• A summer virga over the Little Belt Mountains and Middle Fork Judith River WSA.

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Photo by Patrick Colleran
Indian paint brush and backpackers in the Crazies (photo by Roger Jenkins)

Indian paint brush and backpackers in the Crazies (photo by Roger Jenkins)

First came black skies, then thunder, and then lightning bolts less than a half-mile away, reverberating in the cirque in which we were camped. Next came wind, driving rain, a bit of hail, and finally sleet. Lots of it. 

Looking out over Frenchman Breaks (photo by Tyler Courville)

Looking out over Frenchman Breaks (photo by Tyler Courville)

The prairie reveals its startling beauty to those who go in search of it. 

Searching for fossils at Sand Arroyo (photo by Mark Good)

Searching for fossils at Sand Arroyo (photo by Mark Good)

The rocks almost came alive as we discovered petrified wood, viewed patterns on rocks that at one time were turtle shells, and turned up porous rocks that upon closer examination turned out to be fossilized bones from a Triceratops.

David Creek Trail (photo by Mark Wetherington)

David Creek Trail (photo by Mark Wetherington)

Between the famous and splendid landscapes of Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks await a lifetime of less heralded mountains and wilderness areas to explore. 

Teacup Lake (photo by Tyler Courville)

Teacup Lake (photo by Tyler Courville)

A few short and steep climbs brought me into the heart of the rocky backcountry of the East Pioneers. 

On the trail to Pine Creek (photo by Annelise Weinmann)

On the trail to Pine Creek (photo by Annelise Weinmann)

With the celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, Yellowstone is bound to be crowded this summer.