Wasn't even outside town when I spotted this coyote hunting mice in a field.
Not a bad start.
...... Stopped and stared into the Gallatin and its' deep pools filled with fish, the same I've pursued a dozen times, but for reasons I cant explain I just sat on a rock and zoned out instead of ever breakng out the rod.
I'd been focusing my photography on the big things lately like elk and vast landscapes and almost forgot about the little pieces of brilliance mother nature provides...
Onward I drove and into the park for a bit and thought I might enter thru West Yellowstone today..? Saw this fella and his buddy cast a dozen times, but come up empty. So I ventured on but snapped a picture of his' audience first...
Becuase I'm prone to such whims I decided last second, as I spotted the sign, to head west and check out the area between Hebgen and Quake Lakes...? This is Hebgen...skies got a bit gloomy the further west I went..
..."The Madison Dam was hit by a school bus sized boulder last night" the old guy told me at the cabin fly shop; so in preperation for repair the waters' between the two dams were being drawn down 9 feet when I arrived; thus I said - 'screw it' and kept on driving...
(9/1/10 -correction: Old guy was right about boulder, but wrong about which Dam. It turned out to be the Ennis Lake which was being drawn down drasticly (50 miles away); increasing the Lower Madisons' flows by 3,000 cfs as of 6PM tonight, and effecting water temps dropping them down to 60 degrees as well. While the fishing might be good the next few days, there's significant concern as to the browns spawning this season and possible fish kills in the lake itself.)
On further to Quake Lake the wind was pretty strong too - another excuse not to fish - but I was just content to drive around Montana anyway today. ..
As I stopped at an overlook to take care of business, I realized where I was and that I'd been on that road a time or two, but it had been from the other-end headed east and it dawned on me everything surrounding me was prime forestry lands!!
My mind began wondering how many critters the opposite bank of the lake held undisturbed, and whether a short canoe trip was in order..(archery-openner is only days away)..?
When I past Slide Inn Fly Shop I found myself about where I'd elk hunted on the openner last season and decided; 'what the hell, might as well do some scouting..?'
I wasn't on the BLM ranch five minutes before spotting these three bucks making their way uphill... Though I didn't score an antelope buck tag this season, I'm conent with the prize I took last which hangs on my wall; and shortly after seeing these I came upon a young man with an early-season archery permit and showed him the pics and where they lay.
Next I spotted a sign directing me toward two isolated lakes I'd only heard of, but never seen so onward and upaward I went.... ..Ten miles of gravel later and I was out of Gallatin National and into Beaverhead-Deerlodge and at the shores of Wade Lake. Overcast, cool, and the 31st of August; I had the place all to myself save a large black bear I caught only a glimpse of (he being in camp raiding garbage cans) as I approached.
I walked quite a ways in his backtrail hoping for a picture, but no dice tonight; so I headed toward the other lake nearby. This is Cliff Lake, surrounded on all sides by breathtaking mountians and again - all national 'huntable' forest; so my thoughts were once again: "grab that canoe and give the other bank a try..?" Today was certainly not as pretty as if the sun were out and less cloudy, but having that many hundreds-of-thousands of acres all to myself (and thoughts of being similar during archery); made it worth the trip.
Not a bad day, not a bad day at all...
I'll be hitting all of those spots and more in the coming weeks.