Thursday, April 26, 2007

I took a drive today
Time to emancipate

I took a drive up the Boulder River yesterday and took my first hike (without carrying a snowboard) of 2007.

It was about an hour and a half drive from Bozeman.

^^Those are the Crazy Mountains. I have yet to explore them, but rest assured, I plan to this summer.

In the two previous pictures, you can see the massive Beartooth Plateau, home to the largest contiguous land area in the U.S. of over 10,000 feet, and is the location of Granite Peak, which at 12,799 feet is the highest point in the state of Montana. The mountains are just north of Yellowstone National Park and are part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The mountains are traversed by road via the Beartooth Highway (U.S. 212) with the highest elevation at Beartooth Pass (10,947 ft). Thank you, Wikipedia.

Will and I took a backcountry trip there last year, which was killer.

The Boulder River, like so many in this part of Montana, flows north out of the Beartooths and flows into the Yellowstone.

The place was filthy with man-eating mule deer.

^^That used to be the ocean floor. There are all sorts of fossilized ocean critters and sediment there. The Boulder River drainage burned like crazy in a wildfire last year, as you can see on the right side of this photo.

I thought that close-up of the fire scarring was cool. It always makes me wonder why the raging fire stopped there. I guess I could ask Bells. He would know for sure, since he is a forester. We'll have plenty of time to discuss this, and other philosphical quandaries on Saturday.

We're going to kayak 16 Mile Creek on Saturday. 16 Mile Creek is a very sparsely visited waterway, since it flows almost entirely through private property, most of which belongs to Ted Turner. It is a 9 to 11 hour committment, depending on stops, during which we will remain in the water or below the high-water mark, since to do otherwise would be trespassing. I'm not sure, but I think you can legally shoot and kill trespassers in the state of Monatana.

Anyway, if I see Ted, I will say hello.

The highlight was the Natural Land Bridge, which Blain recommended I check out.

The Boulder flows into this hole in the ground and disappears for a while.

I actually walked down onto it and took some pictures facing back upstream.

A few hundred feet later, the river comes thundering out of a huge hole in a cliff, undoubtedly depositing dozens of stunned trout into a pool.

Pretty nifty trick. You'll also notice that the river pulls this disappearing trick again, running back underground from this pool.

Montana is an incredible state. One runs out of superlatives when describing it. I am beginning to get the feeling that I could spend my lifetime exploring here, and still be discovering new wonders of nature until the day I die.

Of course, I could do that in Rhode Island, too, but I'd need to mainline crack-cocaine-McDonald's-heroin-Anna Nicole's ashes cocktails to hasten my death.

I forgot to mention: Children of Men is a great movie. I really liked it, and actually had dreams about it a couple times since watching it Sunday. ((Blogging about dreaming. Jesus. Shoot me now.)) It stars Clive Owen, Michael Caine (((as an aging, pot-smoking hippie))) and Julianne Moore, and is set in a dystopian, 2027 facist England, when humans have lost the ability reproduce, but people are more concerned about illegal immigrants. Great writing, great acting. Rent it.

I'm (((((((out))))))).

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Blogger Tanaya said...

When the spring runoff is over and the water is no longer running over and under the falls point, you can see fossils in the rocks below the bridge.

Sometime, I'll tell you about the day Mister and I saw our lives flash before our eyes (on the side of a horsetrailer) on that road.

4:25 PM  

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