Lake Alva

I have one of those dogs that is terrified of fireworks. Every year, I drug the poor guy and hope for the best.

This year, we decided to go somewhere without fireworks.

Lake Alva is just a bit north of Seeley Lake. There’s a great fireworks display in Seeley, but Alva is far enough away to escape the sound. I met a few friends there, and proceeded to relax.

Diego got carsick for the first 3 years of his life. He eventually learned to relax in the car and seems to actually enjoy going for rides now. I wasn’t sure how he’d do in a boat. He doesn’t swim. If I throw a stick too far into the lake, he’ll just stare at me and wait for me to fetch it myself.

But he did great in the boat. Didn’t even seem to phase him.

I’ve reached that age where it takes too long to recover from sleeping in a tent. I picked up a camper last winter, and am not ashamed to admit I enjoy having some of the comforts of home. It actually is like sleeping at home, but I get to wake up with a better view.

My step-brother has a little country store/gas station in Swan Lake, so I took a drive up there to see him on the 4th. If you’re ever up that way, swing by O’Connell’s Qwik Stop. Tell ‘em Daniel sent you. And get a pizza. Seriously—that shit was delicious. The crust and sauce is home made. It was better than Howard’s.

On the 5th, I decided to put the drone up to see what I could see. Of course, everything I saw was amazing. It really is surreal knowing I live in a state this incredible.

It was a great weekend with old friends, and some new ones. Diego did great on the boat, and with the kids.

The only glitch in the get-away-from-loud-noises-for-the-4th plan was that we got home just in time for a huge thunderstorm and a late celebration by the neighbors. So Diego ended up getting drugged anyway.

Benton Lake Wildlife Refuge

Google Maps has made a huge difference in how I pick places to photograph. In the 22 years I lived in Montana as a kid, I never knew Benton Lake Wildlife Refuge existed. Maybe it didn’t back then, I’m not sure. But since I moved back, I’ve been scouring the satellite view of Google Maps looking for places that seem interesting.

Side-note: Lost Lake is another place I didn’t know existed until Google Maps. And I used to live 15 minutes from it. That place is amazing.

Back to Benton Lake… I picked up a new 100-400mm lens, and wanted to test it out. My favorite step-mom is an avid bird photographer, so she suggested Benton Lake.

It was a little late in the season, so the bird selection was somewhat limited, but it was still a great place to try out the new lens.

I can’t wait to go back when the birds come back next year.

These, and all future photos of Benton Lake Wildlife Refuge will live in the project gallery, linked below.