Montana Outdoors

June 26, 2011

Clarkia

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , , , , — montucky @ 10:24 pm

In 1806 the Corps of Discovery had to camp in Idaho for nearly a month to wait for the snow to melt in the Bitterroot Mountains before they were able to cross through them into Montana. During that time Meriwether Lewis studied and described many of the plant specimens that he had collected, and his description of Clarkia was among his most detailed, running to nearly 500 words.

Of this plant’s common names of Clarkia, Ragged Robin, Pink Fairy and Deerhorn, I like Clarkia the best. There is a very interesting page on the lewis-clark.org website about this plant, including some of the description written by Lewis.

Clarkia

Clarkia

Clarkia, Pink Fairy, Ragged Robin, Deerhorn ~ Clarkia pulchella

June 25, 2011

Anyone’s guess…

Filed under: Montana — Tags: — montucky @ 8:47 pm

Bee, unknown species

June 23, 2011

On the second day of summer…

Filed under: Cabinet Mountains — Tags: , — montucky @ 11:42 pm

Soon after this morning began a friend and I embarked on an effort to find the TeePee Creek trail, which is an old trail, now abandoned, that goes up from Weeksville Creek toward Big Hole lookout. It would be a long, steep climb if we found it. After at the first half mile there was a creek crossing but with the high runoff from snow melt, crossing just wasn’t possible. Oh well!

For several years now I’ve wanted to see what Big Hole lookout was like in winter and of course it’s not approachable in winter conditions except perhaps in a small window in late fall and another in late spring, and since plan “A” didn’t work out, hiking the usual trail to Big Hole, trail 368, was a welcome plan”B”.

The road to the trail head became drivable about a week ago and I made an attempt then at the trail, turning back after a short distance because of deep snow. (The trail to the lookout covers 2.7 miles and climbs 1,400 feet in that distance.)

Today, as we approached the end of the first mile, we could hear loud claps of thunder coming from the west and very dark clouds began sweeping over us from the south accompanied with light rain. And then we hit the snow level. This is what it looked like to the south:

Big Hole trail 368 on June 23

We were equipped for the rain and the thunder died away (the ridge that the trail follows is definitely not a good place to be in a lightning storm) and so we continued on the next mile and a half of trail walking on four to six feet of densely packed snow until we reached a saddle on the ridge just below the lookout, a very good place from which to photograph it.

Even though the sky was still very dark and there was a little rain falling, I was happy to finally get to see the old lookout in a winter setting.

Big Hole lookout on June 23

Big Hole lookout on June 23

Soon after these photos were taken the storm reached us from the south, bringing with it a couple minutes of heavy sleet followed by more rain, but as we turned to head back down the clouds moved off to the north as quickly as they came, the rain stopped, and suddenly there was clear, sunny sky over head and the scene at the lookout completely changed. I think we saw the best of two worlds.

Big Hole lookout on June 23

Big Hole lookout on June 23

(The lookout photos were taken from the top of a 20 foot deep snow bank just on the edge of the big hole below the lookout.)

June 22, 2011

It’s a good year for lupines!

Filed under: Wildflowers — montucky @ 11:18 pm

Lupine garden

June 20, 2011

Weeksville

Filed under: Cabinet Mountains, Weeksville Creek — Tags: — montucky @ 11:26 pm

Weeksville

This photo was taken last Saturday facing west across the Weeksville Creek canyon in the Cabinet Mountains. The snowy ridge at the skyline is the east slope of Big Hole mountain and the beginning of KooKooSint Ridge. Country like this is a vital part of our western watershed and is home to a large number of wildlife species, such as black bear, elk, moose, big horn sheep, mule deer, whitetail deer, cougar, wild turkey, coyote, fox, bobcat and grouse, as well as all kinds of smaller animals, birds, insects and reptiles and a large diversity of plant life. I am very thankful that it’s still here and grateful that I am able to venture out into the middle of it.

June 19, 2011

Wildflowers of spring (13)

Orange Honeysuckle

Orange Honeysuckle ~ Lonicera ciliosa 6/13

False Solomon's Seal

False Solomon’s Seal ~ Smilacina racemosa 6/13

Sulphur Penstemon, Taper-leaved Penstemon

Sulphur Penstemon, Taper-leaved Penstemon ~ Penstemon attenuatus 6/13

Thimbleberry

Thimbleberry ~ Rubus parviflorus 6/13

Unidentified species

Sicklepod Rockcress ~ Arabis sparsiflora    6/13

Subalpine Mariposa Lily, Mountain Mariposa

Subalpine Mariposa Lily, Mountain Mariposa ~ Calochortus subalpinus 6/13

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