Montana Outdoors

April 11, 2009

Munson Creek, April 9

It was a surprise last week to find that it’s already possible to hike most of the Munson Creek trail, although there are still some stretches that are still covered with snow as this stretch is.

Snow on the Munson Creek trail

Tracks and scat show that the trail is quite actively used already by deer, elk, moose and at least one wolf that left this track (for size reference, the distance from the rear sight on the pistol to the tip of the barrel is six inches).

Wolf track

In another week the Trilliums should be in bloom, but for now, color is still provided by the moss along the stream.

Munson Creek

Munson Creek


  1. montucky – more photos of beautiful Munson Creek! I hope that someday we can visit this place. Interesting measuring instruments for the wolf tracks (but I guess you don’t usually wander around the woods with a tape measure)! 🙂


    Comment by Maureen — April 11, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

    • If you ever get by this way I’d be happy to show you Munson! It’s a bit of work, but well worth it, at least to me!

      Actually, in the summer I often do carry a small tape for measuring flowers. Otherwise, whatever works, and I started showing size reference with a pistol long ago in northern Arizona with bear tracks. The first time, I lay my pistol beside a bear track and as I did I noticed an ancient Indian ornament, probably a nose pendant, laying right next to it.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  2. Big wolf! I’d be just a little bit scared of it I think.


    Comment by Tabbie — April 11, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

    • Wolves are not a threat at all to people, Tabbie. They’re also so shy that it’s a rare privilege just to see one.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

  3. Wonderful shots. Do you carry for protection against bears?


    Comment by Jeff Lynch — April 11, 2009 @ 8:27 pm

    • Thanks, Jeff. Not so much bears, although I did have an altercation with one years ago and I’m sure then the .357 saved us both a big problem, but there have been several problems with cougars in this part of the country during the last few years.

      Thanks for visiting!


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

  4. I am glad I don’t have to lug one of those … I have to worry more about the creepy crawlers and sneaky things out here …just photographed creek too, will post next…


    Comment by Robert Burcul — April 11, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

    • I’ll look forward to your post, Robert! I’m so used to the pistol that I don’t notice it any more. I do like knowing that whatever might happen I can be in control.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2009 @ 10:23 pm

  5. The photos of the stream are absolutely wonderful. I’d love to have the opportunity to made photos like that!


    Comment by edvatza — April 12, 2009 @ 3:33 am

    • Thanks Ed. I wish you could spend some time there because I know you would have a great time. It’s one of my favorite places during the very hot days of late summer because I can hike for miles there in deep shade and the trail stays fairly close to the creek for about the first four miles.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2009 @ 7:49 am

  6. Great “catch” on the moving water. i think the handgun is a good idea with the cougar population. We have progressed from “coy-dogs” to coyotes and now the coyotes look so large that i truly believe we have no need to “re-introduce” the wolf in the Adirondacks,… i’m fairly certain it is here already. Haven’t found a track that large yet, though!


    Comment by Cedar — April 12, 2009 @ 5:56 am

    • Yes Cedar, I think cougars are probably the most probably threat to humans in the zone between lightly populated areas (ranches, outlying homes etc.) and the very wild country: that seems to be where some problems occur. Grizzlies can be a more serious danger, but they are seldom encountered. I don’t believe coyotes or wolves pose any kind of danger at all, no more than foxes. Wolf tracks by the way are usually about 4″ X 5″: this one is a little larger, but I think he spread his toes to better stay on top of the snow.

      There is so much myth and misunderstanding about wolves in this area that it’s incredible. I had a person who lives quite near me tell me the other day that the wolves have killed most of the deer population in this area. Well, I hiked one day through the forest starting within a mile of his house in a 5 mile loop and counted over 200 white-tails. Actually, it would be very good to have some wolf activity there because that is far too many deer for that area to sustain over the long term.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2009 @ 8:07 am

  7. if all of these places are close by, you are a lucky soul! these photos are beautiful and i’m coveting the moss. i will be looking forward to trillium pictures. i’ve only seen one in the wild and luckily i did have my camera. do you have morels in montana. that is what we look forward to this time of year!!! yummmmm


    Comment by kcjewel — April 12, 2009 @ 6:36 am

    • Lucky is correct, kcjewel. The trail head for this place is only a six mile drive for me. I will probably post more trillium pictures than anyone wants to see, but I really like them and tend to get carried away. We have both whites and reds and they will start to bloom in the next week or two and will last into early May in the lower elevations, longer higher in the mountains.

      We do have Morels; lots! Two years ago we had some major forest fires and last year the Morels were think on those burns and should be again this year. They attract commercial pickers form all over the northwest and that is a real problem because many of them do not observe the rules and do quite a bit of damage to what is a very fragile ecology. I’ll start looking for Morels in a couple more weeks. We also have giant puffballs which I find delicious also. One year I found one that weighed 16 pounds and was the size of a basketball: that’s a lot of mushroom!


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2009 @ 8:18 am

  8. A lovely hike – I especially like the wolf pawprint. It would be great to actually see a wolf someday, but not bloody likely in California 🙂


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — April 12, 2009 @ 10:09 am

    • I’d like to see some too. Despite all of the hype, publicity and emotion that goes on around here about them and the fact that I’m out in the back country a lot, I haven’t seen one in many years.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2009 @ 10:20 am

  9. I learned a lot about wolves, coyotes, and cougars from reading all the comments in reaction to your photos. Beautiful photography! Mitch


    Comment by mrgrosky — April 12, 2009 @ 12:12 pm

    • It’s interesting how much information will come out in the comments. I thoroughly enjoy that and invariably learn a lot myself. Thanks for visiting, Mitch!


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

  10. I love the creek pictures. Do you think that perhaps slight melting caused the wolf track to enlarge somewhat? It would be so fortunate to see such a beautiful creature in the wild. I support several wildlife groups in favor of educating people about wolves and the lives they lead. People need to be educated more about wildlife in general.


    Comment by SuzieQ — April 12, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

    • I definitely do think the tracks spread some due to melting, although maybe not too much. These were very clear prints, but there were many others around and some in areas that saw little melting looked like they were pretty close in size to these.

      You are right about the need for more education about wildlife. This is a biologically diverse world and while it seems that people are understanding more about the functions that plants serve in the scheme of things, it’s important to know how the animal world fits into the whole picture as well.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

  11. Wow! Not only do I just love these photos, I enjoyed reading your reply comments, Montucky. It is wonderful to learn about your neck of the woods. Soooo natural, and I can see why you want to keep it that way.

    Very interesting photo with the track, pistol and hat. Good photo and wowzers for the wolf track. I love wolves and coyotes, and greatly respect them. There has been claims of cougars in our area…some scoff. I’ve yet to see a cougar here. We don’t carry a pistol when out in the wilds but sometimes I think we should mainly because of rabid animals.

    That last photo of the stream waterfall is gorgeous! Montucky, you are so blessed!


    Comment by Anna Surface — April 12, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the dialog too, Anna. There are still wild areas around but we will have to protect as much as we can or it will all be gone.

      I love the coyotes and wolves too, as well as the rest of the wild critters that fill out the forest ecology. I believe they all have their own unique proposes for being there. You make a good point about the possibility of rabid animals: I know that does occur although the odds are very high against running into one. That has also been on the back of my mind.

      Yes, I know I’m blessed to be able to live here. I do intend to spend how many years I may have left enjoying the wild country and doing whatever I can to bring attention to it and urge folks to protect it.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

  12. cool wolf track!


    Comment by silken — April 14, 2009 @ 8:44 am

    • Yes, I love to see them. There was quite a bit of scat along the trail as well. I keep hoping to be quiet enough to be able to see some wolves. I’ve gotten fairly to coyotes many times, so I keep hoping! I was a day or two behind this one though.


      Comment by montucky — April 14, 2009 @ 10:27 am

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