One of my favorite Montana drives is just outside the little frontier town of Augusta, Montana. I can't imagine what it must be like to have these views in your backyard everyday. The area sees all types of weather during any season. This year is no exception. It's quite dry. Where the snow typically blocks forest service roads there's now clear access to many back-country areas.
While we are enjoying the milder weather, it will mean trouble this summer if we don't get more snow; in the form of wildfires and drought. This portion of the mountain range provides a great many ranches and farms with irrigation as well as feeding hundreds of rivers and streams.
Still, I love to drive into the mountains. The trip getting there is as nice. The plains are quite and you hardly see anyone in any direction. Peace is found in the silence of the land. The sky is ever changing, dictated by storms from Canada or if the mountain is high enough, itself.
When nearing the mountains the wind is generally howling through the canyons. This time of year is when the elk are on their wintering grounds, driven down out of the hills by winter snows. They congregate and graze on the grasslands of the plains. They have come as usual, but they have no need to stay out on the grassland now. The snow line is far up the mountain and they can stay in the safety of the trees and feed on the flatland at night.
The beauty of this land always leaves me in awe as I turn every corner in the road.