Snapshots Of Spring In Montana's Centennial Valley

Tucked in the northeast corner of Montana's spectacular Centennial Valley, those of us at Elk Lake Resort have been enjoying a remarkable spring. Granted, as one frequent guest likes to say, "I love to visit the Centennial. It is like stepping back a hundred years in time. It will never change." So true! Yet, the seasons do change - and each one brings a sense of newness, a tang of adventure, and a whiff of excitement.

So, I decided to do a couple of posts featuring our lovely spring. I'll try to keep the text to a minimum and let the photos do the talking!

One of my favorite spring traditions is watching the wildlife return. This group of Mule Deer does not seem sure what to make of the dogs and I as we walk through their morning grazing spot. It is unusual to see so many does together (at least in my experience around Elk Lake). I wonder if this is a new 'wolf protection' plan?

The pronghorn have returned to the valley in force. In fact, the other day, we met a vehicle heading our direction on a section of road which is fenced on both sides. A young pronghorn was caught between the two vehicles. Its panic was palpable. Because, as you might be aware, pronghorn cannot jump!

Furthermore, this particular stretch of fence had wires close together and close to the ground. Thus the animal's escape options were limited.

We backed up well beyond two gate openings. The other vehicle moved slowly forward pressing the animal toward the openings. However, the pronghorn thought it saw a trap and originally refused to pass through its escape hatch! Thankfully it finally flew threw (almost literally), escaping the terrifying vehicles and returning to its herd.

Since most of the elk move to higher elevations in the summer, spring sightings are my best chance to get an awesome shot or two. So far this year hasn't yielded anything spectacular - but sun-drenched elk on a frosty hillside and a herd of elk against a snowy mountain backdrop aren't too hard on the eyes!

Perhaps my favorite picture, however, is the one taken when on a morning hike with my son. There is something so special about introducing our children to the magic of the great outdoors - and watching wildlife together as they go about their daily lives is the ultimate!

Unfortunately not all my subjects are willing to show their faces! In my experience, Badger sightings are often brief. We spotted this fellow right beside the road, but he seemed a bit camera shy. Not only did he dig furiously to get out of sight, the one time he poked his nose back up to see if we were still around, he was so quick, I couldn't catch his face! So, I have to make do with a badger butt!!

Fortunately some wildlife are even less interested in being seen than my illusive Badger. I would NOT have wanted to meet up with the bear which left this dinner plate sized pile of scat!

Of course it isn't all about the wildlife. Clouds. Fresh Snow. Warm Sunlight. Fresh Green Grass. I can't imagine any elements better suited to produce spectacular scenic photos.

Whether I'm hiking over hill and dale, taking an evening drive near Upper Lake to watch the sunset, or traveling toward the Centennial Valley's western end, the photo opportunities seem endless. What a privilege to live in a place where the 'view' never gets old!

Lady of the Lake

No comments: