Alas! We were in open water! Watching massive thunderstorms change shape to our port and starboard, Wild Bill remained in constant communication with the weather service. With lightning striking and thunder rolling, he repeatedly exclaimed, “This is good, just what we want!” and “Okay, folks, this is just what we want to happen”… Somehow I didn’t feel the same comfort, as I tightly clutched my Nikon camera and massive (metal and glass) zoom lens. The thought of being struck by lightning in the middle of this ocean, in the middle of Montana was both cool and scary at the same time.
Slowly and steadily we pressed onward, and the thunderstorms did cease in the exact order that Wild Bill said they would. Once across the lake, Wild Bill traded his captain’s hat for that of a tour guide and encouraged us to make ready our cameras and binoculars.
“There are plenty of Bald eagles and osprey along the shore here, folks, let’s all be ready to see one,” Wild Bill said as he scanned the shoreline with his binoculars. And soon after he had spotted one, Wild Bill spoke with the excitement of a child as he directed his hand towards the location of the eagle. “Notice how I don’t point my finger at the eagle folks? These are magnificent creatures that command respect and I only ask that you don’t point at them.”
Wild Bill racked up huge points with me in one statement. I respect anyone who shares their love and passion for the outdoors and habitat as he did so freely.
We were all enjoying the moment, but perhaps not as much as Wild Bill himself who had begun to talk to the symbol of freedom. “It’s okay boy, it’s just me. It’s just me, boy.” Detecting our disbelief, Wild Bill added, “When you spend as much time with these guys as I do, you get to know them all.”
With an eagle sighting under our belts, we slowly made our way up the shoreline as Wild Bill delivered more facts about the lake and changing landscape. We stopped along a steep cliff where Native Americans had painted several symbols, called pictographs, of bison and Indians on horseback with bow & arrow, indicating the cliff was once used as a buffalo jump.
Once again, Wild Bill proved to be an invaluable wealth of knowledge, not only pointing out the historical site, but also explaining the various paintings and their intended meanings.