We were out walking in the winter and came across this sign warning about bears. It made me laugh a little bit because before I moved to Montana I wasn’t as aware of my surroundings as I am here. Anytime I am out I think about what wildlife I might encounter based on the time of year, where I am at and the ecosystem. While it is early for bears to be out, I am wondering with the warm spell called for next week, what might change and could that early hungry bear be out there looking for an easy meal soon.
On New Year’s Day I discovered a new favorite place. I have been looking for a place close to home to get away from it all, that works in the winter. In the summer I would walk across the neighbor’s pasture and head out on to the big ranch and open spaces behind us. In the winter, we get too much snow to make that walk easy, but not enough snow to cover the bunch grasses, sage and rocks for cross country skis or snow shoes.
This discovery is a state park that is closed for the season. It is not so close that I can go there, without getting in the car unfortunately On the other hand it is a paved road the whole way there so it is not a difficult place to get to in the winter. You park at the entry parking lot and walk around the closed gate, like so many others before me have done. The grade is pretty gentle which is not always easy to find in Montana. When it is open there is a road that runs through the park. In the winter this road is closed and covered by snow. It has been traveled on foot, with snow shoes and my favorite on cross country skis. There is a creek that has not yet frozen over is running through the park. There are three bridges that cross the creek and you can hear the sound of the water flowing over rocks and under ice. I walked only a couple of miles in the park this first time, but I came out recharged; ready to face world again. I will be back bringing my cross country skis next time. Next time won’t be too long in the future.