18 August 2008

Dr. Anaconda Rendezvous 2008

Each year, a group of us camp at "Dr. Anaconda Lake" in the Big Hole River watershed near Butte, Montana. It's a beautiful lake with the finest sandy beach in Montana. The Pintler Wilderness is a short hike away, the lake is full of adfluvial Arctic grayling, the big 2000 burn is recovering nicely, and the campground is seldom crowded (which is why I'm not saying its real name here).

Although I think the big 2000 burn was generally a good thing and very beneficial for the lodgepole pine habitat, I was glad that the big Ponderosa pines above the campground did not burn. They are fairly rare in the Big Hole watershed, and one can only speculate on the bear or Clark's nutcracker that carried seeds so far:

We hike across the burn each year to see how the recovery is going. In a year or two, this will be nearly impossible, as the burned trees are beginning to blow over and create a landscape of pick-up sticks. Here is Brent Patch framed by his uncle-in-law from Chihuahua (left) and Butch Gerbrandt (right):

As always, there are black bears in the area. Last year they were in the campground, but perhaps this year campers and rural residents are being more careful and not habituating them to human food. Good people. The bears are staying up in the forest. Good bears. How do you tell black bear from grizzly bear dung? Grizz turds have little bits of chewed-up bells and pepper-spray cans in them:

Early one morning, Brent did see a big mountain lion near the campground, no doubt after one of the numerous mule deer. It did motivate us to keep the kids and dogs close.
At the rendezvous we celebrate the birthdays of Emily Munday and Kenia Patch:

Montana's finest sandy beach is naturally the focus of life on warm, sunny afternoons. Some of the gang is still off hiking, but the beach lures most everyone sooner or later:

This year, we added something new: margaritas, thanks to the ingenious ("Have you been drilled today?") DrillBlender, here operated by certified margarita mechanic Don Stierle:

Don and Andrea Stierle brought fresh raspberries from their garden for a most unique and refreshing drink. Easy on the tequila. Jeff Schahczenski & Jan Munday:

You can make them without the liquor too, right?:

Well, it's not all drinking and tanning. The Tahiti Boat makes for good fun and a welcome cool down, as Mike Stickney and Debbie Stickney will attest (that's AnnieTheDog swimming along):

Celia Schahczenski kayaked the Big Hole River with Jeffher and her visiting brother, and brought the hardshells to the beach. Here's expert kayaker Don Stierle giving novice Emily Munday a lesson:

Lew Yong Gerbrandt enjoyed the swimming, boating, and walking in soft, warm sand near a cool lake on a hot day:

A word of caution: KEEP THE LIFE-JACKETS WITH THE BOAT. It's the law. Two of our jackets were inadvertently carried back to camp. Two of the gang went out in the Tahiti Boat witout them, and we were fined when Fish, Wildlife & Parks wardens stopped by for a safety check.
For kids, frogs provide the ultimate in live entertainment, as Kenia, ("Little") Emily, and Adler know:

If you're calm (or just half asleep) the dragonflies will visit you:

It's a dog's life. They like Tahiti Boat rides too. Here, Don Stierle with Chuka:

One boat ride and a short swim are enough for old RTD:

Stickneys' Annie is younger and more energetic, here going for a sand bath:

Dinah, the former racing dog, was in the care of the Stierle dogsitting service. She is now learning a new life of sociability and doing right well at it. Beautiful dog, too:

People have been visiting "Dr. Anaconda" Lake for a long, long time. A beachcomber found this incredible jasper bi-face. Perhaps it was a scraper, as it did not have the fluted base typical of Clovis or Folsom "spear points:"

All too soon it was Sunday and time to break camp. We had a big group this year!



Wow, Montana has some really beautiful places. The clarity of the water and sky are remarkable. I hope to get up there some time in the not-to-distant future - probably not in winter though! Summer looks like more fun!

Thanks for the scenic pictures!

EcoRover said...

Hi AIN, yes Montana is truly the Last Best Place. That title extends to all seasons and to culture (at least in places like Butte).

Not everyone appreciates winter backcountry skiing or tracking elk along remote ridges, and I understand.

But with generally warm, dry weather from July to September and abundant open/remote space, there's no lack of opportunity for the summer visitor.

See you on the trails!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning Ecorover. I've been reading thru your interesting posts. Beautiful place, Montana.

I especially liked the wildflower and butterfly photos you posted earlier.