Montana to Washington

Well I’ve finally made it to the Pacific Northwest. I drove from the Bitterroot Valley of Montana into Northeast Washington state yesterday and am really finding the evergreen state to be extremely interesting. The Bitterroot Valley was an incredible place where the word “big” met the word “beauty” and a valley in Montana was created. The last day I spent in the valley began with the clouds finally breaking enough for me to see the valley floor covered in homes, towns, and farms. Unfortunately, the mountain tops continued to remain just out of sight hiding in the low clouds. But the message the valley gave off was the same, peaks or not, beauty. I definitely see myself making a return trip to this special part of the country in the future. The mountains and valleys of the Montana/Idaho border were just begging for more exploration. But due to the ruggedness and remoteness of some of these parts of the mountains, I determined spring and summer were the best time of the year to truly get lost in this wilderness. I can’t wait for the day that I get to come back and spend weeks if not months exploring the hundreds of valleys and creeks in this area. Washington state has been incredibly interesting in that the Bitterroot Valley I fell in love with in Montana was directly responsible for the land I’m staying in now. The Northeast of Washington has always been dominated by the mighty Columbia River and during the last ice age 12,000 years ago, the lake that originally carved out the Bitterroot Valley broke free and flooded down the mountains through the Idaho panhandle and into the Columbia River in NE Washington. Where I’m staying at now is in that ancient flood path. The river has been dammed since then, and now there is Lake Roosevelt in the once deep carved out Columbia River valley. This story of ancient flood waters shaping the modern day landscape of the Northwest has been incredibly interesting to follow along and see firsthand. The Earth is an interesting place with an even more fascinating history. How easy it is to forget that we see mountains, valleys, and rivers today because of events that took places over hundreds of years, thousands of years ago.

-Warren

Pictures:

Saying goodbye to this special valley for now. Imagine this going on for a hundred miles to get an idea of how massive this place is

Saying goodbye to this special valley for now. Imagine this going on for a hundred miles to get an idea of how massive this place is

Watching ducks swim and fly around Lake Roosevelt

Watching ducks swim and fly around Lake Roosevelt

Where I've been sleeping, with peacocks and apple trees in the middle of a forest of pines. Oh there's a lake too

Where I’ve been sleeping, with peacocks and apple trees in the middle of a forest of pines. Oh there’s a lake too

Cloud watching here could be a full time job

Cloud watching here could be a full time job

Where the forest meets the beach

Where the forest meets the beach

A truly special place

A truly special place

Good morning world

Good morning world

Ducks flying across the lake

Ducks flying across the lake

Flowers growing out of the water

Flowers growing out of the water

Cool underwater patterns in the sand

Cool underwater patterns in the sand

A true thinking chair

A true thinking chair

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Montana Cont.

WOW! I believe I’ve said that word out loud at least a thousand times in the past two days all while smiling ear to ear the entire time. I spent a day crossing mountain ranges within Montana, and am now in the Bitterroot Valley for the next few days. This whole valley has really blown me away with the beauty of it’s dense forests and jagged mountains. I just can’t get enough of this place right now. I’ve felt solitude before, but the kind of peace and solitude you feel in a place like this makes everywhere else you’ve been before seem busy and distracting. In the deep forests of this valley, thoughts are your only companion and the beauty of the surrounding nature puts an intoxicating spell on you that makes you just want to sit back and listen. Just like my past campsite, the one I’m staying in now is right up against the border of a National Wilderness and going exploring in there has been an absolute treat. As soon as I cross the border from National Forest to Wilderness, the scenery immediately changes. The trails begin to narrow to the point where sometimes it’s best to traverse them sideways. The landscape of the forests get even more dense with plants, rocks, and everything else natural you could imagine. The forest grounds begin to be completely covered with moss and small plants that I have never seen before anywhere else. There is definitely something special about a place like this and it’s impossible to spend more than 5 minutes here and not realize this. Unfortunately for me and my photos, the weather has been throwing some cloudy days my way. The jagged peaks are always going in and out of hiding in the clouds as the day goes by. But with a place this beautiful and majestic, I don’t mind waiting for some better weather to truly see what’s right in front of me. I can only see bits and parts, here and there as the weather allows; but I know that this place can be so much more with just a little less clouds. So I’ll be spending the next few days staying put right here; all while taking in the fearsome peaks, dense forests, and incredible feelings that a place like this will give you.

-Warren

Pictures:

I'll be living in the base of this valley for the next few days. What a home

I’ll be living in the base of this valley for the next few days. What a home

Deep in Montana

Deep in Montana

A step back in time in Montana

A step back in time in Montana

These landscapes never get old

These landscapes never get old

Low clouds IN the mountains

Low clouds IN the mountains

Watching beavers swim around this lake was a great way to spend the afternoon

Watching beavers swim around this lake was a great way to spend the afternoon

Now this is a campsite

Now this is a campsite

Shadows of the forest covering the trail

Shadows of the forest covering the trail

Visibility in these woods is probably less than 100 feet

Visibility in these woods is probably less than 100 feet

I see why it's called Boulder creek

I see why it’s called Boulder creek

Little waterfalls in the middle of the wilderness

Little waterfalls in the middle of the wilderness

Greater Yellowstone Area

Well I’m back on the road after staying in Idaho Falls for a week, and I’m very excited for the opportunity to catch some great shots now that I’m heading through a very scenic part of the country. The greater Yellowstone area I’m in refers to the Yellowstone Super-volcano area, not necessarily Yellowstone National Park. I spent Monday afternoon climbing out of the Idaho Falls valley and up into this beautiful area. I had been to Yellowstone National Park years ago as a kid, but never got the opportunity to explore the Idaho side of the same environment, and I have to say it’s exactly how I remember the park. The pictures I’ve been taking these last two days here have been some of my favorite so far this trip, probably due to the fact that I finally feel like I’m getting a hold of what my camera can really do. I guess that’s what will happen when you spend a week off the road. So with some new photography skills/ideas and a beautiful new landscape to live in, I feel right back at home. Stay tuned to the blog (or just “Follow” to be notified of all new postings) as I’m going to be heading up North through the Montana Rocky Mountains. The epic landscapes and breathtaking scenery should make for some beautiful shots, weather and bears allowing of course.

-Warren

Pictures:

Natural frames in Idaho with the clouds rolling in on the mountains

Natural frames in Idaho with the clouds rolling in on the mountains

Beautiful rivers in Idaho

Beautiful rivers in Idaho

Rainy day in Idaho

Rainy day in Idaho

Almost to Montana

Almost to Montana

Being high up in the mountains made for beautiful clouds passing overhead

Being high up in the mountains made for beautiful clouds passing overhead

Property lines in the valley

Property lines in the valley

Changing colors in Idaho

Changing colors in Idaho

Playing with natural frames

Playing with natural frames

 

Pictures from Day 16:

Low clouds rolling over the mountains

Low clouds rolling over the mountains

Clouds as big as mountains

Clouds as big as mountains

Golden valleys and blue mountains

Golden valleys and blue mountains

The sun setting over the forest

The sun setting over the forest

Spent a few hours out in the valley watching the sun set, there was a moment of only about 10 minutes where the suns rays could visibly be seen across the valley

Spent a few hours out in the valley watching the sun set, there was a moment of only about 10 minutes where the suns rays could visibly be seen across the valley

The path back into the woods

The path back into the woods

Playing with more natural frames in the valley

Playing with more natural frames in the valley

Sunsets in the mountains can lead to insane lights/colors in the clouds

Sunsets in the mountains can lead to insane lights/colors in the clouds

Clouds at sunset over the valley

Clouds at sunset over the valley