Montana Outdoors

March 8, 2010

Burying the hatchet

Filed under: Montana, Outdoors — Tags: , , — montucky @ 9:09 pm

“Bury the hatchet”, is an old colloquialism meaning “to make peace”, alluding to the practice by Native Americans of putting away the tomahawk at the cessation of hostilities.

Down river a mile or so from this cliff along the Clark Fork

Cliff by the Clark Fork

there is a fairly sizable flat, forested area, also along the river, running roughly a half mile long and a quarter mile wide. Remaining there are signs of some kind of activity from many years ago, perhaps a small logging operation or maybe even mining activities. At the western edge of this area, a big old Ponderosa pine has since put an entirely new twist on the old practice of “burying the hatchet”.

Buried hatchet



  1. Grew a burl around the hatchet as a defense to disease, I expect. Wonderful find and great photos – both. It was certainly unexpected, wasn’t it? The first photo is quite striking with that rust colored rock in the center, pointing to the sky. And that gorgeous sky!! Wow! The forest is a great backdrop for this kind of drama. Lovely.


    Comment by Iona — March 9, 2010 @ 1:59 am

    • There are so many scenes like that around! I like the color of the rock. This was at the bottom end of the trail. as it starts to climb the mountain it goes through an area of huge rocks that I’ve never been able to photograph well. They are gray and smooth, slightly rounded, and some are 50 to 60 yards long, 40 yards high and I can’t guess how far they go back into the mountain.


      Comment by montucky — March 9, 2010 @ 8:37 am

  2. ouch! .. said the pine! wish that hatchet could talk. Of course that’s a pretty modern handle, but it would still be a story.


    Comment by Cedar — March 9, 2010 @ 4:49 am

    • I’ve tried to figure out how old that hatchet might be, but didn’t get anywhere with it. My best guess would be 50 to 60 years. I remember having a hammer with that type of handle in the 70’s and I think they had been around for awhile then.


      Comment by montucky — March 9, 2010 @ 8:39 am

  3. Pretty cool.


    Comment by kateri — March 9, 2010 @ 6:20 am

    • You never know what you might find. When we lived in Arizona and explored the desert, we found many more relics from the early mining efforts, including a number of graves in remote, secluded locations.


      Comment by montucky — March 9, 2010 @ 8:41 am

  4. That is gorgeous country…


    Comment by burstmode — March 9, 2010 @ 8:06 am

    • It sure is. This was on a foray to see if I could find the bottom end of a trail (I did find it) that runs for about 7 miles from the river level at around 2,500 feet, to a peak at 7,000. There is a lookout at the top and a road to it. I’ve covered about 3 miles of the top part of the trail before I lost it. Now that I found the bottom, I will hike from there to the top. (I’ve heard that if you lose the trail coming down you will end up in a place where you really don’t want to be.) I have an idea that the views from the middle part of the trail might be spectacular.


      Comment by montucky — March 9, 2010 @ 8:50 am

  5. Intriguing find. Was the hatchet broken and planted in the tree, or did a bit of axe throwing end unexpectedly – leaving a tool misplaced and forgotten. Either way it makes an interesting perch. Good luck rediscovering the trail.


    Comment by DaveABirding — March 9, 2010 @ 11:55 am

    • My guess is that the hatchet head is still there. I was unable to move the handle even the slightest bit. An interesting mystery!

      I’ll find the trail next summer. I’ve traveled both ends now and if I can’t find continuity going up, I’ll mark my highest point and then find it from the top down. Whatever happens it will be interesting.


      Comment by montucky — March 9, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

  6. Wow! That is amazing!!!!!!!


    Comment by Barbara — March 9, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

    • You never know what lies out there and that adds even more intrigue to wandering around!


      Comment by montucky — March 9, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

  7. what a gorgeous cliff picture! and what a fun find!


    Comment by silken — March 9, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

    • Yes, rather cool. The hatchet has now become a true landmark for me.


      Comment by montucky — March 9, 2010 @ 8:40 pm

  8. My goodness! A hatchet in which the tree has grown in to! I’ve seen this with barbwire… but a hatchet! That top photo is beyond gorgeous. I love the rustic and rugged appeal to this land in which is beautiful. I could get lost there… truly.


    Comment by Anna Surface — March 9, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

    • I just know you and Preston would quickly learn to love this country, Anna. An ideal situation would be to spend a month or two of each summer in this area.


      Comment by montucky — March 9, 2010 @ 8:41 pm

  9. Poor tree, hopefully, they don’t feel pain. Maybe it was just someone with a macabre sense of humor…Gorgeous cliff.


    Comment by Candace — March 9, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

    • The tree has an incredible defense mechanism there! I would bet the hatchet was inadvertent. Anyone who would do that intentionally is probably also someone who wouldn’t have any feel at all for a long-time event like the tree encapsulating the hatchet.A rather strange and unexpected sight.


      Comment by montucky — March 9, 2010 @ 10:18 pm

  10. Wow, cool!


    Comment by Patia — March 10, 2010 @ 10:25 am

  11. Great find and capture Terry !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — March 12, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

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