Missoulian reporter Rob Chaney and photographer Michael Gallacher recently took a trip over to the Rocky Mountain Front on assignment, and their story from Volcano Reef in Thursday’s Outdoors section made me want to explore the area, too.
Here’s an excerpt:
“It’s just rough old country,” says Bill Cunningham, an outfitter and writer who abandoned Montana’s big cities to settle in Choteau. “It’s rougher, more austere, more sparse country that isn’t going to appeal to every taste.”
Hearing Front-lovers like Cunningham describe their mountains resembles the geological equivalent of a wine-tasting class. The Rocky Mountain Front bursts abruptly from the eastern plains, compared to the Beartooths’ more prolonged buildup. Its gray-orange limestone has a particularly abrasive nature, unlike Glacier’s soft red and green argillite. And for a place with a dominant landmark called the Chinese Wall, it’s surprisingly accessible.
While the story mostly focused on geology and wildlife, Chaney said wildflowers were also abundant in the area. He provided these pictures of wildflowers that he saw near the base of the reef.