I so much enjoyed your article and amazing photos! Growing up in Missoula I was able to explore most of the country in your photos. I, too, took advantage of winter camping opportunities, mostly in the Mission Mountains. The alpine winter scene is truly a special place. In 1962 I painted a picture of High Park Lake in March - the painting is still hanging on my wall. I thought you might be interested in an email I sent out to friends yesterday: "http://missoulian.com/news/local/farewell-to-winter-rattlesnake-wilderness-shows-different-character-under-snow/article_96ef8ab4-9ba6-5f5e-9408-833e0cf273c3.html
Be sure to look at the photos!
I thought you, Bob and Dave, would be especially interested in this article. Just for the information of the other addressees: Bob Meinrod and I, and later Dave, made many winter trips on snowshoes up to a Soil Conservation Service snow course on a plateau just below the crest of Stuart Peak. We were in Forestry School at Montana. Bob M. and I had read where the school was looking for someone to take over the job of taking monthly snow samples during the winter months at several sites, including Stuart Peak, TV Mountain, and two sites on and near Lubrecht Experimental Forest. Bob and I thought that it would be not only fun (ya, right) but lucrative (ya, right) for financially struggling students. I believe Bob and I slogged the steep (3,425’) 5 ½ miles up and another 5 ½ miles back sixteen times from 1959 to 1962. Dave, being much younger , took the program over when Bob and I graduated.
I don’t think there were many jobs around that paid less per calorie expended. The $1.25 per hour kept gas in my ’48 Plymouth, kept me in school, and the snowshoeing maintained the shin splints in my legs. We would leave the University before daylight on a Saturday morning and drive a WW 2 jeep to the trailhead at Spring Creek when it was possible to drive that far. It was always a challenge to get back to the jeep before dark. The wind was nearly always howling at the snow course and the blowing snow often made it difficult to even find it. We had to yell so the other could record the weights of the 8-12 feet of snow cores. One day the blizzard was so bad Bob and I couldn’t even retrace our tracks back down the mountain in below zero temperatures. We ended up in the creek bottom fighting blowdowns in the dark. Our fear was that the jeep wouldn’t start with the severe cold. It did start, so we are still kicking today! We needed some good speed to blast through several snow drifts on the road out – the jeep with a rag top had snow drifts inside by the time we got out. It was nearly midnight when we got back to the University. Such fun times!" Thanks so much for bringing back the memories, Brian!