August 31, 2013 Palisades BLM Campground

A trip out Indian Creek Road

Read, worked on processing images all morning and into the afternoon. Couldn’t take the heat by 4 PM and took an AC Prius ride out to explore the east side of the valley. Took Indian Creek Road and then Bear Creek Road up into the pasture and farm land below the foothills.

Abandoned Montana settler's ranch
Abandoned Montana settler’s ranch

 

Abandoned Montana settler's ranch
Abandoned Montana settler’s ranch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Took a couple of shots of an abandoned farmstead out in the distance. Saw a couple of immature bald eagles floating around with a hawk harassing them, but too far of for any good pictures. A pleasant couple of hours relief from the heat.

 

August 27, 2013 From Ennis to Bozeman, Montana

A side trip to Bozeman via Route 84

Headed north up 287 to Norris, then east on 84 for a quick day trip into Bozeman for supplies and just because I always like visiting Bozeman. I kind of hate all cities, but little city Bozeman is the exception. Another gorgeous day with blue skies and white puffy clouds.

Montana Whitetails
Montana Whitetails

 

 

Spotted a couple of deer in a field on the way and got a long range shot of a buck and his companions.

 

I stopped and explored the Red Mountain BLM campground on the Madison River about 8 miles east of Norris. A sort of developed campground with a camphost on the 287 side of the river and then another undeveloped set of 8 campsites stretched along the opposite side of the river. Either would make a good choice to stay, though the sites on the opposite side were all occupied today, so they are apparently quite popular.

White pelicans over the Madison River
White pelicans over the Madison River

As I was driving along the river, I spotted a flock of white pelicans taking off, spooked by one of the many fishing dories plying the river. I found a pullout and watched them float in circles, riding the wind currents to gain lift. While I still find it odd to see these birds I continue to associate with the ocean, here 1000 miles from the sea, it really strikes me as odd to see them feeding in fast moving river waters.

Montana horses
Montana horses

The 30 or so miles from Norris to Bozeman is a very scenic road, following the Madison River about half way, and then going through open range and then vast farmland. Then, bang, you are in the city. A nice, small city, where 5 miles from the city center, you can be in open country, probably not a bad place to live.

 

August 19, 2013 Trip to Waterton Lakes National Park

Decided that today was the day to zip up to Waterton Lakes National Park ( Canada ).

Blonde Grizlzy on alert
Blonde Grizlzy on alert

 

 

Couldn’t help myself and drove into many Glacier ( since it is on the way ) to check on any early morning bears.

 

 

Vehicle challenged cow moose at Many Glacier
Vehicle challenged cow moose at Many Glacier

 

Had a very close call on the road back out of Many Glacier when a cow moose trotted full speed down a hill toward the road ( from my left ) keeping her eyes on me as she came close and not watching for traffic approaching her from the opposite direction. A small motorhome was approaching from that direction and it looked like a collision was unavoidable, but the moose, at the last second saw the motorhome, reared up on her hind feet and turned, all in one motion, and retreated back up the hill. She stopped at the top of the hill as if trying to figure out what just happened and then retreated back in the woods.

 

Osprey Family
Osprey Family

 

Weather was great and traffic up to the park almost non-existent. On the drive in, I had to stop for a shot of an osprey family on their nest.

 

 

 

Paid my $7.80 park entrance fee and poked around the small tourist trap village for a bit, then checked out the in town campground. Campground appears quite nice for what it is, in town, and would be able to handle big rigs, sites fairly close together, but appeared well kept and clean.

Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Lakes N.P. Canada
Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Lakes N.P. Canada

Took some shots of the Prince of Wales Hotel and then headed out to Red Rock which happened to be the only place you could go since the other main drive ( Akamina Parkway ) in the park was closed for construction. Didn’t find any wildlife or breathtaking scenics going to Red Rock, so decided to head back to Glacier.

Not much question that the Glacier Park portion of the International Peace Park is where you want to be.

 

August 17, 2013 Glacier National Park

There were no posts for the last two days since I had nothing worth posting, no animals, no scenics.

However, that all changed today!

I decided to try Logan Pass again this morning since the road construction closing doesn’t happen on weekends. Got going around 6:15 and only encountered two or three vehicles heading up the mountain at that hour. However, I did not see a thing anywhere and decided to head down the west side a ways to maybe run into some goats or sheep there. No luck.

Went back up to the Logan Pass parking lot and glassed the slopes for sheep or bears, again, nothing. The sky was starting to blue up and the sun beginning to peak over the mountaintops, so I stopped just down the east side a little way past the tunnel and figured I might try some landscape shots.

The kindness of strangers

While turning my car inside out looking for my neutral density filters, a man stopped and asked if I saw the bighorn sheep above us on the uphill side of the road, slowly trudging toward Logan Pass. Immediately I stopped the search for the filters and grabbed the 200-400mm lens and concentrated on the sheep.

Bighorn ram heading up to Logan Pass
Bighorn ram heading up to Logan Pass

 

It was apparent that he was headed towards Logan Pass, so I turned around and drove back to the parking lot to await his arrival.

 

 

 

Bighorn ram and wildflowers
Bighorn ram and wildflowers

 

Within a few minutes, he showed up and three more young rams joined up with him in the parking lot, all of them looking for antifreeze spillovers and/or salt. Not terribly photogenic!

 

 

Soon they tired of this and departed the parking lot and headed up the mountain, posing very nicely along the way.

Three young rams follow the leader
Three young rams follow the leader

 

Bighorn ram posing
Bighorn ram posing

 

Three bighorn rams
Three bighorn ram
Glacier N.P. bighorn sheep along stream
Glacier N.P. bighorn sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

After spending an hour with them there, I decided to head home, but on the way down ran into another bachelor herd of four browsing their way up a hillside of grass and wildflowers.

Four bighorn rams grazing amongst the wildflowers
Four bighorn rams grazing amongst the wildflowers

Got several more nice shots of mature rams here. I owe a big thank you to that stranger who kindly alerted me to the first big ram that I probably never would have seen without him pointing him out to me. And if I hadn’t seen him, I wouldn’t have reversed direction and gone back up to Logan Pass, and if I hadn’t spent an hour up there taking pictures of those sheep, I would have been too early going home to catch the next batch of sheep. Kindness of a stranger.

Also, because of the extra time I had spent up on the mountain, as I descended and passed the Goose Island observation point, I couldn’t help but notice that finally, the light and sky were right to perhaps get some good shots of this iconic landmark.

Goose Island, Glacier National Park
Goose Island, Glacier National Park

On top of that, while I was taking shots of the Goose Island landscape, I had the opportunity to see, up close, my very first Western Tanager. What a beautiful bird! Unfortunately, no photo though, since I was working with the wrong lens shooting scenics.

Out of the park by 10 AM and back home for some photo processing. Getting in that early led to a great trip and I managed to miss most of the crowd. Around 6 PM I decided to go in to Many Glacier hoping to spot some bears after my recent dry spell. No such luck though.

Reflections on Upper St. Marys, Glacier National Park
Reflections on Upper St. Marys, Glacier National Park

 

Hidden lake Trail, Glacier National Park
Hidden lake Trail, Glacier National Park

 

 

 

 

 

Goose Island, Glacier National Park
Goose Island, Glacier National Park

 

Goose Island, Glacier National Park
Goose Island, Glacier National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bighorn portrait
Bighorn portrait
Bighorn portrait
Bighorn portrait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bighorn ram scratching what itches
Bighorn ram scratching what itches
Bighorn ram and wildflowers
Bighorn ram and wildflowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two bighorn sheep crossing the stream
Two bighorn sheep crossing the stream