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A Better Grasp of Our Valley

For a lengthy time (at least a couple of years), I’ve been writing about and sharing images about our small area in Northwest Montana. It occurred to me that my descriptions and pictures aren’t the clearest way to get a grasp of where our valley and town is, nor much about it. In other words, even with pictures, it isn’t easy to visualize Clark Fork Valley.

I’ve mentioned that our town is small and that there are only about 1,000 people in the entire valley. I’ve mentioned that our valley is less than 5 miles wide and 10 miles long. I’ve mentioned that when we go to Ronan or to visit our daughter in Mission (actually, the full name of that town is Saint Ignatius Mission) that we pass by the National Bison Range. I’ve even shared pictures of the area in and around the Bison Range. However, none of that paints a very accurate picture in the mind’s eye. Frankly, I haven’t been doing it justice.

This morning, I responded to a comment to explain why we sometimes go several days during fire season when the smoke is so dense that it is hard to see across the road. I mentioned that the main reason was that the air humidity drops very low and that since we are surrounded by mountains, the winds blow well over the valley, trapping the dry air and smoke in the valley.

Again, while that is accurate, it doesn’t paint a clear picture of just how small our valley is. Then it occurred to me that there is a way that would probably be a lot clearer and might help people to visualize a lot of the things I’ve been sharing, by using Google satellite images. 


What do you think?

11 Points

Written by Rex Trulove

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    • I sure won’t disagree. Even when we were at -15 degrees, we weren’t close to the coldest temperatures in the state. Our weather also tends to be quite changeable, like many places. Our low-temperature yesterday was -6, but 7 hours later, it was 28 above. In the summer, it isn’t uncommon to have temperatures in the high 90s in the heat of the day, and for the temperature to drop into the high 60s at night. A 30-40 degree temperature daily swing isn’t unusual at all.

  1. Fascinating. It looks beautiful where you are. I had a friend who emigrated to Great Falls MT from the UK about 25 years ago. She invited me over to stay, but I could never afford the air fare, and now we have sadly lost touch. I wonder if she is still there.

    • The area around Great Falls is much more spacious than it is here. It is a nice place, though, and it has its own beauty. We don’t often travel that far east in Montana, but it is a great change of pace when we do. Of all the “cities” in Montana, Great Falls is probably my favorite, after Polson.

    • I was hopeful that it might shed some light on that. In all, our entire valley is smaller than many of the cities in the US; Philidelphia, Chicago, New York, Denver, Salt Lake, Seattle, and certainly Los Angeles.

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