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Author Topic: Montana et. al  (Read 2262 times)

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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Montana et. al
« on: September 21, 2015, 09:51:21 pm »
    We left WV for Kalispell Montana 14th, arrived about midnight and then to a hotel/apartment in Columbia Falls on 15th. Visited Glacier National Park and on 16th found since I just turned 62 could now buy a lifetime pass for all Nat'l Parks for $10 (What a deal!). We did the hike at Logan's Pass to Hidden Lake on the Continental Divide. Thin air up there had me gasping a bit at first. Saw a couple of mountain goats pretty close up along the trail. Started sleeting and was ugly walking the boardwalk back. Visited a buddy from WV who moved out here on 17th.

    On 18th moved over near St. Mary's to the Many Glacier part of the park for my daughter's wedding scheduled on the 20th. She and my wife found a remote house someone rents on Duck Lake. Hit Many Glaciers that afternoon and saw 6-7 black bears feeding on glacier berries above the tree line and a few distant mountain sheep. Briefly saw 2 elk in a small clearing 1/4 mile from park check in. That evening near dark we visited Swift Current Lake looking for moose. None at the lake but a cow moose walked past us on the trail back to the parking lot, she laid down and started calling and called in a big young bull about 35 yards from us. (Broadside and me with no bow.) I guess we watched them 30 minutes or more and some dim photos in the near darkness. Was real neat to see.

    Returned and walked around the lake morning of the 19th looking for spot for the outdoor wedding and high winds kicking up. Wife fell on a root, landed on her face and cut the bridge of her nose with her glasses and broke her nose (again). We spent most of the day traveling to and from there to Cut Bank about 90 minutes or so away to nearest doctor/hospital. X-ray confirmed a crack but in place so got her a tetanus shot, some medications and we returned.

   Yesterday got up and dressed for the wedding. Took a few shots in advance then met the preacher (a fishing buddy of my WV buddy) in the lodge, finished the paperwork and hiked to a point on the trail and Sharon and Chris got married with the lake and mountains in the background. We had dinner just outside the park and they headed on with their trip alone.

    Got up this morning and drove to Livingston Montana via the Lewis and Clark Nat'l Forest. Saw a dead porcupine (Okay - you guys may see them all the time but in WV they aren't found), a few mule deer which were either retarded or just naturally run funny, and lots of pronghorn antelopes along the way. Stopped in White Sulfur Springs MT (We have one in WV too) for lunch and the attractive young waitress described how she moved there for the good hunting so we compared notes. (She is going to make a real catch for some young man) then on to Livingston for the night.

   My wife is keeping flesh colored band-aids on her nose to cover up some of the bruising but a 3-4 y/o boy at a gas station asked her "Do you have a boo-boo on your nose?". I replied to him "You should see the other guy." I love kids - never embarrassed to say what they think or ask questions.

   Tomorrow we move on to our Yellowstone phase of the trip. Hotel is next to a big lot full of air drying 2X4 studs. Fall colors are nice here but not as brilliant, especially with the reds, as what we have back east. Not nearly as many hardwoods here as I am used to seeing but some pretty cedars and pines aching to be sawed.

   Will return home and get right back into bowhunting if some of the sawmilling jobs guys called about before are not yet ready. Work sure does get in the way of our hobbies doesn't it. Its a good thing sawing is fun.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Magicman

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2015, 10:00:01 pm »
You are in some of my favorite places to visit.  Thanks for sharing and continue to enjoy.   :)
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2015, 10:31:00 pm »
Northwestern Montana is one of my favorites too. Interesting change from WV ;D. We drove past one of the most beautiful muley bucks I had ever seen near Livingston, full rack and a rich brown coat. The only  shooting I do is with a camera which I didn't have with me. :'(
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2015, 06:13:52 am »
Sounds like you you had a good time. Sorry to hear about the wife's fall.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2015, 11:12:53 pm »
    Okay - update for today. We drove from Livingston to Yellowstone at Gardiner. We arrived too early to check in so we visited the Park and, after crossing into Wyoming a mile or so into the park, went to the Mammoth visitor center. A young lady ranger was in the parking lot shooing everyone back from a herd of elk who were grazing and resting right next to the buildings. The herd bull was a 5X6 she said. He has been causing problems and had attacked a couple of cars and chased several people. Fortunately he has not hurt anyone.

    We visited the hot springs around Mammoth. Everything was neat and went well except at one point I thought we were going to re-start WWII after I had waited patiently in a full parking lot for a spot to open up. When a guy did pull out a van full of Japanese tourists cut me off and pulled into the parking spot ahead of me but I honked at them and they finally understood it would be a severe loss of face to take that spot and decided to observe American style parking etiquette. Maybe he actually did not understand about waiting your turn or realize I had been waiting for it.

    We drove around and checked a couple of waterfalls which are low this time of year. I walked up about 40 yards from a big bison before I spotted him and first thought it was a grizzly and he startled me. He was not aggressive and we did not approach any closer. My wife was happy with one picture of him standing with the mountains in the background.

    We came back to Gardiner, ate lunch and checked into our house. We started to go back for sunset but when we stepped out the yard was full of elk so we sat on the porch and watched them here in town. The bull bugled several times but was having a hard time keeping up with his harem who scattered all up and down the side streets and peoples yards. (Just like women everywhere when they get to the mall!) Becky decided to shower and crash so I went downtown to the one main (only?) grocery store for supplies. Came out and a mule deer doe moseyed right across the parking lot.

   Came back and unloaded and met the owner who lives upstairs. He was returning with 3 grouse he had just killed. Two looked as big as decent sized chickens. I guess they are sharptail grouse (I am not a bird hunter other than occasionally and usually unsuccessfully chasing a wild turkey in the Spring season). We will see what tomorrow brings.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Magicman

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2015, 09:10:45 am »
I think that the Park Rangers have more trouble with people than animals.  Folks do not understand that they are not pets and especially bull elk can get very aggressive during this mating season.  Keep on enjoying and having fun.   :)
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Offline reride82

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2015, 11:58:30 am »
That herd bull at Mammoth has been a problem for years. One of my friends has been a ranger there for a few years and that bull is always a problem, but him and his herd like the manicured and watered grass at Mammoth so they are always there  ::) Look him up on youtube, he's been bashing cars for a while now.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2015, 11:51:39 pm »
RR82,

    Surprised he has not become elk burgers by now. In all honesty if people would take reasonable precautions I doubt he would ever be a problem. Same with the other animals in the park.

Okay, Daily update for 9/23/2015

    Got to Park gate at Gardiner around 0900 and a herd of elk were lined up along the bank to the right of the front gate and there were several pronghorn antelopes in the median of the road just in front of the gate.

    We saw a couple of bighorn sheep way up on the peaks about a mile or so inside the park. Took the road towards the Roosevelt tower stopping often to get landscape pictures. Saw lots of bison all along the road. Some singles and pairs but most were in herds of 50-100. Saw 2 nice bulls sparing on our way back out. We had one nice bull stop us to cross as we came by and saw them stop traffic ahead of us several times.

    We swung in to see the big petrified tree about 1/4 mile off the main road. Was pretty neat but probably hard on saw blades. Sure would make a neat Mantel if you could get it sawed (Don't anyone tell Poston or we may lose a national treasure here).

   Saw several people fishing and a couple fighting fish on fly rods. Did not see how big the fish were but they were having a good time fighting them.

    The Fall colors are nice but mostly shades of yellow and gold. Some of the bushes (I assume are blueberry or huckleberry) have some red tints but we have noticed the colors here lack the brilliant reds common in our eastern Fall foliage. Back home the poison ivy and Virginia creeper are bright reds in the trees hosting them. Too bad we can't merge our Fall colors with these landscapes then we would have the best of both worlds.

   On our return there was a small 5X5 bull elk directly across from the parking lot at Undine Falls right next to the road. It was a great place to pull off and photograph him but I am surprised there was not a traffic accident or wild animal incident there. Several carloads of people stopped right in the road. Another van load of Japanese tourists (Honestly - I am not prejudiced against them and my son was born in Okinawa while I was stationed there and I loved the people there but these guys are out of control) stopped with their rear end blocking half the road and with them directly in front of several other tourists taking pictures. There was plenty of room behind and to the side to have parked without causing problems. Another car stopped and the little guy ran up about 30' from the elk to get a good picture. Just glad it was not an aggressive, dominant bull or things could have gotten ugly.

   The Mammoth visitor center herd of elk were still there and the rangers were hard at work helping keep stupid tourists from getting gored. (Must get frustrating to them at times.) Elk were bugling all over as we left especially since the moon is over half full and increasing.

    The whole park is beautiful landscapes and my wife is having a blast getting her pictures. I am disappointed though when I drive through some of the areas and see really nice standing or fallen but still solid trees (I guess most of what I am seeing are western cedars) going to waste. Sure is a lot of lumber just becoming termite fodder. Oh well, I guess that is park policy and is enriching to the soil and creating homes for lots of small birds and animals. More to follow.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2015, 07:42:00 am »
It sounds like your timing was perfect for the animals and colors.  Those dead "Pines" are depressing, but there are millions of dead standing, so no way could they be salvaged.  Some efforts were made to harvest spots within healthy areas, but when the pine beetle hopped the line, it was out of control again.  Enjoy and keep sharing.
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Offline reride82

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2015, 03:30:56 pm »
WV,
Those elk are smarter than we realize. They know exactly where the park boundary is, and know that as long as they stay inside it during hunting season, that they are safe. Otherwise, I know a few rangers who would have had first dibbs on him a while ago  :D  :snowball:

Did you see any Bear? I made a quick trip through last fall about this time and we saw three Grizzlies, one as close as 40 yds, and the farthest at about 600 yds. I haven't seen any wolves in the park yet, but I have seen them in the Big Hole and Ruby valleys, where I used to hunt...  ::)
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2015, 10:04:35 pm »
rr82,

   The elk must also know the city limits boundaries as we passed plenty this evening coming home here in Gardiner along with several deer and antelope. We have not seen a bear here yet. We saw plenty of black bears feeding on the glacier berries above the tree line while in Glacier National Park last week. One guy today said there have been 4-5 bears seen along the Yellowstone River road between Canyon and the fishing bridge. I did not hear if they were grizzlies or black bear and apparently they are far from the road. No wolves or mountain lion sightings reported. I think you'd probably need to be here in the winter to see them in the snow.

Okay update for 24 Sept 2015

   Hit the park right at daylight and immediately got stopped by 8 bighorn sheep (ewes and half grown lambs) within a mile of the gate. It is amazing to see them walk along what must be a tiny trail invisible from below on the side of a sheer rock face. I guess the big rams are off in bachelor groups this time of year. Turned off on Tower road and got stopped by a mule deer and another flock of sheep with 12-15. I don't see how the lambs survive the traffic.

   Got stopped a little later by bison walking down the road. One guy tried to pass him but he would not allow it. Like elephants and rhinos I have encountered on safari in South Africa. They know it is their road and they don't care to share. Becky got a good picture of a big bison rolling in the dust yesterday. Looks like he is struggling to get up and I think he needs to be on a poster with the caption "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up". (Sorry to all you who think that is not funny - it wasn't meant to be cruel or thoughtless).

    Went on over to the Canyon and Tower Falls looked at the falls from both sides. The best view is on the south side. Japan must be empty now as I think they are all here. It must be their holiday season or something.

    Went on up to the fishing bridge and stopped at the various mudpots and hot springs. Very strong sulfur smell. A herd of buffalo were near one and we could not figure why as looks like better grazing and water elsewhere. Maybe they have figured how to roll in that sulfur and rid themselves of ticks and such. The sulfur would sure do it.

   Came back by Norris through some old burned areas of various ages. Some were 3-4 inches in diameter. others had evergreen trees 6-8 inches in diameter but the understory was solid evergreens about 3-4 feet tall. like carpet they were so thick. I can see where if a fire got into them with the right conditions they were sure go up quick.

    Met several nice people along the way when they saw Becky's AU t-shirt. One lady was actually from the Fairest Village on the Plain and the other was a TN Vols fan who started with some good natured ribbing. I'd have done the same to him if he'd been wearing an ugly orange shirt. He said earlier today he had picked at guy wearing a FL Gator shirt only to find he was European of some sort and did not know any better and just liked the shirt (It takes all kinds).

    We shift houses tomorrow and go to the Yellowstone Village side. I can see the advantage of a motor home or a MM style 5th wheeler so you don't have to keep packing and unpacking. With a motor home I think I'd like the idea of towing a small vehicle to tool around on some of the smaller backroads and such or if like MM, drop the trailer then have the truck to go touring. More tomorrow.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2015, 11:57:39 pm »
   Got up packed and drove through the park to the West Yellowstone town/area to our new digs.

   Stopped in Norris and visited the small geysers, hot springs and mudpots there. One area had a vent that constantly sounded like a high pressure steam line blowing which is basically what it was.

   Passed through Madison Junction and a mile or so later saw a big bull elk and a cow standing in the river. Was right at a big pull out so we pulled in and watched and wife took something like 144 pictures of them. Old cow must have been coming in to heat and he was sure acting up. At one point headed our way and we had to move to higher ground. Resettled for more pix but kept having problem with rude tourists stepping in front of us and had to remind several to move over. Just not thinking I guess.

    On to West Yellowstone, into new apartment and then to lunch which included elk burgers. Guy at the grill/waiter was from Bulgaria and said today is the last day the grill is open for the season. Said others would be closing any time now.

    Back into the park and drove over to see Old Faithful. Got there right after he had blown so had another hour and half or so before next eruption. He blew about 1915 which was right at sunset. Wife got pictures while Patrick got video. It is a real impressive show and I am glad to say I have seen it. Also some good pictures of the moon which is just about full now.

    Loaded up and back to the apartment via the local market. Decent selection but prices are definitely indicative of a tourist area.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2015, 11:42:28 pm »
    Started early and first thing we saw was a bald eagle perched in a dead pine on the opposite side of the Madison River. Next at a pull out along the river found a herd of cow and calf elf. One old cow had a radio collar on her and she looked ancient.

    Continued on to various geysers and hot springs. Some had clear blue water that looked like cold water springs feeding the Suannee River in Florida. Saw several lone bull bison feeding in the meadows and occasionally blocking the roads. Stopped at Isa Lake (looked more like a small oxbow or beaver lake) on the continental divide. Sign said in the spring when full water flows in both directions with some ending in the Atlantic and some in the Pacific.

   On over towards the east gate and just before the gate saw a big mature bighorn ram feeding on a steep hillside right over the road. On return trip saw a crowd watching a sow grizzly with a cute cub. Stopped and watched her a couple hours while I talked to a lady and her husband about living and visiting around the world. Man said his brother inherited his father's Woodmizer and a swing blade mill.

    Stopped along the Yellowstone River on the way back around sunset for a beautiful moon view with the lake and mountain range in the background. Put about 195 miles on the car with lots of stops and such. More tomorrow.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2015, 11:26:04 pm »
   Okay - last day for Yellowstone this trip. Got in the park early, cloudy and cool for a change. Has been beautiful weather our whole stay here.

   We spotted a couple of eagles right off the bat. Bison and elk have become routine. Unless one is doing a two step with a top hat and cane we probably would not stop to photograph them.

   We spent most of the day visiting the various geyser basins then went to the south gate and stopped for several hours at Moose Falls and Lewis Falls. Stopped near there to take pictures of a couple of beaver houses and dams.

    At the geysers I decided with all the tourists taking selfies using these long handled remote thingees I might as well join in so any time I saw someone taking a selfie, I would put my arm around him/her and wave and say "Hi Mom." It was much better received than I expected and I will soon be quite famous all over Japan.

   We were close on our way home so we stopped by Old Faithful but he had just erupted and we were not inclined to stay. We had visited other geyers in the other basins and had good pictures of them. Had a traffic jam between the Madison Junction and the West gate on our way out when a herd of bison were slowly crossing the road. Everyone seemed to have survived intact.

   Did talk to several people this week about sawmills and milling and all the logs on the ground here. Made new friends, saw some amazing sights and animals. If someone had and took the time to stop at all the exhibits the park has on display and read them he would learn an awful lot of history, geology, biology, botany, etc.

   I just hope the next time we return we can bring the grandkids as they would love it and it would be educational for anyone.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2015, 08:23:55 am »
Congrats on such a rewarding Yellowstone visit and thanks for sharing your adventure.  I hope that you enjoy continued safe travels.   move_it
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Offline reride82

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2015, 04:43:47 pm »
I don't know which way you are headed after Yellowstone, but I'd suggest heading south out of the park into the Teton area and Jackson Lake. Awesome Country!  8)
M-14 Belsaw, 2004 GMC Sierra Denali, 455 Husky
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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2015, 08:12:20 pm »
'82,

    we drove as far as the south gate yesterday and debated going on into the Grand Teton Park but decided we did not have time to do it justice and wanted to go back and get pix of the Moose and Lewis Falls so made a leisurely trip back.

   Checked out and drove to Idaho Falls this morning and not long after we left the park my wife looked and said "Look, a big herd of bison." I told her "Becky, those are called cows outside the park". We did see the Grand Tetons in the distance and they are very impressive. Maybe next trip.

   Hit the Cabela's and Sportsman's Warehouse here in I. Falls today and they did not have any 10/0 catfish hooks. Guess I will have to go back south to get them. I did get a good pack of tent patch tape to fix the 2 holes I burned in my Sawmill cover (Did you know those mufflers on a Kohler 25 hp Engine get hot in a hurry?).

   Wife visited several cloth and quilting stores and we hit a used book store next to one then had to go to a thrift store to get a cheap roll around bag for Patrick, our young traveling partner to haul them back for us. I tell him my wife only brings him along for his luggage allowance and navigational skills on his smart phone/gps.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline sandhills

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2015, 10:24:13 am »
If the trip home brings you anywhere near here you have room and board (we moved recently so I can't guarantee I can find anything other than the necessities  ::)) but the door's always open.  Thanks for taking us along on the trip.

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2015, 10:01:52 am »
Sandhill,

   A belated thanks but we already had all our flights booked and everything went smoothly.

   The next time you are passing through southern WV look us up and I bet we can feed you some catfish and cheese grits.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline sandhills

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Re: Montana et. al
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2015, 12:06:23 pm »
I'd bet you're right  ;).  Sorry I must have missed it but thought you'd driven there.