Montana Outdoors

October 2, 2007

October visit to the Coeur d’Alenes, 1

It has been a long, hot summer, and with the extreme fire conditions we have encountered here, I have not visited the Coeur d’Alene Mountains since the latter part of June. Now, with some rain and several light snowfalls in the high country, it’s again possible to visit there and just in time for at least the start of the fall colors. There will most likely be a fairly narrow window of accessibility due to weather conditions. The road that accesses the trail heads in this particular area is not a lot of fun to drive on once it gets icy, even with the Jeep.

These photos are from yesterday’s trip and were all taken from about the 6,000 foot level along the north slopes of the Coeur d’Alene range looking over the Clark Fork River valley roughly 3,500 feet below. The high country across the valley is in the 13,902 acre Teepee-Spring Creek roadless area in the Cabinet Mountains. The country behind me as I took these photos is the 34,964 acre Cherry Peak roadless area in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains. (I do consider it a rare privilege to be able to live in such a place!)

It was a day which contained rain, sun, brisk winds and even a few flakes of snow in the air. I always love it when there are three of my favorite conditions present; high country, fall colors and stormy weather! I think nature prefers to be viewed, if at all possible, under these conditions.

Fall colors, Coeur d'Alene Mountains

Fall colors, Coeur d'Alene Mountains

Fall colors, Coeur d'Alene Mountains

Fall colors, Coeur d'Alene Mountains

Fall colors, Coeur d'Alene Mountains

Fall colors, Coeur d'Alene Mountains

Fall colors, Coeur d'Alene Mountains

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Blue October surprise

This afternoon high in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains it was cold. There was a light rain falling, brief spurts of sunshine, a few snowflakes in the air, a stiff breeze. This area above six thousand feet has already had two snowfalls this season and as I began to photograph some of the fall colors, I could feel my fingers beginning to get numb.

What a surprise it was then to see these blooming as though it were still mid-summer!

Blue surprise

Blue surprise

Blue surprise

Blue surprise

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