Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Father's Day In the Pryors

So here are all the photos we took on our Father's Day drive down in the Pryors. You can click here to jump to the bottom and then scroll up to see the day unfold sequentially...
This was pretty much the last photo of the day, taken as we exited the Pryors just before we got to Bridger, Montana. This is rugged country, with long, eroded ridges that stretch for miles. I don't think I've ever seen it this green. [Full Size ~ 3.1 MB]
Here's a closeup of the Larskpur (unfortunately, the blossoms closest to the camera are slightly out of focus)

These blue flowers in this picture are Larkspur, a flower that is extremely poisonous to sheep and cattle. Sure is pretty though...
Big tree.
And still more (at this point in the drive, I am pretty much gasping in awe as we round every curve, slamming on the breaks to snap a couple more shots - all the while my wife and kids are laughing at me. After a while Micah pipes up and says, "Gee, Dad's like a kid in a candy shop!"). This is like coffee folks - I could quit anytime, just not today...
More flowers (how's that for understatement?)
Sunshine through the trees
Weathered stump in afternoon sun.
Now there's a nice shot of those Lupines! The colors are so bright here you can almost smell them.
This picture is just a little on the dark side, because I wanted to try and get the color of the sky - shooting towards the afternoon sun, the sky tends to wash out. So I let the light meter lock in on the sky and then moved the camera down to get the shot. The result is a nice blue sky, but the foreground is overly dark. Anyone have any suggestions on how to correct this when taking pictures? (other than 'don't shoot towards the sun) :-)
Here's a wide angle on that same meadow. [Full Size ~ 1.9 MB]
Here's a big meadow that was burned and then logged out at some point in the distant past. Great place to spot a bear.
I really like this one too
This just looks surreal to me. Who would have though blue, yellow and green could go so well together?
Here's a nice closeup of the Arrowleafs...
And another...
Another view of the same clearing
This clearing was absolutely stunning - knee deep in flowers. I could have sat here for hours just soaking it all in...
Who says sagebrush isn't pretty?
More Arrowleaf Balsam Root - the sun is beginning to sink towards the west now as turn our bow homeward, and the light filtering through the pines onto the foliage beneath is something to behold.
Here's a good panoramic look at the West Pryors. This is Big Sky Country, folks! [Full Size ~ 2.7 MB]
Ah, more flowers, and more of that beautiful blue sky! God is so good (and we are so fortunate to live here!)
Actually, life is pretty rough for wild horses. Here with the sun on his flanks you can finally get a glimpse of some of the sores and scars that he carries with him. He's also got a bit of a limp. He may well become breakfast for one of the many mountain lions that prowl these areas.
And here he is a little bit closer. Looks pretty, majestic, and all that jazz, doesn't he?
Here's another wild horse, this one a stallion, seen from afar.
Here's a view looking down and to the northeast. It really is difficult to capture the sense of just how steep it is here.
Here's a nice shot of all three kids.
And here's what the whole vista looks like. Pretty impressive. Pictures really don't do it justice. In the distance you can see the Bighorn Mountain Range on the other side of Yellowtail Canyon. [Full Size ~ 2.7 MB]
Sitting on the edge of Dryhead Overlook
Looking back to the northwest over lands that belong to the Crow Indians
Pasque flowers (the fuzzy violet ones) and Alpine Shooting Stars (the fuschia colored blossoms)
I sure would like to know what kind of flowers these are - anyone have any suggestions?
Another beautiful view back to the west
Here's a closer look. Evidently, wild horses like the wildflowers too.
Hey Rebekah, look! It's WILD HORSES! (The Pryor Mountains host a wild horse herd that roams free throughout the area. In recent years, the herd has been significantly reduced through mountain lion predation).
What can I say - views like these are simply stunning.
Here's Micah, having emerged unscathed. Note the quiet confidence exuding from our brave explorer.
Looking back out towards the entrance of the cave. Because of the ice, it's always extremely chilly inside here (even when temperatures are in the 100s outside!).
Micah, the brave explorer, standing on...ICE! (hence the name, "Big Ice Cave". We Montanans are very pragmatic). That's an ice stalactite thingy in the background. The cave only goes about 20 yards deep, and then there is a hole where it plunges into a deeper cavern. You used to be able to descend there as well, but they have it barred off (probably to keep people from getting hurt).
Into the darkness! :-)
Marilyn and Rebekah, standing in front of the entrance to the Big Ice Cave.
All of a sudden, here we are! Down the steps and into the cave we must go!
Here's a nice closeup shot. Taking pictures in the middle of these flowers is an amazing experience in terms of what you smell - warm, sunny afternoon, with all the scents mingling and wafting about you. It really is exceptional.
In many places, the hillsides are literally covered with flowers
More flowers (in case you haven't noticed yet, I really like flowers). The Pryors are famous for their wildflowers in the spring and early summer.
Walking down the path to the big ice cave, this is what you see off to your left. I just found the whole thing very striking.
One of the cool things about the Pryors is that they have tons of caves. One of them - a "big one" - has ice in it year round. The kids thought this was very cool...
Flowers in sage
West Pryors in the background, with Lupines, Arrowleafs, and little white flowers of some sort in the foreground
Looking back to the west from about the same place. You can see Lupines mixed in with a bright yellow flower that is in full bloom right now - I believe this is Arrowleaf Balsam Root.