Montana Outdoors

August 25, 2008

Koo Koo Sint 1

As David Thompson explored and mapped much of the northwestern United States and western Canada in around 1800, he carried a brass sextant of 10 inches radius and an achromatic telescope of high power. Every night he took his readings from the planets, and the Indians came to call him Koo Koo Sint, “the man who gazes at stars”.

Last week, despite the efforts of the ever-present vandals who have all but obliterated every single one of the Forest Service signs, by diligently studying the Lolo National Forest map, throwing in just a dash of Kentucky windage and a pinch of luck, I was able to locate the eastern end of USFS trail 445, the Koo Koo Sint trail. Today I hiked the first couple of miles of it.

After leaving the Jeep at the trail head,

08:30 – 2938″ elevation
09:00 – 3367″
09:30 – 3765″
10:00 – 4249″
10:30 – 4748″

At about 10:20 and at 4640″ the trail topped out over the east end of Koo Koo Sint Ridge, providing this view to the east. The high country on the right side of the river is the Cherry Peak roadless area in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains and the high country along Koo Koo Sint Ridge on the left side of the river is in the TeePee – Spring Creek roadless area in the Cabinet Mountains.

Lower Clark Fork River

I thought it was worth the climb and I’m pretty sure David Thompson thought it was too.

August 24, 2008

Spruce Grouse

Maybe because I told her that her babies were beautiful when I encountered her today on an old road just east of Baldy Mountain, this little spruce grouse stayed around and showed me every pose she knew. (I usually consider myself very fortunate to get even one shot.)

Spruce grouse live in 12 of our northern states including Alaska and widely across Canada and, although they are endangered or nearly so in some of the northeastern states and are losing habitat to development in many other areas they are not exactly rare. I seldom see one here though and consider it a real treat when I do.

Spruce Grouse, Falcipennnis canadensis

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse

August 23, 2008

A study in green

Filed under: Cabinet Mountains, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 10:19 pm

Wednesday was a cloudy day on Thompson River and when I chanced upon this scene the dark clouds were spitting tiny drops of rain. Because the light angle was just right, this crystal clear pond took its color from the mountainside behind it.

A study in green

August 22, 2008

A walk in the clouds

Yesterday I hiked the first couple of miles of USFS trail 1714 into the Patrick’s Knob/North Cutoff roadless area with the temperature in the 40’s and a light rain falling.

Following are just the first 6 photos from that trip. Walk with me in the clouds.

Trail 1714

Trail 1714

Trail 1714

Trail 1714

Trail 1714

Trail 1714

August 21, 2008


Guess which land belongs to our “Good Corporate Neighbor”, Plum Creek Timber Company, (those bare, light colored hills used to look like the forest in the foreground),

West from Patrick's Knob

and think of our hypocrisy when we teach our children about the evils of the de-forestation of the tropical rain forests. Then contemplate the things for which we traded those forested mountainsides; officers salaries and corporate profits, perhaps?

(Photographed from within the National Forest high on the west slope of Patrick’s Knob.)

August 20, 2008

Left and right

How many times does it happen that nature sets a stage. On a trail yesterday, to the left, and at my feet she placed this scene of small and pretty and delicate things:

Butterfly and Pearly Everlasting

and to the right of the trail and above, this one of rugged beauty; two small pieces that help make up the whole of the wild country.

The sentinel of Spring Creek

These seem more attractive than brick and mortar, asphalt and concrete, but this kind of stage is disappearing now across much of the west.

(In the upper reaches of the Spring Creek canyon just below Bighole Peak in the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana.)

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