Ranch life in the Big Sky state through the eyes of one who has lived through it...so far.

Definition- What's a Coulee?

Of all the questions I've been asked since starting this blog, the most frequent is this: What the heck is a coulee?

And the answer is, this:


And this:


And this:


It's smaller than a valley, wider than a ravine, deeper and longer than a draw.  In our area they have been carved by creeks into the flat plain left behind after the massive glacial sheets of ice retreated back to the mountains at the end of the last ice age.  Since the word is of French origin, I assume we have the early French Canadian trappers to thank for its prevalence, given that they were the first white men to venture into this area. 

So now you now. It's not a gulch, a gulley or a gorge. It's a coulee. 


1 comment:

Laura Savage said...

I. Love. This.

No matter where I see or hear this term (which magically is a lot since I've started cyber-friending you) I think of you always and smile.