Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Roadkill and Other Joys


Post-storm fog near Beartooth Pass Montana

This was a very different trip.

Warm Springs Creek's confluence with the Salmon River (roadkill)

 For one thing, there was a great deal of what I’ve heard Colleen Miniuk call “roadkill photography.”  Perhaps it’s not an original moniker, but I’ll give her credit for now. After a night’s rain, there was delightful fog over Beartooth Pass Montana and Wyoming.  We must have pulled over 10 times up and over the 11,000 ft summit. Besides that, there were scenes of ranching and farming life as well as details of the many watersheds we explored.

It’s a long way from Arizona to Montana. There were lessons learned on this 11 day, 3000-mile epic journey, not the least of which was that driving 6 hours each day is not ideal.  Next time, we’ll slow down by laying over in some camps for second nights and doing some shorter driving days.  Photographers among my readers will recognize this paragraph as an excuse for the relative paucity of images coming out of this undertaking.  No matter, we had fun.

Marco fishing the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

And there was fishing.

Campsite on a tributary of the Salmon River, Idaho

Finding a dispersed (outside a campground) camping site on the fly can be an adventure (read: pain in the butt), but we had expert advice from locals and photographer friends which led us to some of the best sites like this one, vaguely captioned to protect vulnerable terrain.

Sunrise on and reflection of Mount Bachelor, Idaho

The low point (perhaps some of you voyeurs want to know) was a camp spot without shade, which added insult to injury with hordes of insects not deterred by DEET.  The high temperature inside the van (my only refuge) was 97F.  I grumped.  This was sunrise the next day though, so perhaps it was worthwhile.

Detail of a hike near Red Lodge Montana

Our northernmost spot was driveway camping at the home of friends in Red Lodge, Montana, a relatively unspoiled mountain town (something like Crested Butte Colorado used to be).  We showered, did laundry, had leisurely meals and hikes and shopped the historic Main Street, where there may have been a thrift store, ice cream, AND a bakery.

Aerial, East Fork Bear River, Utah

As we worked our way home, and just before we re-entered familiar territory in Utah’s Uinta Mountains, we discovered the East Fork of Bear River.  We didn’t have time to linger, so we vowed to return. Unfinished business.

Storm over Marble Canyon, Arizona

To ground ourselves, we spent the last night in the very familiar North Kaibab Forest.  We chose a great place to watch storms pass which also has a phone signal (our first this trip, not counting Red Lodge) for a Zoom meeting.  We’d no sooner pulled into this familiar spot than the rainbows started.

 Thanks for your interest.  As always, more images are in the Summer 2023 Gallery on the website.

 Next up, the annual Autumn trip through Northern Arizona and Southern Utah.  I anticipate more drone flights above the aspens and less roadkill.