26 July 2009


The most incredible thing that happened this week was a visitation by a mother moose and her baby. I wrote a little something about it on my other blog Musings and Memories. If you missed it you can read about it here MOOSE MOMENT IN MONTANA

Summer time and the living is easy but quite warm. It never fails to amaze me the weather extremes in Northwest Montana. Winters can be thirty below and the summers over one hundred. It's only gotten thirty below once since I have lived here. Some winters it doesn't get to zero but once or twice. So far this summer it hasn't risen to one hundred. Something for which I am quite grateful. In fact, I've barely gotten over ninety. Not so lucky the folks down in the valley. Being up around 4,000 ft. has it's advantages.

In an effort to get even higher, and cooler, we took a drive up to Weasel Lake.


Weasel is in the Ten Lakes Scenic Area and a popular fishing spot for the locals. On the drive up we came across thousands of thistle like flowers. I don't ever recall seeing these plants before and I can't identify them either. I found Bull Thistle, Canada Thistle and Burdock but it isn't any of these. I seem to have a real talent for finding plants I can't identify. These guys may be nasty weeds but they sure are pretty.



It was, in fact, cooler at Weasel. We followed the path around the perimeter. Koty, in all his enthusiasm fell off the foot bridge into the creek. He hates to get wet so naturally I thought it was pretty funny.

One of my favorite wildflowers, and one I can actually identify is Bear Grass. It's really quite stunning and apparently practical plant. Native Americans used to use it to weave baskets.



There was a surprising amount of water in the creeks considering it is the end of July already. Egads where has the summer gone. Clarence Creek is just one of many little creeks that run into Grave Creek, the main creek running down the mountain. I seem to have a thing for running water as I never tire of photographing it.


On the way home we paused down in the valley to look back toward the mountains.


Darned if living around here isn't like living in a painting. The gap, in the above, is called Therriault Pass. I have vowed to hike through it one of these days. But, not in the summer. I'd pass out from the heat for sure!

Until next time!

©Kinsey Barnard

19 July 2009


We made a couple of forays this past week. The first was to Lake Koocanusa. I am trying to get some good shots of Koty for a 2010 calendar but he is not being at all co-operative. You can believe that the good ones that I do have are serendipity. I have never known an animal so reluctant to have it's photograph taken. Needless to say I didn't get any at the Koocanusa but at least you can see below how pretty the lake was!


We took our usual walk down to the Marina. Not much going on but I did get some nice images of wildflowers. The one below is particularly pretty but I can't seem to find the name of it yet. If anyone knows what it is I would appreciate a heads up.



I know that dandelions are weeds but I really like the way they look once they have gone to seed. They are so intricate and delicate. Endlessly fascinating to me.


Later in the week we made a foray across the bridge over the Koocanusa and into the Kootenai mountains. Our objective was to get some new images of Little North Fork Falls. I often speak of photographs as moments in time and that they are. Moments that have never been before and will never be again.

I photographed the falls last year but there were no fallen cedars across it then. Now it is pretty much impossible to capture them with out the windfall. Nature is always in motion. Nothing remains the same for long.


After playing around with the falls for awhile I tried to get some shots of the creek. The one below turned out nicely. It seems to convey nicely the dark rich colors of the water flowing down the creek.


I had to leave Koty in the car to do the falls and creek as I must do when working with the tripod. You can't get these water shots without one as the shutter speeds are so slow. Koty is like to have me and the pod on our behinds if allowed.

This area of the Kootenai is grizzly country and I was hoping we might encounter some grizzled fellow but we didn't even see any sign let along one of the big guys. Our hike took us up along Big Creek which is beautiful even this late in the season. Actually, I find creeks are generally more interesting when the runoff has subsided. This is because more boulders are exposed and the boulders add texture to ones photographs.


I have often mentioned one of the reasons I love traveling is because of the interesting people we meet. Exactly two years ago this month we were in Dillion, MT photographing ghost towns and met Roger Hopkins and his wife. We were staying at the same RV park. Roger is a rock sculptor from Palm Desert, CA. We had some very interesting conversations.

This week I received and e-mail from Roger with a TV Interview attached. It was fun to watch. I encourage you to visit Roger's Website. He has really done some amazing work! I think you will really enjoy looking at it.

Well, that was our week. Hope yours was a good one too!

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

11 July 2009


Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! My oldest and dearest friend and her husband came to call and we had a great time. If laughter is the best medicine (I believe it is) then I'll be in very good shape for quite some while.


I couldn't resist showing you this photo. The other day whilst I was out working in my forest I came upon this enormous old log that was just shredded. Bears tear up old logs and stumps mining for ants and grubs. The picture doesn't do justice to how impressively the bear ripped this log open. There is a grizzly working the area so I'm thinking that's whose handy work this was.


Spring and summer are such grand times to experience new life and it is everywhere, even in my rain gutters!


And, of course, the wildflowers continue to do there thing. Each month new entries become visible. The daisies are particularly lovely this year, planting themselves in perfect places to make it look as though I had been gardening.

For a very long time I have wanted to go to Polebridge. Can't say why really except that I thought it might be interesting. You can access this remote little place either through Ten Lakes Scenic Area or the west entrance of Glacier Park. The Ten Lakes way is a little rugged so we went down to the west entrance. The road to Polebridge is dirt most of the way but it is a beautiful if dusty drive. The funny thing is the drive was over a hundred miles to Polebridge but as the crow flies it is probably less than forty from where I live.


Looking at a map all these years I had thought that Polebridge and the two lakes up there, Kintla and Bowman, were outside the park which made them great candidates for exploration. The bad news was that whilst Polebridge is outside the park the lakes are not. There is a park entrance right at Polebridge.


We headed for Kintla Lake first as it was the furthest, some fifteen miles that takes well over an hour to negotiate. I had it so firmly entrenched in my mind that this lake was outside the park that when we got there I proceeded to strap on my .357 and get Koty ready to hike. Both of these things are highly illegal in the National Parks. It wasn't until I reached the trailhead and was brought up short by the info sign that I realized the error of my ways. My little sister Mona was with us on this trip and she thought I had taken leave of my senses.


So much for exploring Kintla or Bowman. By the time we got back down the road to the Bowman turnoff we decided to skip Bowman in favor of our stomachs. There is basically nothing in Polebridge except the Polebridge Mercantile. But, that's all we needed as the mercantile is also a bakery!


We both had a warm pork sandwich that was so, so. But, we also bought some pastries that were to die for. The one I chose had peanuts and hucklberries, two of my all time favorites. When I first moved to Montana I kept hearing people talk about huckleberries like they were manna from heaven. I thought "Yeah, yeah, huckleberries big deal." That was until I tasted them. They really are manna from heaven. Even Koty will eat them.

After lunch we headed north to the border crossing which is closed as you can see from the photo. It's about another 15-17 miles from Polebridge. This crossing is closed to entry but it is well patrolled and several new corrals suggest there is going to be mounted border patrolling this season. Over the years that I have lived here I have seen the guarding of the Canadian Border become stronger and stronger.


The section of road between Polebridge and the border is where I should have been. It's all National Forest and open to exploring with your best friend. I'll come back and do that one day.

It's been a great couple of weeks, as usual. We hope you've been enjoying your summer too!

©Kinsey Barnard Photography