27-Oct-2001 -- On my way back from a conference in Missoula, I decided to take a detour from the usual Interstate 90 route back to Billings in favor of visiting this confluence, which is located about a mile north of scenic Montana Highway 200 just east of Ovando.
I was at first concerned because there was fairly dense fog for the first 30 minutes coming east from Missoula, but as if someone had planned it, the fog lifted just in time for me to see the southern edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, a favorite topic of Western writers like Wallace Stegner, Ivan Doig, and Norman Maclean.
The only complication was finding the owner of the ranch on which the confluence is located. The people I found in the most obvious house told me that they rented the property from some outfitters about five miles up the gravel road. Knowing that this would probably mean the end of an already slow-leaking tire, I went on up the road.
There I found the owner, Karen Hooker, who also owns WTR Outfitters. She specializes in providing upscale trail-riding trips to visiting tourists, as well as hunting and winter recreational trips. She was very nice and gave me permission to enter onto the land to take my pictures.
The confluence is not quite half a mile east of the gravel road coming north from Highway 200. I parked my car on the 47th parallel, ducked under the barbed-wire fence, and covered the distance in about ten minutes. To be able to walk a mile in shorts and a t-shirt in late October in Montana is a rare thing indeed, and I took full advantage. Nestled in the valley of the Blackfoot River, the confluence has mountains on three sides, with the snow caps of the Bob dominating the scene.
For those of you who may be interested in learning more about Karen Hooker's outfitting trips, you can get more information from her website: http://www.seeleyswanpathfinder.com/pfbusiness/wtroutfitters/index.html.