Montana Outdoors

June 17, 2009

Summer storm

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 11:37 pm

During the weather segment of tonight’s local news a graphic from the RADAR map showed an intense storm cell right over our area. Now, who could resist that! I slung my camera over my shoulder, folded a poncho over it, put the rain cover on my wide-brimmed hat and headed out. Two hours of walking through five miles of broken forest land, and this was as close as I came to the storm. (Of course an hour after I returned home and darkness settled in there was a heavy downpour. Figures.)

Distant rain

However, there were a few Brown-eyed Susans blooming in a meadow and one brought along a friend. For me, worth the walk.

Brown-eyed Susan

Brown-eyed Susan

Brown-eyed Susan & crab spider

The trail

Filed under: Flowers, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Reflections, Wildflowers — montucky @ 9:19 am

As I walked on the trail in the early spring, the cold rain remaining on the grasses and brush wet my boots: this evening the afternoon’s warm summer rain on the same grasses and the same brush wet my clothing ten inches above my waist. Ah, the magnificent abundance of summer!

Spring Creek

The stream is dry now through the last mile of its canyon, hiding from the never-quenched thirst of “the civilized”, choosing to go to the relative safety of underground rather than continue its journey to the river and to the sea; a poignant reminder of the fragility of the wild country and a warning to those who would read it that the high country snow pack has now been depleted. The bounty of the forest is not without limits.

Twinflower

The procession of blossoms continues. Someone said that I live in a paradise of wildflowers and that is true, but to a point. I choose to frequent the wild places where they grow, the last few places remaining that have not seen the plow, the woodsman’s axe and the road-building dozers of the timber barons or the earth moving/nature destroying machines of the energy companies and developers. In Montana there are a few such places left: in many of these United States there are none.

Queen's Cup

As the traveler enters the forest on this trail the plant growth is very thick as though the forest seeks to deny entry. The lush growth at the interface of the trail and the road covers the trail like a thick scar over a severe wound. Perhaps the wild country has had a glimpse of the city where “progress” has buried the earth in an eternal tomb of asphalt and where men continually build new edifices of sparkling glass and brick and mortar and large public buildings of polished stone; the ghettos of tomorrow and the ruins of the next millennium.

Lance-leaved Stonecrop

Once under the forest canopy a transformation occurs. A huge weight is lifted from my shoulders and magically dissipates among the needles of the pines and the firs and the leaves of the cedars. Despite the efforts of those who would oppress, there are still a few hours of freedom available in this world for those who will seek it.

Red clover

A mile or so up the canyon the trail has changed. Its tread has become wider and well worn from the hard soled shoes of the ungulates, the soft pads of the large carnivores and omnivores, the tiny feet of the timid ones, and the scaly feet of the fowl. This is the land of a million years ago, the land that is about to be sacrificed to the gods of progress, and power, and greed. The fools that we call “leaders” are causing it to be so.

Mallow ninebark

I try, as I have so many times now, to bring back pictures of what I see in the wild country to show to those who have not been there or who cannot go there but even the best photo presents but a small glimpse of the reality. A camera captures only a small image of a small scene, and an even smaller image of a very large one. There is nothing that can capture the encompassing smell of the roses that grow, not at your feet but overhead as well, the feel of the forest air, the deafening chorus of the birds and the water and the exhilaration of a thunderstorm booming overhead in the high country. No stage, real or virtual, can ever display the experience of being at home on a trail in the natural world, the wild world, the real world.

Cinquefoil

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