Montana Outdoors

January 27, 2009

Ice on the Flathead

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Winter — Tags: — montucky @ 5:29 pm

Yesterday during one of those sunny days that have been quite rare lately, I caught a few shots of ice cakes on the lower Flathead river, about 5 miles upstream from its mouth. The areas of open water and the reflections in them caught my eye. A mile below this, the ice cakes cover the river from bank to bank.

Ice on the Flathead

Ice on the Flathead

Despite all the problems the old house in this photo may have, lack of scenery doesn’t appear to be one of them. Remember the Marlboro Man? I learned last week that some of those commercials were shot here. One of my distant cousins would truck in some of his horses and meet the photo crew there while the actors were being flown in from New York. Well, at least some of it was from the real west!

Ice on the Flathead

(These photos were taken on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana.)


  1. Great shots Montucky,… were those areas behind that house cleared for farming or is that natural clearing?


    Comment by Cedar — January 27, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

  2. Cedar,

    There’s maybe a hundred acres or so just off the river on which they used to raise hay, but it has always been without trees. There’s a band of land about 30 miles wide between the Coeur d’Alene Mountains and the Mission Mountains that is that way. I think it is because as the moisture-laden clouds come in from the west, they drop most of the moisture on the tall Bitterroots, then more on the shorter Coeur d’Alenes and passing over the low area from there to the high Missions, there isn’t any left and it’s mostly just grasses.


    Comment by montucky — January 27, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

  3. The wild west, I’d say. Doesn’t seem like too many people live out your way.


    Comment by Bo — January 27, 2009 @ 9:15 pm

  4. Not that many, Bo and that includes quite a few we’d like to get rid of. We’re the 4th largest state in area and a population of just under a million. Averages out at about six people per square mile, and because about half of them are in cities, that gives us rural folks quite a bit of shoulder room!


    Comment by montucky — January 27, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

  5. That last photo is especially nice… the scene’s as addictive as Marlboros!


    Comment by Tabbie — January 28, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

  6. I guess that’s why they chose the site, Tabbie. At one time it really was a working cattle ranch.


    Comment by montucky — January 28, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

  7. I love the way the ice looks in the second shot. what a fun tidbit to find out about your cousin and the area too!


    Comment by silken — January 29, 2009 @ 11:44 am

  8. It’s a pretty river, Silken. There’s a lot of history around here that is being slowly forgotten.


    Comment by montucky — January 29, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  9. Anna and I would love to spend a week in the old house with a view. My dogs could run loose and have fun. Talk about isolation. Great photos.


    Comment by Preston Surface — February 1, 2009 @ 11:25 am

  10. That would be a good place to spend a week or so. There is (or used to be) a little road to that place and I doubt if more than one or two folks go there in a year. It’s on the Flathead Indian Reservation, but the tribe will issue a permit (use permit) for ventures like that.


    Comment by montucky — February 1, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

  11. Oh, that Marlboro shot is fantastic. 😀

    I’m completely enamored of the ice on the rivers. I love the curves and shapes. And the floating bits that go by when I’m crossing the bridge to campus.

    The Blackfoot’s got some extremely cool ice, but it’s such a deep canyon (at least the part I can easily get to) that it’s really hard to get any decent light down there to get a good picture. (Well, that and the fact that the sun’s weekly appearance is never on a day when I can get out).


    Comment by gradschoolsara — February 2, 2009 @ 8:03 pm

  12. I bet you’ll find yourself exploring quite a bit if the Blackfoot in the summer. I have so many good memories of that area and maybe I’ll join you for a trip or two. I know of some areas where there will be fish that few people realize are there. It will take me awhile to find it again though. There’s a story about that I’ll tell you some time.


    Comment by montucky — February 2, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

  13. Oh, it would be awesome to have you join me for a trip along the Blackfoot! I don’t know much about fishing, but I’d love to learn.


    Comment by gradschoolsara — February 3, 2009 @ 9:29 am

  14. We’ll put that on the “to do” list.


    Comment by montucky — February 3, 2009 @ 10:26 am

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