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Beautiful Countryside


7/12/12, Nevada Lake, MT - Iím currently at the far north side of Nevada Lake, on MT 141. Itís been a fantastic day, traveling through some gorgeous country and meeting some really great people.

Almost as soon as I turned on to MT 141 in Avon, the scenery was amazing.  Beaverslide haystack builders were everywhere, and old haystacks dotted the field. Now only 20 to 25 feet high, these stacks once stood twice that height.  The countryside was a mixture of open meadow, clearings dotted with pines and thick forest carpeting the hillsides.

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What made construction of the ungainly looking Beaverslide possible was Lodgepole Pine.  Only this wood provided the long straight poles that were both strong and light. You can see why the Indians preferred lodgepole for their teepees.

I had Bob and Doc hitched and they moved along at a pretty good pace.  Almost without exception, everyone that passed us on the road either waved or stopped to chat.

The land along MT 141 is mostly sown to grass hay, which is nearing time for mowing. Interspersed with the hay are herds of cattle,

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Very typical of the scenery - Old, unfed haystacks standing like 25 foot high sentinels in a field of grass.

Like the farms of the east, small ranches in the west have grown larger over the years. In the east, it became hard for a family to make a living on a 160 acre farm.  In the west, small 100 to 200 hundred cow operations were largely absorbed by the bigger ranches.  This left a lot of old homestead cabins dotting the landscape.

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I thought this old ranch house was a classic.  Once a thriving place, itís now just part of the range.  When the family moved out, the cows moved in. It makes you wonder how many cows are kicking back on the sofa inside the house?

As I made my way north and west up the highway, the green land nearer the Continental Divide began to dry out. Where once the grass on the mountainsides was a bright green, it was now starting to brown-out.

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Typical of the landscape today.  With a higher humidity for a second day, everything had a little haze to it.

I couldnít begin to tell of all the visitors I had today.  A lady and her husband that I met the previous day, stopped several times throughout the morning to take pictures.  A lot of people pulled up next to me, said a few kind words and went on their way.  Then, there were the retired school teachers from Wisconsin.  On a trip out west with their motorcycle, they decided to look me up. Following my blogs on the website, they got pretty close and found me right off.

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Nice folks from a small town near Superior, WI.

As I made my way past a family ranch, I watched with interest while a mom and her daughter moved a couple of hundred cows. The girl was riding a sorrel bareback and her and the horse were really moving some cattle. While sticking on her mount like a postage stamp she cut cattle out of the brush, chased strays, jumped her horse across a large creek and kept him at a gallop the  whole time. I never saw any air between her hind end and the horseís back.

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No man will ever tell this young lady to ĎCowgirl Upí. Not unless he wanted to end up hogtied and branded!

At lunch, I had some visitors from Israel. Guy and Eriz were bicycling across much of the Western U.S. and Canada. They both live on a Kibbutz Farm and quit their jobs to do some traveling in North America.

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Like America, Israel is a land of immigrants.  Guy (on the left) had parents that came to Israel from the United States following the six day war. Erizís grandparents came to Israel from the Ukraine.

No matter where they come from, people are people. It wasnít long before we were drinking beer and swapping stories.

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Bill has been known to host foreign exchange riders!

The afternoon was also full of great scenery and people. The lads and I put in 13 miles before lunch and another 8 in the afternoon.  The temperature climbed to about 90 degrees, but a nice breeze made it feel several degrees cooler.

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Some of the scenery out the side window this afternoon.

I had my sights and hopes set for a camp on Nevada Lake. While the lake is largely surrounded by private ground, the road winds along the lake edge, so I was hoping their was a nice turnout of public land along the lake shore. Near the northern side of the lake, I found exactly what I was looking for.  Iíll let the following pictures show my campsite.

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Nevada Lake, looking north from the south shore. Largely undeveloped and crystal clear, this 3 mile long reservoir is a real jewel.

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Doc, digging his evening camp.

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Wagonteamster Camp, Nevada Lake. With easy access to walk a horse to water and good grass itís a gem.

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This time I was careful not to try any trick photography or let the sun reflect off my normally covered torso! Thereís nothing quite like a dip in a refreshing lake on a hot day!

Tomorrow, Iíll make the turn west on MT-200 towards Missoula.  This was a really nice Ďwagon-dayí!