Spring In The Northern Rockies
A note of apology to those who enjoy reading this blog (and the few of you who wish I'd write more frequently). We have just survived one of the WORST series of frustrations with our web page we have had to endure in the last SIX years. However, the problem does appear to be fixed so I can return to doing what I enjoy the most - talking about Elk Lake and the rest of our amazing backyard.
Last time I shared a few of our off-season adventures with you. Today I finish that review. However, before I dig in, I had to share a bit of 'breaking news.'
If you read the last post, you heard all about the wolves in the yard at our house. Well, they came back and brought some friends - a LOT of friends. Turns out we've had nine wolves hanging around the neighborhood. The neighbor said he saw them take down a 6x6 bull elk the other morning. Another local tells of watching them harass a moose while the cars stacked up along the road as bystanders stopped to watch. Why is it I'm always in the wrong place at the wrong time?
None-the-less, our spring adventures have been enjoyable. Last time you traveled with me into the Madison Valley and the Centennial valley. This time we will visit mountain tops and lake shores. Let's start on the mountain.
Two Top is a well-known play area for many regular visitors to our area. Straddling the Idaho - Montana border, the views from the top are far-reaching and impressive. Furthermore, after a 'normal' winter, the snow-impacted trees take on interesting and complex shapes which rarely bring to mind the term 'tree.' Perhaps this is why they are often called 'ghost' trees.
We enjoyed two trips up the mountain this spring. Both times we had the entire area to ourselves. The sunshine was warm. The wind was cold. The views were awe inspiring.
From Two Top we ventured to one of Island Park, Idaho's more popular snowmobile destinations. While we hear many folks speak of their visit to Big Springs, we saw no one - not on the trails or at any one of our many stops.
While I'm not much on frequenting tourist traps, I have to admit Big Springs was quite photogenic and, at least during our brief visit, peaceful. The Johnny Sack Cabin has been beautifully restored, and while we could not access the interior, the reflections in the nearly still water make it look almost idealistic. Certainly one can understand why this early settler chose to call this spot home.
The cabin was not the only interesting thing at Big Springs. While Big Springs appears to be merely a large pond, even the most unobservant visitor would probably eventually notice the numerous springs flowing from the hillside behind and around the Jonny Sack cabin. As one orients themself to the area it becomes apparent this simple 'pond' is actually the source for the river which flows under the bridge and down the meadow. Wow!
Big Springs is also known for its large fish. In fact, some of our regular winter guests also make frequent stops to Big Springs to feed the fish. While no one in our group had any change, the fish are so accustomed to handouts, they came looking anyway. As a result, we were able to enjoy viewing and photographing them. As you can see, they are quite impressive.
Clearly we enjoyed the day!
Leaving the snowmobiles behind we took to the road. Quake Lake, Raynolds Pass, and the Madison River are familiar names to many locals and numerous visitors. However, this time of year, like Two Top and Big Springs, we had them virtually to ourselves. Long warm rays of sun, a little fresh snow, a few puffy clouds, and some gorgeous countryside turned the area into pure eye candy!
While our wildlife sightings were limited, recent snow brought the wildlife closer to the road. A kind friend shared his recent findings! (Please note: these photos are protected by copyright!)
Big Horn sheep along the road.
Beaver along a frozen lake shore.
It never ceases to amaze me, the beauty just outside my back door. Yet as these pictures have shown, it is really not fair to limit my praise to my own backyard. My corner of the world encompasses a little bit of three states and a large share of the most beautiful country anywhere in the world - at least in my opinion. Thus I am thrilled to remain the
Lady of the Lake