Peter and Donna Thomas have been making fine press and artist's books for over 40 years. When they started, as craftspeople at Renaissance Faires, they fell in love with the graceful beauty of "gypsy wagon" caravans that other vendors had made to sleep in or use as booths for selling their wares. In 2009 Peter and Donna built their own tiny home on wheels, designed after a typical late 19th century Redding Wagon. This blog documents their trips around the country, taken to sell their artists' books, teach book arts workshops, and talk about making books as art; as well as to seek out and experience the beauty of the many different landscapes found across the USA.

Peter and Donna started their business in 1977 and made their first book in 1978, so from 2017-18 are traveling to celebrate 40 years of making books with shows in a dozen libraries across the country. See the schedule on the side bar to find if they are coming to a town near you....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Big Sky Montana

Yes, it’s true. The sky is big and beautiful in Montana.

We hiked in the sky on Sunday in Glacier National Park on a trail called the Highline Trail, which traverses just under the Continental Divide by Logan Pass. This hike is near the top of my list of all-time favorite hikes. We started out hiking with mountain goats, who are intent on feeding on greenery beside the trail. We enjoyed so many wildflowers, including the millions of yellow glacier lilies covering the alpine slopes. 11.6 miles later, we had descended into a wide watershed with a view of Heaven’s Peak, with its glistening glacier in the afternoon sun. I am very sorry to report that our camera has gone missing from the time in Glacier Park, but we did take some great shots of the hike! Luckily I painted a few watercolors of the scenes and flowers.

Because of a late, cool spring, the grass is still green here on the rolling rangeland. We stayed in the Lewis and Clark and the Custer National Forests yesterday and today. These campgrounds are typical forest service campgrounds during the week: nobody around! The ranger said we probably wouldn’t like the campsites because of the busy road beside it, but when she found out we were from California, she decided we would be fine.We counted about 20 cars passing during the 14 hours we were there…

Speaking of roads, we are traveling the “slow roads”. We followed highways 89, 12 and 212. They are 2 lanes and run right down Main Street in every small town. The natural curves of the landscape are felt in the ride, no big freeway cuts mar the views. We saw deer and pronghorn antelope feasting on the long prairie grasses beside the road. Oh, this is really living!

Driving only about 250 – 300 miles a day is the best way to go across the country. There is time for stops to local antique stores where you might find interesting things like a California hankie,

a woodstove iron panel,

a pressed tin box and other stuff. We leave about 7 am and drive to a pretty spot for breakfast. Here I am shaking off the night before we sit down to breakfast.

We then arrive at our campsite in time for a walk or a music session in the late afternoon. I can’t say I have improved in my bass playing, but we are memorizing a few favorite songs.


Nina Koocher said...

This is beautiful. The photos, text and paintings are so evocative. I remember the trip I took through Montana many years ago. Thanks, Nina

kirse said...

wish i were there!

Boyd said...

Hi Peter and Donna,

Sounds like you two are having a blast! I believe Tanya and I did the Highline trail as well when we were there last.

Point of clarification - there is no Custer National Park anymore, it is now called Little Big Horn National Monument. They changed the name some years back. Did you see the Indian Memorial there?

bc & tc

Kate said...

Beautiful, thank you for sharing.


Bonnie K said...

Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing. Am so enjoying your gypsy summer!