The trails are old wagon roads which get down to the river somehow -- twisting along an old water course or plunging wildly down an extended buttress of a long butte. Scrub pine, spruce, and cedar are scattered in the purple-shadowed coulees and on the hundreds of isolated hills which start up suddenly from the vast canyon floor; the sun, soon gone, rekindles briefly the centuries-old color in pre-glacial cliffs, and a distant mountain range turns violet, then black, against the blue-green sky.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
One of my first posts here was an appreciation of Joseph Kinsey Howard, the Montana newspaperman and historian. Though it's been nearly 60 years since his death, Howard's works remain relevant and well-read ... especially Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome, his landmark history of the state. It's one of my very favorite Montana books, partly for what Howard says and partly for how he says it ... he had a gift for descriptive prose that seems to fit the state perfectly. Here's a sample paragraph from the book, introdicing the Missouri Breaks country in central Montana: