Montana Outdoors

January 25, 2011

Missing the high country

This time of year when snow and ice close the forest access roads into the mountains I severely miss hiking on the high country trails. It is a good time to visit some memories of the past fall.

These photos were taken in September of 2010 about two miles south of the Eddy Peak lookout along trail 1130 toward Cherry Peak in the Cherry Peak roadless area of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains.

From trail 1130 south of Eddy Peak

From trail 1130 south of Eddy Peak



  1. Great Photos I can almost smell the high country and alpine forests when I look at them!


    Comment by Jim — January 25, 2011 @ 6:17 am

    • These photos were taken from the high ridge of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains just south of the Clark Fork River valley. The mountains in the distance are in the Cabinet range on the other side of the Clark Fork.


      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

  2. Gosh the air looks so clean.


    Comment by Roberta Warshaw — January 25, 2011 @ 7:39 am

    • The air in those high places is very clean. There are no large cities anywhere close and nothing around causing any pollution.


      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

  3. so pretty, I can see why you miss it


    Comment by silken — January 25, 2011 @ 7:42 am

    • Yes, I am most happy and at peace when up in those high, remote places.


      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

  4. That day was definitely a beautiful day to take these pics… the sky is sooo blue! Wonderful! =)


    Comment by Tricia — January 25, 2011 @ 10:54 am

    • It was a beautiful day up high. For most of the day the valley below was cloud-covered with a little drizzle. THese photos were taken from above the clouds.


      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

  5. Wonderful photos! The top one looks like a painting!


    Comment by Barbara — January 25, 2011 @ 11:01 am

    • I could understand a painter spending some time in places like that, but only once last summer did I see one, and he had set up along the road to the trail head, not in the high country into which the trail led.


      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

  6. Hi Montucky, Both photographs are excellent! I especially like the second one as it has that great layer of clouds in the background with the trees in front. I like how that photo is a bit mysterious and beautiful. Have a super good day! Enjoy your winter scenery.


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — January 25, 2011 @ 11:42 am

    • I love that look at the clouds too. They are not much higher than the mountain top.


      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

  7. It’s hard to sit patiently and wait for the spring thaw.


    Comment by knightofswords — January 25, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    • The weather we have been having lately has been like a set of hand cuffs. The roads into the mountains are too icy for driving but there is little snow in the valley. If we get a clear day or two, I’ll have to put on my YakTrax and hike a couple miles to one of the trail heads where I can maybe use snow shoes. It’s so much easier in the spring!


      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

  8. Amazing sceneries!


    Comment by Staffan H — January 25, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

    • This is some of the wild country in the northwestern par of the U.S. about a hundred miles south of Canada. The photos were taken several miles from the nearest forest road.


      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

  9. Only a couple more months, and you will be headed out again. Thank goodness you have both memories and photos.


    Comment by sandy — January 25, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    • Yes, I’m thankful for both. I do look at the photos from past hikes many times. Some are in slide shows containing a hundred or so photos from a particular hike, and when I watch the snow it’s very much like taking the hike all over again.


      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  10. Gorgeous….. how long do you have to wait before you can hike up there again? Hope it’s not too much longer for you…


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — January 25, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

    • That place won’t be accessible again until June or early July. There are other places though that are easier to get to by April.


      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

  11. Such a gorgeous landscape. I’d almost forgotten how beautiful and lush it can be..without the winter ice and snow!


    Comment by Marcie — January 26, 2011 @ 7:17 am

    • I know what you mean. Up where these pictures were taken, it would be mostly one color right now.


      Comment by montucky — January 26, 2011 @ 11:06 am

  12. How lovely to see that green! I can almost smell those pines. Breathtaking countryside!


    Comment by Anna — January 26, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

    • I can almost smell them too, Anna. Spring will come!


      Comment by montucky — January 26, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

  13. It must be fun the first time you get up there after the winter. It probably really strikes you again how breathtakingly beautiful it is.


    Comment by Candace — January 26, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

    • It does every time I get up there, Candace. It’s never quite the same each time. Spring is special too because there will be big snow banks on the lee sides of the ridges and the wildflowers will be starting to bloom.


      Comment by montucky — January 26, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

  14. Fantastic views. You are lucky when You can hike in these surroundings. I hope that roads are opened soon. Got any idea, when?


    Comment by sartenada — January 27, 2011 @ 11:31 pm

    • The snow at the higher elevations on the forest roads will begin to melt toward the end of April. Some will allow access then, and others not until late in May. There are a few trail heads that can be accessed in April and the trails can be used with snow shoes.


      Comment by montucky — January 28, 2011 @ 12:41 am

  15. It must totally clear your head when you’re up there looking out over so much beauty. I’m so glad the days are getting longer. Beautiful photos, as always, montucky!


    Comment by farmhouse stories — January 30, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

    • It does. In places like that there are no thoughts of anything else. I wish all those who are perpetually under stress could spend a few hours there upon occasion!


      Comment by montucky — January 30, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

  16. Lovely photos… I’ve been reading (almost finished) “The Big Burn” by Timothy Egan about the huge forest fire that raged through the mountains in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and into Canada (maybe parts of Washington state too) in 1910. I don’t know if you’ve read the book… but I’ve been wondering lately when I look at your photos and read your notes about hiking in the high country if it is still possible 100 years later to see the effects this fire had.


    Comment by Victoria — February 6, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

    • Yes one can see traces of the fire in many places. These photos were taken in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains and the fire roared right through them.

      I grew up in Missoula during the 40’s and 50’s. Time after time, when we were traveling through this part of the state going hunting or fishing mostly, my Dad would show me areas of the burn, clearly visible at that time and explain about it. Even now, organizations like the Sierra Club will organize hikes into an area still called The Big Burn in the Bitterroot Mountains about 50 miles south of where I live.

      In June of 1910 the Forest Service (USDA) reprinted a small book called “When The Mountains Roared” which is a collection of the memories of the burn by folks who were there and involved including many from the Forest Service. It was originally published I believe in ’42, then republished in the 60’s and again in the 80’s. Copies are available from the ranger stations in this area for free. If you are interested, you might check with the nearest ranger station in your area. I have found the stories fascinating, especially since I fought forest fires with the Forest Service during the summer of 1960, and even now as a member of our local Rural Fire Department respond to wildland fires many times each summer.

      If you are interested but can’t find a copy, email me your address and I will send you one from here.


      Comment by montucky — February 6, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

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