Devil’s Club are interesting plants native to the Pacific Northwest, found from south-central Alaska south along the coast to Washington and Oregon and east into Idaho and Montana. It is also found, interestingly, on Passage Island in Lake Superior, but nowhere else between there and the Northwest. I have seen it in western Montana only in deep stream canyons in the company of old-growth Cedars (not bad company as far as I’m concerned).
They are large plants: the leaves in these photos are about a foot across, and these plants are about 5 feet tall, but they get much larger. They are pretty tough customers because the stalks have long and brittle spines, and there are even spines on the larger leaves. If one figures out how to deal with the spines, the plants are edible and nutritious, but they’re very sensitive to human impact and do not reproduce quickly. They are closely related to American Ginseng.
They are blossoming right now and the clump of blossoms in the photo is 6 to 8 inches tall.
Some of the plants have fruit already, although it is still green as can be seen in the photo. When ripe, it’s bright red.
A refreshing place to spend some time on a mid-summer’s day, along this ice-cold stream under the shade of tall old-growth Cedars, where the soft sound of the rushing water is louder than the sound of the summer breeze through the trees. This small stream originates in the TeePee/Spring Creek roadless area in western Montana’s Cabinet Mountains. A mile down stream from where this photo was taken, the entire stream disappears into the ground and its voice becomes silent.
The Indian Paintbrush has long been a favorite of mine and I have been delighted this year to see them more beautiful than I’ve ever seen them before. These are growing along the Forest Service road that provides access to the northern part of the Patrick’s Knob roadless area in western Montana’s Coeur d’Alene Mountains.
This is a USFS trail sign beside USFS road 7698 (The High Ridge Road), part of which runs along the northern edge of the Patrick’s Knob roadless area. It was put up earlier this summer to replace one that was damaged even worse than this. This was probably done by a lousy shot with a 9mm pistol.
This sign beside USFS road 7592 marks the start of the CC Divide Trail which is a pack trail that runs for many miles along the divide. Those are small caliber, probably .22, bullet holes in it. 7592 is the road that leads to the Patrick’s Knob Fire Lookout.
For those who would like to find the trail to the top of Baldy Mountain in the Baldy Mountain roadless area, this USFS sign was placed at the junction of FS road 1025 and FS road 886 to help you. It should display “Road 886” and “Trail No 340” with an arrow. You would take that road for 3 miles to the trailhead. A shotgun was the vandal’s choice to destroy this sign.
At the intersection of three trails inside the TeePee – Spring Creek roadless area are these signs. It is 6.6 miles, 7 miles, or 3 miles (depending on which trail you take) to the nearest road. These signs are at least 50 years old, more likely 70, and their condition is obvious.
If you were to follow the trail marked by the sign in the second photo for 4 1/2 miles west into the Patrick’s Knob roadless area, you would see this sign, also in excellent condition despite having been there for half a century. As it shows, the nearest road is 4 1/2 miles away.
Quite close to the High Ridge Road although not visible from it, this sign has aged gracefully also for over 50 years while showing the traveler the path of trail 205 through the Patrick’s Knob roadless area.
Sometimes signs display more than one message at a time.