Walking Odell

Centennial Mountains & Valley, Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, MT


As part of my three-week residency at the Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Education Center I embarked on a series of long hikes, trying to traverse the length of Odell Creek, from its beginning where it trickles out of the cirque basin of Slide mountain to the marshes of Lower Red Rock Lake. From Slide mountain, the creek descends through Engelmann spruce and Doug-Fir and into the high meadows of sage and balsamroot of the Centennial Mountains. The creek then cuts through a 600’ deep canyon of rugged steep walls of Paleozoic rock on the west side of Sheep Mountain, and enters the flat valley floor where it quietly meanders through winter moose habitat of willow, turning and bending, bowing and circling its flow into the wetlands of Lower Red Rock Lake.