Montana Outdoors

February 2, 2010

Who would think

Filed under: Lichens, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Winter — montucky @ 10:07 pm

that a tropical-appearing scene such as this


would exist in mid-winter on a steep, rock mountainside such as this.

Rocky hillside

Nature is just full of pleasant surprises. (Photos were taken two minutes apart.)



  1. That really is amazing! Nature’s wonders never cease.


    Comment by Candace — February 2, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

  2. Terry! As usual, quite lovely. I’m too tired to expound very much, but your work is always lovely. Is this on the Clark Fork? That flat area on the other side of the river looks like the island on the Clark Fork that you presented a week or two ago. The one with the red underbrush and cotton wood trees.

    On the rockery, this shot, I am certain is true to size . . . but down at the bottom of the rock, just before the bottom, and slightly left of center, it looks like there is a car stuck there! lol Perhaps someone’s toy, or is it just the lay of the land and the light?


    Comment by Iona — February 2, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

    • The photo was taken along the Clark Fork, but east of Plains about five miles toward Paradise. I see what you mentioned, but it isn’t a car. I think there is a pond about there somewhere and the light color might be from snow on the ice.


      Comment by montucky — February 2, 2010 @ 10:50 pm

  3. Love those micro-niches!


    Comment by Bo Mackison — February 2, 2010 @ 11:23 pm

    • I do too, Bo. There are all kinds of little life forms living there in complete obscurity (which may be entirely to their benefit).


      Comment by montucky — February 2, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

  4. Wow. Both photos are great, but the second one is very interesting in my eyes. It is so special, so lovely landscape.


    Comment by sartenada — February 3, 2010 @ 7:02 am

    • There is a lot of that type of landscape in this part of Montana, sartenada. This particular slope is heavily used by Bighorn sheep.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2010 @ 10:02 am

  5. The diversity, often at close quarters, is amazing.


    Comment by knightofswords — February 3, 2010 @ 7:40 am

    • It sure is. There’s always something new to see and wonder about.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2010 @ 10:12 am

  6. Could it be that the rocks hold the heat from the sun?


    Comment by Cedar — February 3, 2010 @ 8:05 am

    • To some extent hey sure do Cedar, although we’ve had hardly any sun lately. The little buttercup is located atop the ridge where it would get all of the sun available and also a few inches from a fairly large rock that would hold heat and reflect it toward the plant.

      Many of the mountains here are so steep that they begin to approach vertical and on the south-facing slopes on a sunny day the temperatures can be quite warm even when the ambient temperatures are very cold. A year ago in January I think it was, on a day when the air temperature measured by a thermometer we have positioned in an area that is continually shaded was 6°, another one that is hung on the south-facing side of an unheated outbuilding in the direct sun read 60°.

      The mule deer especially understand this and will always be found on the steep south-facing slopes in winter.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2010 @ 10:19 am

  7. Love all these photos from the last several days..such beauty that most folks never notice.


    Comment by SuzieQ — February 3, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

    • I’m glad you like them, SuzieQ! There’s always something of beauty no matter what season. I’m just happy for today’s cameras that let us share it!


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

  8. It does look very tropical.Those plants look very happy growing in the rocks. Amazing how hardy plants can be.


    Comment by kateri — February 3, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

    • They seem to be doing quite well don’t they! Although it has been unseasonably warm the last few weeks, earlier in the winter it was twenty below. I wouldn’t think they could survive that and still be green and thriving.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

  9. gosh, i’ve got some catching up to do… i fell out somewhere around those fabulous lichen macros, missed the buttercup day and now… the beautiful tropical scene. it looks like spring is just around the corner. some of your best photographs yet!!!


    Comment by kcjewel — February 3, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

    • Thanks Jewel! We’re getting closer to spring aren’t we! I think we all can use it. Lots of cabin fever going around. Today I got a ways into the higher country and then the sun came out. Nice and warm on one side of the ridges, winter on the other.


      Comment by montucky — February 3, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  10. You sure have it all up there in Montana, Terry. And that seems to go for every season of the year. Really like the colors and lushness in that close up.


    Comment by edvatza — February 4, 2010 @ 9:40 am

    • There’s always something, Ed. I’ve been used to the winter moss thriving in the snow, but I’m still amazed at all of the other little plants that do so also.


      Comment by montucky — February 4, 2010 @ 10:59 am

  11. well I’m glad you have some sort of “tropical escape”!


    Comment by silken — February 4, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

    • I guess it is that. Actually, I do quite well in winter because I go out and hike or wander around every day. The folks who can’t or won’t go out are the ones who really suffer.


      Comment by montucky — February 4, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

  12. One is always surprised to find new things on the micro level. A whole new world…


    Comment by scienceguy288 — February 4, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

    • It is another world, and I’m pretty sure there are more on even smaller levels.


      Comment by montucky — February 4, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

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