About a week ago, my daughter came here to get my help. On the way back home, I took these pictures. At first glance, the first couple of pictures might not look like anything special. They are simply pictures of snow-covered land and the southern boundary of the National Bison Range, if you don’t know what is there. I took the pictures as quickly as I could since we were traveling about 65 mph at the time, so I didn’t have the time to zoom in.
I was able to do some zoom-in on the computer, using a photo editor, though. I don’t know how well the pictures will turn out on here, but what we saw was astounding. I feel very privileged to have been able to see it.
This is the first picture when it is zoomed in. I don't know if you can get a clear view by double-clicking the image or not, but do you see all of those dots on the hillside about three-quarters of the way up? Those are all elk and this is part of a herd that we estimate to have been about 75 head. These are all bulls and cows, no calves yet, but I'd be willing to bet that nearly all of the cows are pregnant and will give birth in the next month or so.
This is the other picture zoomed in. The elks in this herd are all grazing. It might not look like there would be any food for these big herbivores, but under that six inches of snow, there is still grass and the elks can get to it by using their hooves to move away the snow.
I rather wish that I'd been able to zoom in before taking this picture and would have loved to have been a lot closer because some of those bulls were huge. They probably weighed close to a half-ton. Still, it is a thrill to see this many, especially just before one of several major storms rolled through between the time this picture was taken and now. There are about six inches of snow in these pictures. Right now, eight days later, there are about two and a half feet of snow in the same location. Another snowstorm is also upon us.
This one has nothing to do with the elk and it is much closer to home. It is only about 10 miles from here and just off the highway. This is an artesian well that flows with great tasting, extremely cold water all year long. Many people stop here to fill jugs and bottles with water. This well isn't regulated by the state and there are signs to that effect, however, the water is fresh spring water free of chlorine or fluorine.
From here, the water flows under the highway and down through a field, before flowing into the Clark Fork River, about an eighth-mile to the right. This well is located about a mile and a half from the town of Paradise, Montana. Paradise is even smaller than our town, but the railroad goes right beside the town and in its heyday, it was probably a thriving and busy community. It is less so now because there aren't many businesses, other than ranching and the railroad.
The artesian well remains.