Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author Marty Essen

Where’s the water?

Marty’s photo of the day #3779: This is Lake Bowdoin in northeastern Montana, near the town of Malta. When Deb and I traveled to the American Prairie Reserve, we took the long way and drove north out of the Bitterroot Valley, stopped in Kalispell, where I performed a show at Flathead Valley Community College, and then followed the Hi-Line east across the northern part of the state. We then spent a night at a hotel in Malta before heading south on a long dirt road that took us into the Prairie Reserve. Earlier, when we looked at a map, we saw a large body of water, called Lake Bowdoin, which sat inside the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge.

It looked like the perfect spot to spend the evening. Our dog, Nellie, could play in the water and Deb and I could watch the waterfowl. Neither of us expected what we saw when we arrived. The lake was totally dry! In this picture it looks like water in the distance, but that’s just the light reflecting off salt deposits. We drove partway around the lake, thinking we’d eventually find water, but never found any.

I took this picture from the boat launch, so obviously this shallow lake does get deep enough to support a boat. And, obviously, we visited this “pothole lake” at the wrong time. I look forward to returning to Lake Bowdoin closer to the rains, when it is full of water and teaming with wildlife.

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