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Monday, March 14, 2016

An Obituary for Grandma Jane: Jane Walles, August 25, 1927 -- March 12, 2016

Jane Walles, a long-time resident of Port Neches, Texas passed away at Calder Wood retirement facility in Beaumont on March 12, 2016. Jane was born (in 1927) and raised in Miles City, Montana. Her immediate family (all now deceased) included her father, William Leavitt, who was a lawyer and a Montana State legislator; her mother, Emily, who was a home maker; and her two sisters Debra and Anne. Jane had many fascinating stories of growing up in Miles City in the 30's and 40's, some of which involved, literally, cowboys and Indians. After two years of college, at the University of Arizona and the University of Montana, she married her first husband Barney Bardsley and gave birth to a son Scott in 1950. Barney and Jane raised Scott in Billings, Montana, and then moved to Texas in 1969. Within a few years of being in Texas, Barney was tragically killed. Jane chose to stay in Texas after his death and eventually met her second husband Homer Walles, of Port Neches, who she married in 1977. Jane greatly loved, and was deeply devoted to, Homer; they enjoyed travel, working in their yard, and spending time together. Jane tragically lost her son Scott in 1999, and then Homer passed away in 2009. Although she experienced much loss in her life, Jane maintained a wry sense of humor and a zest for life, showing grace and strength through it all. Jane is survived by her grandsons John (Jennifer) and Kadin Bardsley, and great grandchildren Alex and Ellie Bardsley, all of Missoula, Montana; and a niece Krista Carlson of San Francisco, California.
Grandma Jane 1996.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Burnt Mountain, Rock Creek

Walking to the west from from Burnt Mountain down to Rocky Creek Valley
Life has been crazy-busy of late. It's counter-intuitive given that Alex lives in Bozeman and Ellie is very busy with her studies, extracurricular activities, and friends. Family life is less busy than ever, it's work that's full. After 13 years of effort, things are really picking up. It feels like a watershed moment, when there's many directions I could go, but I'm unsure what the future holds. What I do know is that I love where I live, and I love my job: the students, the research, and, increasingly, my service to UM and my research community. 

Today I took Pudge down to Rock Creek, 25 miles from Missoula, and we walked up to Burnt Mountain. This is an ideal early season hike along a ridge heading east from Rock Creek Road. It's steep going, gaining 2500+ feet in about 4 miles. The southern flank of the ridge gets lots of sun, so it's open and snow free early in the spring, with great views.  
On the summit, looking off toward Sliderock Mountain.
Summit Shot, looking west toward Welcome Peak.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Early Season Missoula Area Hiking

Jen on the top of Mount Sentinel
It's shoulder season again, with spring weather in the valleys and winter still hanging on in the mountains. I have to admit to being somewhat out of ski mode, though I hang on to hope that we'll get another blast of winter and a few more days of powder skiing at Snowbowl. On the other hand, it has been a good ski season, with over 30 days at the hill so far, and a feeling that we've gotten our money's worth out of the season passes this year. An upshot of an early spring is that hiking season starts early. This past weekend, Jen and I got out twice, once up Mount Sentinel and another up O'Brien Creek on the west side of Missoula Valley, which is a relatively unknown gem (to get there, cross Maclay Bridge going west, to where the road intersects Blue Mountain Road, go straight through the interesection, and drive a couple of miles to the trailhead). Nonetheless, I'm not ready for winter to end yet, so bring on some more snow.  
Hiking up O'Brien Creek

Pudge and Jen overlooking Missoula.