There is a logging road that goes up through the canyon of a small stream called Buffalo Bill Creek. The first two miles are open to traffic and because there are homes in the area it is maintained year-long. Two miles past the maintained road the sides of the canyon are composed of steep cliffs about 500 feet high and on those to the west side a variety of icicles form every winter.
The hike up to the cliff area begins along a large meadow on a piece of private land after which it enters land owned by a timber company which allows hiking and hunting access.
Nearly two miles up the road after a climb of around 900 feet the road levels out and enters the cliff area.
I have never been able to get a good photo of the whole of the cliffs themselves because of the thick, heavy brush along the stream. The following two photos show a little of it.
Following are pictures of some of the icicle formations. I wish there were some way to show size perspective, but there isn’t. The longest ones I would guess are over 20 feet in length. I will do a second post with more photos of the icicle formations.
There is one in a ravine on one edge of this area that is closer to 50 feet in length. I need a length of climbing rope to get into a position to photograph it though, and a day with more light than this day had.
Montana has so many beautiful rock formations in the area along the Clarke Fork and along the mountains until you get to Helena or thereabouts. I wanted to stop so many times when we traveled through, but we were towing a trailer and it isn’t easy to pull over quickly (or even slowly, for that matter) for taking photos. These shots of the bluffs and icicles are great. I know it’s hard to get the whole thing into the frame when you’re up so close to it, but how lucky for you to get up so close. I’m sure it was very quiet up there except for the crunching of your boots on the snow and the clicking of your camera.
I know what you mean about it being difficult to find a convenient pull-out in this area to stop for a photo. The roads are narrow and sometimes the shoulders are very this and the ground soft. I wish there were more pull-outs. About a dozen miles west of here there was an area where the Bighorn Sheep would come down from the cliffs and graze on a meadow next to the road. It caused quite a traffic hazard. The Montana State Highway Patrol trooper assigned to this took that as a challenge and convinced a local rancher to donate a little of his property to accommodate a nice turn-out and one was built so a dozen cars could stop and watch the sheep. Others donated time and money to fence the area and the state erected some signage for it.
Yes, I like it being quiet up there with no one else’s tracks around, especially when there is a good amount of snow on the ground. The back country is wonderful when experienced in its natural state!
The story of the State Trooper who made the turnout his personal project is heart-warming. There are people all around the country doing such things – I wish such goodwill, wisdom and creativity were part of our national political process. It can happen on a local level, but it’s much harder on the national. The photos are fantastic. They bring to mind my childhood trip to Mammoth Cave. As the melting begins, does the process of melting and refreezing build icicles “up” as well as “down”?
That is a good story, one of concern and common sense. That spirit ought to go national!
I don’t think they build “up”, but I’ve seen where they keep growing down and hit the top of another and form one big icicle.
Yes, there is always something interesting going on along a creek, winter or summer. This one has a very nice variety of wildflowers starting in mid April. I have a photo from 2008 that was taken while I was looking at flowers. Snow started to come down and I looked way up on the cliffs and saw a ram through the snow.