Montana Outdoors

February 22, 2018

Cold River

Filed under: Flathead river, Winter — Tags: , — montucky @ 2:51 pm

Every winter after an extended period of sub-zero weather brought by an influx of cold air down from the Arctic, ice builds up on the Flathead River in this location which is about 150 miles south and west of Glacier National Park, a few miles from where it flows into the Clark Fork of the Columbia River. It’s always worth a visit.

Flathead River

Flathead River

Flathead River

Flathead River

Flathead River

The ice cakes form over an area of several miles upstream where the river is smooth and slower moving. When it reaches this canyon, the river narrows and becomes quite deep and fast flowing and the ice cakes that have formed above collect and pile up on the river surface in the canyon. In many parts of Montana ice dams similar to this can cause problems with flooding, but this one causes no trouble.

 

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29 Comments »

  1. Great pictures of a yearly event. At least this particular one doesn’t cause massive floods.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — February 22, 2018 @ 3:11 pm

    • Yes, this one is just enjoyable to look at. With a stiff breeze blowing upriver, it was pretty cold though. Also got to see an otter on the ice, but couldn’t get a picture.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 22, 2018 @ 3:59 pm

  2. Wow! I’ve heard of this but never seen it. That must be quite a force.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Pat — February 22, 2018 @ 3:16 pm

    • A huge amount of force there. In past years I’ve seen it stand ice cakes up on edge four feet high. Don’t know if it will do that still this year.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 22, 2018 @ 4:00 pm

  3. Cold, but beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — February 22, 2018 @ 3:42 pm

  4. I was going to say that it looked like an ice jam waiting to happen. I’m glad it won’t cause any harm if it does.
    You got some excellent shots of the ice!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — February 22, 2018 @ 4:46 pm

    • The water under the ice is swift and deep so it doesn’t build up a lot of pressure. There will be ice cakes floating down the Clark Fork for weeks as this thing breaks up. I go outside in the evenings and listen to the roar of the ice hitting the rocks in a rapids a half mile below my house.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 22, 2018 @ 4:58 pm

  5. I can just imagine the wind howling down that cold valley!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by de Wets Wild — February 22, 2018 @ 8:26 pm

  6. Terry:

    Wonderful photos. Were these take along Hwy 200 at the turn-out for the trout fishermen?

    Chad

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Anonymous — February 22, 2018 @ 10:28 pm

    • Hi Chad! Yes, at the fishing access site just at the western border of the Reservation.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 22, 2018 @ 10:31 pm

  7. I never think about the sounds of the river. Our land is so flat, and the rivers so slow (generally) that there isn’t much sound to them. Even in flood, they’re not sufficiently contained for that kind of rushing sound to develop — they spread out over miles of land instead. But now that I think about it, I can remember the sound of ice creaking — it must be something to hear as that beautiful ice breaks and heads downstream.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — February 23, 2018 @ 6:51 am

    • It is normally very quiet here and so the sounds of the river are noticeable and pleasant, usually the only sounds in the late evening besides the calls of the owls. It has remained cold here (3º this morning) and so the break-up of the ice may be gradual.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 23, 2018 @ 8:55 am

  8. Wow so beautiful! I love it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by annicaaktiv — February 23, 2018 @ 1:04 pm

  9. fabulous! makes me want to take the drive there!

    Like

    Comment by Tammie — February 23, 2018 @ 4:49 pm

    • Can you tell me the closest town, I am having trouble spotting it on a map.

      Like

      Comment by Tammie — February 23, 2018 @ 4:53 pm

  10. Those ice cakes are fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in person, maybe on Lake Michigan when I was a kid but I don’t really remember.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — February 25, 2018 @ 8:49 pm

    • The ice will start to break up over the next few weeks if we don’t get another surge of Arctic air again. It’s nice to watch them float by on the river below my house and hit the rapids.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 25, 2018 @ 10:13 pm

  11. What an amazing spectacle!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jo Woolf — February 26, 2018 @ 10:33 am

    • It’s worth a short drive to see this. This particular collection of ice does no harm, but in eastern Montana (about 300 miles away) similar ice dams build up and cause flooding in the low-lying areas and in some years they have to use artillery shots to break up the ice.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 26, 2018 @ 10:39 am

  12. I scrolled up and down many times, when admiring Your beautiful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — February 27, 2018 @ 1:26 am


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