"On the Path" Journal

On this page you'll find our "On the Path" journal entries about the natural and cultural history of the Swan Range.

These began as biweekly articles written for Bigfork's Lakeshore Country Journal from 2006 through 2010. Those articles are still available to you in our "On the Path" archives.

This article published on March 07, 2012 • [Permalink]

30th Anniversary Hike and Call to Action!

Let's extend Wilderness protection from Swan Peak (above) to Columbia Mountain, all along the Swan Crest! (Photos by Keith Hammer and Pam Willison)

Our recent hike along the Swan Crest commemorates Swan View Coalition's 30th anniversary and asks for your short email supporting Wilderness designation for the area!

Enjoy these 27 photos taken from Napa Ridge to Trinkus Lake, then please send a quick email to flatheadplanrevision@fs.fed.us .

Urge the Flathead National Forest to manage and recommend the entire wildlife-rich Swan Crest as Wilderness in its Forest Plan, perhaps highlight your favorite areas, then add your name!

Your voice matters and the Swan Crest needs your help - Thank You!

(Read Full Article)

This article published on August 24, 2014 • [Permalink]

Watching Golden Eagles from Doris Mountain

The Swan Crest from atop Doris Mountain. (Bob Muth photo and poem).

On October 11, some of the Over the HIll Gang hiked up Doris Mountain in the Northern Swans. Several golden eagles soared on high thermals as they ate lunch on the summit, inspiring this poem by Bob Muth:


A bird flies in the sky, and no matter how far it flies
there is no end to the air.
--Zen Master Dogen, Moon in a Teardrop

Sheer stealth.  
Sublime strength.
Rapture of sky
And summit.
Sacred sojourner
Of sun-tossed trails.
Mountain master
Of terrible talons
And towering thermals.

Oh, Horus,
     Oh, Ba,
          Oh, Thunderbird...

Thou feathered frontier
Of our vast fall
And forgetfulness,
     Bless the Breath
          Of our separate
                And same

         --Bob Muth  October 14, 2012

*In ancient Egypt, Horus the falcon was god of the sky, goddesses were represented by a bird known as Ba that frequented tombs. On this continent, some native people believed Thunderbird created the world.

This article published on November 02, 2012 • [Permalink]

How "Squaw" Lake Became In-Thlam-Keh

A trail sign in Jewel Basin Hiking Area points to the lake formerly known as "Squaw."

"For the past century, some 75 place names across the state have contained the term 'squaw,' a word deeply offensive to many people in Montana, especially the members of Montana’s seven federally recognized tribal nations. . .

Now, after almost a decade of work, 60 of the 76 “s-word” places have been replaced by new names."

Click here to read the entire Char-Koosta News article (3/19/09).

Click here to view or download the list of 17 Salish-Pend d’Oreille place names (and their meanings) that have replaced "squaw" in Montana.

In-Thlam-Keh, for example, means "black bear."

Click here to see a photo of In-Thlam-Keh Lake.

This article published on September 25, 2012 • [Permalink]

Following Bob Marshall: Swan Range to the Chinese Wall

Four backpackers recently retraced Bob Marshall's 1928 route from the Swan Range to the top of the Chinese Wall (above) in the Wilderness that now bears his name.

Travel with them (and Bob) through these twelve photos and captions!

(Read Full Article)

This article published on August 14, 2012 • [Permalink]

Got Socks? Hiking Season is Here!

Hiking season is full upon us and so is this new Swan Range web site!

So check out the menu items along the left side of this page!

You'll find everything here that was on the old web site - and more!

In addition to the Swan Range Home page at the top of the menu, you'll also find Swan View Coalition "Next Door" at the bottom of the menu (and the Swan View web site menu provides a similar Next Door link back to this Swan Range site).

Check back often as we begin posting our Outing Reports and Journal Articles right here - and use the Contact page to let us know if you find problems or have suggestions for this site!

Happy Trails!

This article published on July 20, 2012 • [Permalink]

Soulful Solstice

By Keith Hammer 
December 16, 2010, Lakeshore Country Journal

It’s again that time of year when we in the northern hemisphere experience the shortest daylight of the year, as Winter Solstice ushers in the first day of winter on December 21. We are comforted knowing the days will soon grow longer, yet we also know our coldest weather is yet to come in January in spite of the lengthening days and the slow climb of the sun upwards from our southern horizon.

Winter Solstice is at once a meaningful mark in the year and also just one day in the flux of the ever-changing universe and life here on Earth. Because the Earth still holds warmth left over from summer, it will take another few weeks of short days with low- angle sun to cool the northern hemisphere and bring us the colder weather promised by winter. Similarly, come spring, much of our plant and tree growth will only respond when the ground finally warms enough, not just when the fickle air temperature gets pleasant.

Perhaps therein lies a metaphor and lesson to learn patience in our lives and to forgive ourselves when things don’t change quickly enough. In a world of commercial enterprise and electronic gadgets, we are indoctrinated to expect instant gratification. From the natural world we learn that things like the seasonal warming and cooling of our planet’s hemispheres take a little time – and that we need to think in longer terms to be prepared to meet our needs for food, warmth and shelter.

(Read Full Article)

This article published on December 16, 2010 • [Permalink]

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