Montana Outdoors

January 24, 2011

A visit to an old painting

Filed under: Pictographs — Tags: , , , , — montucky @ 12:29 pm

In winter, when ice blocks the forest roads that lead up into the high country, it is pleasant sometimes to visit some of the lower valley areas on the Flathead Indian Reservation where there is interesting scenery

Old ranch road

Old ranch road

Spring-fed duck pond

Spring-fed pond above the river

and a large variety of wildlife.

Whistling swan

Whistling swans (the American race of the Tundra swan)

Big horn sheep

Big horn sheep

(The previous two photos are of interest, not because they are particularly good photos, but because they were taken only one minute apart, 180 degrees from each other.)

Last winter on one of those treks I came across a haunting piece of artwork on a very large rock along the river. (Some background can be found in a story I posted then, Pictograph, or Ancient Art…. I initially thought it was an old pictograph because there are some pictographs in the same general area (even though this one was quite different from the others and in a separate location). I contacted some of the authorities of the Tribe and told them of it and took one of their Wardens to see it. To my surprise, they had been unaware of it, but thought it was not an ancient pictograph but a much more recent creation than the others and seemed quite unconcerned about it. While I am certainly not an expert in that subject, I am still convinced that it was painted centuries ago.

A few days ago I made a hike into the same area to enjoy the landscape and revisit the painting, hopeful that it had survived the year without sustaining damage. (It is located in a place that does receive some traffic and its only protection comes from the fact that it is very small and easily overlooked by visitors.) I was happy to see that it has not been disturbed.

The artwork is small, about the size of a credit card. Here is a close-up photo:

Rock art

Here is a photo of the painting in it’s location on the rock (at the lower right) above the river, where the pair of rams perpetually gaze over the river toward the peaks beyond.

Rock art

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