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A Short Trip In June

I have written a few articles about Montana and I decided that it might be neat to share a few pictures that were taken about a week ago on a short trip to Polson, Montana. The distance is only a little more than 140 miles, round trip. Since the trip was a short one, we didn’t stop along the way. All of these pictures were taken from the car as we were moving at around 70 miles an hour. If you notice any blurring, that is the reason.

Along the way, we saw a bison, a bald eagle, a Cooper’s hawk, a prairie falcon, two large wild hen turkeys, and deer, not to mention cattle and horses, but I wasn’t able to get a picture of any of them. I didn’t have the Kindle ready when we saw them and when you are traveling 70, you don’t have a great deal of time to take a picture of things like that.

However, I was able to take pictures of the mountains and the weather. These are the Rockies and part of the Continental Divide. This section of the Rockies is called the Mission Mountains. Storms were moving through, so the mountain tops are in the clouds. The clouds were fast moving and it was windy, with the temperatures only reaching the mid-60’s late in the afternoon, on the way back. This has been an unusually cool and damp June here, a lot like the year before last, but it does make for some beautiful mountain views. By this time last year, most of the snow was gone from the mountains.

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Written by Rex Trulove

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  1. I’d love to see this scenery in person. It’s really hard to get photos from a moving vehicle. But sometimes it’s all I can get, since often there’s nowhere it’s legal to pull off the road and get shoot from the ground. Just as I get ready to shoot we pass something that blocks that view I wanted to get. In spite of that, I have gotten a few photos I can use. Too bad you weren’t able to get the animals.

  2. It has been a very long time since I was in Montana and then only passing through, but I remember it being so beautiful that I wanted to stay, maybe for a long time. But it was not in the cards. It was in June and I do remember asking people that I met there when their summer would come, because it was awfully cold up there. They said that was their summer and likely the warmest day of the year. But they also told me the black marks around the tree trucks from a recent fire were bear claw marks. I pretended not to know any better and tried to act scared.

    • It sounds like they were trying to fool you, on a number of fronts. It often gets 90 or above and into the triple digits every year, though the heat typically doesn’t start until mid-June. In the past decade, temperatures overall have been dropping, both in the summer and in the winter. Last year was an exception. The temperatures didn’t get all that hot, but it was drier than normal and the smoke from all the fires made it muggy. Locally, we had an inversion that lasted a little over three weeks. When it cleared, we had the opposite problem; 12% humidity.

      As for the bears, it would take quite a few bears to account for scorch marks on several thousand trees. LOL

        • The biggest problem with wildfire in Alaska is the lack of manpower to combat the blazes, which are often in very remote areas. As a consequence, they often just let them burn.

          Last year, 1.3 million acres in Montana burned. Alaska is over 4 1/2 times larger than Montana, so it would be roughly equivalent of around 6 million acres burning in Alaska. Our biggest problems were that there were so many fires burning at the same time that we had a lack of manpower. Also, the US stopped properly managing the forests in the late 1970’s, so there was a huge amount of fuel. Also, Clinton-era policies prevented the Forest Service from putting in new roads or maintaining old ones, so it was very difficult to get people to the fires. Also, there wasn’t nearly enough funding to fight the fires.

          On that last one, the USFS has had a steady decline in their budget over the past 30-40 years. Added to the fact that the fires were raging during the period when Houston got hit with a hurricane. They got the majority of the money for disaster relief. That isn’t a bad thing, considering the human population in that area. However, it took them weeks to approve an emergency funding to fight the fires, and that is relatively fast for the Congress to move. It probably would have taken longer, except that the Secretary of the Interior is from Montana and pushed for funding.

          The time delay allowed the fires to grow far larger than they would have if money had been available for men and equipment. Our local fire burned several weeks with only a skeleton crew of 23 people to fight it. It grew from a few hundred acres to over 42,000 acres before funding was authorized to fight it. It also caused the evacuation of over 100 families and many structures were threatened. None were lost, but that is mostly because of volunteer efforts by the community. It will be years before they have an idea of the huge toll in wildlife deaths because of the fires.

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