Montana Outdoors

September 28, 2009


Filed under: Flathead river, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — Tags: — montucky @ 10:53 pm

Johnson jumping spider

Johnson Jumping Spider

This furry little fellow resides just below the Ferry Basin lookout tower at the top of Sonyok Mountain on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana.

Ferry Basin Lookout

The original tower at that site, a 14′ X 14′ cabin, was built in about 1935 and replaced by this one in the 1970’s. It is still in use. I have driven past the base of that mountain for over 50 years without knowing the tower was there until a casual look in that direction a few weeks ago from the National Bison Range revealed its presence.

As Johnson looks toward the west he has this view of the lower Flathead River valley:

Overlooking the Flathead River

The mountains to the left of the river are the Coeur d’Alenes and those to the right are the Cabinets.



  1. Ewww, sorry, your little friend gives me the major creeps. But the other shots are gorgeous! Hope I don’t have nightmares now.


    Comment by Candace — September 28, 2009 @ 11:45 pm

    • This is a friendly species, Candace, and this individual was clearly non-violent. Still, I hope you don’t have nightmares.


      Comment by montucky — September 29, 2009 @ 8:21 am

  2. He looks like a soft and fuzzy (but a bit scary) stuffed toy. I envy his home and his view!


    Comment by kateri — September 29, 2009 @ 2:01 am

    • He sure does look soft, doesn’t he! I doubt that a stuffed toy like that would really catch on, but you never know. that location is not high for a lookout (about 5660 ft), but it has a 360° view for 10 – 20 miles.


      Comment by montucky — September 29, 2009 @ 8:26 am

  3. That spider shot is great! Nice view that it gets to enjoy.


    Comment by DaveABirding — September 29, 2009 @ 8:15 am

    • It was the first of that kind I’ve seen and to me at least, has a quite pleasant appearance. I read that his species spins webs for defense but catches prey by jumping. The view in the other direction is even better, but I wasn’t happy with the photo I took of it.


      Comment by montucky — September 29, 2009 @ 8:29 am

      • Hmm, interesting how they use two different tactics for defense and hunting. I wonder what the advantage of that is.


        Comment by scienceguy288 — September 29, 2009 @ 9:22 am

        • Rather strange, isn’t it! I’d bet they evolved the jumping part because it worked for them and retained the web which also worked.


          Comment by montucky — September 29, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

  4. Jumpin jiminy! That spider woke me right up this morning. Yikes. Those views would have me jumping for joy 🙂


    Comment by Maureen — September 29, 2009 @ 9:16 am

    • I thought he was a neat little critter! The views from there were surprising considering the low elevation. I will go back later and try for a good shot of the Missions on the other side.


      Comment by montucky — September 29, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

  5. Cute spider, and great views from the lookout!


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — September 29, 2009 @ 9:52 am

    • I can’t resist visiting a lookout whenever I can. They are always well located.


      Comment by montucky — September 29, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

  6. Nice and furry …. and nice or not…glad he’s in the picture on the web and not on me!! (other shots are so pretty!!)


    Comment by Stacey — September 29, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  7. Oh Yikes! Great photo of that spider but it gives me the shudders. It is a wonder it didn’t jump on you! I would have liked to climb up into the tower to look at the vista and photograph all around! Gorgeous mountains photo! Rustic. That spider, though…..ugh! LOL


    Comment by Anna Surface — September 29, 2009 @ 11:07 am

    • I did handle the little guy. At first he didn’t want to climb on my hand and then he didn’t want to get off, probably enjoying the warmth.

      The tower is now closed for the season but when they are manned they are nearly always friendly places to visit.


      Comment by montucky — September 29, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

  8. holey moley… i wish you could give me some warning before you post something so lifelike!! i’ll probably have nightmares tonight… being the arachnophobe i am. the last picture is breathtaking… for different reasons that the first one! :o)


    Comment by kcjewel — September 29, 2009 @ 8:22 pm

    • I sure didn’t mean to startle you, Jewel! I like the little critters myself. Yes, that view is one I can look at a lot. Those are my favorite mountains ranges in the distance.


      Comment by montucky — September 29, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

  9. OMG…nearly lost it when I saw this “LITTLE” (so you say) spider. The stuff of my nightmares. Funny, but snakes don’t bother me..can and will handle them but spiders..yikes!!


    Comment by SuzieQ — September 30, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

    • “Johnson” is really only about an inch long. It is strange that spiders bother you and yet snakes don’t. I have a friend who is just the opposite of that. I’m not bothered by either, although I take a lot of care around the poisonous varieties. Here in Montana we have only a couple of poisonous spiders.


      Comment by montucky — September 30, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

  10. like the shot of the spider! nice close up!


    Comment by silken — October 2, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

    • I liked him too. He’s quite a pretty little spider and I had never seen one like him before.


      Comment by montucky — October 2, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

  11. Just wondering where you may have parked and hiked up or did you drive all the way up? Am thinking about doing this hike this year………


    Comment by Anonymous — April 1, 2016 @ 9:52 pm

    • On that trip I drove up to where the road was blocked about a half mile before the lookout, but I haven’t been back there since so I don’t know the conditions now. The road was good for the Jeep then. It would be a heck of a hike all the way up from the bottom.


      Comment by montucky — April 2, 2016 @ 8:54 am

      • Thanks! I was thinking about parking where the road forks to the right and then goes up the mountain….I think that is a little over 6 miles one way, gaining about 1300′.


        Comment by Anonymous — April 2, 2016 @ 3:30 pm

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