To help celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, our son and his wife made the trip to Montana from southwest Oregon so they could be part of our renewal of vows. Knowing that they had never seen the National Bison Range, I made plans to take them there. As it happens, our daughter, who has lived here longer than we have, also has never seen the NBR (National Bison Range), so she also came with us.
Naturally, we took a lot of pictures. I’m understating that. However, I thought that others might enjoy some of the images we got. This first group focuses mostly on the landscape rather than on the animals found in the NBR. Keep in mind that these were taken toward the end of the growing season, so there is more yellow and brown than green in the images. I still think the place is stunning.
This is taken from barely inside of the National Bison Range, facing southwest. This is the Flathead River. The haze that can be seen is from wildfires, mostly in Idaho. Smoke in the air in September is common in Montana. This is actually clear compared to most years. Last year at this time and from this location, you wouldn't have been able to see the river.
This picture was taken in the same spot as the last one, but is facing almost due north. This is most of the rest of Mission Valley and it shows the agricultural fields. The mountains in the far distance give an idea of the magnitude of this valley, which was all lake bottom during the last ice age.
This might give a better idea of the steepness of these draws. This is the same draw as in the last picture. The distance from where I'm standing to the bottom of the draw is about two miles. What makes it deceptive is the fact that the tops of the distant mountains are about 50 miles away.
This is the same draw from a different angle. Both the steepness and the size of the draw are more noticeable in this image. Imagine what people thought when they saw this for the very first time. Actually, if you ever visit, you'll probably have much the same feeling as they had, way back then.
As amazing as it is, this still isn't from the highest point in the refuge. It is close, however. The actual highest point is reached only by foot and the highest point that can be reached by car is only a few hundred yards away.
Now, try to wrap your mind around this: At the time of the last ice age, this picture would have been taken from an island in prehistoric Lake Missoula. Most of what is seen in the image would have been underwater.
This is only the first part of this photographic journey.