Montana Outdoors

December 22, 2010

Cliff icicles

Filed under: Winter — Tags: , , — montucky @ 11:33 pm

Cliff icicles

A large variety of icicles form during most winters high on the sheer cliffs in the deep part of the Buffalo Bill Creek canyon. The ones in this photo are perhaps a hundred feet above the creek bottom and the longer ones I would estimate at about 6 feet in length. It’s about a two mile hike to get to the location and a lot of that is uphill. As I hiked the old logging road to it today there was about 6 inches of frozen and crusted snow on the ground, covered by about 4 inches of powder, and for the entire distance I had the pleasure of walking in Cougar tracks that had been made there several hours earlier.



  1. A wonderful and impressive image ! I like your description too and this idea of you walking in cougar tracks. What a beautiful world you are living in ! Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you and yours, montucky.


    Comment by isathreadsoflife — December 23, 2010 @ 6:28 am

    • It really is a beautiful world. Getting out into the wild part of it provides perspective and balance against the headlines. I wish you a wonderful Holiday Season too, Isa!


      Comment by montucky — December 23, 2010 @ 10:03 am

  2. I don’t want to be standing around there when those start falling like javelins.


    Comment by knightofswords — December 23, 2010 @ 8:48 am

    • I wonder of they do that: if so, it would be something to see! I have seen the remains of some of the very large columns of ice that have broken off. That cliff receives only a minute or two of sun each day, if that much, and so I suspect these smaller ones just slowly melt away. Perhaps I will check on them in spring when the ice around here begins to melt.


      Comment by montucky — December 23, 2010 @ 10:07 am

      • My Dad’s job when he was a kid was knocking icicles off the eaves of the house so they wouldn’t fall on somebody later on.

        You can set up a web cam to catch the action in the spring.


        Comment by knightofswords — December 23, 2010 @ 11:43 am

        • They are a potential problem that one has to keep in mind this time of year! I’ve seen some hanging of roofs that are very dangerous!


          Comment by montucky — December 23, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

  3. Hi Montucky, Wow fresh Mountain Lion tracks! I do miss the idea of seeing a Mt. Lion – there are an estimated four Cougars other than Florida or Carolina Panthers, East of the Mississippi and one is in Indiana. They think the others are in Michigan and maybe one in Georgia. They are elusive here. Your icicles are so special! Have a great day!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — December 23, 2010 @ 11:15 am

    • Mountain Lions are fairly plentiful here. I was surprised yesterday to see so many tracks in that area. I’m sure they were hunting whitetail deer, but there were also elk tracks. What I found especially strange was the there were tracks of three different cats because I could determine three sizes of tracks. One was small, which might mean one of last summer’s cubs was still with its mother. One was quite large and I would guess it was made by a large male, and that track crossed the road I was on but didn’t follow the road. I expected perhaps to see wolf tracks but there were none.


      Comment by montucky — December 23, 2010 @ 11:39 am

  4. What’s sad is I icicles like this hanging from the roof of my house right now.

    Seriously, nice composition and handling of the ice and snow exposure, Terry.


    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — December 23, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    • The big icicles on our roof have come and gone. There are small ones again though.


      Comment by montucky — December 23, 2010 @ 8:25 pm

  5. Wow, I don’t hear about cougars everyday. What a wild place you live in! Do you have to worry about them, or are they like bears- mostly keeping to themselves?

    The ice is neat!


    Comment by sandy — December 23, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

    • I think their numbers are pretty low in the east any more, but they are plentiful here. There has been an interesting interrelationship develop between them and wolves. Initially when wolves were reintroduced they took over many Cougar territories. Cougars are constantly being hunted using packs of hounds, but when the hounds encounter wolves the wolves kill them, thus making life easier for the cats. They certainly can be a concern, probably more than any other wild animal at the moment. There have been several cases in the northwest where they have made predatory attacks on humans, a couple just this past fall. I always carry a pistol on my back country hikes mostly because of their presence. That doesn’t mean one has to constantly worry about them, but it’s best to be prepared just in case. I have seen several clear instances (by looking at the tracks) where they have intentionally avoided encountering me and several where they have followed me, although I’m sure that was simply out of curiosity. Never have I personally been threatened.


      Comment by montucky — December 23, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

  6. Amazing gorgeousness here…
    Merry Christmas Terry!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — December 24, 2010 @ 12:04 am

  7. What an interesting photo. Rough cliffs and Mother Nature as artest.

    Merry Christmas, Montucky!


    Comment by sartenada — December 24, 2010 @ 12:27 am

  8. magnificent! we have enjoyed your country here in montana! sad to leave it but so happy we got to be here and see the overwhelming beauty that you post about every day!

    I think I would prefer hiking to skiing but since I do neither regularly, I’m not really sure.

    and guess what, I think I saw mink!! I heard a mother describing it to her daughter and what to look for. I thought it impossible to ever see that and then, when riding the ski lift, I really did see exactly what she had described. I later saw another one running across the road! awesome!!


    Comment by silken — December 24, 2010 @ 5:21 am

    • I’m so glad that you were able to come here and that you had a good time! I wish I could have gone there to meet you and your family, but maybe another time. Isn’t it wonderful to see some of the rather rare wildlife? It’s always such a treat!


      Comment by montucky — December 24, 2010 @ 9:48 pm

      • we really did love montana. the scenery was gorgeous and the people were friendly. I too wish we could have met up, maybe we will be back some day. and if you are ever in south TX….


        Comment by silken — December 25, 2010 @ 7:34 pm

  9. Stunning! The icicles are sculptures all unto themselves. Beautiful landscape!


    Comment by Marcie — December 24, 2010 @ 7:27 am

    • I’m glad that I found that spot several years ago. I make it a point to visit there at least once every winter now.


      Comment by montucky — December 24, 2010 @ 9:49 pm

  10. i wanted to wish you and your family a very merry christmas and a joyous new year. i also wanted to thank you for bringing so much joy to others with your beautiful photography…please, keep up the great work! =o)


    Comment by Sandy — December 24, 2010 @ 11:15 am

    • Thank you Sandy! And I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too!


      Comment by montucky — December 24, 2010 @ 9:51 pm

  11. I’ve never seen anything like that either. Gorgeous. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Terry.


    Comment by Candace — December 24, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

  12. A beautiful and magnificent capture! Wow! Merry Christmas to you and yours!


    Comment by Anna — December 24, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

  13. LOVE the ice pictures… wish I wasn’t feeling so rushed for time because I’d love to comment on them individually… especially love the blue, blue sky behind the one icy weed (?) and the ice caterpillar… and the frozen waterfall… well you get the idea! Hope you and your family are having a wonderful holiday season!


    Comment by Victoria — December 24, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

    • I hope you and your family have a great holiday season too, Victoria!


      Comment by montucky — December 24, 2010 @ 9:59 pm

  14. I love the touch of gold in the icicles. Nature is an amazing artist. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!


    Comment by kateri — December 24, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

    • Yes, Nature is indeed an amazing artist. I hope you have a great Christmas too!


      Comment by montucky — December 24, 2010 @ 11:14 pm

  15. That is a lovely photo. I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to walk in fresh cougar tracks. Merry Christmas.


    Comment by Tammy McLeod — December 25, 2010 @ 8:35 am

    • Merry Christmas, Tammy! Cougars are one of the wonderful and beautiful creatures that live in the wild country and one has to remember that they are there and be prepared for a chance encounter with one. The danger level is extremely low.


      Comment by montucky — December 25, 2010 @ 10:34 am

  16. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Montucky! I look forward to your photos and prose this coming year.


    Comment by Jack Matthews — December 25, 2010 @ 9:04 am

    • Merry Christmas to you and yours, Jack! I will be following your posts too!


      Comment by montucky — December 25, 2010 @ 10:35 am

  17. Amazing photo! It must be beautiful in spring, too. Merry Christmas to you and your family montucky!


    Comment by farmhouse stories — December 25, 2010 @ 10:38 am

    • Thank you Cait! I hope you and your family are having a great Christmas too!


      Comment by montucky — December 25, 2010 @ 10:50 am

  18. Fantastic, this is. I looked at it the other day and couldn’t think of words to say how much I liked it!

    What sort of size are cougar tracks? (I can hear the cougar now: “I’ll put my paw here, and here, and another and another and that human will follow me and we’ll have fun…”


    Comment by Val Erde — December 25, 2010 @ 11:27 am

    • An adult print is about 3 inches long. In snow for another inch around the track itself you can see an impression of the long thick hair: the total diameter gives the cat a wider print, something like we might do with snow shoes.


      Comment by montucky — December 25, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

  19. Nice that the cougar cut your way for you. Amazing icicles.


    Comment by Bo Mackison — December 29, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    • I very often see the tracks of cougars, but rarely get to see the cats. I always enjoy seeing them.


      Comment by montucky — December 29, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

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