Montana Outdoors

March 27, 2008

A contrast in Spring

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Spring — montucky @ 5:41 pm

Here in western Montana, the plant life is quite sensitive to altitude differences, especially during a change of seasons. It was very noticeable this week in a couple of the places I visited.

At the altitude of the Clark Fork river (2,500 feet at this location), wildflowers are starting to bloom, the few poplars that grow here are starting to bud out

Poplar buds

and their leaves are nearly ready to emerge.

Poplar buds

The mosses growing on a huge boulder next to the water are bright colored and luxuriant.

Spring moss

But just a thousand feet higher, even though it’s only about two miles as the crow flies, this little fir tree is still huddled in its snow cave where it spent most of the winter. (The cave is still about 3 feet deep and the snow is quite icy, and so for it, winter will last at least another month).

Winter fir


  1. Your close-up lens is working great with these photographs. I’m glad these caught your eye: so many people walk right past them without noticing.



    Comment by knightofswords — March 27, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

  2. I guess we all have a tendency to walk right past things because we set our goals in terms of places to which we want to go. I think the better plan is to always be where you want to go. That way you have time to look around and see all the neat stuff that’s there.


    Comment by montucky — March 27, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

  3. I’m glad to see your catching blooms (me not so much yet) but I’m having a lot of fun looking for them! My yard looks like your tree with it’s nature made fort. It’s amazing really the ability for things to survive! I loved you showing us both sides of the coin.


    Comment by aullori — March 28, 2008 @ 2:05 am

  4. Our yard and the valley bottom is clear, but there’s still a whole lot of snow and ice elsewhere.


    Comment by montucky — March 28, 2008 @ 8:39 am

  5. Two seasons at once – nice. The little fir tree in the snow – could be a portrait of me! 🙂


    Comment by barbara — March 28, 2008 @ 9:17 am

  6. Yes, I bet that’s how you feel about now! Well, soon you and the little tree will feel the warmth of the sun again!


    Comment by montucky — March 28, 2008 @ 9:50 am

  7. The little fur tree looks rather sad in its snow cave, compared to the moss and poplars. I really like how you show both sides of the season though…the plants and flowers that are starting to bloom, and those that are still emerging from the snow. Very nice.


    Comment by AK_Adventurer — March 28, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

  8. I’ve always been fascinated by the contrasts evident at the same time. These differences are in only a thousand feet difference in altitude. There are still warnings of avalanche danger for altitudes of four or five thousand feet higher yet. Quite a juggling act nature has going!


    Comment by montucky — March 28, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

  9. very interesting!


    Comment by silken — March 28, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

  10. A little different than Texas, isn’t it? (We were at 18º this morning.)

    Hope you have a good time at the triathlon!


    Comment by montucky — March 28, 2008 @ 8:57 pm

  11. Oh, I especially love those mosses!


    Comment by winterwoman — March 29, 2008 @ 5:06 pm

  12. They struck me because they are so bright. They are growing on a huge boulder, and just above the orange moss there is a cavity in it filled with water. The area in the photo is about 3 ft X 3 ft.


    Comment by montucky — March 29, 2008 @ 8:17 pm

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