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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.

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