Montana Outdoors

April 18, 2008

Today’s surprise

The weather forecast for today called for rain and snow showers early and snow moving in after noon. Just the kind of day for a hike into Munson Creek in the eastern edge of the TeePee-Spring Creek roadless area!

At nine o’clock when I crossed footbridge over Munson Creek not far from the trailhead it started to sprinkle, then changed to light snow; maybe a little earlier than expected.

Munson Creek trail

A half mile up the trail and I just had to shoot one more buttercup. Actually I was thinking that farther on up the trail there would be no more flowers this early in the year.

Buttercup and Oregon grape leaves

Another mile and this yellowbell was growing along the trail. Those at the river level are past their prime now, their petals turning orange and falling off but this little guy is still green. What a difference altitude makes!

Yellowbell ready to bloom

The Munson Creek trail is quite aggressive during its first three miles and also during its last two. It starts at under 2,500 feet and ends at just under 7,000. The makers of my altimeter chose to display, just above the numbers, what they call a “graphic representation of altitude changes”. Here’s what it showed at mile three (a little over a thousand feet above the trailhead):

Altimeter

Between the third and fourth mile the trail rambles along through a beautiful grove of tall cedars, their leaves producing deep shade beneath. It’s good to know that in this roadless area they will be around for awhile!

Munson Creek cedars

Then, in this short section of trail where the canopy was missing overhead and the sun was able to penetrate

Munson Creek trail mile four

was today’s surprise: Trilliums! Out of three miles of trail, in this short 100 foot section only, several hundred were in full bloom! One more reminder that the only way to know what’s going on in the wild country is to get out there!

Trillium

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