Montana Outdoors

July 7, 2006

A summer storm

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photos, Pictures, Reflections, Storm clouds — Tags: — montucky @ 1:29 pm

Yesterday was one of those hot summer days when the temperature was high and the sun was simply unrelenting. That is, until just slightly after noon when the Robin’s “rain song” began to ring out across our little canyon.

As I looked up, the sky was deep blue to the east, white overhead, and grew darker on to the west interspersed with flecks of pure white, then merged into black just above the western mountain peaks. The Robin was right: Mother Nature was mixing her mysterious formula for one of those beautiful late afternoon thunder storms in western Montana.

So what does a typical red-blooded Montana fisherman do at a time like that? Head for his favorite fishing stream, of course.

A few miles from the house the storm hit with great fury, the first wave, with more yet to come. Rockets from the sky fired earthward into the ridge tops followed closely by gigantic claps of thunder that first exploded and then rolled across the valleys and echoed back from the mountain slopes. And much needed rain.

Another half hour and a few miles northwest the storm subsided into no more than a few drops of rain still coming down at a sharp angle into the windshield of the Jeep. Finally, after crossing a small divide and ten miles down the other side I could see the Thompson River valley coming into view, its trees a brighter shade of green and its grasses still wearing the last sparkling drops of rain.

After I made brief hike to a stretch of the river somehow always overlooked by other travelers, the stream appeared and the rain began again. Perfect! Again and again as my fly floated down to the water and landed on the surface among the dimples from the rain drops, the trout responded, striking quickly and often and hard.

A few hours on the stream and my old wicker creel became heavy with fat little trout; Browns, Rainbows and beautiful spotted Brookies. Plenty for now and just enough light left before the next wave of the storm for a brief visit to a place that I always visit when I‘m in the area; an osprey nest at the top of a lightning-struck Yellow Pine rising above the Alders.

Osprey nest

As I looked at the tiny heads of this year’s Osprey chicks peeking out over the edge of the nest eighty feet above and wondered just what they did when the heavy rain fell, the storm re-kindled itself and swept over head, causing them to do whatever they do and causing me to head for the Jeep in what had now quickly become a driving rain.

The sky was black and the rain was coming down in sheets before I topped the Loneman Divide and headed down into the valley of home. Zeus was throwing his lightning bolts straight down now, turning the firs and pines into tall flash-bulb silhouettes along the road, which was now strewn with rivulets of water, down it and across it, and the deafening claps of thunder took all other thoughts out of my mind.

Nearing home again, coming out of the depth of the storm’s last fury I could see the freshly-washed world opening up in new window ahead, maybe as another reminder that Nature’s storms and also our own personal storms eventually end and the sun shines upon us once again.

End of the storm

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