SOUTH OF THREE FORKS where the graveled Madison Road winds past cattle ranches, horse farms, and residences, there’s a unique, unmarked fishery at the Cobblestone Fishing Access site. Commonly known as Darlington Spring Creek Ditch (its original name was Darlinton, after the family that once owned the...

WHEN MY WIFE AND I CRESTED THE FINAL mound of trail approaching Gneiss Lake in Montana’s Tobacco Root Mountains, the beauty of the jagged granite walls briefly halted us. Below, concentric circles of slow-rising cutthroat trout pocked Gneiss’ surface, and the click-clack of bounding mountain...

THUNDER BOOMED AND LIGHTNING STRUCK the valley below. Rain strafed the exposed granite ridge in windy gyres, but only briefly. Remnant water drops glinted on the chalet windows — fool’s gold in the setting sun — and a deceptive rainbow appeared to the west over...