March, 2003 Progress Report

Bozeman Climate
107 number of frost free days
75.7°F average daily high in July
7.8°F average daily low in January
40.8" average snowfall in January

"In the Bozone, it's a primo bio-region.
In the Bozone, full of carnivores and vegans.
In the Bozone, it's the yuppie Foreign Legion.
Yes, the smog'll never reach 'em in the Bozone."
— from Enquiring Minds , Greg Keeler

In case it's not clear: bozone is a derogatory term that some native Montanans use to refer to Bozeman. This is rather ironic, because the term was invented by techie nerds like many who live in Bozeman. In any case, the residents of Bozeman have adopted the term and turned it to their own purpose as the name of a local free newspaper covering local entertainment.


Since Pauline was unable to make the February trip, Gary and Pauline went again to do some skiing, circumnavigate the boundary of the property (we still had not seen much of the western half of the property) and get some progress reports from the contractor and architect.

The plans for the Carriage House (aka "The Barn"), are pretty well done. From the outside, it will look much like a traditional gambrel roof barn with dormers added to accommodate an upper apartment. The building is 28' wide, 44' long, and about 27' high at the peak. The lower floor has high ceilings, with extra wide and tall garage doors to accommodate utility vehicles. The lower floor is mostly garage with a foyer (mud room), ¾ bath and utility room. The upper floor is an 1100 square foot 2 bedroom apartment with full bath.

We also reviewed the driveway plans; looks like it will be about 4,300' long. The driveway will switch back around the Carriage House and continue up to the Main House.

The pictures and captions below chronicle our visit to the property. The complete hike took us 3½ hours, with little time for rest; but we did set a slow pace so we could take in the details. For reference, click here to see a map.

We parked at Lower Bridger School, crossed the highway and walked north through the lower triangular portion, then bushwhacked our way west across the creek to get to the starting point west of the creek in the upper quarter section (about ½ mile on a side). We started recording our circumnavigation from the "west ridge" at the southern boundary of the quarter section.

Clearly, the snow had melted since the February trip — an advantage of the southern exposure. Snowshoes were not required. However, that evening it started snowing and continued to snow for the next two days. We skied fresh powder at Bridger Bowl (just 9 miles further up the canyon) those two days. The annual snowfall changes dramatically from Bozeman (80-90") to Bridger Bowl (300-400"); we're guessing that we will get somewhere around 150" per year at the property.

(click on pictures to view larger version)


Looking west along the southern boundary of the quarter section. Drinking Horse Mountain is in the distance on the left. Note the two snow-filled gullies.

Still looking west, but now we're approaching the second snow-filled gully. There is another gully further on, but it is just beyond our property line.

Looking north from the southwest corner of the quarter section. There are several "ribs" running southwest from what we call the West Ridge - the relatively prominent ridge running north-south along the west side of the creek.

Proceeding north over the top of the first rib.

Still going north, down into the gully and looking up the second rib.

Looking south from the top of the second rib; the first rib stretches along the center of the picture. Pauline has picked up a couple of sticks to help her along.

Looking east to the West Ridge; that is one place we originally thought of building the main house.

Looking north, approaching the top of the second rib.

Having passed the second rib, looking north to the third rib.

Mule deer near the top of the third rib.

Looking south to the heavily wooded north side of the second rib.

Continuing north down the third rib.

Finally, the northwest corner (approximately at the large trees).

Looking east along the north boundary.

Continuing east.

And further east. Note that the fence curves here. The fence is actually about 40 feet inside our property from the northwest corner, so now it is heading out to the proper boundary!

Looking back to check Pauline's progress.

Continuing east toward the crest of the West Ridge at the north boundary.

Continuing east; not quite to the crest yet.

Almost to the crest!

Past the crest, looking east into the steep gully formed by the creek.

Looking back west, Pauline tries to negotiate the steep slope down to the creek.

Well, that is one way to get down!

Now to get up the other side; fortunately, that's somewhat easier.

Continuing past the creek up toward the crest of the East Ridge.

This is where the existing road meets the north boundary.

Continuing east past the road, to the crest of the East Ridge. Note the outline of a large rock just above and right of center.

Pauline rests on the large rock we saw from below. (Looking west)

Continuing east along the north boundary.

Pauline leads on east along the north boundary.

Continuing east. Note the large home at the left - this is our nearest neighbor, but we can't see the house from where we will build.

Finally, the northeast corner, looking south. Note the nearby clump of trees near the right edge of the picture. They frame "Sunrise Point".

From the northeast corner, looking southwest.

From the northeast corner, looking west.

Pauline at "Sunrise Point"; we figure this will be a great place to watch the sun rise.

Mule deer just outside the east fence.

From Sunrise Point, we headed back southwest to the interior of the property so Pauline could visit the home site. She is just visible above center.

There are nice lichen covered rocks on much of the property.

Gary sits on “Attila's Throne”. The main home site is about 100 yards up the slope behind him.

Pauline heads southwest down a nice path from Attila's Throne. From here, we traversed back southeast to the southeast corner of the quarter section. We marked Attila's Throne with survey tape so the contractor would know to not disturb anything in this general area.

From the southeast corner of the quarter section, we look back west along the boundary. The first picture of the tour was taken just beyond the trees. Drinking Horse Mountain is in the background.

Heading east along the north boundary of the triangular portion.

Looking east along the boundary down the embankment to Bridger Canyon Road. We did not feel like bushwhacking our way down to the road.

Heading southwest along the embankment. Our property fronts more than 1800 feet of the highway.

Looking southwest down to the Christie farm and Lower Bridger School. We bought our property from the trust left to the brothers and sisters who were born and raised on the farm. If you look very closely, you can see a road sign below and left of center; our driveway will enter the property there.

Here is a Bald Eagle that liked to perch outside the B&B we stayed at.

This is Fred. We found him on the property and brought him home.