By Alkali Springs Correspondent
Have you noticed at night in the mountains of late or out on the prairie for that matter, how light it is with the full moon shining on snowy meadows?
That was always quite a phenomenon for old timers. Anyway we have heard time and time again from old timers of winter nights when it was possible to read newspapers outside at midnight. This last week was no exception. It was so bright that when we were out at our tiny Beaver Creek cabin, we had to close the shades at night just to keep brightness out of the house.
Add to that early mornings just before dawn when the northern lights put on such displays, shimmering back and forth in the north from east to west and back again that it was just simply awe inspiring! Seeing sights like those makes it more clear than ever, that this is the right neck of the woods in which to live, particularly if when seeing great natural and unbelievable sights, you don't have to worry about them killing you along with watching them.
Northern light displays have been more than impressive of late and our friends in the north country tell us that by just driving a few miles north of Havre, they are even more magnificent then seeing them in the Bear Paws.
Where we go to see them is on the Beaver Creek Road just north of Kiwanis Camp where the Sucker Creek road takes off to the east. At that junction looking north will take your breath away when they are out. It is worth a couple of tries to find out for yourself.
With the fresh snow that fell a few days ago we have been busy tracking deer, pheasants, and other animals and taking pictures of their tracks as well.
We have a need to find out, for instance, where our pheasants spend their nights when we are all snugged in at our cabin. Deer too. So away we go in fresh snow with dog lagging behind looking through brush and aspen groves. And taking pictures of tracks is just one way to sort of learn how to use a new camera we are trying to operate.
So far we are surely having fun but not learning much of anything. One day last week we were on the trail and imagine our surprise to see human footprints heading up a close mountainside. We were reminded of Nels Christianson of Clear Creek. He had sold his Clear Creek acreage to some Havre folks for a cabin site while still retaining the right to live in his shack on the property. That was up a beautiful gulch named Greenough that branches off to the east of Clear Creek.
Well, gentle readers, a few years before that Nels had turned in a neighbor for working for ranchers while receiving a government pension. The neighbor then turned in Nels for being a moonshiner. Not only that but the neighbor so frightened Nels that he spent a lot of time thinking that fellow was going to walk over the ridge and beat him up.
One of those clear and bright Bear Paw nights like we have been experiencing of late, Nels found some human tracks in a meadow by where the cabin owners had built. That scared Nels so much that he spent days thinking that the neighbor was around spying on him and getting ready to whip the tar out of him. The cabin owners told Nels a dozen times or more that the footprints were them scouting out some deer and nothing more but nothing they could say would convince Nels that he was anything but a marked man.
Soon he moved into Chinook where he felt he was safer among more people than out on Clear Creek.
So when these days we see nights as bright as day and footprints in new snow, we often wonder if pool old Nel's neighbor is still wandering the beautiful Bear Paws looking for Nels?