To join Greg on one of these tours visit BigYearTours.com or call 888-875-9453

In 1998, Greg zig-zagged 130,000 miles across the USA, while trying to hold down a full-time job, aspiring to reach at least 700 species of birds in one calendar year. "The Big Year," a novel by Mark Obmascik detailed his travails alongside two competitors. The book was later turned into a movie of the same title that starred Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson!

Montana Day 6

Today started out with some difficulty. I was rudely awakened at 5:30am by a sharp pain in my right calf. It was excruciatingly painful. I managed to hobble to the bathroom and drank a few glasses of water thinking maybe I was dehydrated. But I have taken care to  stay hydrated. I was dubious. Unfortunately the pain remained.

We packed up our van and drove from Havre to Great Falls. But I never made it to Giant Springs State Park. Near the park we made a bathroom stop. By now the participants were beginning to talk about my limp. Having a caring, thoughtful group like this is a real blessing. And having two nurses along adds more credibility to their advice.

At their prodding I decided to comply and go to a walk-in care facility here in Great Falls to get checked by a doctor. They were concerned about the possibility of a blood clot in my leg. All the traveling I have been doing and not moving around enough is a recipe for bad things. When the doctor finally saw me and asked a few questions an ultrasound was scheduled. The doctor had the same concern. It was not what I wanted to hear. But some things in life are not always in your control.

Of course the opportunity for gripping fear seemed very great. But I chose not to entertain those thoughts. Worry can change things, but not for the better. But trying not to think about something that is in your face hollering at you is hard to ignore. Thankfully, I had caring people at my side throughout the day. They willingly gave up their time out birding to be with me. It really helped me to focus on other things. Thank you Marie and Susan!

We all had lunch together in the hospital cafeteria. My ultrasound was scheduled in the afternoon. It went smoothly and I was in and out in less than half an hour. The results? No blood clots. I am clean. Whew!

I still have a fair amount of pain this evening. I never did ask what caused the cramp-like pain. But I am truly grateful for what it is not.

Having spent the day in a medical facility, I do not have any pictures. But I hope you’ll agree that having good health is more important than so many things in life. And thanks to my wonderful, caring team for being so flexible with me today. I am greatly blessed to have folks like you who care so much.

My faithful co-leader, Chris, alternated between trips to the hospital and taking folks out birding. It feels good to have someone you can trust to help you out in a time of need. Thank you Chris!

Today our group recorded 67 species and pushed the trip total to 150 species. No new birds were seen for the year today, so the year total remains at 422 species.

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