.: Welcome To the Chronicle Outdoors blog :.
Remember the first time you cast a fly line on a Montana river? How about your inaugural run through fresh powder in the Bridger Range, that first bull elk in the Crazy Mountains or setting fresh eyes on Yellowstone National Park? Welcome to the Chronicle Outdoors blog maintained by Chronicle Outdoors editor and photographer Ben Pierce. We'll focus on Montana's wild places, all the adventure they provide and the hidden gems along the way. Stop back often. Share your thoughts. And have fun out there.
.: Yellowstone View :.
Posted By Ben Pierce on April 4, 2013
My dog’s been looking at me funny.
This winter I’ve been consumed by home improvement projects. Instead of reaching for the skis or the fishing rod, I’ve been reaching for the hammer and the saw.
That’s meant less time catching fish and carving turns – and less time frolicking outside for little Kato. (more…)
Posted By Ben Pierce on March 28, 2013
By NICK EHLI, Chronicle Managing Editor
I am not much of an athlete.
As a skier, I embody mediocrity, and although I play a fair bit of basketball, it’s worth noting that one of the guys in my regular game has two fake hips. Also, my cholesterol level approaches that of a jar of Miracle Whip.
So you can appreciate my trepidation when I received the following email from Bozeman resident and world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker, who has been to the summit of Mount Everest on a mere three occasions: “If you would like to try ice climbing, please let me know. It is a ton of fun and the season is in good shape.” (more…)
Posted By Ben Pierce on March 21, 2013
March means midge fishing in Montana. Warming weather and calm, overcast days have combined to create ideal conditions for prolific hatches on local rivers.
And when the wind stops blowing in Paradise Valley, the midge fishing has been excellent on DePuy, Nelson and Armstrong spring creeks.
“My buddies have been fishing midges on the cloudy days or on the shaded water,” Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop in Livingston said Tuesday. “If you see fish eating something on the surface and you can’t tell what it is, it’s probably a midge.” (more…)
Posted By Ben Pierce on March 7, 2013
When Bill Koch took the silver medal in the 30 km cross-country ski competition at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, he became the first – and remains the only – North American male to medal in the event.
Koch would go on to popularize a cross-country ski technique employed during the Games. Skate skiing has gone on to become an Olympic event in its own right, and captured the attention of skiers the world over.
Tom Klein, of Bozeman, took his third skate skiing lesson at Bohart Ranch on Wednesday with ski instructor John Skemp. (more…)
Posted By Ben Pierce on January 31, 2013
Jay Pape, education coordinator for the Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, turns on avalanche beacons at Beacon Park in Bozeman on Jan. 29, 2013. Beacon Park is designed to help backcountry users familiarize themselves with avalanche gear including beacons and probes needed in a rescue situation. Photo by Ben Pierce.
Whether it’s adventure, ego or a desire to push the limits, this much is clear: an increasing number of skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers and venturing deeper and deeper into the backcountry.
With the pursuit of the perfect line comes added risk. Avalanche fatalities have been on the rise across the U.S. over the past 60 years with thirty-four avalanche-related fatalities occurring last winter alone.
In an effort to mitigate avalanche risk, the Bozeman Parks and Recreation Department has teamed up with the Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center to offer an avalanche training course at Beall Park. Dubbed “Beacon Park,” the course allows visitor to practice using avalanche beacons and probes in a safe and convenient setting. (more…)
Posted By Ben Pierce on January 17, 2013
Last month an ice jam broke on the Gallatin River upstream from Big Sky. The resulting ice flow scoured the river, uprooted trees and killed hundreds of fish. It stranded an angler on an island – who was later saved by search and rescue personnel – and briefly quintupled the volume of water in the river near Gallatin Gateway.
Jon Patten, 70, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was there when the ice jam broke. He managed to capture the event on his iPhone and posted the video to YouTube.
“The water was bank to bank, dark brown, had big ice chunks in it and was roiled,” Patten said. “The crunching of the ice on the banks was really loud. The sheer walls of ice would just shred the trees on the banks. It was amazing.” (more…)
Posted By Ben Pierce on January 7, 2013
The Bighorn River is one of Montana best waterfowl hunting destinations. Here’s a collection of photographs from a duck hunting trip on the Bighorn River taken Dec. 29-30, 2012.
Posted By Ben Pierce on January 7, 2013
The new year brings with it a fresh opportunity to explore Montana. Each season abounds with new areas to explore.
In that spirit of exploration, here are a few adventures to check off your list in 2013.
Rediscover the Bridger Mountains
A 15-minute drive from Bozeman will deliver you to the doorstep of the Bridger Mountains. Numerous trailheads lead visitors through subalpine forest to mountain lakes and peaks. (more…)
Posted By Ben Pierce on December 20, 2012
The Forest Service has packed, groomed and set the first cross-country ski tracks of the season on the trails in Hyalite Canyon. Brian McNeil, winter recreation program manager for the Bozeman Ranger District, said he spent Sunday clearing trail on the east side of the canyon and setting classic ski tracks where snow depth allowed.
With a dusting of new snow Monday evening, the trails are in excellent early-season condition.
“This is an extraordinary resource we have here,” Nick Hether, of Bozeman, said Tuesday after a ski near the Blackmore trailhead. “The efforts of the county, the Forest Service and the community organizations to keep the road plowed and the trails groomed – it is just wonderful.” (more…)
Posted By Ben Pierce on December 14, 2012
Montana’s pheasant hunting season closes on Jan. 1, 2013. By this time of year the birds have seen their fair share of hunters and they’re wise to the season. They’re tough birds, challenging to hunt.
While some hunters have hung up their guns for the season, others are looking forward to a few more days in the field.
“If you can stomach the weather, it can be a really good time to hunt,” said Graham Taylor, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 4 wildlife manager. “There’s a certain core group of hunters that really look forward to this time of year.” (more…)