Friday, August 20, 2010
Thistles At MacDonald Pass - Continental Divide
Last Friday I came across some kind of thistle blooming at MacDonald Pass 46°33.6N, 112°18.5W) near the Continental Divide at 6,325 feet above sea level. The view was spectacular, overlooking more mountains and the city of Helena, Montana to the east - about 17 miles away. Look closely at the photo and you'll see tens of thousands dead or dying pine trees that have succumbed to some type of pine boring inspect.
That afternoon's temperature dropped from 58 degrees at Helena to 51 degrees at the pass.
Access to the observation area has two man-made components besides a road; one being the cell tower perched at the highest point and the second being a right of way for a gas pipeline. Cell phone reception at the Pass was great as you would expect. Still, the 360 degree view is outstanding giving more meaning to the notion of Montana's big sky country. Know that.