The end destination for the drive was a reservoir named War Horse northeast of the town of Grass Range. Grass Range is 30 miles east of Lewistown, so War Horse Reservoir is about 45 to 50 miles from where I live. Once you leave the black top just east of Grass Range a very good gravel road takes you north as it arcs slowly back to the west while also heading north. A rougher (but very passable) two-track road takes off into the wind beaten ponderosa pines and eventually leads to the south shore of the reservoir. The clusters of pines are a shale forest and in places on the forest floor a fine shale "soil" is visible. It is an area of critical environmental concern by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) because of the unique plant community.
The photo below is taken from the road on the south shore looking west. The edge of the reservoir is visible to the far right. The Judith Mountains, with Black Butte on the far right of the string are on the horizon.
(click photos to view larger)
This next photo shows the good gravel road at the point where the two-track takes off (that would be to the right of where I stood to shoot this photo.) I love how roads can seem to have no end in the vastness of the central Montana prairie.
Driving down the road shown in the previous photo, the creek that feeds the reservoir crosses. I was surprised at its size for this time of year, but considering how large War Horse Reservoir is, this creek must carry a lot of water year round.
The following photo is prairie, prairie, prairie -- with the Judith Mountains in the distance to the west.
The next photo is a view farther down the road from the previous photo but looking south. In the distance are the Big Snowy Mountains (also referred to locally as the Big Snowies or, simply, the Snowies) The dished in middle of the Snowies' skyline is Half Moon Canyon.
Hope you enjoyed the photos! Your questions or comments are welcome and I will try to respond to questions within a day or two.