Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I Saw a Wall of Saws

This is one of those 'collections' of stuff that some people accumulate over a lifetime and then sell or donate to another collector, and the process goes on and on until one day--you have a MUSEUM!

(Click on photo to open large size view.)

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hungry Horse Dam and Reservoir Montana

Nestled along the northern edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, Hungry Horse Dam, completed in 1953, created Hungry Horse Reservoir.

For most of us, the perceived value of the Hungry Horse area are the numerous recreation opportunities and campgrounds.  Nearby is Glacier National Park as well.

(Click on photo to open large size view.)
The mountains in the background are the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.  This area has lots of grizzly bear and mountain lion.  There are no roads.  Only horses and hikers can access the area.

A fairly famous icon of the town of Hungry Horse, Montana, this little carving is one of our favorite souvenirs of our Montana travels.  This is a link to Hungry Horse Montana recreation and trails information.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Men Who Stared at Turkeys

This vegetarian family is entertaining guests today, so we, too, are preparing a turkey.  Bought it from the Hutterite Colony.  Supposed to be free of any growth hormones or genetically-modified-organisms. Our happy bird snuggled down into oven for an overnight roast.  Just could not bring ourselves to prepare the giblets, those internal organs that are set aside in a little bag, usually for the dressing and/or the gravy.  Nope.  The gizzard, liver, heart, lungs and whatever else is in that little bag will be going into the freezer until garbage day.  

Have a terrific Thanksgiving and don't forget, "thanksgiving" is also an action verb.

Here is a link to a previous post entitled "A Turkey Named Marie Antoinette"

This is a photo of our Marie Antoinette:

"Marie Antoinette" was saved from the slaughter, to live another year.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Avalanche Creek in Glacier National Park

One of my first hikes in Glacier National Park was the easy "Trail of the Cedars" walk near the Avalanche Creek Campground.  This trail is handicap-accessible for its entire length, features some spectacular views of the creek itself, as shown above.  The photo really shows the mist that rises above the churning waters.  I love the variations in the color of the water too.  I have no photo that is this good.  You can see other photos at the Glacier National Park Information website.  I think the best time the year for visiting is early summer, before the tourists show up and fill the campground.

The park road to Avalanche Campground opens long before the Going to the Sun Road over Logan Pass, so you can visit and enjoy without the crowds.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana

This beautiful Montana ski area was previously named "The Big Mountain" which didn't really tell anyone where it was located.  It has been around for about 62 years and was always kind of a "local" ski area up until just recent years, when it become a full-fledged "destination resort."

As of today, November 19, there is a 23-inch base. Opening day is December 5th.  Below you can see that the autumn colors were pretty spectacular up at Whitefish. 

The photo below was shot by Brian Schott and is featured as one of the Shots of the Day on the Whitefish Mountain Resort Website

The Whitefish Mountain Resort webpages include a Ski Whitefish Blog too. (Click on photo to open large size view.)

The City of Whitefish, Montana is also famous for the Whitefish Winter Carnival.   Join us on February 5, 6, and 7th, 2010 for the time of your life!   Here is the official Whitefish Winter Carnival website.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ross Creek Cedar Grove is a Montana Hobbit Forest

The Ross Creek Cedar Grove is in Northwest Montana.  The area features giant Western Red Cedar, a wonderful hiking path, lush undergrowth and many birds, including woodpeckers.

To the left is the view that my wife referred to as "like a little Hobbit forest."

And the Ross Cedar Grove is so untypical of most of Montana's flora.  Here, with a lower elevation and greater rainfall, the old growth cedars thrive, with ferns and moss and green water creating a scene that could be the setting for a hobbit movie, (I guess).

Some of the old trees are said to be nearly 500 years old.  I've seen a giant tree that must have been eight-feet across.  It did remind me of the giant redwoods.

(Click on photo to open large size view.)

You travel here east from Spokane, Washington, or northwest from Missoula, Montana.  The area is adjacent to the Cabinet Mountains and near Bull Lake in Montana. Take State Highway 56 north from State Highway 200 which runs through Thompson Falls in Montana.  We tried to stay at a nearby campground called "Bad Medicine," but we actually felt the bad medicine and hurried away.  We eventually camped along the Bull River, which has a very nice campground. 


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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Montana Snowbowl Ski Area

Time is near. We have a little snow on the Mountain. Montana Snowbowl will be ready!
Tentative Opening Day is November 28, 2009. Are YOU ready?

Photos from Montana Snowbowl website link

(Clicking on Trail Map will open larger view.)

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Bannack State Park and Ghost Town Beautiful Still

I know it may seem late in the year to be visiting a Montana Ghost Town, but, in fact, the tourists are gone, and the little territorial capital of Bannack is still here.

I would certainly encourage the locals to visit the park during autumn, as this is a beautiful time of year, particularly along Grasshopper Creek, which was the gold-bearing creek that attracted all the miners so many years ago

(Click on photos to open large size view.)

Grasshopper Creek still flows around the edge of town. There is a nice little campground alongside the creek, just west of the town itself. It is within walking distance. I've never caught a fish there, but that didn't really matter.

One other benefit of a late autumn visit is that there are NO bugs. None!

These photos, of the town, and of Grasshopper Creek, are from the Bannack State Park Homepage. Be sure to visit.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

National Bison Range at Moise, Montana

Just a couple of weeks ago, the annual bison roundup was completed up on the National Bison Range at Moise, Montana.

The Range managers cull out the herd, selling off some in order to control the size of the herd to accommodate the available range pastures, etc.  Microchip technology is used nowadays to identify individual animals, and in that way they control genetics.

The Bison range is 101 years old this year, 2009, and bison were placed on the Range 100 years ago.

We have quite a few herd of bison in Montana, and thanks to people like Ted Turner, several large herds around the West.  I can see bison when I drive south of Missoula about five miles.  There is a privately owned herd that quietly grazes alongside U.S. Highway 93.  It's really quite wonderful.  There are over 200,000 bison in North America today.  The Bison Range at Moise has between 350 and 500 animals.

(Click on photo to open large size view.)

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sunrise on Flathead Lake in Western Montana

This beautiful photo of a Flathead Lake Sunrise is from The Nature Conservancy. This organization works to preserve our beautiful planet. As their mission statement says:

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
The Nature Conservancy's website is the 2009 Webby Award Winner and People's Voice winner for "Charitable Organizations Nonprofit" and it is well-deserved recognition. Like the Nature Conservancy itself, the website is well-organized and dynamic, and contains an incredible amount of substantive information.

Here is a link to their Montana page, and to their general website homepage. They also have a Dude Ranch, dudes! It is the Pine Butte Guest Ranch, here in Montana, and I have provided a link to that page as well.

The Nature Conservancy is an organization that is well worth our time to investigate, investigate their programs and successes, even contribute to the cause or volunteer to help.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Time to Remember Summer Fishing Days

There is no better time to recall the wonderful fishing days of summer than when we have snow falling outside. These photos were taken in the Sun River Valley on the east slope of the Rockies, northwest of Augusta, Montana, on a beautiful fishing day. (Sun River just below Gibson Dam.)All alone. In a great mood. Didn't catch any fish. Didn't care.

(Click on photos to open large size views.)

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Kid Prints Remembered

I think most every Mom has received a special gift from the child that depicts a hand print, in one form or another. Here we have preserved a plaster print by digital photography; it is likely to last longer, don't you think?Finger painting was big in school back when I was a child, and I have sought to preserve this memory by framing under glass. It may deteriorate over time, I suspect, but perhaps some good digital photos would also be a good idea. I will have to take it out of the frame in order to avoid the glare, however.

(Click on photos to open large size views.)

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Autumn Day along the Blackfoot River

This fella appears to be a fisherman, but mostly he sits and reworks his flies and line. Whether or not he had any luck that day, it was a beautiful afternoon on the Blackfoot River upstream from Johnsrud Park (Twenty or so miles northeast of Missoula, Montana, off State Highway 200.

Click on photo to open large size view.)

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Metal Sculpture of Dog and Cat

These cute little creations "stand guard" by the door to my veterinarian's hospital.
(Click on photo to open large size view.)

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hard Freeze Ends Flower Season Too

(Click on photo to open large size view.)
This photo is called "Hard Freeze Has Its Way"

I guess the next step is to pull everything out of the pots and put the pots away in the shed until spring.

Probably, the sooner I can get this stuff out of my sight, the better my mood will become.

This is a sad time of the year for me. I feel no sense of "renewal" right now. That will come later, after I've adjusted to the loss of all our colorful flowers for another year.

I will soon have holiday events to plan for...and buying stuff again. Football and cross-country skiing, turkey dinners to share and a Christmas party to plan.

I have a birthday after the holiday season, in February, but I usually feel a year older by New Year's Eve.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Russell Gates Fishing Access Montana

The Russell Gates Fishing Access is approximately four miles east of Clearwater Junction along Montana State Highway 200. That is, about 45 miles northeast of Missoula, Montana.

There are twelve campsites, two primitive toilets, and an on-site water well. It is open year-around and also used as a hunter's camp. The total area of the access and campground is 41 acres. There is a fee for camping. Check out the link to Fish Wildlife and Parks webpage.

(Click on photos to open larger size views.)This is a link to the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks page on Russell Gates Fishing Access.There aren't many photos of the Russell Gates Fishing Access on the internet. We stayed here the first weekend in October and it was pretty cold at night. Nobody else camped here on Saturday night, and the other two Friday campers left early Saturday morning. A few fishing rafts put in here during the weekend, and a couple took out here. There is pretty good fishing on the Blackfoot River, although I don't think this site is very productive. It is more for accessing the area downstream.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

First Snowfall October 9th

(Click on photo to open large size view.)

Rain turned to snow during the night and left this light dusting of snow on the lawn this morning.

This is just our REMINDER that winter is coming and very soon. A light snowfall is all that we need to send hundreds of people to the tire shops to switch over to winter snow treads and studded tires.

With this little snow we also will be expecting overnight lows of about 8 or 9 degrees, or as the weather forecasters say, "single digit lows."

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blackfoot River at Russell Gates Fishing Access

(Click on photo to open large size view.)

This photo, fairly dramatic I think, was taken at the Russell Gates Fishing Access, about 45 miles northeast of Missoula, Montana.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Wild Turkey or Not!

(Click on photos to open large size views.)
See that "black" thing in the center of the photo above? After several turkey sightings this summer, we've come to expect campsite visitors. We saw this from our campsite and watched for a while....but it never moved. Ummmm.....
I approached with the camera, expecting it to take flight or at least to run know how silly we now feel. The final shot below reveals the "wildness" of my quarry....
That's the campground water pump, secured for the winter. We were camping at the Russell Gates Fishing Access site about 45 miles northeast of Missoula, Montana, along the Blackfoot River. It's a great site at this time of year because about the only visitors are fisherman with rafts being dropped off for the float downstream. We camped in the motor home, but it is getting too cold for camping now.

There was a hunter's tent set up on Friday night, but they took it down on Saturday so we were the only occupants of the campground Saturday and Sunday.

This is a very pretty area, with some wildlife...we saw bear tracks in camp Saturday which spooked us somewhat. After that, every time one of the dogs would start to sniff the wind, we would be looking all around for black bear visitors. We did have a bald eagle perched across the river from us too. I think this was his section of the river.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ponderosa Pine Firewood Stacked

If you click on these photos, very large files will open. You can really see into the grain of the end cuts on a couple of these photos, particularly the last photo.
Some may think these types of photos are just a waste of time, but if you opened any of them to view the large size, then it wasn't such a waste of time after all. Moreover, it is NOT a "waste of good film," which is what we used to say.
(Click on photos to open large size views.)

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Headquarters

The national headquarters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is in Missoula, Montana. A new building complex was recently built and features a big visitor center.This is a public sitting room in the visitor center. Very homespun, if you live in a million dollar cabin. The mounted animal heads provide a certain amount of "atmosphere."

This is the main entrance to the RMEF visitor center.
(Click on photos to open large size views.)
There are several dioramas that depict animals in their habitat. All of the animals are taxidermy products. There are several samples of fur and hide that one can touch.
More mounted heads. Several of these are Boone and Crockett Club world records.
Incidentally, the national headquarters of the Boone and Crockett Club is also in Missoula, having moved from Virginia in 1993.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Missoula Autumn

Click on photo to open large view

Autumn often arrives early in Montana, with September daytime temperatures pleasant, but evenings turning chilly. This view is looking west along 39th Street, on the south side of town.

The end of summer brings the autumn colors which provide enjoyment while anticipating the cold and snow to soon follow.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Wild Turkeys - Birds Not Bourbon

We camped in a location that is also inhabited by wild turkeys. Here is a flock (also called a "rafter") of turkeys that were on the hiking trail that circled the campground.

Click on photos to open large size views.)
Frankly, I am surprised that my wife hasn't given this one a name yet.
Later, as you can see, they decided to check out our site for food too.
At one point I was feeding them hundreds of chokecherries after noticing that they were jumping up and trying to reach the lowest branches, but most of the good stuff was too high for them to reach. So long as I didn't make any sudden moves, they seemed more interested in eating than avoiding me. They were within two or three feet of me, "gobbling" on ripe chokecherries.

Of course, wild turkeys can fly quite well; I've seen them roost forty feet up in a ponderosa pine. Chokecherry bushes can't support their weight.

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