26 June 2014

Little Northfor Falls - Kootenai National Forest - Montana

Monday we took a friend to see the Little Northfork Falls. This time of year the falls are really falling. Later in the year this will be but a trickle.

Little Northfork Falls is in the Kootenai National Forest in Montana and it a contributory to Big Creek and Lake Koocanusa.

It isn't often that Kinsey and I end up in the same photo because we usually travel by ourselves and, well, whose gonna take the picture?


This next photo is kind of crazy. It's of a bunch of butterflies in some sort of a frenzy over I really can't say what. I can say that I checked it out thoroughly scattering the butterflies to the far corners of the forest.

We picnicked down along Big Creek and took a walk deep into the forest. This forest is very much like a rain forest, humid with lots of cedars and ferns. Also very pleasant on a warm summer day.

I don't know when Kinsey took this photo but I sure wish she would wash my face before she does these things.

I'm toiling away writing up Day 6 of our trip to St. Mary and the Blackfeet Reservation. You won't want to miss it. Day 6 was the most exciting day of our whole trip!

Ciao for now!


©Kinsey Barnard

24 June 2014

Kinsey Dances Chief Mountain Watches

Today we tried to find another trail over to Chief Mountain. Actually, we went back to the place we were the other day but didn’t want to cross the creek. Well, I did but Kinsey was concerned about getting her dainty little feet wet.

When we arrived back at that creek Kinsey let me loose and I went bananas splashing around in the water. I still haven’t given swimming a try but I sure like to splash around in the stuff. I don’t get why Kinsey spends ten minutes getting her water shoes on for a one minute crossing and then another ten minutes getting her boots back on. Humans are so silly. Mine is anyway.

We came upon more ceremonial prayer flags i.e. pieces of colored cloth and clothing tied on the branches and trunks of the aspen. We have been told these are offerings to the spirits often on behalf of a loved one who has moved on to the next world. On our way home we saw a group of about eight people performing a ceremony not far from the road.

Once across the creek and rebooted (sounds like a computer term) away we went down the path. It wasn’t far before we broke into an enormous grassy meadow with a commanding view of Chief Mountain. Yellow dandelions splashed their color all over the green carpet of grass. I didn’t notice the view so much as the meadow was chock full of ground squirrels. Those squirrels are great chirpers. Once I heard those cries, and caught a whiff, I was off to the races. I do not particularly endear myself to Kinsey at times like these. I get so wrapped up in my prey drive, I tune everything out including her. I really don’t mean to do it. I can’t seem to help myself.

This meadow must host huge First Nations ceremonies and what a perfect place. It feels like you could reach out and touch Chief Mountain. The “Old Chief”, as the mountain is sometimes called, must be very pleased during the ceremonies.

Once through the meadow we picked up a trail that took us back across another creek. This time Kinsey just walked through it cuz it was about an eight second traverse. I got put back on the leash. Kinsey doesn’t want me running off scaring up something best left undisturbed. The trail wound like a corkscrew through the trees. The trees are stunted aspen. The wind blows so hard up here they must adapt or die. The trails, as you might imagine, are not maintained and we clamored over and around fallen trees until we could go no further. Well, I could have gone on. But, well, you know …...

We saw all kinds of animal signs. Elk and moose in particular but also bear and maybe a big cat. I found a lovely big, fresh pile of bear poop (some people call it scat) and rolled right in it. Mama Mia, that’s what I call heaven! Kinsey, wasn’t in the least bit happy for me and my delight. We also saw the strangest looking track. Kinsey says it’s a bear but I dunno, looks mighty strange to me. See what you think.

Very strange looking track the toes look too long, straight and slender for a bear.

We headed back down the trail and tried another we had passed on the way up. We maybe got a mile and then we were stumped again, literally. We headed back to the big meadow. I got turned loose again and went racing off. Kinsey found herself a good spot to look at the mountain and sat down in the grass. After I’d run myself out I found myself an old bone and lay down beside her.


I probably shouldn’t tell tales on my mom but after a while she plugged in her MP3 player and set it to her favorite First Nation band Brule. She got up and started dancing in that heavenly meadow. It was something to watch. This crazy woman dancing in the middle of nowhere, with no one but me and “The Chief” to see her. Maybe that was her intention, to dance for “The Chief”. Whatever she was doing I’ve never seen anyone so in the moment. Kinsey dances to this music all the time at home but this was something else. She was truly swept away. One thing I'll say for old Kinsey she knows how to live in the moment and experience pure bliss.


After Kinsey got done entertaining the mountain we headed back to the first creek we had crossed. It’s a lovely spot and there we had our lunch. After lunch we tried yet another route but this time the trail was running snow melt and mud.

We decided to pack it in for today. I think Kinsey was a little tired. Me, I could go until forever.
Photography Prints
Be sure and check out Kinsey's latest article at The Liberated Photographer. It's called "LABELS ARE LIMITING" . Kinsey is no fan of labels particularly as relates to people. Folks are saying some very nice things about it.

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

18 June 2014

Beautiful Blackfeet Horses

Today we drove south on 89 back toward Browning. Kinsey wanted to walk the road into the Cut Back Campground. It's about a four mile walk. Kinsey likes to walk it because once at the campground you are in Glacier NP and I can't go on the trails. She also likes to walk because she feels she can see so much more. Since I don't know how to drive yet, it's distracting trying to stay on the road and out of trouble. Trust me there have been times we have been headed for a ditch because Kinsey's attention was elsewhere.

Cut Bank Road with Cut Bank Creek on the left

Up until you get to the entrance to Cut Bank Campground you are on Blackfeet Reservation land. As you can see it's a very scenic walk or drive whichever you prefer. Lots of snow in those mountains.

Other than the beautiful scenery about all we saw were horses. Truth be told, it's the horses Kinsey comes to see in the spring. She's a real pigeon for mares with foals. On most open ranges you will encounter cattle but here on the Blackfeet Reservation it's horses. They just amble along the side of the roads grazing.

Blackfeet Horse

Blackfeet Mare & Foal

Blackfeet Mare and Foal

Portrait of a Blackfeet Paint

This poor boy was lame.
It turned out to be a good thing we walked the Cut Bank Road. The campground was closed. So, far every campground we have been to has been closed.

Kinsey finally gave up getting my rabies certificate from the vet (See Day 3). Somebody’s fax didn’t seem to be working and the vet couldn’t scan it and put it in an e-mail. Hard to believe a business doesn’t have a scanner but this is Montana, some places are cutting edge some are not. Kinsey is far from high tech but she left her fax at Goodwill a couple of years ago. Bottomline: I don’t get to go to Canada. Boo Hoo!

From the looks of this KOA campground people have gotten the memo about the park. Friday night and you could have shot a canon off without hitting an RV.

Don't forget to check out Kinsey's new blog The Liberated Photographer.com

This weeks story "SOME THINGS ARE MEANT TO BE" is all about me!

Ciao for now,

©Kinsey Barnard

14 June 2014

Hiking Chief Mountain US Customs Sucks

The wind started up in the night and by morning it was blowing a gale. Wind is not uncommon at St. Mary but this was some wild stuff. I thought popcorn popping on the roof all night was something. This wind made Clementine bob around like a cork on the water. I think I almost got seasick.

When we looked out the mountains surrounding St. Mary were socked in but when we looked north there was blue sky and sunshine. Kinsey decided we should go north to Waterton. We ate our breakfast and headed out a little before eight. There turned out to be two problems with her plan. 1) We arrived at the Chief Mountain crossing at 8:25 but the crossing doesn’t open until 9:00.  2) Kinsey had checked to make sure she had my rabies certificate but hadn’t checked the date, it was last years. Waterton is in Canada and the US requires a rabies certificate for re-entry. Kinsey spoke with one of the customs people. The gal she spoke to was aloof and purposely unhelpful.  Kinsey says US Customs officers are the most arrogant you will find anywhere in the world. She's been clearing customs since she was 18 so she's met a few. We had 20 minutes to wait for the border to open and there was no guarantee they’d let me back in the country. Kinsey made an executive decision and decided to heck with it. It was going to be windy in Waterton too. We headed back south.

Chief Mountain

Turns out, even though it was windier than anything I’ve experienced, we got a pretty nice hike. We found a couple of very cool tribal trails that go over to the base of Chief Mountain. Kinsey has a thing for Chief Mountain. She’s drawn to it like bees to honey. We hiked one trail as far as we could before we hit a water crossing that would require Kinsey to take off her boots. She didn't want to get her boots wet. It wasn't any problem for me. Kinsey said we would return when she had her water shoes to put on her delicate little feet.

Creek we needed to ford

When we got back to the car Kinsey almost got her legs chopped off at the shin letting me in the passenger side. A huge gust of wind hit just as I was jumping in and it drove that door right into her legs. OUCH! Good thing she had a little tuckus sticking out to act as a buffer. She had a heck of a time trying to get out from behind the door.

The Old Chief again

We headed back to the campground at St. Mary. We’d both had enough of the wind. Turned out there was no way to get away from it.

Much to my disappointment we spent the rest of the day around the campground. Kinsey tried to get her vet to fax over a copy of my rabies certificate but no luck there. I reckon she’ll try again tomorrow. My first international trip may have to be postponed. Bummer!

Kinsey did have a very interesting conversation with a tribal member about tribal politics. Very Machiavellian. Seems us white eyes aren’t the tribes’ only problem. Their own people are busy fleecing the general population. I see now why Kinsey is no fan of politics. She says she’ll be writing an opinion piece one of these days over on her blog TheLiberatedPhotographer.com.

Ciao for now,

©Kinsey Barnard

Photography Prints

09 June 2014

Exploring the Blackfeet Nation

Wowie. Zowie. It rained cats and dogs last night. Started about midnight and kept up until around 6:00am. On Clementine’s roof it sounded like popcorn popping all night. I mean it was seriously hard to sleep.

A little peace and quiet would be nice. I need my beauty rest.

Despite the weather we ventured over to the entrance to Glacier Park. The news was not good. The road was closed right at the visitor center. Usually, by this time of year you can get a little furtherThwarted at the park we took a walk around some of the roads before the main entrance. Even there they didn't want the likes of me on the trail. But, old Kinsey she can find something that intrigues her no matter what the limitations and barriers. The woman has an imagination. I think this must be why she is so happy all the time. She sees beauty in everything around her. Here's what she saw just walking along a path. She calls it "PONG". What the heck is a pong?

Marvelous Molly Montana on the shores of St. Mary Lake
We ran out of roads to walk so we headed up to Many Glacier. Many Glacier is only eight miles north of St. Mary so it’s a short hop. Not surprisingly, it was cloudy up there too. It wasn’t just cloudy. The clouds were so low they chopped off the mountain peaks halfway to the the bottom. It’s a pretty drive into Many Glacier but I’m a dog what do I care about pretty drives? Many Glacier is a good spot to view wildlife but all we saw were a few big horn ewes resting on a hillside.They camouflage themselves pretty good in the rocks don't they? I growled at them which did not win me any prizes with Kinsey.

Big Horn Ewes at Many Glacier

By noon we were back at Clementine, fixing lunch and hoping the weather would lift for an afternoon outing.

Things did get better so we went out again around 3:30 pm. This time to see if we could find some horses on the Blackfeet Reservation. She loves horses and likes to photograph them when she can, especially the painted horses. We went to a place where she has had good luck in the past but we weren’t as lucky this time. I wanted to get out and chase them around. You can guess what luck I had with that.

Mare and Foal cavorting on the Blackfeet Reservation
Around six the weather started closing in again so we called it a day.
Art Prints
Kinsey puts photos she just wants to have for memories in a personal gallery. It will get more photos as she gets on with her editing work. You can have a look at Blackfeet Reservation

Also, be sure and check out Kinseys new blog The Liberated Photographer.

Ciao for now,

©Kinsey Barnard

05 June 2014

The Blackfeet Nation Montana My First Road Trip

May 27, 2014 was the day that my first ever road trip began. Kinsey Barnard, fine art photographer and my mom, is no stranger to road trips in the motorhome. Me, well, I’m a road trip virgin. Not only was this a momentous occasion for me but for Kinsey too. This would be her first road trip since Lakota crossed the rainbow bridge. She just couldn't seem to face the idea of traveling without him. They had shared so much on the road together.

It took Kinsey forever to get Clementine, that’s the motorhome, road ready. First there was the de-winterizing and then there were the systems checks. Gotta make sure no pipes got froze, the water heater works, the refrigerator works, the water pump works, the range works, the microwave works, the john works. Gads, there’s a lot of stuff the old gal has to do. We even took Shakedown Run to Glacier. Then there is the packing and provisioning.

When you live in a place like Montana, where the temps can go well below zero you pretty much have to empty your RV for winter. Then in spring you have to pack it all back in. Kinsey whizzed back and forth, in and out of the house so many times I got dizzy just watching. You shoulda seen the amount of food she packed away. Our trip was to last a week. She packed up enough food for a month! I really shouldn’t say anything because a love of good food is one of the many things we have in common.

Finally, the big day arrived. Kinsey had chosen St. Mary, Montana for our first trip. St. Mary is located on the east side of the Rockies on the Blackfeet Reservation. Many people are not aware that when they are at St. Mary they are guests of the Blackfeet. People are mainly focused on the entrance to Glacier National Park. Kinsey is no great fan of the US National Parks because they don’t allow dogs on the trails. Lucky for me, if a place doesn’t allow dogs she doesn’t care to go there.

Bright and early, maybe more like 9:30, Kinsey hooked up Shadow, that’s our little Ford Focus tow car, and we were ready to rumble. What was the first stop we made? The grocery store! I should be careful here, the stop was for cookies for me. From the Flathead, the road you take is 2 East through the Marias Pass and over the Continental Divide. The creeks were rising that’s for sure. Everywhere along the way water was gushing down the mountainsides. We stopped along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River for a picnic. The river was screaming. Kinsey had stopped here several times with Lakota but said she’d never seen anything like it.

Clementine and Shadow at the Northfork of The Flathead
There are two ways you can get to St. Mary. You can go through East Glacier taking 49 over to 89 or you can go the long way round by going all the way into Browning. Browning is sort of the capital of the Blackfeet Reservation. From Browning you go north on 89. There are length restrictions on 49 so if you are in an RV you’ll probably want to take Browning route. Kinsey's first time she accidentally got on 49 before she realized she shouldn’t be and there was no turning back. At that time, the sign advising the length limitations was after you were already at the point of no return. Let’s just say it was one of her more hair raising adventures. Glad to have missed it. Anyway, the drive over to St. Mary was nothing short of gorgeous.

Through the windshield 89 north Blackfeet Reservation
We got into St. Mary around two and checked into the KOA. Kinsey doesn’t usually stay at KOA’s but it’s still early in the season so there weren’t too many people. The other large park is up on a hill and the wind blows up there like nobody’s business. The first order of business was to go over to the Duck Lake Lodge and pick up a recreation permit for the Blackfeet Reservation. You need one of these if you plan to fish, hike or camp on the Blackfeet Reservation. The road to Duck Lake has some good vantage points for viewing Chief Mountain, a sacred mountain to the Blackfeet and an endless fascination for Kinsey.

Chief Mountain from the Blackfeet Reservation
After picking up the permit we drove around the area a little. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves on a road that said we needed to be either a Blackfeet tribal member to pass or have permission. There was a number to call for permission but it was out of service. Did Kinsey turn back? Oh, no, not that princess of the road less traveled. She figured she’d ask for permission if someone stopped us, nobody did. We passed a few vehicles and Kinsey gave the single finger wave. If you know the wave you’re pretty much accepted everywhere out in the country. Be careful though, don’t use the wrong finger.

In the early evening we took a walk down the road on the west side of Lower St. Mary Lake. It was a beautiful warm evening.

Lower St. Mary Lake - Blackfeet Reservation
  So far, I’m thinking I’m liking this road trip business. Can't hardly wait for tomorrow.

Be sure and check out Kinsey's new blog The Liberated Photographer.

©Kinsey Barnard

03 June 2014

Just got back from my first ever roadtrip

Just wanted to tell you to stay tuned. Kinsey and I just returned from seven days at St. Mary's on the Blackfeet Reservation. This was my first ever road trip. I am way stoked. I wannna go out again ASAP! Got lots of stories and Kinsey took lots of super photos to back my stories up. I hope you didn't miss Kinsey's latest cool story TOOLEY BLUE SKUNK Should have my first St. Mary post up in a day or so. You won't want to miss it. Ciao for now Molly Montana.