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Posts Tagged ‘montana’

Bison as Refugees and the St. Ignatius Mission (Day 42)

August 29th, 2009 3 comments

Do bison need a “refuge”? Is there an underground railroad that guides the bison *to* the refuge? From whom are they taking refuge? From where are they refugees? And if it’s a refuge, shouldn’t they get to go wherever they want rather than getting shoved around by National Bison Refuge employees from giant pen to giant pen? And if you’re going to invite people to drive around the refuge full of bison, shouldn’t the bison put on a show? Or just do something other than stand there grazing?

But for their relative rarity, they don’t seem all that different from cows. And the refuge seemed more like an internment camp. Nice skies though.

national-bison-range 1OTOH, bison strike better poses on the horizon.

national-bison-range 3I was sort of excited about bison when I saw them, but after the third herd: oh well.

And then the Reader’s Digest book suggested I go to the Catholic mission in St. Ignatius (it’s maybe an hour north of Missoula) because of the church there.

st-ignatius-mission-church 2This is the outside of the church.

st-ignatius-mission-church 1This is the inside of the church.

st-ignatius-mission-church 3This is also the inside of the church.

Pretty cool for a 120-year-old Catholic church on an Indian reservation next to a dying logging town. Pretty cool for most Catholic churches, actually. The paintings were done by the original missionaries’ cook, who didn’t have any training as an artist. Although I’m guessing he made more money as a cook than he would have as an artist. You know, just realistically and all that.

Ended up getting down to a campground at Spanish Creek, a few miles north of Big Sky, almost at the bottom of Montana. National Forest Service campgrounds rule — another campsite on another river and within a small (13-site) campground for a reasonable ($13) price. And the number 13 keeps out the superstitious riff-raff (my theory — I can’t prove this).

bkd

Glacier National Park: Clouds and Reflections (, Photos of)

August 28th, 2009 3 comments

The sky in Montana seems normal-sized to me. I don’t get the big sky thing. Maybe it only applies in Billings and Great Falls. OTOH, they have some pretty awesome clouds, which *are* in the sky. Eh.

glacier_reynolds-mtnReynolds Mountain, near the Logan Pass Visitors Center.

glacier_clements-mtn-cloudsClements Mountain, from about the same place as the last photo.

glacier_reynolds-mtn-cloudsReynolds Mountain from a little further down the road.

glacier_contrail-and-cloudsContrail, clouds. Obviously.

glacier_lake-sherburneLake Sherburne, looking toward the Many Glacier area.

glacier_swiftcurrent-lakeAcross Swiftcurrent Lake.

glacier_swiftcurrent-lake_glaciersSame lake, different view (slightly).

  • I didn’t really get Glacier after the first day, but after the third I was sad to leave.
  • The thing that’s great about it is that it feels like there’s so much to explore there — every valley looks different from the last one, for instance — and that gives you a lot of opportunities for something like solitude.
  • The other great thing, or at least the thing that I think makes Glacier unique, is all the glacially-formed “horns” there. A lot of spikes there that look like they belong in the Alps.
  • Plus I caught a fish there, which endears me somewhat.
  • And next time I’d know to probably stay on the east side of the park — it’s more convenient to the good parts.

bkd

Swiftcurrent Pass to Bullhead Lake Hike (Day 41)

August 27th, 2009 3 comments

Back at Apgar and using my Vz wifi, found a website that reviewed all the fishing lakes (and hikes) in Glacier and — oh man. I should hire a monkey to randomly type letters for my intros to these things. Whatever. The guide made an off-handed reference about how all the best stuff at Glacier is found at Many Glaciers anyway, including the best fishing lakes (paraphrased). Hadn’t been to that part of the park yet (it’s the northeast corner of the US part of the park) and I still wanted to fulfill one of man’s oldest desires, namely tricking of an almond-sized-brained creature into impaling itself on a sharp piece of metal. So I went there (long drive, much construction).

There’s a hike from Logan Pass to Swiftcurrent Pass that’s supposed to be awesome, but requires two cars. Figured doing this one would let me take care of half that hike.

swiftcurrent_bear-frequentingDo bears frequent the area or does the area frequent bears? And I like it when people wear bear-bells. Sounds like Christmas.

swiftcurrent_trail-peakThe trail with some peak in the distance.

swiftcurrent_redrock-lake-peaksRedrock Lake. I didn’t fish here, due to the high fishing pressure the website warned me about.

swiftcurrent_creek-n-peakThe ol’ creek-‘n-peak.

swiftcurrent_bullhead-lakeBullhead Lake. About 8 miles r/t, btw.

swiftcurrent_me-castingMe, casting. In background: water, falling.

swiftcurrent_caught-troutAnd, 90 minutes later (not on the same cast), success!

swiftcurrent_trout-danglingHe didnt want to hold still for the photo. Caught on a Blue Fox Super Vibrax #3 Spinner at 1:45 PM, about the same time I got hypothermia from standing barefoot in the water for two hours.

swiftcurrent_trout-jumpAnd then I caught this guy trying to swim up a cascade.

I only caught the one fish, but I’m guessing the marginal utility of zero to one fish is about 8x the marginal utility from one to two. And it was a beautiful hike. I’d like to go back and do the one that goes over the pass some day. Some time when someone else is there with a car, I guess. Looks like a heck of a climb.

bkd

Siyeh Pass Trail-Side Conversation

August 27th, 2009 2 comments

Some Guy: (Walking up the trail, then stopping.) This is incredible.

Me: Yeah, it’s really nice up here.

Guy: There’s nothing like this where I’m from.

Me: (Guessing he’s from Minnesota.) Where you from?

Guy: Seattle.

Me: Huh.

Guy: Nothing like this in the Cascades.

Me: Really?

Guy: We don’t have any glaciers in the Cascades.

Me: I’m pretty sure you do.

Guy: Well — but they’re all spread out.

Me: Huh.

Guy: Yeah.

Categories: northern states Tags: , , ,

Whitefish, Kayak Fishing, Food, Fire!, Etc. (Day 40)

August 27th, 2009 1 comment

Some book or something I read suggested that I should go to the Great Northern Railway Depot in Whitefish. I did, but the only interesting thing was the Great Northern Railway logo. Maybe not “interesting”, I just thought it looked cool:

whitefish depotI like the goat, I guess.

Otherwise, Whitefish looked like most other ski towns. It would probably be a cool place to go skiing. Since there was no snow, I went to lunch instead at McKenzie River Pizza. The food looked a little like this:

IMG00038-20090825-1314Or a lot like this, actually.

They were having the lunch special on “The Rancher”, so that’s what I got: “seasoned” beef (does that mean it’s “experienced”?), bacon, pepperoni, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers. I had them leave off the peppers, though. It was, as the Canadians say, quite good.

Oh, but before all this Whitefish **** went down, I left the National Park to go take a shower at the KOA kampground nearby. You pay them $5 at the office, then they point you to the back of the kampground and tell you to have at it. I’m guessing it’d be easy to sneak in without paying. OTOH, I’m guessing if they see you trying it, they wait until you start undressing before they come to harass you. And no, there are no pictures. I also bought firewood at the KOA because it’s a few bucks cheaper than it is inside the park.

After lunch, I drove back to the national park. On the way, I took this picture of which is so typical of pictures that I take it makes me vomit with rage:

flathead riverI like rivers and green-brown gradations. Sue me.

The river was (is!) Flathead River. There’s nothing of particular interest that caused me to add the link, it’s just an homage to the origins of web-logging.

Then I came to the metropolis of Hungry Horse. They have a motel there:

hungry-horse-motelI think it’s for sale.

Got back into the park, then pulled off toward Apgar Village (had a site at the Apgar Campground), then went to the picnic area so I could go kayaking:

lake mcdonald kayakInflated and ready to go!

I went fishing while in the kayak. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be and ended when my line broke off at the weight and I realized there was no way I was going to be able to re-configure the line without flipping the boat. OTOH, I got some good paddling practice in for when I’m in Minnesota. The portaging practice was less enthralling.

Then I went back to my campsite and ate the rest of the pizza and waited for it to be dark enough to build a fire that I could then read by:

IMG00041-20090825-1939And if the Kindle displeases me, disposal is only a couple feet away!

The Kindle doesn’t displease me. And I was reading Gordon Wood’s The American Revolution: A History, which is about as concise a book on the revolution and origins of American government as you’ll ever find. Very enlightening and very applicable to present-day politics. Highly recommended if you haven’t taken a US History class in a couple decades.

Some other notes:

  • There are a lot of trains that pass by the Apgar Campground.
  • It gets cold at night in Montana.
  • I think these two things conspire to keep me from sleeping here.
  • I think I sleep better where there’s moderate humidity.
  • Although I also think I should maybe get another pad to put between my cot and my sleeping bag.
  • I’m also considering actually using my tent some time.
  • Maybe tomorrow night.

bkd

Siyeh Pass Hike Photo Report (Day 39)

August 26th, 2009 6 comments

siyeh-pass_going-to-sun-mtn

siyeh-pass_baring-creek-cascade

siyeh-pass_buck-stopped

siyeh-pass_baring-creek-valley (1)

siyeh-pass_going-to-sun-ridge

siyeh-pass_baring-glacier

siyeh-pass_baring-glacier-ridge (1)

siyeh-pass_trail-flowers

siyeh-pass_clouds

siyeh-pass_looking

siyeh-pass_switchbacks

siyeh-pass_me-at-pass

siyeh-pass_chokom-lake

siyeh-pass_matahpi-shoulder (1)

siyeh-pass_me-at-top

siyeh-pass_backside-trail

siyeh-pass_preston-park-trail

siyeh-pass_preston-park-creek

siyeh-pass_preston-wildflowers

siyeh-pass_squirrelSquirrel, but no moose.

deadwood_falls

deadwood_falls-lower

butterfly

Some notes, I guess:

  • 10.3 miles for the pass hike, but then I added 2-3 miles to go see the last waterfall (and butterfly).
  • 3,400-foot elevation gain (I hiked from Sunrift Gorge to Siyeh Cutoff — if I’d done it the other way around, it would’ve only been 2,200 feet, but then the sun would’ve been in the wrong place).
  • They have interesting clouds here.
  • Gale-force winds at the pass (almost — I’m guessing ca. 30 mph); second hike of the trip so far that made me get my gloves out of the backpack (Lassen Peak was the first).
  • Despite singing the “Grizzly Bear Oh Won’t You Come Stand Maybe Fifty Yards from Me (But Then Don’t Come Any Closer)” song for most of the hike, did not see any grizzly bears.
  • Or black bears.

bkd

And Then: Welcome to——- Montana, State #6!

August 25th, 2009 No comments

An eighth of the way there (measured in terms of states visited, more lik 28% of the way there in terms of time).

montana-welcomeI actually pulled over to take a welcome sign photo.

And then I kept driving.

bkd

Categories: northern states Tags: ,
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