Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter in the Big Hole

The Big Hole is a little higher than the Bitterroot Valley, and it's east of the Continental Divide, so it normally gets harsher winters than we do.  We took a road trip over Chief Joseph Pass to check it out.

There's still not all that much snow in the valley, but it gets deeper at the higher elevations.  This is the road out of the south end of the Bitterroot Valley, toward Lost Trail Pass into Idaho and Chief Joseph Pass into the Big Hole.

Some of the ski runs at the Lost Trail Ski Area.

Seems it's always snowing in the mountains.  Lost Trail Pass gets an average of 300 inches of snow per year.

The trails are groomed weekly at the Chief Joseph Cross-Country Ski Trail.  There is also a warming hut.

This fence is a local landmark.  Last fall a birder in Hamilton told us she'd seen a great gray owl "just over Chief Joseph Pass, where they have that cool wooden fence."

The fence is hard to see in places.

The Big Hole Valley.

More mountains creating their own weather.

Wisdom, Montana.  This could be a scene straight out of Northern Exposure if it had more trees.

The Antlers Saloon is a good bar, but they need to put some Merle Haggard on the jukebox.

The local grocery store.

Please don't let your dog leave any presents under the 4-H Christmas Trees.


  1. Very nice photos, Cliff. Thanks.

  2. If you need a fix of Merle and other old school country, check out some classic country Internet streaming (contradiction in terms?):

  3. Thanks, Brian. That's a great site. I bookmarked it for future classic country internet streaming. It may be a conceptual contradiction, but I think we can have our internet and still have "swinging doors, a jukebox and a barstool."

  4. Ok - I don't see McCormack as a Merle Haggard I all wrong?

    I do miss Northern Exposure...that was a GREAT show!

    Love the pictures...they are beautiful!