Montana Outdoors

August 27, 2007

Chippy Creek sleeps tonight

At one hundred thousand acres, it looks like this fire will not grow larger now, but inside the perimeter some of it will probably continue to burn until the snow comes.

The southwest corner from five miles away:

Chippy Creek fire

The northeast corner from twenty+ miles away:

Chippy Creek fire

These last two large plumes of smoke are over fifteen miles apart, and the forest that was between them has all burned.

I will spend tomorrow morning on a high trail five miles to the west of the fire where the country is still wild and green. On my list for later this summer was a hike through the high country in the middle of the area that has burned. I’m sad that the hike won’t happen now, and seeing that country as it was just a month ago won’t be possible now for another hundred years.

This area was a special place for me, and was the scene of a post I wrote some time ago, Howard.

August 23, 2007

August sunset

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Sunsets — montucky @ 4:48 pm

The mood depends on where you look. I sure do love seeing clouds again!






August 22, 2007

Sometimes in pastels

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 4:47 pm

The smoke from wildfires often paints landscapes, sometimes in pastels.


August 21, 2007

Everywhere, clouds

Filed under: Clouds, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 3:57 pm

Finally, a little relief from the heat and desert-like humidity. It was only a little rain, but with it came cooler temperatures and beautiful clouds. A peaceful, although likely short, break from the fires.

Raindrops on wildflowers:

Raindrops on wildflowers

Clouds with windows:

Cloud window

Clouds above, clouds below:

Clouds above, clouds below

How pleasant it is to know that those are real clouds for a change and not plumes of smoke!


August 19, 2007

Clark’s Nutcracker

Filed under: Birds, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 4:26 pm

If I were to be reincarnated, I would wish to return as a Clark’s Nutcracker. “This bird often lives in places remote from human contact, near treeline on windy western peaks”, according to Peterson’s Guide of North American Birds. “Nutcrackers are champions at burying pine seeds (sometimes tens of thousands) in hidden caches in fall, then finding them during winter; these seed stores allow them to nest in late winter, when the forest is still covered with snow.”

Sure enough, these were found right at treeline on a windy western peak while I was photographing a wildfire. Several swooped in to visit me for just a few moments and then sailed off down the mountain, obviously exhilarated by the altitude, the view and their swift ride on the wind.

Clark's Nutcracker

Clark's Nutcracker

Clark's Nutcracker

They are fairly large birds, 12-13” in length, and look nearly identical to the Canadian Gray Jay, often called “Camp Robber”.

August 18, 2007

Smoke effects

Filed under: Forest fires, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 5:52 pm

On Thursday we had a temperature inversion that channeled the smoke from the nearest fire right down close to the ground. That is never fun for those who have respiratory problems, but it creates some interesting visual effects, a couple of which I captured.

The morning sun at about 8 AM in the valley,

Smoky morning sun

and at around noon in the high country.

Smoke scene

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