Montana Outdoors

January 14, 2017

Ice on the Flathead

Filed under: Flathead river, Winter — Tags: — montucky @ 12:36 pm

Flathead River ~ frozen

About a week ago I posted a few pictures of a section the lower Flathead River as it began to freeze over. Yesterday I visited again after 10 days of sub-zero nights. There is an open channel through part of it, but in other places it is covered bank-to-bank with ice. The last few photos are closer looks at the ice cakes as they start to pile up. As the usual cycle of freezing and thawing proceeds, more ice will break loose from frozen areas upstream and add to the stacks of ice cakes in this location.

Flathead River ~ frozen

Flathead River ~ frozen

Flathead River ~ frozen

Flathead River ice

Flathead River ice

Flathead River ice

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39 Comments »

  1. Well done, Flathead River!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Harold Rhenisch — January 14, 2017 @ 12:49 pm

  2. Awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by John Purdy — January 14, 2017 @ 1:03 pm

  3. Beautiful photographs!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by kkessler833 — January 14, 2017 @ 2:01 pm

  4. That’s quite a thick layer of ice on the last photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — January 14, 2017 @ 2:13 pm

  5. Breathtaking pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Lucy — January 14, 2017 @ 3:17 pm

  6. Amazing!Those are the bluest blues imaginable.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by jpostol — January 14, 2017 @ 4:03 pm

    • The air in this area is always very clean and when the Arctic air mass comes it’s about as clear as it can possibly get.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 14, 2017 @ 8:59 pm

  7. That’s how ice dams happen. I hope the river doesn’t flood upstream.
    It looks like the hills have either seen a fire or some logging.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — January 14, 2017 @ 4:09 pm

    • Ice dams cause problems some times on our rivers but not in this particular location. The river narrows here and causes the ice to dam up, but under the ice it is very deep and fast flowing. Those hills across the river are just so rocky that they support very few trees.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 14, 2017 @ 9:04 pm

      • That’s surprising. I never would have guessed that the treeless hills were natural!

        Like

        Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — January 15, 2017 @ 8:25 am

        • The hills and mountains here are very rocky, some more than others. There are many fairly sizable mountains that are completely bare of trees on one side and forested on the other. Along this section of the Flathead there are huge gravel banks that formed when a huge lake (Lake Missoula) finally drained about 13,000 years ago. It scoured all of the soil from other areas in the process. In the third photo a little right of center you can see a large patch of unbroken snow about half way up the mountain: it’s one of the smaller gravel deposits.

          Like

          Comment by montucky — January 15, 2017 @ 9:51 am

          • Interesting! Thanks for the lesson in geology!

            Like

            Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — January 15, 2017 @ 1:22 pm

            • It’s a part of the history of this area that not only fascinated me when I first learned of it, bu shich still makes me think when I look upon and hike through the hills and mountains that were involved in the Lake Missoula episode of history.

              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by montucky — January 15, 2017 @ 10:38 pm

  8. Thanks for sharing these photos, Terry.
    For some reason, mainly watching my Alaskan DVDs on ‘freeze-up’ and ‘thaw’, I imagined the river to be flat when it froze. It was interesting to see how uneven Montana’s rivers are with the snow cakes. One learns something new every day when one follows nature blogs. I daresay I only see edited sections of Winter on nature DVDs 🙂
    I’m wondering if there are DVDs on Montana’s winters at all?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — January 14, 2017 @ 5:52 pm

    • A river will freeze across like a lake does in sections where it is very slow moving, or in backwater areas that are still. In this section, the river narrows and as ice cakes from far upriver break loose and float down they kind of tack themselves to the ones along the shoreline one after another after another until the surface of the river is covered all the way across. The water underneath is very deep and fast-flowing. Most of our lakes completely freeze over and that ice is flat and uniform and when it attains the thickness of these ice cakes it is strong enough to drive a vehicle on. Areas like this where the surface is made of ice pieces are not strong and it would be extremely dangerous to even walk very far out on it.

      I don’t know if there are any DVD’s of Montana’s winters.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 14, 2017 @ 9:16 pm

      • Thanks for the explanation. I’ll do a Google search on Montana and see what I can find.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Vicki — January 14, 2017 @ 9:21 pm

  9. Such colours in the snow and ice! What a magical landscape.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jo Woolf — January 15, 2017 @ 2:00 am

    • On sunny and bright days the colors show up and the landscape appears entirely different than on cloudy or hazy days.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 15, 2017 @ 9:54 am

  10. The ice is beautiful and impressive, but the photos really profit from a combination of elements: the sky, the mountains, the shadows, the cloud. I think many of us tend to think of “winter” as monochromatic (whether white or brown!) but it really isn’t, and these photos prove it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — January 15, 2017 @ 6:41 am

    • You’re right, there is a large combination of things that produce color and contrast in the winter landscape, noticeable only on clear, bright days. If there is snow or haze in the air it becomes monochrome.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 15, 2017 @ 10:00 am

  11. Stunning!! Time for a polar bear swim. Go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Chad — January 15, 2017 @ 9:58 am

    • I think I’ll pass on that. It’s 7 below this morning.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 15, 2017 @ 10:06 am

  12. Hello Terry,
    Your photos are crisp, clear, winter loveliness. Such a joy to see, the sky, reflections and the broken ice with aqua hues, wow! Love the different expressions of ice too!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tammie — January 16, 2017 @ 1:13 pm

    • Thanks Tammie. It will not get much prettier this winter, but it will get interesting when the ice begins to pile up across the river.I expect it to stack up higher than I’ve ever seen it.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 16, 2017 @ 4:41 pm

  13. OMG, how gorgeous photos. I love the first photos and three last photos very much. Thank You for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — January 18, 2017 @ 6:17 am

  14. Those ice cakes are truly awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — January 18, 2017 @ 6:23 pm

    • I missed a chance for some photos yesterday of ice cakes that were a good twenty feet long on each side. I will watch for them again, not knowing just what series of events brought them down river.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2017 @ 10:03 pm

  15. Amazing! Beautiful images .. what a treat to be able to photograph natures beauty

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — January 19, 2017 @ 12:54 pm

    • It is, and it makes me happy to be able to post photos here for the enjoyment of others.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 19, 2017 @ 9:17 pm

  16. Ship some of that ice over to Australia. Oh! do we need it! Beautiful photography.
    Bridie.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by bridie83. — February 22, 2017 @ 1:40 am

    • I wish you could have some of this ice. We have had a severe winter here this year.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 22, 2017 @ 10:46 am


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