Purple Mountains Majesty

As much as we were enjoying the ocean breezes along the Pacific Coast, it was time, by late July, for a change of scenery. We RVers like to call it getting the “hitch itch.” And the only way to scratch it is to move. Get new neighbors. Change the view out the windows. Explore unfamiliar ground.

Time to head for the hills. The mountains of far western Montana.

There’s so much to love about the tucked-away areas of Montana (of which there are many… it’s the fourth largest state, land-wise, but it’s also 44th in population). So many ways for people to live the way they want, collect what they want, display it where they want:

We’ve been returning to the tiny town of Trout Creek for a few years now. But, like every place we go back to, we seek — and usually find — places we haven’t been before. This time, hidden right in the middle of Thompson Falls, we found Island Park.

There to greet us was this stunning Trumpeter Swan:

We crossed two footbridges — the first onto the island, and the second to the other side of the island, which was also the other side of the Clark Fork River.

Did I say that even a block out of Thompson Falls the scenery is gorgeous? This is a view of the river from the second footbridge:

If you hike at all, or even visit spots like this unique city park, you’ve probably seen your share of signs like this one, reminding you to (essentially) be nice to the property and others you meet along the way:

But how often do you look behind the sign? This might make you start doing that:

At some point, for some reason, someone started printing notes on the stones scattered around the base of the sign, and then others started responding and adding their own. Now there’s a bit of a dialogue…

…including one from a VIP (or someone pretending to be):

There’s a story behind these stone messages, I’m sure!

We hiked one of our favorite nearby trails, and struck out on one we’d heard about but couldn’t access on our last visit to the area because of wildfires nearby. This time, the day was fabulous:

Little critters of the forest scurried about…

…and the flying ones crawled around, trying to bite!

It was a beautiful hike!

But sometimes the best things we see are spotted on the way to and from the hike itself, like this Osprey nest, with a pair and their nearly full-grown offspring:

We wandered as close to the nest as we could, heeding the warning given by one of the parents when it circled us overhead:

They say when wildlife knows you’re there, you’re too close. So we bid our winged friends adieu, climbed back into the Jeep, and went on our merry way.

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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 Animals, Attractions, Birds, Hiking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Purple Mountains Majesty

  1. One of my favorite sections of the country. Unless you’ve seen it with your own eyes, you simply can’t imagine the grandeur of the area. Can’t remember if I ever visited Trout Creek, but I’ve been all over most of Montana. Are you guys headed to Glacier N.P. this time? I once took a “painful” hike near the (?) Pass. (I was suffering from a severe bout of gout, though I didn’t know what it was at the time.) I’d come all that way and wasn’t going to let a little (okay, a LOT) of pain stop me. There was snow along the very steep trail, and at times I actually sat and “scooted” across treacherous places. Wound up getting a slew of great photos of mountain goats and those Bighorn (Dall?) sheep. Alas, after all that effort and pain, I accidently forgot to rewind the roll of film before replacing it (my arguing young daughters had something to do with it, but that’s another story). Long story short: I wound up losing ALL the photos. Oh well, those splendid animals and views still exist in my memories.
    Happy Trails,
    –Mike

  2. Ellen says:

    Oh! I can totally understand the frustration of losing photos! We were in Packwood, WA, just outside Mount Rainier National Park, where elk roamed through the RV park. I took all kinds of photos of them right next to our rig – then my computer went phhht and I lost them. Now I don’t clear the images from the camera until they’re not only on the laptop, but on a backup drive as well.

    We didn’t go to Glacier NP this year — haven’t been in several years. It’s gotten so crowded it’s like sitting in rush hour to get to trailheads, then walking a busy sidewalk on the trails. We’ve since found more out-of-the way spots where we can hike in peace 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by, Mike!

  3. Karen & Ron says:

    Great Blog, Ellen. Keep up the good work.
    Karen & Ron

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