Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Home on the Range

Polson, MT
July 10, 2013

This morning, not quite as early as we meant to head out, Joe and I took US 93 south towards the National Bison Range. What another spectacular 80 miles (round trip) of country roads!

Our adventure took us through beautiful protected wetlands...

 lots of farmlands surrounded by the Mission Mountains...

old barns which I love to take pictures of...there is just something about old barns and fences! ...

and even an old wooden railway trellis!

 Our first stop was at the visitor center. There is a $5.00 fee per vehicle, but the senior National Park pass is accepted.

Joe trying to help...

 A bus was  broken down at the visitor center with about 10 children inside. Joe tried to help, but the starter was broken...

Since 1908, the National Bison Range has played an important role in the successful recovery of bison. Today, 350-500 bison call the refuge home.
The primary means of traveling through the range is by personal vehicle. The roads are gravel, well graded and maintained.

Red Sleep Mountain Drive is a 19 mile, one-way loop road that gains 2,000 feet. It took us right at 2 hours to make the loop.

The loop offers spectacular views of  Flathead River.

Our first wildlife viewing was  immature pronghorn antelope playing.

Most of the wildflowers are gone, but I did see a new one for me...I'm not sure what it is. While I was photographing the flower, this little bunny appeared at my feet.

 There are forest communities at the higher elevations. I so wanted to see a bear...didn't happen today.

 What a difference the higher elevations make...these cone flowers were so pretty.

 Is this a partridge of some kind? It is a large bird...mostly gray with the red marking above the eye.
The highest point on the range is 4,885 feet at High Point on Red Sleep Mountain. This is a view of Glacial Lake Missoula. About 18,000 years ago, this was all under water as was most of the range.

Pronghorn Antelope


If you look very close or enlarge this photo with a click on the picture, you will see the calves. Calves are born mid-April through May and are a bright rust color for the first two months.                                            

 Bulls weigh in at about 2,000 pounds.

Mission Creek runs along Prairie Drive at the end of the loop. We saw lots of deer there.

 I caught a glimpse of the white spot in the tree...I was sure hoping for an eagle. My picture is not very good so I couldn't tell. Maybe?
There is a very nice, shady and cool picnic area with restrooms at the very end of the drive.

It was a wonderful way to spend the day! Hope your day was wonderful too.

 We cant' believe we are already in our second week of our month long stay here.  We have been walking 2-3 miles around sunup every morning. Its so cool and fresh outside!

 We have been getting some things done inside and outside Belle...major cleanup and cleanout! Its amazing how little you really need when you live in a MH. How nice! We had way too much stuff!

Thanks for stopping by...
Y'all come back!


  1. Great pictures! Montana is such a beautiful state. Look forward to the day Steve and I can visit.

  2. It looks like you're having a great time and your photos are beautiful! :-)

  3. Thanks for sharing all those awesome pictures with us.
    Always seem to need to purge stuff from our coach too.

  4. Looks like your camera was very busy on this trip. You had some might great photos too!

  5. A nice softness to your photos! Wonderful.

  6. Love that drive. I think the Missions are some of the most beautiful mountains especially when there is snow on the top of them.

  7. I believe the one bird may be a blue grouse. As for the eagle? It's really on osprey. :)

  8. Looks like you discovered another beautiful area. I love buffalo. I must have a million pictures but I still need more. I guess it is their massiveness I like. Sorry you haven't found that bear yet. But you certainly did find lots of other wonders.

  9. Beautiful scenery & apparently, abundant wildlife too. A winning combination! We've added National Bison Range to our MT Excel file for places to visit when we arrive. Thanks for sharing. - Don & Gayle

  10. Your beautiful posts always make me happy! Thank you so much and please keep them coming! :-)

  11. Your new header is spectacular!
    Beautiful scenery makes you happy and your day is just perfect. Great Pictures.

  12. Love your photos. Love the header pic too, I like barns & such as well. It would have been very sad if the Bison had gone extinct.