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Havre: 115 miles NE of Great Falls; Fort Belknap: 46 miles E of Havre; Glasgow: 279 miles N of Billings

If you're not from Montana and find yourself on the Hi-Line, you're probably on the way somewhere else. There isn't a great deal of anything up here, except for wheat, birds, lots of ground squirrels, and the occasional pronghorn.

There are a number of National Wildlife Refuges along this drive: the gigantic Charles M. Russell NWR, and the smaller Black Coulee, Bowdoin, and Medicine Lake -- the latter on the far-eastern border of the state. Like most of the refuges nationwide, they are managed primarily for the benefit of birds, especially migratory waterfowl. This is a good place to bring your field guide: Even if you don't leave your car, you'll be able to identify many species, possibly including the Franklin's gull with its telltale black wingtips, the melodious western meadowlark, or the marsh hawk (or harrier, not a true hawk). The latter flies low to the ground, flapping its wings more often than the gliding hawks, and is gray when mature, brown when young, with a white bar across its rump.

Caution: The roadsides here are dotted with white crosses -- memorials to people who have died in auto accidents. Maintained by friends and family, many are decorated with flowers, flags, and ribbons. There are a lot of them. Don't be fooled by the long, straight stretches of road. Drive carefully.

Call the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, 130 5th Ave., Havre, MT 59501 (tel. 406/265-4383; www.havremt.com), for further information about the area.