Montana Outdoors

March 16, 2008

Springtime in the Rockies

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Spring — Tags: , , — montucky @ 8:10 pm

When I was a small boy, a song was popular with the older folks in my family, especially my Grandfather and two of my uncles. It was titled “Springtime in the Rockies”, was recorded by none other than Gene Autry, and remained popular in this area for many years. Although I’ve long ago forgotten the lyrics, I can still remember the tune, but most of all I remember those old folks and the springtime they always loved so much here in this part of the west.

Those old folks have been gone for many, many years now and so many other things have changed over the passage of time since the mid 40’s,  yet there are some things that so far have stayed the same.

The buttercups remain the first blossoms to open in spring along the edge of the meadow above the house.


There’s still a pine squirrel or two foraging on pine cones on the steep hillsides that lead up from the river.

Pine squirrel

And bright colored lichens still decorate the rocks on that little pine covered shelf just above the river.

Lichens along the Clark Fork

If we have any wisdom left with us at all, we won’t ever let those things change.


  1. When it’s Springtime in the Rockies,
    I’ll be coming back to you;
    Little sweetheart of the mountains,
    With your bonnie eyes of blue;
    Once again I’ll say I love you,
    While the birds sing all the day.
    When it’s Springtime in the Rockies,
    In the Rockies far away.
    (recorded by Gene Autry, 1938)


    Comment by barbara — March 17, 2008 @ 8:10 am

  2. Here’s a link to a place to get the movie:

    Springtime In The Rockies

    And here is a link to the complete lyrics:

    When It’s Springtime In The Rockies

    And I printed the squirrel photo to help me with a sketch. I hope you don’t mind.


    Comment by Pinhole — March 17, 2008 @ 8:42 am

  3. […] country. The headmaster of St Stithians, Dave Knowles delivered the following in the Rockies When I was a small boy, a song was popular with the older folks in my family, especially my […]


    Pingback by blossoms, the — March 17, 2008 @ 8:44 am

  4. Thank you, Barbara!

    My memories of the song were in the late 40’s, after the war, and since it was written before, it seems almost prophetic, about the times when our troops would again return to peace and springtime. Maybe that’s why it was popular for so long around here.


    Comment by montucky — March 17, 2008 @ 8:55 am

  5. Thank you *so* much! I don’t always comment, but new posts on your blog are the first thing I look for when I get to my computer. Even before my email and the headlines.

    The pictures are gorgeous as always and I’m about to head to iTunes and look for that Gene Autry song. 😀


    Comment by Sara — March 17, 2008 @ 9:33 am

  6. Pinhole,

    Thanks for the links! I’m always pleased if you want to use any of my photos, and especially for one of your terrific sketches!


    Comment by montucky — March 17, 2008 @ 11:48 am

  7. Sara,

    Thank you for your very nice comment! I am very touched by it.

    As the summer approaches and more of the snow melts, I am very much looking forward to being able to get into the high country again and bring back some fresh photos of our beautiful wild country. I already have a bunch of hikes planned into the roadless areas near here.


    Comment by montucky — March 17, 2008 @ 11:54 am

  8. Ahhh! Seems that Spring is finally “springing” everywhere! I love the photo of the pine squirrel … kind of looks like a cross between a gray squirrel and a red squirrel? I love animal photos but they can be challenging, especially since my digital camera is just a compact size camera. (But it can take some pretty neat shots anyway!)


    Comment by Janet Wilkins — March 17, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

  9. The buttercup photo is gorgeous! I can’t wait until the first flowers start showing themselves here.
    I do, however, still have many squirrels scampering around in the woods out back. They sit in the trees and chatter at me whenever I go out there. I just love those little guys.


    Comment by AK_Adventurer — March 17, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

  10. Hi Terry.

    I’ve seen your photos on the website and have also read your blog occassionally over the last couple years. I work for a Missoula based non profit, the WildWest Institute, and part of my job there is to monitor Forest Service projects as they are released. Recently, the Superior Ranger District released a prescribed burning project in the southern portion of the Cherry Peak IRA, which it seems like you spend a fair amount of time in. I wanted to let you know that the project existed and that the Forest Service is currently accepting comments on the proposal. If you send me an email at, I would like to hear your perspective on the proposal, since you seem to know this area well.



    Comment by Cameron Naficy — March 17, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  11. Janet,

    These little squirrels are just a little over half the size of the grays, but they’re still “squirrel cute”.

    You’re right about animal photos being challenging. I often wish I had a better camera with several good lenses, but then I sure wouldn’t want to carry all that around, and besides my small camera gets into action quicker too. I’ve been able to get quite a few shots that I couldn’t have with a higher end camera. It’s a trade-off, I guess. You are doing well with yours, too. You’ve posted some really nice photos!

    (This has been an interesting reply: I had to stop in the middle of it to go on a fire call!)


    Comment by montucky — March 17, 2008 @ 7:24 pm

  12. Cameron,

    I will be pleased to be of help to you and the WildWest Institute whenever I can. You guys do a great job! I sent you an e-mail and included my home phone number. Please feel free to call me if you wish!



    Comment by montucky — March 17, 2008 @ 8:29 pm

  13. AK Adventurer,

    That’s the first buttercup photo I’ve taken that I really like. There’s a special place in my heart for them, mostly because they are the first of the wild flowers to bloom here.

    I also love to see the squirrels, although we don’t have a lot of them around here close.


    Comment by montucky — March 17, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  14. I loved the shot of the buttercup! Beautiful. I’m still trying to master macros with my lens. And great shot of that little (Douglas?) squirrel. He looks “pettable” (my own word which in Lori world works up to a heck of a compliment) – once again great shots!


    Comment by aullori — March 18, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

  15. Thanks, Lori! I am happy with the buttercup. I think the yellows and whites are the most difficult colors to photograph. The time is just about here when you can get lots of practice with your new lens. That will be fun!


    Comment by montucky — March 18, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

  16. I was interested in what kind of squirrel that is too. I just finished a short study w/ my nephews on squirrels. they do not look like the ones around here! nice shot! my older nephew took a photo of one. it did not turn out too clear as he was looking out the door, but it’s a start! have to look again to see if i can post it…


    Comment by silken — March 18, 2008 @ 9:33 pm

  17. I’ve known these little guys as pine squirrels all my life. They are not much larger than a chipmunk, and live mostly on the seeds from Ponderosa pines. I’m sure yours are much larger,.


    Comment by montucky — March 18, 2008 @ 10:30 pm

  18. Beautiful image Terry !! 🙂


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — March 20, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

  19. It’s starting to brighten up here, Bernie! Won’t be long now! I’m looking forward to your photos of the new spring!


    Comment by montucky — March 20, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

  20. My father sang, “Springtime in the Rockies,” to me when I was a little girl. Since then, I have sung it to all of my children as a bedtime lullabye, over and over until sleep settles over them. I also sing it to my little 2 year-old grand-daughter at nap time. Now her Mommy sings it to her. She can not change songs or complaints are heard. It is the sleepy-time song. I have always been soothed by the melody.

    I have looked it up on the web and there is one man singing it on U-tube – Slim Whitman. It is very well done.

    Thanks for the memories and the beautiful pictures.

    Mary Louise


    Comment by Mary Louise — September 23, 2008 @ 7:28 pm

  21. Thanks so much for sharing those great memories, Mary! I will never forget that song either! Thanks for the visit!


    Comment by montucky — September 23, 2008 @ 7:56 pm

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