20/35 Year Look Back
October 21, 2021
In celebration of 35 years of the Seeley Swan Pathfinder, each week we will run parts of articles that appeared in the issue 35 years ago and 20 years ago. The entire issue will be uploaded to our website seeleylake.com for you to enjoy. We hope you will enjoy the journey with us as we follow our community through the past 35 years as documented by the Pathfinder.
35 years ago: Oct. 23, 1986 issue
Frosty morning ride
Thirty-one kindergartners from Seeley Lake Elementary went on a brisk hayride at the Cahoon ranch last Wednesday morning. The Indian Summer sun melted the white frost from the grass and steam rolled off of Kate and Nell, the Clydesdale mares who pulled the wagonload of youngsters.
Squeals of laughter from the kindergartners who rode on the hay wagon could be heard for a half-mile in the cold, fall air. The more the kids enjoyed the ride, the faster the horses trotted, necks bowed low and manes flying. These powerful work horses weigh close to a ton, and the children were duly impressed with their size and strength.
The Clydesdales belong to Mark and Wayne Cahoon, the brothers who began raising the powerful work horses about six years ago on the family ...
35 years ago: Oct. 23, 1986 issue - Swan River Outfitters
Big Salmon Camp
For somebody who "just happened" to get into the outfitter business, Lloyd Hahn of Sun River Outfitters in the Swan Valley, together with his wife Carolyn, has "a real class act" according to one local resident who has guided hunters in the Bob Marshall for years.
Lloyd and Carolyn are from Wisconsin. About fifteen years ago they came to Idaho and hunted with an outfitter in the Selway Wilderness. "It wasn't a very good outfit," Lloyd chuckled. "We got lost ... separated from the guide. We had to find our own way out." The Hahn's took their time meandering out of the wilderness that year. "It was the best trip Carolyn and I ever had," Lloyd laughed.
They returned to their service station business in Wisconsin for a brief time. When an outfit came up for sale near Dupuyer, on the east front of the Bob Marshall, they decided to move to Montana.
Hence the name "Sun River Outfitters," which is the name of one of the larger rivers east of the continental divide.
The camp near Dupuyer was a mule deer camp, but Lloyd longed to guide hunters in elk country. When Gene Fox, Swan Valley, sold his outfit, Lloyd moved here and began outfitting in the area known as Big Salmon in the South Fork of the Flathead.
Sun River Outfitters have held the Big Salmon camp permit for eleven years now. They guide visitors in the summer months, but hunting season, beginning in September each year, is their busiest season.
"Fifty percent of our clients are repeat customers," Lloyd said. Having repeat clients in the outfitter business is a sign of a healthy, organized operation.
Lloyd's success didn't quite happen by accident. He grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and learned at a young age about working around stock. He treats his mules as if they were his kids.
"They are just that-our kids," he laughed, as he packed two "new kids" named Betty and Harry. These two mules joined the "big kids" for their first 22-mile pack trip into Big Salmon. "They don't know what to think of all this," Lloyd explained, as he gently hoisted an 85-pound load onto one side of Harry's packsaddle.
The Sun River mule train, often consisting of a dozen head of stock, travels the long trail to Big Salmon about three times in every ten days. They take camp supplies in ahead of the hunters at the beginning of each ten- or eight-day hunt, and in-between they haul game out and hay back in.
20 years ago: Oct. 25, 2001 issue
Claiborne/Ortenberg Foundation funds Seeley Elementary programs
"Once again, the Claiborne/Ortenberg Foundation has made a generous donation to the school," Bill Hyde, Superintendent, reported to the Seeley Lake Elementary School Board of Trustees at its meeting on Oct. 16, 2001.
In a letter from the Foundation, Liz Clairborne and Art Ortenberg said that they will provide $24,500 to fund the preschool and another $38,500 to fund other programs such as improving the school library, implementing the looping and team-teaching classrooms to accommodate decreases in the primary school enrollments and expanding an accelerated math program. The Board will review the grant application to determine which of the proposed activities will be funded by the 2001-2002 grant.
"We certainly appreciate the Ortenbergs and their tremendous support for the education of our kids. They are such an asset to this community," said Hyde.
20 years ago: Oct. 25, 2001 issue
Ovando makes plans for second annual 'Old West Christmas Fest'
120-year-old Ovando, Montana. A sleepy little historical cow-town with a full time population of only 50 people.
A town a lot of people love to visit! Why? It's not only the fishing and hunting possibilities, but many of today's 50 residents rely on their wits and talents to create a living, making Ovando one of the highest per capita towns in Montana of artisans and writers.
Ovando celebrates its wellspring of talent with its 2nd annual Old West Christmas Fest, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23 - 25.
Last year's impressive success brings even more talent to the Blackfoot River Valley town in this year's Fest.
And more fun! Horse drawn wagon rides, and with Mother Nature's assistance, dog sled rides will be available, along with an area "Just For Kids," with games, crafts, puppet shows; something different...