National Geographic : 1902 Oct
VOL. XIII, No. o1 WASHINGTON OCTOBER, 1902 _MAS AEE NB U HuKD1PllAR 1tl OUR NORTHERN ROCKIES BY R. H. CHAPMAN, UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY IF a line be drawn dividing the State of Montana about the middle of its east and west extent, the moun tainous area will be to the west and the plains to the east of it. In the mountain ous region the Government has reserved certain areas for the protection of the forests, and much of the region I shall describe lies within the Lewis and Clarke Timber Reserve. The area of this reserve is about 6,000 square miles and covers both flanks of the Continental Divide, which here sepa rates the waters of the Columbia and Missouri rivers, and so includes the main Rocky Mountain range. The major portion of it is mountainous, and lies between the Flathead Valley to the west and the great plain of the Mis souri to the east, which stretches for a hundred miles, a sharp contrast to the ruggedness of the reserve. In these valley areas are towns, ranches, roads, and fences-marks of civilization. In the Reserve rough trails and a few In dian camp-grounds, marked by a num ber of " teepee" poles, are about the only culture features, although there are a few cabins. It is our purpose in entering the re serve to visit prominent mountain peaks to build cairns or signals of timber on their summits, to make the necessary observations to enable us to locate by tri angulation these signals, and to compute the latitude and longitude, distance and directions, from other known points. These signals are to be used by the to pographers in mapping the reserve. It is also necessary to make sketches of the route traveled, the existence and condition of trails and camping places, to make note of burned areas, and to get as much general information as possible of this wild region. I shall ask you to imagine yourselves making a journey with me on horse back, our limited baggage and many weeks' supplies packed on the backs of mules. To such places as we cannot ride and drive our train, we will take our loads upon our own backs and travel on foot. We will pass through the Flathead Valley, take a course ap proximately northeast until, passing the many ranges which make up the Rocky Mountain backbone, we emerge upon the plain of the Missouri River.