20 January 2013

Moulton Montana Backcountry Biathlon

Winter has settled over the landscape of southwest Montana. We've had a few small snowstorms move through, but none has dropped more than a few inches of powder. A cold front last week with very high pressure brought temperatures of -20 degrees Fahrenheit at night, along with brilliant blue skies, sunshine, and highs above zero during the day. With the variable weather comes stunning skies (this looking south from Walkerville, over St Lawrence church/Lexington gallows frame and toward the Highland Mountains):

It's not just us humans watching the sky, it seems. As Ute Indians to the south and perhaps other tribes knew, even trees have souls and keep an eye on the world. I recall a beautiful scene in Jarmusch's film Dead Man (1995) when Johnny Depp and his trackers travel through an aspen forest. Some reviewers (it's amazing how separated from nature are many contemporary Americans) thought Jarmusch must have digitally created eyes in the trees. But no, of course aspen trees keep watch on this world we share:

I hope the aspens watch me only when I shoot well. I've laid out my biathlon course on the upper (north side) trails at The Moulton ski area. It hardly proceeds according to Olympic rules, but it's a lot of fun and a good mental and physical challenge to ski fast, halt and assume a kneeling position, shoot 5 quick rounds, and then ski to the next position:

Sometimes it all comes together and I shoot fairly well (this target is the result of two 5-shot rounds):

I won't show you the bad targets, and let's hope the aspen trees aren't talking.


Secret Agent Woman said...

I really like the eyes in the trees. Nature is filled with intriguing designs.

troutbirder said...

What a neat activity and I like the eyes as well. Supercautious with my artificial knee I never took up cross country again after being forced to give it up. But hiking on winter trails is still a favorite activity....:)

Judy said...

They do have eyes, don't they! Have fun with your skiing and all. I am having trouble with the cold this winter, and will stay indoors as much as I can. At least I am feeling better, and starting to look for things to shoot with my camera!

Merri said...

ooh, sounds like fun! although i probably couldn't hit the side of a barn. Or ski fast.
I love hugging trees because I know they have souls.
- The Equestrian Vagabond

John Bardsley said...


Janie said...

Ha, ha, the eyes are watching, but luckily the aspens don't have mouths. Or do they?
Your own private biathlon event looks like a lot of fun.