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

January 21, 2010

Pictograph, or Ancient Art…

Filed under: Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Pictographs — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 4:41 pm


According to Wikipedia, “A pictograph (also called pictogram or pictogramme) is an ideogram that conveys its meaning through its pictorial resemblance to a physical object. Earliest examples of pictographs include ancient or prehistoric drawings or paintings found on rock walls.” While the “pictograph” in this photo does exist on a slab of rock, I would personally consider it a piece of art rather than some kind of a message because it stands there completely alone as though the sheep were wistfully looking out over a very beautiful scene. It is a very small one, measuring about 2.5 inches in height and 3.75 inches in width: to provide perspective, the following photo shows a larger view. (There are several more photos that I would absolutely love to show, but in the interest of protecting the piece from possible theft or damage, I have decided to refrain from showing anything that could possibly lead someone to its whereabouts.)


There is also a story to go along with this discovery:

I did not discover this pictograph myself. Instead, it was “discovered” by my very observant wife who has never even been to that site, and here is how that came about. Almost invariably I bring back photos from my wanderings and almost invariably she reviews them. As she looked at one of the scenes I brought back that day she detected the tiny image of the sheep on a rock right at the edge of the photo. When we enlarged the photo it became clear what it was and that caused me to immediately make another trip to the site to take more photos. (I first printed the one of the scene and using that photo enabled me to return to the exact location.) Without her keen observation it would have been completely missed.

I reported the finding to a person of authority in the area, indeed, I took him to it to see for himself and am assuming that he will put the wheels in motion to take the correct actions to preserve/protect the pictograph. As far as I am concerned, it is a priceless piece of ancient art.


March 3, 2009

Pictures from the past

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictographs, Pictures — Tags: — montucky @ 7:19 pm

On a walk-about a few days ago I was elated when I came upon a group of pictographs on a sheltered section of cliff, and then greatly saddened when it became apparent that some of them have been severely vandalized.

I have not been able to uncover much information about these (other than they may be as old as two thousand years) and after seeing the damage that has been done here I have concluded it’s probably just as well that there is not much available.

I choose not to specify the location of these and will simply be content to show what they look like for those who may be interested.



This is one of the more

distinct paintings and

also one that shows where

someone tried to remove

it, succeeding

only to destroy part of it:





These are very vivid

in color because they are

sheltered by a rock



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