dad poured on Tyler had cheet grass in it and had gotten into his eye. Cheet grass is a nasty splinter hard grass that is found all around Idaho. It can get into ones socks and shoes and it wreaks havoc on dogs' and cats' fur and ears by inbedding inside and causing irritation that the veterinarian has to take out.
Tyler's eye was a mess within a couple of days, and Dad had to take him to the veterinarian in McCall. Tyler was kept overnight to have cheet grass removed, and Dad and I picked him up the next morning. Tyler had to be carried to the car by Dad, and his eye was sewn closed to protect it while it healed. "This cost me $70, Tyler! You do that again, and it's the glue factory!" Dad would have been the first to miss Tyler, his goobie! Tyler didn't go to the glue factory that summer and went on to live until 2000 when he died at age 13 doing what he loved most, walking with his Dad!
There are many trails and campsites along Hell's Canyon to go to. The best time is late spring, early summer when it's cool. For more information, go to www.wikpedia.com/hellscanyon.I have wanted to return to Hell's Canyon since my 1988 visit, but weather conditions and a busy work schedule have prevented me. Plus Mom vowed she won't risk another hike along the Snake River! Someday I will return!
When Dad and I made plans for me to come to Idaho for the first time in June 1988, he told me to get in shape because we were going to do a lot of hiking of the trails and sights around McCall, Idaho. I…Read More
When Dad and I made plans for me to come to Idaho for the first time in June 1988, he told me to get in shape because we were going to do a lot of hiking of the trails and sights around McCall, Idaho. I prepared by taking a lot of walks with my dogs Heidi and Andrew along the bike trail near our house in Rhode Island and biked it to my coaching job with the local little league for practices.
A couple of days after my arrival in Idaho with Dad, the day came to conquer Brundage Peak. Brundage Mountain and Peak are the big mountain chain outside of McCall. Brundage Mountain has a popular ski resort that caters to locals and ski nuts from Boise and points beyond every Winter.
Early in the morning with backpacks on the back and Tyler the dog in tow, off Dad and I went up the trail near his house to Brundage Peak. Dad and I passed Bear Basin first. Bear Basin is a big open area that is popular for the local lumberjacks every fall for woodcutting, and it is also a haven for the bears who frequent the area every summer. Dad and I didn't have any close encounters with Yogi and Boo Boo, but that was for the better. All Mom needed was a phone call from the Valley County Sheriff saying we were mauled by hungry bears in the Idaho woods!
The trail to Brundage is lined with Ponderossa Pine trees. They are huge pine trees with a distinctive vanilla scent. How do I know about this? Dad had me sniffing one of the trees on our first rest break, and I got some of that sap on my butt from sitting under the tree afterwards.
Sticky butt and all, Dad and I started up again up the trail to Brundage Peak. Tyler was running all over the place chasing bugs and jumping in the little ponds that lined the road to cool off. We also saw a deer run across the path, and Tyler had to give chase to Bambi for entertainment.
After a 3-hour and 10-mile hike up a narrow dirt trail, Dad and I made it to the top of Brundage Peak. There is an observation deck along with a Forest Service building at the peak, and Dad and I had our lunch among some great views. From one side of the Peak, you can see The Seven Devils Mountains, which is a chain of seven peaks that look like, duh, devil horns. You can see McCall from here along with other great sights.
After about an hour of resting and picture taking, Dad and I headed back down the trail back home. About halfway down, a man on his bike was coming in the opposite direction and asked Dad how the trail was. It was his first time, and Dad told him it was a steep climb, but the guy said he would give it a shot to get to the Peak. A while later, the man came flying down the hill saying it was too much for him to climb.About 8 hours after starting this trip, our sweaty, sticky, and sunburned bodies made it home to Dad's little cabin. I had a bad knee at the time and wore a huge knee brace. My leg resembled a candy cane for the rest of the summer because my lower leg and thigh were tanned while the part the brace covered was white! People would get a good chuckle at my knee brace tan, but it was a badge of honor to me. Not many 21-year-old women get to hike up a mountain in their lifetime, and I was proud to have accomplished this.The trail to Brundage Mountain is located off of Highway 55 about 3 miles outside of McCall on the right-hand side. There is a parking lot that is very safe for your car. In the summer time, this trail is great for hiking, but I wouldn't go in the fall when hunting season is in full swing, and there are a bunch of crazy drunken rednecks with guns hunting for Bambi (a very scary thought indeed!). In wintertime, the trails are accessible by snowmobile, and there are several snowmobiling competitions throughout the winter. Make sure you are dressed for the season and wear good strong hiking boots or sneakers, bring tons of water, and a light lunch. Sunblock is also a plus, or you will fry. A hike up to Brundage Peak is about 20 miles round trip and worth a full day of your time!
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 06 Dec, 2002
I live in a very rural area in central Idaho. There are only 138 people in my adopted home of Donnelly and 2,000 in McCall, 17 miles north of Donnelly. Most everyone here in the McCall/Donnelly area relies on wood or pellet stove…Read More
I live in a very rural area in central Idaho. There are only 138 people in my adopted home of Donnelly and 2,000 in McCall, 17 miles north of Donnelly. Most everyone here in the McCall/Donnelly area relies on wood or pellet stove heat in the winter time because electric heat is very expensive and we do not get paid enough to cover our bills. Last winter, I heard one man had a $400 electric/heating bill one month. Many people here get heating assistance from WICAP (Western Idaho Cooperative Assistance Program), but most get a logging permit in order to chop wood in the Payette National Forest every fall. My family and I are among the many amateur lumberjacks who go out into the woods every September to find dead trees suitable for chopping and putting into our woodstove every winter. My Dad is our resident logging engineer, and this September, I was with him chopping wood and loading our trucks. We went wood cutting at Tamarack Falls near Donnelly and Hazard Lake near McCall and New Meadows. Dad chops the tree down with his chainsaw, and I yell TIMBER! Then I mark the fallen tree with a crayon, and Dad chops it into rounds that will be split later with a splitter. We then load the wood into our trucks and go onto the next tree.
When I tell my friends in Rhode Island and my Nana that I go into the woods to chop wood, they say "Ladies should not be doing that kind of work!" I have to tell them "Hey, besides Dad, there is not any hunky guy or boyfriend to chop wood for Mom and me!" We have no choice to do it, and besides, Mom and I love going out into the woods to enjoy the beautiful scenery that Hazard Lake and the other areas have to offer. You breathe God''s good air and take down trees that could be a fire hazard the next summer when it is dry and hot.
And yes, I know how to use an ax and a maul, which is a heavy wedge shaped ax that is used to split rounds and hard wood.
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 21 Sep, 2000
Accomodations in in the McCall/Donnelly, Idaho area.
There are many hotels and campsites in the McCall/Donnelly, Idaho area. Here are a few moderately priced and nice places one could stay in if they decide to come for a visit to Idaho. All of the…Read More
Accomodations in in the McCall/Donnelly, Idaho area.
There are many hotels and campsites in the McCall/Donnelly, Idaho area. Here are a few moderately priced and nice places one could stay in if they decide to come for a visit to Idaho. All of the following hotels are located on State Route 55.
McCall Super 8
Best Western, McCall
Brundage Inn Motel
Riverside Motel and Condos
Long Valley Motel
Golden RV Park
204 n 3rd Street
Meadows RV Park
8 miles west of Mccall on Hwy 55
Open April 15-October 31
Westside RV Park
1011 W. Roseberry Road
1/2 mile west of the Donnelly Country Store. Open April to October