Weasels in the Promised Land

Todd Burritt

One January my wife and I set out to traverse the Absaroka-Beartooth on skis. It wouldn’t be our first trip to do so, and it wouldn’t be the last, but I hope that it remains the coldest. We’d take a new route and be out for five days. I like seeing the mountains this way. In winter, the wild no … Read More

The Mighty Absaroka/Beartooth Wilderness

Jesse A. Logan

When introducing the bill that created the Absaroka – Beartooth Wilderness, Sen. Lee Metcalf referred to this area as, “a magnificent primeval expanse of nearly a million acres … a land of jewel-like lakes, clear cold streams and picturesque waterfalls.” Charles Kuralt called the Beartooth Highway, “the most beautiful drive in America,” and this spectacular highway just touches the edge … Read More

The Edge of Wilderness

Seabring Davis

Yesterday I stood on top of Livingston Peak. It is a prominent marker for the river town of Livingston, Montana and its population of 7,500 people. It is the ample chest of what’s affably known as the Sleeping Giant, a series of foothills and mountains that dominate the vista from Main Street and almost anywhere else in town. At 9,313-feet … Read More

Peaks and Legacies

Jesse A. Logan

Of the 496 summits greater than 9,000 ft. in Montana, 104 are located in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area. These summits form a vast wall, particularly for visitors traveling to Yellowstone National Park through Paradise Valley, or paralleling the Yellowstone River along I 90 from Livingston to Billings. Sometimes, dispirited by the increasingly urban-centric nature of American society, I wonder if … Read More

What I Have Learned: Working with Crow Students

Loren Rausch

Excerpts: “They understood Nature as the essence of the Great mystery, which guides and breathes life into all things.  For Indian people, the land was full of spirit, full of energy.” Gregory Cajete Ph. D.   Look to the Mountain – an ecology of indigenous education The significance of wilderness in respect to indigenous youth is probably as diverse as the … Read More

Of Persistence and Perseverance

Jesse A. Logan

So, you think you’ve had a hard commute today?! Consider this for the Yellowstone cutthroat trout. From the Pacific, up the Columbia to the Snake, then up the Snake to its Headwaters where the rivers change direction across the Great Divide , Down the mighty Yellowstone over two great falls,  and on to the confluence of the East Fork (aka, … Read More

The Mighty Yellowstone

Jesse A. Logan

Every flake of snow that falls in the Absaroka Beartooth Mountains, every drop of rain, eventually finds its way to the Mighty Yellowstone River. The Absaroka/Beartooth complex is a magnet for winter storms. Last year (2017-18) the SNOTEL site on the south-central boundary recorded almost 600 inches of accumulated snow. Winters are long and summers are short. It is no … Read More

Trout Refugium: The Waters of the Beartooth Mountains

Nate Schweber and Mimi Matsuda

  Trout Refugium: The Waters of the Beartooth Mountains Essay: by Nate Schweber; Art: “Golden Trout” by Mimi Matsuda; As a trout treasury – defined here as a landscape nurturing multiple species of rare and unique sportfish in the family Salmonidae– the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is bested by none in inland North America. Through its rills and creeks swim two native … Read More

Of Bison and Locust

Jesse A. Logan

Here in Yellowstone country, we are justifiably proud of our bison, the last remaining continuously wild of the millions that once roamed the Great Plains. At the time of European occupation, there were an estimated 20 to 30 million bison, which amounts to an astounding biomass of, perhaps, 21 million tons! The great buffalo herds, however, were not the most … Read More

Fly-Fishing Confidential

Callan Wink

During the dog days of summer in Livingston, Montana, at the Murray Bar in the evening, there is a faint air of shared chagrin. As one of the fishing guides, you’re easily identified, a sunglass tan line, shaggy hair protruding from a baseball cap. The clients – “sports,” as we call them – stand out as well: overweight, sunburned, new Columbia fishing … Read More

The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness: The Cradle and Grave of the Rocky Mountain Locust

Jeffrey Lockwood

The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness: The Cradle and Grave of the Rocky Mountain Locust Jeffrey A. Lockwood Professor of Natural Sciences & Humanities Departments of Philosophy & Religious Studies and Visual & Literary Arts University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY A blizzard sweeps over the horizon, and the sky fills with swirling flakes.  But the fields are green, and the breeze is hot.  … Read More

Absaroka-Beartooth Rewilding: Where the Carnivores Roam?

Cristina Eisenberg

Excerpt: When wolves (Canis lupus) were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in the winter of 1995, virtually the first thing they did upon leaving their acclimation pens was vector due north and straight up into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area. At 8,000 feet above sea level and higher, this place of deep snow and jagged mountains was mostly well above the … Read More

Note From a Wilderness Steward: From the Shining Mountains

David Kallenbach and Ivan Kosorok

Essay by David Kallenbach; Art: etching by Ivan Kosorok;   Excerpt: Meriwether Lewis, July 4th, 1805: “the Mountains to the N. W. & W. of us are still entirely covered are white and glitter with the reflection of the sun. I do not beleive that the clouds which prevail at this season of the year reach the summits of those … Read More

Poetry of the Beartooth Mountains

Peter Halstead

Excerpts:  Just above Red Lodge there lies a million acres of Gothic mountains, milky blue glacial tarns, vast rolling alps, and the chosen environment of Russian poets, playwrights, and composers: the tundra, with its myriad wildflowers, its speckled moss, its mottled lichens. The Beartooths are the backbone of Yellowstone, cousins of the Wind River Range. They are the sleeping giant of … Read More

Whitebark Pine in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness

Jesse Logan and William W. Macfarlane

Excerpt: Grizzly bears, humans and whitebark pine all colonized North American from Siberia. In fact, all three crossed the Bering Land Bridge sometime during the Pleistocene. Although it is easy to understand how highly mobile animals like grizzlies and humans were able to capitalize on an ephemeral event(s) like the opportunistic appearance of the Bering Land Bridge, it is difficult … Read More

Ice Age Foxes on the Beartooth Plateau

Patrick Cross

Excerpt: No matter where you are in the world, if you see a fox, chances are it is the species red fox (Vulpes vulpes). That’s because the red fox is the world’s most widely distributed terrestrial carnivore, naturally ranging across North America, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa, and introduced to Australia. It has a remarkably diverse diet beyond its typical … Read More

The American Pika – A Charismatic Mini-fauna!

April Craighead and Mimi Matsuda

Essay by April Craighead; Art:  “Pika“, by Mimi Matsuda; Excerpt: Anyone who has spent time in the alpine areas of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has heard the tell-tale “eep” of the American pika (Ochotona princeps); a denizen of mountains and wilderness. This captivating bundle of energy patrols a single territory, signals danger with its powerful cry and frenetically gathers “hay” … Read More

The Hidden Lessons of Avalanches

Doug Chabot

My career of traveling over the snow, for pleasure and work, has given me the most enjoyable memories of my life as well as the most tragic. As an avalanche forecaster I predict avalanches, a difficult, and at times seemingly impossible task. Avalanches are beautiful, raw and powerful, and over three decades they revealed lessons, not just about snow, but … Read More

Aspen in the A-B

Mary Manning and Lynn Bickerton Chan

Art by Lynn Chan, NPS;  Essay by Mary Manning (Essay forthcoming) … Read More

Tracks – Human Migrations

Lee Nellis

Excerpts: We have been preceded. I sense that this trail, an easy way from the valley of the Clark Fork into the high country, was first walked not long after the glaciers receded. Ice patch archeology supports my intuition. Ancient hunters followed big horn sheep into this terrain 10,000 years ago. They may have sought more than meat, horns, and … Read More

Restless Optimism, Western Migration, and Mineral Development in and Around the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness

Patrick Pierson

Excerpt: Americans are a restless lot.  We are a people who seemingly are never content.  We’ve pushed and prodded at the edges of civilized comfort, pushing the “frontier” ever westward over the 242 years of our national identity.   Similarly, Americans have been characterized as optimist. Our history is chocked full of American icons pioneering new lands, opportunities, and technologies as … Read More

Mushrooms above treeline: Imagine that!

Cathy Cripps

Excerpt: The cold, windswept tundra hardly seems like the place to look for mushrooms. But a diverse array of fungi do indeed live above treeline. They can be found tucked under willows, nestled among mosses, lying exposed in meadows and grasslands, and surviving on mud flats. These hardy, cold-loving species have roles as decomposers and nutrient gatherers for plants, and … Read More

The Nutcracker’s Role

Taza Schaming

Excerpt: Hike up into any of the conifer covered slopes outside of Jackson and there’s a good chance you’ll hear the distinctive caw-caw call of the Clark’s nutcracker. Now, in May, the nutcrackers are likely breeding, and you may hear several of the other, rarer, lovely nutcracker calls and songs. If you’re lucky, you’ll see one of the birds carrying … Read More

Working the Wilderness

John Clayton and Monte Dolack

Essay by John Clayton; Art: “Beartooth East Rosebud”, by Monte Dolack; Article originally published in High Desert Journal, April 2017; I came for the scenery. I signed up as a trail maintenance volunteer in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness north of Yellowstone National Park because it gave me five days among blooming wildflowers, burbling streams, and evergreens swaying gently in the wind. … Read More

High Country Characters

Traute Parrie

Forthcoming essays include: Grizzly bear – Wolverine – Rebecca Watters Mountain Goat and Bighorn Sheep Animal Migrations – Joe Riis Bats, Frogs, and Invertebrates – Kayhan Ostovar Corvids Jays, Nutcrackers, Ravens and Magpies Migratory Birds On the flora side: Ecological History of the ABW Lichen     … Read More

High Altitude Archeology

Brett French

Article originally published in the Billings Gazette, May 18, 2017; Highland Americans: Archaeologist Uncovering Ancient Peoples’ Widespread Use of Mountains; A small group of archaeologists are blazing a path into places like Wyoming’s Wind River Range, the Tetons and Montana’s Beartooth Plateau, rewriting the understanding of prehistoric people’s use of what are now high elevation wilderness areas. “We really need … Read More

Old Mail Route

Brett French and Courtney Blazon

Essay by Brett French; Art: “Mountains” by Courtney Blazon; Article originally published in the Billings Gazette, March 24, 2010; In the late 1800s, hardy mail carriers lashed snowshoes onto their feet to haul mail from the old mining town of Nye City up the Stillwater River drainage to the miners of Cooke City about 40 miles away. Or did they? … Read More

Crystalline Beauty, Terrifying Force of Nature, or Both

Jesse A. Logan

Easy access, by human power or snowmobile, to designated Wilderness from Cooke City, MT Is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is access to some of the most spectacular and wildest mountaineering opportunities (summer or winter) to be had anywhere. The curse is that easy access means less experienced, and perhaps naive, aspiring mountaineers are quickly into serious … Read More

Three Fires

Traute Parrie

Excerpt: July 3, 1994 We marched up the dry ridge in the 104 degree heat, with pulaskis in hand, excavating the burned stumps and flaming logs, to extinguish the last of the heat. Gloves off. Test the heat of the stump hole with the sensitive back of your hand. Ash floats up around me with every step. Kirsten stops, her … Read More

An Atlas of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness

Traute Parrie

In eager anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness in 2018, the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation (ABWF) is proud to present this high quality “atlas” of art and essays.  This will not be an atlas in the traditional sense, ABSAROKA-BEARTOOTH WILDERNESS: Perhaps you are familiar with, or have traveled in the A-B Wilderness, given its shared boundary with Yellowstone … Read More

From Red Lodge to Reed Point to Cooke City: The Human Connections

Traute Parrie

Forthcoming essays include: History of the establishment of the AB Wilderness – Ed Kemmick History of the AB Wilderness Foundation – Native Voices – Francine Spang-Willis, Northern Cheyenne Native Voices – Shane Doyle, Crow Native Voices – Crow Youth Mountaineering/exploration of the AB – Joe Josephson Ranger Tales – Hank Rate Camp Senia Illuminates Montana’s Dude-Ranching Heritage Mining history – … Read More

Laced by Glaciers

Elizabeth Claire Rose

Photo:  Elizabeth Rose; Forthcoming essays include: Geology – Ennis Geraghty Glaciers – Jonathan Marquis Water and Healthy rivers – Michael Fiebig How Mountains formed a Mountaineer – Tom Turiano Ecological History … Read More

Nutcrackers: Voyagers of the High Mountains

Jesse A. Logan

Whitebark pine and the Clark’s nutcracker have a special relationship with each other, and both with the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. You can read about the reasons why this relationship is so special, and the important role the Absaroka-Beartooth plays in this intimate association, in my essay with William Macfarlane, Whitebark Pine in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. However, we are just beginning to … Read More