Why we need to recognize Mountains . . .
Every time we drink a glass of water we should thank the mountains.
They lift the moist air to make it rain or snow. They capture it in a lake or stream
and feed the aquifer or well we drink from. Captured high water makes electricity and irrigates crops hundreds of miles downstream. Varied elevations cue native plants to blossom at varied times and drive the cycles of nature. Mountains & rivers are wildlife’s highways for concealed movement. Mountains also provide sanctuary for people. Most spiritual beliefs start on a mountain.
Mountains landmark our travels because they never move. They are the first thing we see
to welcome us home and upon recognition, we say
their names aloud to prove we are home.
The Glovebox Guide to recognizing
my free online
pictorial Field guide to
Please consider adding the full version to your vehicle's glovebox and remember to Click to enlarge the
Why go on and on about Rivers?
Rivers in Montana are usually the definitive boundary between ranges. Some mountains share a headwall that sources a river. For example the East Boulder River south of Big Timber shares a headwall between the Absarokas and the Beartooths. As we follow the River down the Boulder Valley the foothills of the two ranges are still separated by the river and can be defined by which side of the river they are on. No matter how wide the valley gets this rule still applies all the way to the confluence of the Boulder and Yellowstone Rivers at Big Timber and it just so happens there is a bridge over I-90 with a sign beside it that says Boulder River, so we can be informed even in the lowlands of which range we are in. River bridges all over Montana have these signs as clues.
In Montana the Continental Divide separates waters flowing into the Columbia or the Missouri Rivers. Ranges carrying the divide shed water into both. Columbia water comes from the Clark Fork River or the Flathead River, with the exception of the Kootenai River which flows into Idaho, then north into Canada. Missouri water comes from the majority of south central Montana rivers and rivers south and east of Glacier Park. The Yellowstone River from the south with other extreme south east rivers join the Missouri just inside the North Dakota border. Eastern Montanans have very specific mountain ranges to thank for every drink of water, be it hundreds of miles from the sources. Although the mountains are not visible from eastern towns, their influence of water is paramount to man’s existence on the plains. Easterner’s stewardship of Montana’s Mountains as treasurable assets should equal western Montanan’s with a mutual statewide pride of ownership of the top of the nation’s watersheds and the responsibilities that go with them.
how to use the glovebox guide to recognizing montana's mountains
info not included online.