Montana Outdoors

August 20, 2010

Cube Iron (2)

About a mile and a half up trail 460, the trail touches Four Lakes Creek, not far from its source in the Four Lakes Basin. At this point the stream is still quite small and flows down through a narrow little stream bed that is just crammed with vegetation,

Four Lakes Creek

including a wildflower that I encountered here for the very first time. It is growing right in the creek or on the very edge of it in stands of several dozen plants up to two feet tall.

Pink Monkeyflower, (Mimulus lewisii)Pink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisii

USFS Trail 460USFS Trail 460

This section of trail has just been completely reworked by the Forest Service trail crews.

USFS Trail 460USFS trail 460

False Hellebore dominates this particular area right beside the trail.

False Hellebore (Veratrum viride)False Hellebore, Veratrum viride

Its blossoms seem to be completely green in color!

False Hellebore (Veratrum viride)False Hellebore, Veratrum viride

Somewhere between two and three miles from the trail head (I don’t agree with the Forest Service on their assessment of this distance) Cube Iron Mountain appears in the distance about 800 feet higher up.

Cube Iron MountainCube Iron Mountain

The trail does begin to climb straight toward the peak (it can be barely seen in the foreground, center) then turns left, climbs to Cube Iron Pass and then follows the ridge the rest of the way to the top. I will post a series of photos taken from various stages of that trail as I continue the ascent.

Cube Iron MountainCube Iron Mountain


  1. Sure looks green up there. I haven’t heard of many fires this season, so that is a good thing.

    I looked up monkey flower in my southwest guide, and found two more-scarlet and common which, is yellow. It is still hard for me to believe there are so many wildflowers in August. It is like our spring.


    Comment by sandy — August 21, 2010 @ 5:29 am

    • We have yellow monkeyflowers too and another, smaller pink one. The wildflowers here are still blooming at the higher elevations where it is cooler and wetter. This roadless area is located where it gets much more rain than the surrounding region and it also is fairly densely wooded so the shade cools things off and also helps sustain the water supply. There are numerous streams headwatered there are they are all running a good amount even this time of year.

      I’m amazed at the lack of fires this year because the valleys are just bone dry. We responded to a small one yesterday, but there have been very few this year. In a more usual summer we have one or two a week.


      Comment by montucky — August 21, 2010 @ 7:52 am

  2. What delicate looking, pretty, purple flowers!


    Comment by scienceguy288 — August 21, 2010 @ 8:33 am

  3. Wow, I would love to go to this place. It is so beautiful it almost seems enchanted.


    Comment by kateri — August 21, 2010 @ 10:06 am

    • It is really a splendid area. I can’t believe it took me so long to begin exploring there. Some of the trail heads are within 40 miles of my house.


      Comment by montucky — August 21, 2010 @ 9:39 pm

  4. Beautiful!


    Comment by Amber — August 21, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

    • Thanks, Amber. I’m looking forward to visiting a place near this one tomorrow and Monday.


      Comment by montucky — August 21, 2010 @ 9:43 pm

  5. Wow! What a rugged hike this would be in this beautiful and breathtaking countryside. I really like the photo of the False Hellebore.


    Comment by Anna — August 21, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

    • I wish you and Preston could visit here, Anna. You would return home with hundreds of photos.


      Comment by montucky — August 21, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

  6. Wow – what a gorgeous place! Love that purple flower – it looks like a type that a hummingbird would love!!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — August 21, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

    • I didn’t see any hummers, but I think you’re right, they would love it. There are also many blossoms on a clump of there and the blossoms are fairly large, a good inch across.


      Comment by montucky — August 21, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

  7. Gorgeous. Funny, a plant with green blooms.


    Comment by Candace — August 21, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

    • I had to look at it closely before I realized they were green. It’s quite an interesting plant.


      Comment by montucky — August 21, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

  8. What an outstanding setting. I could go back to a place like this many times and never get tired of it.



    Comment by knightofswords — August 21, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

    • I know you’d love it, Malcolm. I wish you lived closer: I would enjoy hiking some of these trails with you.


      Comment by montucky — August 21, 2010 @ 9:48 pm

  9. I ran out of breath just following the path of your photos. Love the wildflower in the stream, seems exotic.


    Comment by Preston — August 22, 2010 @ 6:06 am

    • I run out of breath very often on those trails, Preston, and that’s OK. Stopping to catch your breath also gives you a chance to see and appreciate where you are. I would hike slowly with plenty of stops even if I wasn’t an old gaffer!


      Comment by montucky — August 22, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  10. The pink monkey flower is outstanding, great work !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — August 23, 2010 @ 6:50 pm

    • Thanks Bernie! When I saw those I couldn’t believe it. The plants are huge for wildflowers and I had never seen them before. Yesterday I also saw another one I had heard about but never seen. I guess I just don’t get around enough!


      Comment by montucky — August 24, 2010 @ 8:22 am

  11. My, these are such deep and luscious views! I just love the first photo of the creek and the last photo of Cube Iron Mountain.


    Comment by Anna — August 24, 2010 @ 8:54 am

    • That’s why I have fallen in love with that whole area, Anna. It’s all simply beautiful!


      Comment by montucky — August 24, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

  12. Some landscape photos are very similar than we have here when passing in the wilderness.

    Especially I love the photo from Pink Monkeyflower?


    Comment by sartenada — August 26, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

    • The flower was one I had never seen before and I was fascinated with it and where it grows, right in the small stream as though it had been planted there for decoration.


      Comment by montucky — August 26, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

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