My buddy Steve needed a Christmas tree, so we headed up towards Teton Pass to find one. Of course we brought the cameras.
I think I’ve mentioned this before on this site, but when I was a kid I never really ventured north of Great Falls. I missed out on all this beauty for years. Now that I’m back, I really want to explore it more. The entire Rocky Mountain Front is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.
This is my favorite time to photograph trees from the air. There’s snow on the ground but the trees aren’t entirely covered, so there’s awesome contrast and patterns that create an interesting visual.
I haven’t put the drone up much this year, but I’m glad I brought it along for Christmas tree hunting. Ground level shots don’t really tell the full story of this area.
When I was a kid, my sister and I would take the Greyhound bus between Missoula and Great Falls. We started out sitting in the front seat so the bus driver could keep an eye on us, but as we got older, we moved further and further back in the bus.
On one trip, there was a bunch of older kids sitting in the last row, so I sat with them. The memory is a bit fuzzy, but I do remember someone having Jack Daniels, so I tried it. Back in those days, you could still smoke in the last few rows of the bus, so that trip consisted of smoking Marlboros and taking sips of whiskey. I learned a lot on those bus trips.
The halfway point between Missoula and Great Falls is Lincoln. The bus stopped at the gas station to pick up new passengers, and let the rest of us off to stretch our legs. If we had a little cash, my sister and I would go in and get a candy bar or something to drink, always mindful of the time. We didn’t want the bus to leave without us.
Up until two weekends ago, that’s all Lincoln was to me–a stop between Missoula and Great Falls. I’ve driven that route a thousand times, but recently I’ve been noticing a sign on the side of the highway just east of Lincoln: Blackfoot Pathways. I looked it up online, and decided I need to stop on one of my trips to check it out.
For various reasons, that never happened. I was either in a hurry, or didn’t think about it until I had passed the turnoff. But the other weekend, friends invited me to their cabin near Lincoln. So it was the perfect time to check it out.
It’s surreal. A sculpture exhibit in (what feels like) the middle of the nowhere. The sculptures themselves are amazing. Made of wood and metal and other media native to the area. There are information boards near each sculpture that tells you a little about the artist and the art. I highly recommend going in the winter when there’s snow on the ground. Granted, I haven’t seen it in the summer yet, (it’s on the list for this summer,) but it’s extremely cool covered in snow.
For the past 20 years, I’ve been suffering through Portland “winters”. Basically 6-9 months of solid gray skies and rain. When we did get a day or two of snow in the metro area, the whole city would shut down. Now that I’m back in Montana, I love every single damn snowflake.
I woke up this morning in Missoula, and there was 4-5″ of fresh snow on the ground.
As of right now, (11am,) the snow has turned to rain, and the snow is already melting. I shoveled the sidewalk, (because I kinda love to do it right now,) but quickly remembered how much shoveling heavy, wet snow sucks. I figure it’ll take at least one more winter before I start complaining about the snow. Until then, I’m going to enjoy the shit out of it.
The best part, at least in Central Montana, is that for most of the winter the skies are blue and cloudless. I’ll take 0 degrees and sunny over 50 degrees and cloudy any day.
I am, however, hoping it melts before I have to drive home tomorrow afternoon. So I guess there’s still a little Portland left in me.