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Artificial Horizon--Water

Alta Pine

Alta Pine

his huge ponderosa pine, the oldest in western Montana's Bitterroot National Forest, and at 114 feet in height believed to be the second largest in the state, stands some distance up the West Fork of the Bitterroot River. It was perhaps 600 years old when the Corps of Discovery marched out of Ross's Hole and down the main river valley to Travelers' Rest. To the Salish people it was a landmark and road sign of great cultural significance for more than 500 years.

Having survived innumerable, unremembered vicissitudes, including the occasional ground-level forest fire, for eight centuries, it surrendered its spirit to a final, fatal lightening strike on July 16, 1993. Nevertheless, it was expected to remain standing for at least another hundred years, but early in the morning of August 20, 2008, it was reported ablaze from the ground up. By midmorning the blaze had burned through the hollow trunk, and the top half fell to the ground. The cause of the much-lamented fire is still unknown.

Falls of the Missouri - Menu
Artificial Horizon--Water

From Discovering Lewis & Clark ®, http://www.lewis-clark.org © 1998-2014
by The Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, Washburn, North Dakota.
Journal excerpts are from The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Gary E. Moulton
13 vols. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-2001)