Sunday, May 3, 2015

Divide Montana on the Big Hole River

From April 26 through May 3 we were camped at a Bureau of Land Management campsite at Divide Bridge, on the Big Hole River.  Divide is 28 miles west of Butte, Montana.  The area all along the Big Hole and the Wise River has abundant river access points and most have great campsites for as little as $8. per night. 

We pulled into Divide Bridge campground on a Saturday and it was about 2/3 full with weekend campers.  For some reason no one had taken this great site right on the river.  It was even a pull-through.  All the BLM campgrounds are inexpensive, however  it is strictly boondocking (no electric, water, or sewer connections)  No problem, we had the river water to flush, and 8 gallons of drinking water with us. 

Marlin doing morning chores before heading out to fish.  Before he left, we had some visitors who perched on a rock near the shore long enough to get some good shots of these Common Mergansers.  There were many of these ducks in the area but this was the first time they were close enough, and for a long enough time, to get a good identification.



Adjacent to the campground were several short hikes that I took advantage of while Marlin fished to his hearts content.  Most of the pictures that I took were on the second time I hiked the mile and a half observation trail to the top of the rocky hill behind where we were camped.  The first trip up there, the one where I saw some great birds at close range, was the trip with no camera.

The trail meandered through a bird filled, conifer forest before climbing up and onto a grass and rock covered hill.  Quite a view.

The campground was all ours by Monday Morning.  We are the tiny white spec, in the trees, closest to the river.  The other trailer left on Tuesday, so we had the entire place to ourselves.

While I was having lunch and enjoying the beautiful day on top of this hill, a pair of Mountain Bluebirds came and stayed in a tree quite close to where I sat.  It would have been an easy shot, if only I had the camera with me!!!!  Two more unusual birds perched near where I walked across the crest of the hill, a Clark's Nutcracker, and a Townsend's Solitaire.

On the way down, a red tailed hawk circled above an screeched at me.  When the trail curved under a rock out cropping, a second red tail flew out and joined its mate.  Took this with my phone, just to try and capture the moment.

All along the grassy trail wild flowers were blooming.  With the sun so bright, the colors are washed out but these were brilliant blue

The next several days, when I hiked, I carried the camera in my pack.  Naturally, I did not see any more birds at a distance that I could photograph them.  I did spot another pair of Mountain blue birds, but they were too far away to shoot.

One day I traveled with Marlin when he went to fish in the Wise River.  This moose was the only other living thing we saw that day.  He was not thrilled that we interrupted him eating the new pussy willow buds in the middle of the campground.

Fishing on the Big Hole.  Although a great deal of the ranch land in Montana is fenced, there are many fishing access sites along most of the roads that border the rivers.  Some are just pull outs at the side of the road and others are complete campsite areas.  Marlin tried out quite a few in both categories.  They are all well marked with this classic sign.

 This day it was very windy.

 Unfortunately, after eight days of fishing it was time to move on, and naturally, that was  just when the bugs started to hatch, and the fish started to bite! We could have stayed a few more days, but our tanks needed emptying and our electric systems were beginning to be a problem.

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