Wild Life - Exploring Montana

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On a quest for standing petrified trees (photo by Roger Jenkins)

A “quest.” This is what my friend Mike called our first hike in search of some standing petrified trees in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park.

Backpacking along Pitamakan Pass in Glacier N.P. (photo by Kerry Neils)

The idea was to take my sister on her very first backpacking trip. Incidentally, this would also be her first time sleeping outside, her first time hiking in the Pacific Northwest, and her first time putting on shoes intended for dirt and rock and rain.

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)

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

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)

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