31 August 2007


Five days to launch! That is, five days until we leave for Alberta. It is a lot like a shuttle launch around here as mom makes plans for departure. I gotta hand it to her though. She has to do the preparation and planning of two people to get this show on the road. It really is quite a production to get us ready. I'd be happy to help but, well you know, I'm all paws. :)

A Winnebago View, Clementine, is our home away from home. We like to think of our outfit as a 21st century Conestoga, aka a covered wagon. And we are intrepid Westward Ho explorers. I really like riding shotgun in this wagon. I feel like king of the road. Bringing up the rear is Shadow. She is a Little Ford Focus. Don't laugh at me. I didn't name the darned things.

Mom is pretty proud of the outfit she has put together. We have all the conveniences of home but we are relatively easy on the environment. Clementine has a Mercedes diesel and gets 19 miles to the gallon and Shadow gets almost 40.

Clementine and Shadow

Not a whole lot of hiking or photography going on around here while travel preparations are underway. But, early yesterday morning, some apple dancers were by for breakfast. That's what mom calls them anyway. They were really whitetail deer jumping up in the trees trying to get apples.

Our place is part of an old homestead that was made in 1905. The apple trees in the meadow are of the same vintage, having been planted by the homesteaders. Remains of the original cabin can still be seen.

Our house overlooks the meadow so we can watch all the action right out the window. Deer love apples. They rear up on their hind legs and try to pick them. They kinda look like ballet dancers, the way they jump around on two legs. Anyway, like I said, mom's got quite the imagination.

The apple dancing thing is ok but what I really like is to watch them play. Boy, when those deer get racing around the meadow, chasing one another, it's quite a sight. They look like they are playing a game of tag and it's fun to see. Course, I'd rather be in on the game but we know that's not gonna happen. :(

Well, that's it for now.

Until next time .......

@Kinsey Barnard

27 August 2007


Well, my mom sure snookered me this morning. She asked me if I wanted to "go". That's about as dumb a question as "Do ducks fly?". But, I humored her by doing my spinning thing and other whirling dervish moves to indicate me approval. Away we went.

The next thing I know I'm in the vet's office. I used to like going there because the people are nice and I like people. Not anymore! I finally figured out those sweet smiling faces always mean somebody is going to stick something in me. Admittedly, today wasn't too bad. What I got was bordetella nose drops. Usually, this is what you get for kennel cough before you get boarded. But, mom makes me take it because we travel so much and no telling whose nose I'll be bumping into. I generally bump into all the noses I can find!

I must admit, I was pretty good about the whole thing so my reward was a trip to a trail we know over at Rexford. This trail takes you along a bluff overlooking Lake Koocanusa. You can also take side trails down to the water if you want. I want. So, we went.

Mom, calls the Koocanusa the lake "of many faces". You just never know what it's going to look like.

Lake Koocanusa

Oh, nearly forgot, mom asked me to include this story she got today from an old school chum. It's a Native American tale called "Two Wolves" and it goes like this.........

" One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all..

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Lotsa wisdom in that story don't you think?

Until next time.........

©Kinsey Barnard

25 August 2007

British Columbia - Elk, Bull, & Kootenay Rivers

Well, I sad sacked around here all morning yesterday until my mom relented and drove us to British Columbia. The idea was to go to a place where the Bull River runs through the Rocky Mountain Sheep Project. We've been trying all year to hit the Bull just right. At a certain time, following the spring runoff, the river turns this amazing turquoise color. We've tried three times this year and struck out. It has been so dry, the river is but a trickle of its full flowing self. There will be no color anytime this year.

Mom was so disappointed because she wanted me to be able to show it to you. It really is something to see, this ribbon of amazing color flowing through the gorge. The only thing I can show you is a sliver that was captured in this photo of Canadian honkers . The photo was taken this past March and the water color isn't half its potential. Oh, well, she'll try again next year.

Speaking of dry, the Elk River which flows down from Fernie is but a shadow of its earlier self as is the Kootenay. We had the best snow pack, in the Rockies, we've had in the past fives years but the moisture this summer hasn't been "spit", as my mom likes to say.

Failing in our river mission we set out to see if we could find the big horns. Struck out there too. There's a pretty good sized herd in this project but we couldn't find the blasted things. We saw a few whitetail but nothing to make a photograph. I don't really care cuz I'm out on the trail and that's my major joy. Mom was pretty frustrated though. Poor mom. Anyone who thinks this nature photography is easy, is mistaken. Mother Nature isn't always co-operative. We drive and hike, miles and miles and often mom doesn't get a thing. These are not such good days for me either cuz mom then has a BADD (Barnard Bad Attitude Day) when she can't make photographs. To make her even happier, this day, I picked up a kajillion tiny burs. In a Husky coat this isn't funny. I get away with very little misbehaving on days like these. :)

Since we were not far, mom decided to drive over to Cranbrook. Cranbrook is a lot like Kalispell in that in the past five years it has grown by leaps and bounds. The great thing for Cranbrookians is that one would have to crawl into a hole not to have a stunning view of the Rockies.

We went over to Elizabeth Lake on the west side of town thinking maybe mom could get a photo of some waterfowl. Struck out there too. Only thing we saw were a few coots. With that mom threw up her hands and said "We're going home!".

So, once again, Mother Nature had reminded us She is not to be taken for granted. She will only reveal Her mystery and beauty in Her own good time. And, it isn't for free. You have to work for it!

But, Mother isn't without a heart for she gave us a beautiful sunset to soothe our weary souls.

Until next time.........

©Kinsey Barnard

22 August 2007


The weather in our neck of the words was perfect today. Mostly sunny and in the seventies. Really perfect hiking weather.

We hiked to Lake Hagadore and Martin Lake . Hagadore didn't have any water. The grass and cattails were about six feet tall. I had a dickens of a time blazing a trail. My nose was working in over drive because I kept coming upon nests in the grass that various animals had made.

From Hagadore we hiked over to Martin Lake . It wasn't much of a hike actually, maybe five or ten minutes. It is a pretty little lake. I bet there is good fishing here. The near the shore there were a bazillion fingerlings swimming around. I tried my luck at snapping some of them up but wasn't quite fast enough and came up empty. My most favorite thing in the world to eat is fresh caught fish. I'll take mine sushi!

On the way back we came upon a snake right in the middle of the trail. At least I thought it was just one. But, imagine my surprise when the snake took off and split into three! Look at the photograph and see if you can find the three heads. It's a snake puzzle. :) The snake puzzle has disappeared along with the photo but here's a snake.

Until next time........

20 August 2007


Didn't get to hike today. We hit the highway.

It was go to town day. The little town we live near doesn't have much in the way of stores. The nearest place for us to shop is 75 miles away in Kalispell. We get our grub in Whitefish.

When we moved to Montana, five years ago from Colorado, even Kalispell was a cow town. Now they have everything Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe's, Borders etc. Heaven sakes there is even a Starbucks! To my very certain knowledge mom has never had one of those. She's kind of on the thrifty side and thinks spending that much for a cup of coffee is "plain nutz". The Costco is the biggest in Montana. None of it existed five years ago. Seems like the word musta got out that the best lookin' guy in the country (Uh, that would be me!) had moved to northwest Montana so everyone else decided to follow.

The best part was when we went to Petco. You know, where the pets go?! I love going in that store. The smells are to die for. I pulled mom around like a rag doll on the end of a lightening rod while I sniffed everything in sight. Mom says I act like a berserk bloodhound. I admit it. I go a little crazy in there. At one point I totally forgot myself and jumped on the parakeet cage. I couldn't help it. That cage was jam, crammed with tiny morsels! I nearly got a whoopin for that one.

Shopping trips are pretty much all day outings so that's my report. Except that the sky was cloudy all day and the wind blew all the smoke away so the weather is pretty darned nice, in the 60's. Fall is coming. Canada is coming. Life is good!

Until next time......

©Kinsey Barnard

19 August 2007

Sutton Creek - Montana

Today we took a hike in bear country. We didn't see any though. Sutton Creek is down along the east side of Lake Koocanusa. It has been so dry in this area the foliage already looks like fall in the area.

I don't know if you know how the Koocanusa came by it's name but in case you don't here's the story. The lake stretches ninety miles from the Libby dam all the way into British Columbia. So, the Koo is for the Kootenai National Forest which was named for the Kootenai Indians (Kootenay in Canadian) Can for Canada and USA for, well you know, USA.

We were looking for a water fall which we didn't find. I'm beginning to think I need a new map reader. Even though we never found the falls it was a very pretty hike. The forest was mostly ponderosa and those great big red tree trunks are beautiful, or so my mom says. After wandering around in the forest for about three hours we gave up on the waterfall and headed back down the mountain.

On the way home we stopped at Sand Hill. It's a place right on highway 37 where they blasted sheer cliffs when they made the Koocanusa. Anyway, rock climbers love this spot for climbing so we stopped and watched them for awhile. Looks like fun to me but mom practically fainted just watching them :)

We got back just in time for a little, very welcome rain to start falling. That's about it for this day.

Until next time.........

©Kinsey Barnard

18 August 2007

O Canada! Oh Canada!

Great news! My mom has told me we are going to Canada the first week of September! I'm too excited for words. I love Canada! It's so beautiful and they let me hike all their national parks. Canadians know dogs! Actually, several of my family have been Canadian champions.

More specifically Alberta. We will be going to Lake Louise and on up to Jasper. Maybe on down to Waterton. Mom's not quite sure. But, who cares we are GOING. I'm startin' to pack my bags tonight!

It's been really hot again and smoke from forest fires has made the sky just a big old haze. I can hardly wait for fall!

We hiked up the mountain this afternoon. It was hot an smokey. The photo is of a trail rider we met on the Blacktail Trail.

Well, I'm gonna go get my suitcase out. I may still have a couple of weeks but that's ok. I'll be dreaming of majestic mountains and glacial waters!

Until next time........

©Kinsey Barnard

15 August 2007

British Columbia

We hiked to British Columbia today. For some folks that would probably be quite a trek, for us it was only about two hours on foot. That sign there says it's the 49th parallel and the international boundary between Canada and the United States. Mom was a good girl and stayed on our side but I scampered into Canada as far as my lead would allow. No mounties came after me! The border here is a pretty impressive sight. It's just this, what looks like a fire break, cut through the forest as far as the eye can see.

On the way up we saw a beautiful back bear. His coat was like jet black velvet. There wasn't any opportunity for mom to get a shot as he took off as soon as he heard us. Bears have VERY good ears and they can run like the wind. Course, so do I. I bet I could've caught up with him if mom would've let me. But, I'm not allowed to chase. Darn!

It's really hard getting photographs of animals in the wild. Technically, the animals in the parks are in the wild but they are so accustomed to cars, people and cameras it's a lot easier. For us, in the wild, means where you walk all day and never see another human being. Here in Montana that isn't hard to do. Montana is the fourth largest state land mass wise and still has less than one million humans in the whole place. The animals in these forests are pretty leery of humans and just the crunch of human boots on the trail is enough to send anything around flying. Me I could sneak up on them, I have quiet shoes. Problem is I'm not too good with a camera.

Mom tried to get some pictures in an old mine shaft but neither one of us was very crazy about being in there in the dark and all she got was a fuzzy picture of my behind.

Until next time......

13 August 2007

Whitetail Deer

Not a whole lot to report except that on Sunday we were visited by six whitetail bucks in velvet. We have never before had that many bucks at one time. It was a pretty amazing site. Of course, all I wanted to do was chase them but mom doesn't let me. The photo is of three of them. Aren't they something?

It's warmed up again, darn it. Late this afternoon we hiked in the Kootenai but didn't see anything except one lone whitetail doe.

The photo below was taken at my ranch in northwest Montana. A beautiful, whitetail buck. Oh, my, deer! :)

Until next time......... ©Kinsey Barnard

11 August 2007

Murphy Lake

Yesterday, we went to Murphy Lake near Fortine. It's also a wildlife viewing area. The main thing you will see there are loons. We couldn't get to them but we could here them calling. If you've never heard a loon you've missed something. It's a very special sound.

After walking around Murphy we decided to see if we could find Martin Lake. We took off down FS 7006 on foot. Mom likes to walk places as much as possible cuz we see and experience more. The first thing we saw and experienced was a tree nearly falling on us. The wind came up, we heard this big crack and an old tree came tumbling down not 20 ft. from us. Mom is not crazy about hiking in the forest in the wind and this is why.

Shortly after that an 8 pt. whitetail buck came crashing down the hill above us, flew across the road and into the forest below. It was a sight to see but happened a little too fast to capture. I pointed out several bear scats (poops). I really have a nose for this. It wasn't fresh, maybe a day or two old. I could also tell there were bears around by the torn up logs and stumps. Bears love to eat the ants and grubs that live in them.

We finally came to a concrete barrier and a little way from that, a trail. It had a sign that just said "trail". Not real helpful. We could see it was a trail. We would have liked to have known to where. We took it up the mountain a mile or so but it was getting late in the day and mom decided we'd better head back. Turned out to be a good idea too because as we walked along in the warm, summer sun the wind kicked up again and before we knew it, the skies turned dark and the temperature dropped like a rock. Those old trees were really rocking and rolling. The thunder was also rolling. We turned up our speed and made it back to the truck just as the rain came down in sheets!

Note to hikers & bikers: I'm sure you've heard it before but it bears repeating; always be prepared for weather changes in the Rockies. It can happen so fast it'll make your head spin. We've seen the temperature drop 40 degrees in less than 5 minutes. If you don't have the right gear you'll be mighty uncomfortable or worse.

Until next time.....

09 August 2007

Boo Hoo! Ranch Chores Today

OK, this is my least favorite kind of day. Mom did ranch chores all the live long day and I didn't get to go hiking. All, I got was a walk down to the gate to pick up a package. Big freaking deal!

This photo mom took of me pretty much sums up my feelings on the day.

Hey mom! The best nature and wildlife is out on the trail!!!!! I know she knows this but it never hurts to yell a reminder. :)

Well, that about tells you all you need to know about this day!

Hoping for a better tomorrow,

Koty Bear

08 August 2007

Hike in the Kootenai

Hoooray! This was my kind of day! We went for a nice long hike in the Kootenai!

It's been hotter than heck here in Montana this summer but today we had nice cloud cover and the temperature was in the sixties. I can't begin to tell you how much I like the lower temperature.

Naturally, mom carries her camera with her everywhere we go. The picture you see here is of a little black bear that crossed the trail in front of us today. I'll let you in on a little secret, my mom is a perfectionist and I had a dickens of a time getting her to let me post this picture. She doesn't like to publish anything that isn't perfection. But, I have convinced her that our friends would like to see just "pictures" of the interesting things we see in a day. So she gave in.

At our ranch here in Montana we live with the black bears, grizzlies, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, moose, you name it. Even though I see these guys pretty regularly it never fails to excite me. I want you to see too!

If you want to see the good stuff you need to go to www.kotybear.com

One of these days mom will figure out how to tie this blog to the website and I won't have to keep typing it in.

That's all for today!

07 August 2007

Trip to Southwestern Montana July 2007

Hi My name is Lakota Sunrise. Koty Bear to my friends.

I am a Siberian Husky.

The last week of July my mom and I made a safari down to the Dillon area. Mom wanted to check out the ghost towns and whatever else we could find. We visited the ghost towns of Brannack, Nevada City & Virginia City. The coolest thing was they let me in everywhere. If you are a dog Montana is the place to be. I kid you not. I never got stuck in the car once.

But, of course, my favorite was the time on the trail. We spent a couple of days hiking in the Beaverhead National Forest. Naturally, our progress was constantly interrupted by my mom wanting to photograph this or that.

We took this great scenic drive through Beaverhead and stopped at this place called Crystal Park. Naturally, mom had gone off with out her maps and stuff so we just pulled in thinking it was maybe a nice park to take a hike. Well, we get started on the trail and start seeing these big holes. They looked like somebody had bombed holes in the place. It looked like a digging dogs (that would be me) idea of heaven. We came across a couple of ladies digging in a hole. Mom stopped and asked what they were doing. It turned out the Crystal in Crystal Park really meant what it said people were digging like respectable huskies looking for crystals!

We didn't get very much in the way of wildlife on this trip. Did get a beaver at Clark Canyon Reservoir and a Yellow Head Blackbird. But, got completely skunked at Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

That's pretty much it for this trip.

Lakota Sunrise passed away in February 2013. Molly Montana is now looking after me so I have turned this blog over to her good keeping

©Kinsey Barnard