Back in August, we debated about whether to stay in Trout Creek, Montana, the full three weeks we’d reserved or cut out early. Why?


Wildfires. Not just one. Many. Surrounding us on all sides. Everybody in the northwest was near at least one fire this past summer and fall. We weighed our choices: swap the fires we knew for those we didn’t, head south or east (so hot in the rest of the country!), or stay put and take advantage of the nice days.

And there were nice days. Not many of them… but when they popped up, we jumped in the Jeep and headed for one of the many trails we’d found and wanted to hike.


And the views when the smoke cleared? Outstanding!


Of course, we never forgot to look down. Good thing — we would have missed this fabulous bug on this wildflower:


Whether it was the smoke or just the normal pattern for the local deer, we weren’t sure, but they were everywhere. Hunters were going to have a great season! This doe and fawn were relaxed near a tree in Thompson Falls. I snapped the photo while we paused at a stop sign.


And we couldn’t help wondering how much the smoke was affecting other wildlife, like the ospreys we saw. This young bird was being coaxed off the nest by its parents, who called from across the river and along the ridgeline. Eventually it flew just outside my prime camera range, but not before eyeing us warily:


Flocks of wild turkeys meandered the meadows and roads — another bumper crop for hunters:


Wandering the back roads, side roads, and dirt roads means finding the unexpected:


Why get rid of an old boat when it makes a perfectly unique lawn ornament?!? Same goes for the old cars and trucks, and early-model SUVs:


And though we got used to seeing the deer and turkeys and cows in the pasture, we didn’t expect to find a pair of these:


Yep. Ostriches.

If you’re not traveling the back roads, and then getting off THOSE onto the two-tracks and dirt lanes, then you’re missing an awful lot!

About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
This entry was posted in and Critters in General, Animals, Birds, Cool Experience, Hiking, Insects, Interesting Stories and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Surrounded!

  1. Interesting. In the turkey photo I noticed the crosses in the background alongside the road. I recall travelling/camping through Montana way back when in my VW van I converted into a camper. On many roads there was no posted speed limit; in other words, drivers were given the “okay” to drive as fast as they wanted, under “safe” conditions, of course. Makes one wonder how many of those crosses were the result of someone speeding along at 100 mph or more. Of course, in my VW I had nothing to worry about approaching such speeds. Maybe 80 mph downhill with a strong tail wind!
    Happy Trails! –Mike

    • Ellen says:

      Mike — Love those tail winds in our big ole RV 🙂 Seems to me we’ve been seeing speed limit signs lately, so maybe someone took notice of all the white crosses.

  2. I believe that last bird is an emu. Ostriches are bigger and black and white.

    • Ellen says:

      Thanks for stopping by! And for correcting me — seeing an emu is even cooler than seeing an ostrich! Are they raised for meat, like the ostrich? Safe flying to you!

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