Click on the photos to enlarge.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Homeland Security views this blog

The Department of Homeland Security has taken the time to look at this, presumably due to it's content RE: the International Boundary.

If material is found that may be objectionable, please contact me via the email address on my profile & I will remove it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

American Artist for the Northwest Boundary Survey - James Madison Alden

While the British carried a wet plate (?) camera during the expedition to establish the International Boundary west of the continental divide over the years 1857 - 1861, the Americans sent a painter, James Madison Alden, to create watercolors of the views and the features of the area.

Here Alden is sitting high on the shoulder of Starvation Peak, British Columbia looking at the shore of Kintla Lake, Montana in Glacier National Park. Parke Peak and Kintla Peak are seen as well as Whitefish Range mountains. Mt. Nasukoin 8,100 feet can be seen at the right.

Waterton / Glacier fans will recognise this familiar scene as looking south down Waterton Lake, Alberta. When Alden visited, bison hunting and fishing camps were in the area, probably Kootenai from the Tobacco Plains near Eureka, Montana.

The Yak-in-a-khak trail, the "trail to the buffalo" from the Tobacco Plains to Waterton was already a major Kootenai horse trail, so it got heavily used by the International Boundary survey.

This is looking down the Yak-in-a-khak trail across the North Fork of the Flathead River, today's Trail Creek road. Long Knife, Starvation and King Edward peaks are in the background. The trail in the foreground confirms written accounts of of it being heavily used at this time.

After crossing the Flathead river, the trail enters Glacier Park just south of the Kishenehn Patrol Cabin, ascends Kishenehn Creek and crosses the International Boundary in about 4 miles.

Glacier Park's Thomas Jefferson

I believe that this photo of Thomas Jefferson is from around the time he was packing for the International Boundary survey, probably 1903. He would have been about 60 years old at that time.

Jefferson Pass in Glacier National Park bears his name. If there ever was a trail over Jefferson Pass, all traces of it are long gone.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Medicine Hill, Two Medicine area - Glacier National Park

Click for the big one.

This is a panorama taken from location of the former triangulation station "MEDICINE", now gone missing, elevation 8,446. The marker that remains is from an earlier survey probably ca. 1902-3.

The station was perhaps named by the surveyors to honor a rather unusual cultural feature found nearby, in plain sight, which is thought to be of considerable age. The large cairn found on the ridge a bit farther towards Mt. Henry is probably covering the "Azimuth Mark" for the triangulation station, a simple method of determining instrument accuracy.


Write me if you desire more details. This is perhaps the worst kept secret in Glacier, but it serves as an excellent educational tool to show how subtle, and how fragile, the clues to the past actually are.

This scene is just down the ridge about 1,200 ft. vertical from triangulation station "Medicine". It's proximity to the NPS trail has enabled the unwitting visitors to disturb surface features as to render them useless, except I suppose to point out as the "bad example".

Repeat Photography at the 4 Way Corner

Click on these shots for the larger scene.

These old photos were taken by the British surveyors during the establishment of the International Boundary at the 49th parallel of latitude in July of 1861, hence the Union Jack seen fluttering in the long exposure. I shot the repeat digitals in July of 2007.

The cairn is a preliminary determination by the Brits. The American team arrived some time later and using similar methods, determined the spot to be 36 feet north of the British cairn. According to treaty, the difference was split and the final large cairn was constructed 18 feet north.

Today's climbers marvel at the effort and care it must have taken to transport an enormous camera w/ wet plates, tent, chemicals, up the knife edge between Wall and Forum Lakes, approaching Class III terrain at times, to reach this remote spot and then return via the same route.

The American's didn't have a camera, so they sent an artist instead - James Madison Alden. I'll post some of his watercolors soon.

This is the official stone cairn which stood for 40 years. Here it is being examined by a rodsman just prior to demolition to determine the exact center point.

Two 19th century boundary survey expeditions ended at this station. The Interprovincial Boundary expedition started at this spot while marking the boundary between Alberta & B.C. during the early 20th century.

National Park Service Web Page

Introduction to Native American Units

This is an interesting NPS page about the first inhabitants of Glacier National Park.

The oldest non-native american archaeological site in Glacier National Park.

This site marks the continental divide and the determined location of the 49th parallel in 1861. The large cairn was demolished in 1901 in preparation for the recovery and placement of the bronze (aluminum paint for visibility) monuments. Long Knife Mtn. and the "ballpark" can be seen in the background, Kintla Lake hidden by foliage. Click photo for larger view.