The news from St. Mary

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A cow moose crosses a stream on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation last week.

So we were heading up Highway 89 just north of the Starr School Road when I stop the truck and figure I better put it into four-wheel drive.

Last week I put new tires on the back of the truck, but not the front. The front would have to wait until I got another $400; plus, I don’t drive the truck that much so waiting a few weeks for new front tires wasn’t going to kill anything.

Until I got on that slick road, of course. The front tires had no grab and when I stopped, all 8,000 pounds of pickup started sliding off toward the ditch.

The problem is they’re doing work on Highway 89 from Browning to St. Mary and the road is completely torn up; there’s no asphalt, just dirt. Throw a snowstorm on top of that and it’s ice and dirt. Mostly ice.

Rather than fight the slide, I let the truck go with it and ended up completely turned around, pointing the way I came. It was if the hand of God reached down and gave me a nudge.

So we crept back down the road, got back on the Starr School Road and went to St. Mary via the Duck Lake Road. Both of the roads were clear and dry.

The weatherman was calling for fairly decent skies, but wind and plenty of it.

He was right. The wind at times was hurricane force. Old St. Mary Lake was rocking and rolling and then some — the water started up in the air miles away and then sprayed the shoreline.

We spent the afternoon roaming the cliffs above the Sun Road, photographing two bighorn sheep. We also saw a griz about 200 yards below us. The ewe saw the griz and bolted up the hillside, even though griz didn’t even appear to look up.

The next day we wandered some meadows. It was quite a bit warmer, but still pretty windy. On the way out we saw a flock of gray-crowned rosy finches. In the summer months, they’re an alpine bird, nesting in the cliffs of Glacier. But in the fall, every once in awhile you’ll run into a flock feeding as they begin their migration south.

They’re a very pretty bird and like their name implies, they have a gray crown, with pink rose flanks topped with a brown overcoat.

They look like they’re dressed for a party.

Just before we got back to the trailhead a small herd of cow elk crossed our path. They took no chances and high -tailed it into the woods. Cameras look a lot like guns, I suppose.

Chris Peterson is the editor of the Hungry Horse News.

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