Montana Outdoors

April 20, 2011

A little red leaf

Filed under: Inspiration — montucky @ 9:45 pm

This is characteristically the time for the trilliums to be in full bloom along the Munson Creek trail in the TeePee/Spring Creek roadless area here in western Montana. The trail is a beautiful one that climbs steeply up the side of a wild canyon full of rushing water and thick undergrowth, then levels out for awhile to become the quiet companion of a musical little stream that bubbles along in the deep shade of tall cedars before it resumes it’s steep climb to Big Hole Peak.

There is always a small bloom not far from the trail head, but a much larger one a thousand feet higher, two miles up the trail. Today the ones down low were in full bloom, but the ones up higher were still a week or two away from their peak.

Since the bloom up high was just beginning, I took some rather strange and (hopefully) interesting photos of the trillium buds that I will post a little later. Today however I was captivated by this single small twig of an Oregon Grape. Isn’t it interesting how such a simple little thing can sometimes steal the whole show!

Oregon Grape leaf

A couple of the tiny ones

I would naively suppose that in unstable weather that includes nights with temperatures in the low twenties and late season snow, one would expect only the larger, more robust-appearing plants to thrive. These tiny ones however, seem to be doing just fine. (The blossom in the first photo measures just 1/8 inch across, and the second only 3/16 inch, and each sits on a stem less than two inches tall.)

Spring Whitlow-grass, (Draba verna)Spring Whitlow-grass, Draba verna

Maiden Blue Eyed Mary, (Collinsia parviflora)Maiden Blue Eyed Mary, Collinsia parviflora

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