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The Drive to Choteau – Photographs and Video

August 30, 2015 pm31 11:58 pm

After walking 2 1/2 miles around Swiftcurrent Lake in Many Glacier, Alan and I were left with no signal, and no real way of knowing exactly how long our drive was. Except we knew at 7 that we would not make it to Choteau before dark. We are avoiding night driving because 1) we want to see the country, and 2) it’s not so comfortable driving in the dark over unknown roads. This turned out to be an unanticipated adventure.

And there was fire. No, no leaping flames. But freshly burnt forest. And forest recovering from a several-years-old burn. And smoke. Thick enough to block the sun. Thin enough to look light an 0ff-white cloud. And sometimes missing. Close enough to burn eyes and noses. Far enough to give a faint woodfire smell to everything. And sometimes, no surprise, absent.

Traffic, leaving Glacier National Park:

These two are outside the park, on the Blackfeet Reservation. Given the new pine trees, this area must have burned a few years ago.


Suddenly, the road disappeared. This stretch must have been 4 miles. The stretch in the dark later was endless.

At least this part of unpaved US89 was straight. There was an unpaved, half-closed roundabout in Browning, MT.

As the sun went down, our nerves started to jangle:

Dusk, Road, Night, Dark, Haze – blurred together and surrounded us.

A light rain earlier had blotched all the dust on the car into mud-dots – visible in this late-dusk shot of the emptiness to our right.

The dark reminded me of Annie Hall. Except no headlights. Nothing. No farm lights, very few other cars. Eerie and creepy.

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