Montana Outdoors

November 18, 2014

Galaxies in the ice

Filed under: ice art, Winter — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 9:52 pm

This afternoon it seemed appropriate to visit a place a few miles from the house where a tiny part of the Lolo National Forest sits right where a small stream enters the Clark Fork River. It’s a remote place, not because of its location, but because it’s rather brushy and boggy and rocky and therefore few people visit there. Animals do though; bears, deer, coyotes… and beavers.

A beaver dam which, of course, must be investigated.

Frozen beaver dam

The water backed up by the dam has frozen now and the ice there is nearly a foot thick. (I checked that very carefully before stepping out onto it.)

Frozen beaver dam

Frozen beaver dam

In the preceding photos small white circles can be seen and when they are closely scrutinized (with a little imagination saved from childhood) they become little galaxies, frozen in the ice.

ice galaxy

ice galaxy

ice galaxy

ice galaxy

ice galaxy

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48 Comments »

  1. Cool! How are the snow levels over there? Still any opportunities for high-country roaming?

    Like

    Comment by aarontheisen — November 18, 2014 @ 9:54 pm

    • The mountain tops are white, but the snow isn’t deep yet. Supposed to be some valley rain coming up though so that should add to the mountain snow.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 18, 2014 @ 10:03 pm

  2. Winter is definitely coming, if not already here.

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    Comment by Charlie@Seattle Trekker — November 18, 2014 @ 9:58 pm

    • I was a little surprised at the ice thickness. There is warmer temps in the forecast now. I think I’ll dig my skates out and try that beaver dam tomorrow befor any rain roughens up the ice.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 18, 2014 @ 10:05 pm

  3. You have some truly interesting shots among this collection. Leave it to Mother Nature to provide a never ending supply of possibilities. πŸ™‚

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    Comment by orples — November 18, 2014 @ 10:27 pm

    • Nature definitely creates some interesting things. Right now trying to walk through the physics of the formationos those bubbles is driving me bonkers!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 18, 2014 @ 10:33 pm

      • Be glad you don’t live in Buffalo, NY right now. I hear they are getting hammered with snow—although, ice is still a lethal beauty even without any snow.

        Like

        Comment by orples — November 18, 2014 @ 10:38 pm

        • Actually, I’d love to be in the Buffalo area right now to see all of that snow. I really like severe weather in nearly all of its forms.

          Like

          Comment by montucky — November 18, 2014 @ 10:57 pm

  4. Your ice” galaxies” are so beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like this! πŸ™‚

    Like

    Comment by Jane — November 18, 2014 @ 11:02 pm

    • I had not noticed anything quite like these before either. I think they are bubbles that somehow were trapped in the thick ice, but the mechanics of how that might happen are not easy to figure out.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — November 18, 2014 @ 11:17 pm

  5. Those are awesome photos!

    Like

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — November 18, 2014 @ 11:16 pm

    • Crazy, aren’t they!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 18, 2014 @ 11:18 pm

      • Beautiful designs in the ice, and I love the frozen creek/river shots.

        Like

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — November 18, 2014 @ 11:34 pm

        • Investigating all of those little ice corridors consumes a lot of time, but somebody has to do it! Always something different/cool/interesting to be checked out! So close to home is a plus too.

          Like

          Comment by montucky — November 18, 2014 @ 11:58 pm

  6. Those photos of the circles under the ice are fascinating. And beaver dams…….I just finished a book set in Alaska talking about catching beavers to eat.
    Hope the ice is safe for skating – sounds like fun.

    Like

    Comment by Vicki — November 19, 2014 @ 4:13 am

    • They are fascinating for me too. Sadly, most of the beavers here have been killed for their fur. It’s bad enough to trap them where they are plentiful, but it’s madness to trap them to extinction.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 19, 2014 @ 9:32 am

  7. Beautiful, I love your ice galaxies!

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    Comment by Mike Howe — November 19, 2014 @ 5:15 am

  8. Fascinating!

    Like

    Comment by centralohionature — November 19, 2014 @ 6:15 am

  9. It’s amazing that water can freeze fast enough to stop bubbles in their tracks. It’s beautiful when it happens that way. You’re lucky you haven’t had much snow to cover the scene. You’ve had plenty of cold though if that ice is a foot thick!

    Like

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — November 19, 2014 @ 7:52 am

    • I will try today to get better photos before something destroys the clarity of the ice surface. Yes, we’ve had plenty of cold already!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 19, 2014 @ 9:35 am

  10. Why, yes they are! As stated, beaver dams must be investigated but since we do not get ice that substantial, the little galaxies in our ice are more spread out and not so deep. What a wonderful trip you took us on and my hands and feet are still warm! I do enjoy the world through your lens. Thanks! hugs

    Like

    Comment by Beth — November 19, 2014 @ 8:50 am

    • I’m happy that you enjoy seeing things like these and knowing that I’m not the only one who does. I’m amazed that at my age I still encounter things that I have never seen before.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 19, 2014 @ 9:38 am

  11. must be a national beaver union…..they’ve been busy making dams all over our area! πŸ˜‰

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    Comment by Fergus Gold Post — November 19, 2014 @ 10:29 am

    • There used to be many more around this area, but only a few are left now.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 19, 2014 @ 1:05 pm

      • seems to be a sad trend country wide…. ;(

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        Comment by Fergus Gold Post — November 20, 2014 @ 3:04 pm

        • Yes. And I haven’t seen a porcupine in years either.

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          Comment by montucky — November 20, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

          • used to have 100’s of Canadian geese stop in Sumpter on their way north…..last season I think we counted 3 pair…. ;(

            Like

            Comment by Fergus Gold Post — November 21, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

            • I’m happy to say that we still have an abundance of Canadian geese coming and going here. Today I watched a group of about 50 feeding in a field across the river. Love to see them and hear them.

              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by montucky — November 21, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

  12. Nice! The Cold Weather brings other photo opportunities that most people walk by!

    Like

    Comment by Reed Andariese — November 19, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

    • I guess one has to be a couple of degrees off plumb to be traipsing around in places like that in winter conditions too.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 19, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

  13. Wow! Frozen pond farts.

    Like

    Comment by Chad — November 19, 2014 @ 9:14 pm

  14. Amazing. I love also beaver dam photo.

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    Comment by Sartenada — November 20, 2014 @ 3:22 am

    • The beaver dam is very interesting to me too. Even with the thick layer of ice on the water behind it, the dam is performing as it was designed, letting just the right amount of water through to keep the pond in balance. Beavers are very skilled engineers!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 20, 2014 @ 9:14 am

  15. Beautiful area…and fascinating images of the ice, Terry…and how on earth could the ice be a foot thick already? Wow!

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    Comment by seekraz — November 20, 2014 @ 7:31 am

    • We have had nearly two weeks of very cold nights and days that have not gotten above freezing. Some places, like this one, seem to have trapped some of that very cold air and formed heavy ice. The river nearby has only a little ice along the banks, and a pond about three miles from there is frozen over, but the ice in only about 4 inches thick.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 20, 2014 @ 9:17 am

  16. That’s so cool! Where are the beavers?

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    Comment by Candace — November 20, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

    • I can’t imagine wearing beaver fur, ugh!

      Like

      Comment by Candace — November 20, 2014 @ 7:35 pm

      • They used to use beaver fur to make felt hats. Don’t know if they still do.

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        Comment by montucky — November 20, 2014 @ 7:56 pm

    • I have no idea where they went. I saw no sign of a lodge on the pond, but there were some chewed branches just upstream. Perhaps they moved on up.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 20, 2014 @ 7:56 pm

  17. so many wonderful photographs!
    i love that you call it galaxies within the ice
    and my post today galaxies of crystals, more so above the ice – makes me smile that we both chose the word galaxies!

    Like

    Comment by Tammie — November 20, 2014 @ 9:34 pm

    • I got a kick of both of using the same word too! I really loved your photos of the crystals! I think your weather has been just a bit colder than ours.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 20, 2014 @ 9:39 pm

  18. I’m fascinated by the beaver dams, but by the galaxies, too. I’ve never seen anything quite like that in the ice. I see you have another entry with more images — I’m anxious to see those. When I think about beavers, I always remember a case I heard about in an epidemiology class. It was about a case of beaver tail botulism up in Alaska. A couple of women who were homesteading up there had a beaver tail curing in the cabin, behind the stove. Apparently it got a little too cured (or not quite enough) and that was the end for them. Sigh.

    A different kind of Beaver lives right up the road from me. That would be Joe Beaver, roping champion. I’ve had the opportunity to see him a couple of times, and it’s phenomenal. You might know about him. He’s worked your part of the country a good bit.

    Like

    Comment by shoreacres — November 21, 2014 @ 8:51 pm

    • I would be safe from beaver tail botulism because I’ve never once been tempted to eat one of them! Haven’t seen Joe in action either that I can remember, but yes we do have a lot of roping going on around here. Many of the local ranchers have their own small roping arenas. I’ve always admired their skill but never had much of a chance to do it myself. Actually, my only personal rodeo experience lasted only slightly less than 8 seconds: the horse won.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — November 21, 2014 @ 9:41 pm

  19. Montucky, I got behind in my blog reading so am just now catching up with your recent posts. Yes!! I can see the ‘galaxies’ in the ice. Awesome shots, by the way. πŸ™‚

    Like

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — December 5, 2014 @ 8:48 am


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