Montana Outdoors

September 14, 2010

Stalking a tree

Filed under: Autumn — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 10:44 pm

Not far from where I live is a tract of land of 60 acres or so near the river, that no one ever seems to visit other than the wildlife and, well, me. The grass on it is tall, the brush is very thick and thorny, it’s necessary to cross a small stream to get to it and the terrain is more than a bit difficult to travel upon, all of which make it a very pleasant place indeed to explore.

A half mile or so from the edge of this piece of land is a tree that is rapidly changing into its fall wardrobe. I’m sure it didn’t chose to begin its life in that particular location, but it has clearly chosen to thrive there. It was this tree that I chose to stalk this afternoon.

When the stalk began, there were small drops of rain in the air and the general light conditions looked as though they would be quite good for a photo or two of the tree and its new colors. I decided on a direct approach. Until I found that the local beavers had constructed a small dam in the little stream and flooded much of the terrain associated with that approach. After circling around toward the downstream side, I found a place of about fifty feet between their interesting little dam and the river and a small place within it where the stream was fordable for my short hiking boots, and I crossed it and resumed the “direct approach” until nearly in range for a clear shot of the tree.

That was when the sun broke out through the clouds and appeared right behind the tree, causing the stalk to take off on a brand new tack, made hardly any easier by the tall grass and chin-high thistles which hid all of the channels that the beavers dug and so thoughtfully left for other critters to stumble into. The best part of surrounding the tree with my presence as I tried to get into the optimum light conditions was jumping six deer out of their beds at close range and also at least one bear (and he was probably a growly bear too because I’m sure I woke him out of his afternoon sleep).

All of this for a trace of fall colors, some pure white clouds and a bit of blue sky.

Fall color


  1. wow, Dad! Stunning photo and wonderful prose. I love your stories…and I love you! Xoxo


    Comment by juls — September 14, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

  2. All of that for “a trace of fall colors, some pure white clouds and a bit of blue sky”? And that, my friend, is priceless.


    Comment by Robin — September 15, 2010 @ 6:15 am

  3. Wonderful tree stalking, for sure. πŸ™‚ This is so very beautiful… magnificent. Turning autumn is beautiful to watch and photograph.


    Comment by Anna — September 15, 2010 @ 8:18 am

  4. Hi Montucky – Six deer and a grumbly bear! Wow! Nice picture of the tree against the vivid azure sky!

    Have a great day today!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — September 15, 2010 @ 8:32 am

    • I thought of you late last evening as I was returning from fishing a few miles from here. I counted 62 deer In a field (of about 40 acres) and the way the terrain had rolling hills, that was probably only about half of the deer in the field. Then about a mile farther another field held at least as many.


      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

  5. Sounds like a tale of one of your lovely ‘strolls’, but the tree was surely worth the effort. Isn’t it grand to find a piece of land where you are the only occupant for a time…


    Comment by Bo Mackison — September 15, 2010 @ 10:13 am

    • I thought that one photo was worth the effort, but then the effort was enjoyable in itself. Yes, Bo: I usually seek out places where I am the only occupant. This summer in over 50 miles of hiking on trails in our roadless areas I encountered only two people and one of those was a Forest Service person checking on the results of some trail work they had done.


      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  6. gorgeous picture. I can’t even imagine that kind of a tromp! what an adventure your every day life is!


    Comment by silken — September 15, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

    • There is usually something interesting around here, Silken. I consider myself very lucky to live here and still be able to enjoy the outdoors.


      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

  7. That is why autumn is my favorite season! What a grand sky for a background, too.


    Comment by sandy — September 15, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

    • I love all of the colors too, and it will be even better when there is that touch of cold in the air, the clear fall skies and the promise of the first snow…


      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2010 @ 9:20 pm

  8. I wish I could have been with you on this little trek! You have the most wonderfully exciting experiences!


    Comment by Barbara — September 15, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

    • You would have enjoyed it, Barbara! This is an interesting place because of all the wildlife activity there, yet it’s so close to civilization. I think it’s the thistles: they keep most folks out.


      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

  9. Well, I’m not the one that had to contend with a large and growly bear, but from my perspective it was well worth the effort!


    Comment by WordVixen — September 15, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

    • Well worth it from my viewpoint! It’s funny about the bear. I heard today from a friend that after I chased the bear out of there, in his departure he pushed a whole bunch of deer out ahead of him, kind of a chain reaction.


      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

  10. well i was a little disappointed that there was no photo of the grumpy ole’ bear…until i read your first comment and reply! =o)


    Comment by Sandy — September 15, 2010 @ 8:04 pm

    • I’m not real good at getting bear photos in thick brush, a skill that I’m not too excited to learn. Maybe in time!


      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  11. Oh my goodness! Glorious. And to see all those animals, too! And all the other deer you spoke of…


    Comment by Candace — September 15, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

  12. I’m very sure this tree is glad you stalked it – just to show it off in its glory – gorgeous!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — September 16, 2010 @ 7:41 am

    • Thanks Stacey! It’s good to see you out and about again!


      Comment by montucky — September 16, 2010 @ 8:49 am

  13. Montucky, your pictures and blog never fail to brighten my day! Thanks!


    Comment by utehawk — September 16, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

  14. Lovely.

    In this photo You captured all the elements which are pleasing one eyes, like colors of the tree, blue sky, clouds of distant mountain. That is great.


    Comment by sartenada — September 16, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

    • That was fun to photograph because the tree was in an open place and it was possible to move around until the light was just right.


      Comment by montucky — September 17, 2010 @ 12:02 am

  15. All completely worth it!
    (Wouldn’t you have been surprised though if, as you had approached the tree, it had moved further from you?)


    Comment by Val Erde — September 17, 2010 @ 9:04 am

    • In that terrain it seemed to move anyway. It’s interesting to see how much the character of a tree like that varies from side to side.


      Comment by montucky — September 17, 2010 @ 9:10 pm

      • And presumably also, if you were to look closely inside (which you’d probably only be able to do by climbing or becoming a bird!) as it’s such a big tree, the semi-inner branches might have a different climate for themselves. I suppose that must be the case – kind of creates a micro-climate within parts of it.


        Comment by Val Erde — September 18, 2010 @ 7:29 am

        • At the base of that tree are several smaller ones, and there is a micro-climate inside next to the trunk. Also a good place to get out of the weather while there are leaves still on the tree.


          Comment by montucky — September 18, 2010 @ 10:14 am

  16. Ah, but so worth it! So, when you going back?

    I’ll be a state over from you starting tomorrow night. Hope I find some foliage in their fall wardrobe, too.


    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — September 20, 2010 @ 7:30 am

    • Hope you have a safe trip, Scott. It’s a little bit early for the best of the fall colors, at least here, but good that it’s too early for icy roads.


      Comment by montucky — September 20, 2010 @ 8:48 am

      • Thanks! Amen to the no ice on roads. Last time I was there it was -20 F and all snow and ice. Half the roads where closed off in the Theodore Roosevelt NP so I intend to drive, stop and explore on them this time.


        Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — September 20, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

        • I think you’ll enjoy the country much more this trip!


          Comment by montucky — September 20, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: