Montana Outdoors

June 17, 2011

Almost summer?

Filed under: Outdoors — montucky @ 11:26 pm

With just a few days left before summer the snow is gone from the valleys of western Montana, but some still remains on the mountains. Yesterday despite some rain in the air I tested one of my favorite trails that leads to the old lookout on the top of Big Hole peak. At the trail head the ground was bare but the breeze was quite cold. A mile up the trail and about 700 feet higher in elevation the sky was spitting a little snow along with the light drizzle and the remaining snowbanks started to make hiking difficult. I turned around there, knowing that the snow would only get deeper farther up the trail and it was still a mile and a half to the top. Another week, perhaps…

Clark Fork from trail 368

The Clark Fork Valley through the clouds, photo taken from near the start of the trail.

Trail 368

Winter was a little unkind to trail 368.

Trail 368

At the 6,200 foot level the snowbanks began to block the trail and the weather was closing in.

Wildflower species that finished their bloom over a month ago at the valley level (Glacier Lilies and Spring Beauties) are beginning their springtime bloom now just below the snow line. For the visitor from the valley it is a step back one season, while at TeePee Creek, where the road to the trail head starts its climb out of the valley, Queen’s Cup is beginning to bloom.

Queen's Cup

Queen’s Cup ~ Clintonia uniflora

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