North Fork Blackfoot River
North Fork Blackfoot River, Montana
The physical landscape carved by glaciers. The river came next - cutting through the base of this wide valley. The place has the feel of a canyon within a canyon. As you hike from the trailhead you raise along the riverine to see this canyon in miniature. Here, the water has eroded the soft mountainsides.
What you notice next is the aftermath of the Canyon Creek Fire in 1988. Twenty years later progress is slow, but clear and visible. Lodgepole pines, gray and lifeless point like needles to the sky. At their feet is the next generation of young and eager trees to take their place.
In another one of my life-times they will reach their full size and take back the light from the grasses and scrub brush which grew under the open sky. This is transition. This is a place formed by the power of fire, water, and ice. All the work has been done and will continue to be done to this striking landscape.
The North Fork of the Blackfoot supports a healthy native fishery of both bull trout and Westslope cutthroat. Much of this watershed is remote and requires either a fair amount of hiking or horseback to access. This factor contributes to the overall health of the fishery. The North Fork is also critical spawning habitat for bull trout in the main stem of the Blackfoot River.