Now, I've usually been to the valley in the summer or during the winter holidays. I didn't realize exactly how gorgeous fall is there.
The Bitterroot River.
I promised I'd be back in three hours, and since I was running a bit early, I drove to the end of the road, which happened to end at a trailhead nestled into the base of the Sapphire Mountains, with at least a half dozen horse trailers, as well as cows, old weathered barns, and a bird house filled with feathers and an old wasp nest. The sort of thing you find at the end of roads in the valley.
The next morning held milkweed and empty chrysalises, as well as cold dog noses down my pants when I crouched down to photograph said things.
That afternoon, we all piled into my uncle's Chevy Avalanche and went to the Painted Rocks Reservoir, which is deep into the "nose" of Montana. The south end of the valley gets really narrow in places, and it was filled with brilliant yellow birches and maples. There weren't really any good opportunities to get good shots, and it was all so dense, it would just be one big blob of gold anyway. I just let myself be overwhelmed by how gorgeous it was.
The reservoir itself was really, really low this time of year. Dirt bikes and ATVs were having a field day out amidst the muddy stumps.
It wouldn't be Montana without...bullet hole in the outhouse!
And here's Darby and Sadie, my uncle's German Shepherds. They both came from abusive homes before my uncle got them, and now he spoils them rotten, and howls with them every morning. And this is one of the reasons I love my family. <3
Lots and lots more over at the Flickr set.