Montana Outdoors

January 25, 2009

Koo Koo Sint ridge, the south slope (1)

Today for the first time in about two weeks, we had a little sun and clear sky, and the outdoors called. I drove a few miles to the west, considering a brief hike on the Munson Creek trail, but changed my mind when I found that a brisk wind accompanied the semi-clear skies and, with the temperature in the mid teens, it felt a little too far on the cold side of comfortable.

Since Munson Creek cuts north through the Koo Koo Sint ridge, it was a short drive further west to get a good look at the ridge. I was pleased to find that the clouds had pleasantly decorated the upper levels of the ridge, and of course I had to bring back a few photos.

South slope of Koo Koo Sint ridge

South slope of Koo Koo Sint ridge

South slope of Koo Koo Sint ridge

South slope of Koo Koo Sint ridge

South slope of Koo Koo Sint ridge

South slope of Koo Koo Sint ridge

(As David Thompson explored and mapped much of the northwestern United States and western Canada in around 1800, he carried a brass sextant of 10 inches radius and an achromatic telescope of high power. Every night he took his readings from the planets, and the Indians came to call him Koo Koo Sint, “the man who gazes at stars”.)

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January 24, 2009

A reminder and a remembrance

Filed under: Highway safety, Montana — Tags: — montucky @ 9:59 pm

A warning and a remembrance

The setting of this is on the river side of a wide, sweeping curve on an extremely dangerous piece of a very short highway known as Montana 135. In a canyon along the Clark Fork river and noted for sharp curves and frequent patches of ice, it’s now classified as a Scenic Highway, with the forested mountains of two roadless areas towering over it on both sides: it’s a beautiful but lonely place.

Since 1953 the American Legion has been installing small white crosses at the sites of fatal traffic accidents all over Montana as a sober reminder to “Please Drive Carefully”. Over 2,000 have now been erected.

Although the program is intended to be a safety program and not a memorial program, many families will place decorations on the supporting poles as a memorial to a loved one who was lost in an accident. At first I objected to the decorations, thinking them to be a distraction from the safety program, but after reflecting for awhile on some, like this one, I’m beginning to think that maybe they carry an even more powerful message than just the simple plain white crosses. It’s difficult to get this image and everything it represents out of my thoughts, and perhaps I do drive a little safer as a result.

Montana White Cross Information

(A few days ago I was reminded of the crosses by this post by Preston Surface on the Surface & Surface Photography blog site: Highway 99 Road Monument)

Room with a view

Filed under: Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 1:45 pm

I suppose if I were to plant my boots in one location and look forward to a life expectancy of about three centuries, I’d want to do it somewhere that had a view too.

Room with a view

The cliff overlooks this backwater of the river. The background in both photos is in the Patrick’s Knob Roadless area.

Clark Fork river

January 23, 2009

River ornaments (2)

Filed under: ice art, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Winter — montucky @ 7:51 pm

It has now been 9 days under the inversion clouds, with only a very few moments of clear sky. The temperature early this morning was 22°; late this afternoon 23°, with a wind that would chill a witch’s heart. Not a great day for photography. However…

Investigating the shallow waters right at the river’s edge, I found that nature not only decorates willow twigs with crystal, but shoreline rocks with milk glass. There are always small places of beauty somewhere!

River ornaments

River ornaments

River ornaments

(The first photos from a new camera for which I have high expectations!)

January 21, 2009

River ornaments

Filed under: ice art, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Winter — montucky @ 7:36 pm

Question: Who, in his right mind, would wander along on the ice at a river’s edge in a wind that would make an icicle shiver, kneeling down and taking snapshots of ice forming on small willow shoots growing out of the water?

River ornaments

River ornaments

River ornaments

River ornaments

River ornaments

River ornaments

Answer: No one.

January 20, 2009

The icicles in Buffalo Bill Canyon (2)

Filed under: Cabinet Mountains, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Winter — Tags: — montucky @ 9:05 pm

A few more photos from the canyon. By the way, this cliff area is only about a half mile long. There is a single track road through it, but it is closed to traffic. The cliffs upon which the icicles grow varies from 100 to 200 feet high and so the photos require quite a bit of zoom and could be better quality with a better lens. For example, in the first photo the cascade is perhaps 40 feet tall and nearly a hundred feet above the canyon floor: the icicles in the last photo are perhaps 6 feet tall and around 60 feet up.

Often on the rocky areas above the cliffs themselves, Big Horn sheep can be seen.

Icicles at Buffalo Bill Creek

Icicles at Buffalo Bill Creek

Icicles at Buffalo Bill Creek

Icicles at Buffalo Bill Creek

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