I enjoy the place names around here too. I don’t know all of the stories, but there are reasons for many of the names that go back into the 1800′s, and others are descriptions that often fit the area quite well. I have a fascination with Sundance Ridge. It is about 15 miles long and I have been on it at both ends. My plan to hike the whole thing this past summer had to be abandoned, but I am planning it next summer. Yesterday I found an old forest road that will take me to within a cople miles (and about 3000 feet) from the mid point of it. THere is snow there now.
I wondered if that was a larch tree, and it seems it is. I’ve never seen a closeup of one, only their beautiful color in the distance or as a backdrop, so I especially appreciate this. It’s just a gorgeous photo.
The larch is one of my favorite trees. The one in the photo is about medium size and is probably no more than 100 years old. They can get to 200 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter and live over 800 years. Their age especially fascinates me and I often sit next to one of the really old ones and consider what events that have occurred during its life time.
I am not at all familiar with the Eastern larch or true tamaracks. We also have a species called Alpine Larch here too. It is considerably smaller and grows at higher elevations than the Western Larch. Yes, it’s a marvelous part of the country, especially for those who love the outdoors and wild places.
These were taken yesterday, and while out there we had about every kind of weather, from a heavy snow storm when we got over 5000 feet to a little sun on this lower ridge. 20 Miles to the north we were rained on, followed by grapple and then sleet. That kind of weather provides all kinds of photography potential!
They are magnificent trees. In a few more weeks one can drive some of the old roads and hike on the trails and they will be covered with golden larch needles as they shed them. On a windy day one can walk through a big stand of larch and encounter a constant rain storm of their needles.
Hi Terry, Upon seeing these photos I realize how much I miss Larch trees (esp. in Fall!). I can almost smell the fresh air and feel the soft layer of needles underfoot…. Western Montana is such a special place. I miss it terribly sometimes.
After a hot summer that set a new record for consecutive days without rain, now it is cold and wet. I am hoping for a little sun break to better enjoy the larch and the other colors (on the trees which still have leaves). Last evening we had a beautiful heavy snow and it was such a treat to sit by the wood stove and enjoy it!
Don’t know how far this would be from home, but given that the hike was into a somewhat new area, I’d imagine that it’s not too close…but do you use snow-shoes and still get out on the trails, or is it too difficult to access areas like this?
This area would not be approachable for me in winter as are most of the high elevation trails. I often wish I had a snowmobile just to get to the trail heads where I could use the snow shoes. This winter I hope to snowshoe on one of the lower trails in Glacier Park.
I was wondering if it might be too high to access in the deep snows. I imagine a snowmobile would help…see lots of them out here.
I hope you’re able to get to Glacier Park, too…I’ll look for your photos. My kids gave me a set of snowshoes for my birthday this year and I’m anxious to try them out…won’t be going anywhere near as exciting as Glacier Park, but they should help me get deeper into the mountains than I’ve been for the past two winters….
That kind of place will be perfect for the snow shoes! Last year I used mine only a couple of times but one of them was an extremely pleasant walk in to see a waterfall on the nearby Indian Reservation.
If we have even a moderate winter, there should be enough snow in the mountains to be able to use them…am looking forward to it. I would imagine that the waterfall in the winter would be a spectacular sight….
I love the larch too. Across the river from our house there is a whole mountainside of them and I enjoy seeing them turn color. Later I will go up there and walk on the needles.
The photo was taken in an area that’s new to me and I didn’t take the time to fully orient myself to the map, but I think that distant mountain is Cook Mountain, the site of the beginning of the Chippy Creek fire of 2007. Those are likely fire paths left when the fire swept up and over the mountain toward the northeast.
Beautiful photos, both of them. The western larch captured my eye for a long time. It was so different in these surroundings. In Finland we have few larches here and there. The Larix laricina (Tamarack Larch, or Tamarack, or Hackmatack, or American Larch) is most successful here.