Montana Outdoors

January 15, 2007

A River of Ice

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 9:06 pm

The Clark Fork River flowing just below where I live doesn’t freeze over, but the Flathead River does; in a way. Here are some photos taken this morning of a section of it about 160 miles downstream from its headwaters in Glacier Park. At this point, the river narrows and provides the potential of forming an ice dam which covers its entire width.

Flathead in winter 1

Several miles upstream, there are large sections where the river spreads out and the surface is calmer, allowing ice to form. Then pieces like this break loose and float on down into the narrow section.

Flathead in winter 2

Here, a half mile below where the first photo was taken, the ice chunks ram together and bridge across the entire width of the river.

Flathead in winter 3

One often hears of “whitecaps” created on a body of water by the wind. Here are some created by the cold:

Flathead in winter 4

Some of these blocks of ice are fairly good size. The nearly vertical one in the next photo is roughly 5 feet long and 4 inches thick. While trying to get close enough to take this picture, I stepped out onto the ice and my left foot inadvertently found a thin pocket of ice and broke through. I pulled my foot back out of the water and, while saying a soft “Thank you!” to the inventor of Gore-Tex, watched the water on my boot freeze almost instantly upon contact with the air.

Flathead in winter 5
For the next section of about a mile in length, the Flathead literally becomes a river of ice.

Flathead in winter 6


  1. Amazing and beautiful! Thank you for taking me outside the “city”…very much reminds of a rugged version of the Hudson River Valley where I live. I love this time of year when the ice flows crash and tinkle along the shoreline–making marvellous music…love the moss, too…Sandy


    Comment by myinneredge — March 13, 2007 @ 6:48 pm

  2. Thank you for the visit, Sandy!

    Although I’ve never visited the Hudson River Valley, I’ve read about it and understand it is beautiful.

    The other day I browsed through some of your weblog, enjoyed it very much and bookmarked it. I hope you don’t mind.

    I’m just getting used to all the protocols of this site so I’m not sure, but I hope this reply gets back to you properly.



    Comment by montucky — March 14, 2007 @ 12:16 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: