Montana: I Find the End of the Rainbow

At the end of the rainbow (far right)

I flew to Bozeman, Montana to visit Traveler Thirteen and to photograph many of the wild animals iconic to the American West, some of which are under serious threat of losing their allotted habitats. I'd be visiting Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota on this trip.

I changed planes in Salt Lake City. What an amazing site that lake is with its turquoise blue water surrounded by salt flats turning green and purple as they dried out. I need to go back and get closer than two flyovers in an airplane. When you fly from Salt Lake City to Bozeman, you are on a fairly small plane. I felt really bad for the guy next to me since he was at least 6' 3" and way wider than the seat. I spent the flight squished up against the window. Thankfully, for both of us it was a short flight.

Traveler Thirteen picked me up in Mr. Truck (the big blue truck that carted us around New Mexico last year). We went to downtown Bozeman and had lunch. Then we went to a camera store where we both probably spent too much money as all good photographers tend to do. We stopped at a coop and bought supplies for our trip into Yellowstone and Wyoming. We briefly visited Montana State University and Murdochs, where I hugged the horse tack (I miss riding), and then we headed through the Bozeman Pass to Paradise Valley. We drove by ranches and acres of black and brown Angus cattle, a field full sheep guarded by a white donkey, passed many dead magpies (roadkill), and then a grouse flew into the front of the truck and we added to the roadkill count. Sorry, grouse. We drove along the banks of the Yellowstone River, a vert beautiful river indeed. Mountains surrounded us shrouded in clouds.

We turned down a very bumpy unpaved road that led to Thirteen's humble abode. As we arrived the sun came out and a rainbow appeared. Thirteen literally lives in Paradise and at the end of the rainbow. The photo above proves it.

On the way to Paradise Valley

Exploring the neighborhood. This farm has llamas too.

Anyone know what kind of bovines these are?

A spotted pony enjoying the evening.

We wandered the neighborhood where there are more cows, ponies, magpies, ravens, mountain bluebirds, and...llamas. Then I got to meet Thirteen's horse Toby. He's a magnificent animal.

Thirteen and her magnificent horse.

The next morning we packed up Mr. Truck and Bessie (the camper) and headed south down Route 89 toward Yellowstone. We saw a tree full of ravens, magpies, and turkey vultures. We threaded our way south, still along the banks of Yellowstone, with mountains on either side of us. We stopped in Emigrant and had breakfast at the Wild Flour Cafe & Bakery. They also own a BBQ/Smokehouse. They had a bit of a problem getting us our order. They gave it to someone else. Then we got someone else's order and then they tried to give us our original order but someone else got that thanks to us not really needing it after eating what wasn't our order. The important thing is that we all got fed, the the food is great, and they have seriously amazing smoked sausage. Also, if you need a chocolate fix have one of their pain au chocolate.

Emigrant, Montana. Yes, I could have photoshopped the electric wires out of the photos. I'm a lazy photographer.

The dinosaur at the General Store, Emigrant, MT

My first Swainson's Hawk.

An old wagon with some new House Sparrows on it.

I saw my first Pronghorn. I took a lot of mediocre photos. Stay tuned and you'll see some worthy of posting. Pronghorn are interesting. People call them an antelope but they are actually the only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae. They are the fasted land mammal in the Western Hemisphere. It is considered the second fastest land animal next to cheetahs but can sustain its speed much longer than a cheetah can.

Montana is beautiful. Stunningly beautiful. I think I need to spend a lot more time here. And I need to take photos doing it justice.

Next: Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park Part I

Heading toward Yellowstone.


  1. what a fantastic tour!....I'm in love with the Swainson's hawk pic...a cropped one up for sale??....beautiful captures!
    Jen D

  2. Yes, I think I can hook you up w/ a copy of the Swainson's hawk. I'll email you. Anyone else reading this. Most of these images are for sale. Inbox me at


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