Montana Outdoors

December 8, 2011

Buttercup Ridge

Filed under: Winter — Tags: — montucky @ 11:51 pm

Buttercup ridge

Every winter in the first few days of February I pay a visit to this small, tall and sharp little ridge that’s not easy to approach but not very far off the beaten path, to see the first wildflowers of the new year start to bloom, Sagebrush Buttercups. Why they bloom so early there I don’t know, but they are sleeping now beneath a soft blanket of snow.

(The tall ridge to the right is in the Patrick’s Knob roadless area: the one in the distance is in the Reservation Divide roadless area: in between flows the Clark Fork if the Columbia. The tracks in the snow were made by coyotes and Big Horn sheep.)

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59 Comments »

  1. i’ve missed you *<=o)

    Like

    Comment by Sandy — December 9, 2011 @ 12:05 am

    • Hi Sandy! Just haven’t been getting out as much for a variety of reasons, but I’m looking forward to a lot of snow yet to come and a beautiful winter!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:01 am

  2. Wow, so wild looking. Your photo has “special” colors, gorgeous bluish. That is interesting that wildflowers start to bloom first.

    Thank You presenting this beautiful and interesting place.

    Like

    Comment by sartenada — December 9, 2011 @ 12:31 am

    • The low sun angles we get here in winter create some interesting colors on the mountains and some challenges for photography, but I keep trying!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:03 am

  3. It looks amazing. I can almost feel the cold!

    Like

    Comment by Jo Woolf — December 9, 2011 @ 1:06 am

    • Those mountains are cold places to be now. Earlier that day I hiked for a ways in the shady side of the mountains where the sun hasn’t touched for a month. It looked and felt very cold there!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:05 am

  4. The idea of buttercups asleep under a layer of snow makes me smile as well as the idea you know that place so well. There is a lot to be said for knowing a place so well (and loving that place as well). Glad you are back!

    Like

    Comment by Maureen — December 9, 2011 @ 4:59 am

    • Yes, there is a lot to be said about knowing a place well. Among the attraction for me to this particular place is that in a little saddle near the end of the ridge a large Douglas Fir tree grows right out of the rock and under its branches the ground is completely covered with the dropping of Big Horn sheep. I often sit in the shade of that tree as they do and admire the view over the river.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:08 am

  5. Everytime I see these photos of yours I am amazed at the beauty that surrounds you! Stunning!

    Like

    Comment by Roberta — December 9, 2011 @ 7:11 am

    • This certainly is a beautiful part of the world. I’m fortunate to be here where there is still wild country that remains in its natural state. I fervently hope that it will remain so for future generations! In those mountains it is possible to feel a part of this wonderful world.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:14 am

  6. Wonderful composition of the ridge and the far range, along with your words.

    Like

    Comment by C.C. — December 9, 2011 @ 8:26 am

  7. So spell-binding, this picture looks like a painting. I love it! And I love the thought of the Sagebrush Buttercups sleeping so peacefully under the snow, waiting for that first bursting forth of spring.

    Like

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — December 9, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    • When I hike I always carry a pack, and my camera is attached to the left pack strap so that when scenes appear I can fairly easily capture them. It’s satisfying and comforting to me to understand at least a little about what is taking place in nature. It is amazingly consistant when the world of the headlines is so chaotic.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:20 am

  8. Spectacular photo! I will have to check out the area sometime. I’ve been hearing good things lately about Burke Canyon between Blossom Lake and Wallace, so I believe a Montana trip is in order :).

    Like

    Comment by columbiahighlands — December 9, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    • I want to explore that area a bit more when I have the chance too. There is some really nice wild country around Blossom Lake and I’ve only touched on exploring it. Next summer I plan to get in some trips into the Cabinet Wilderness also.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:22 am

  9. The first words that came to mind when I looked at the photo were seasonal: “silent night, holy night”. When I read your words about the buttercups sleeping under the snow, they seemed just right. There’s a vacant lot near me where the wild amaryllis appear first, sometimes weeks before the others. Perhaps some of the “micro-climates” are smaller than we imagine!

    Like

    Comment by shoreacres — December 9, 2011 @ 9:48 am

    • Nature has many secrets hidden in those micro-climates, I think. One of the advantages of living in such close proximity to such areas is getting to know them well. About 20 miles aways from this place there is a small area of just several hundred feet (fortunately along a trail) where there is the most beautiful bloom of trilliums every spring; a micro-climate that for some reason is perfect for trilliums.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:27 am

  10. I can see why you would want to go back each time..Simply beautiful!

    Like

    Comment by Roberta — December 9, 2011 @ 10:59 am

    • It’s a simple place and not remote, yet no one else ever goes there. I’m glad there are still places like that!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:28 am

  11. I Love the idea of buttercups sleeping under the snow, waiting for spring. Buttercups hold a special place in my heart from childhood…. The light lying across the small streak of snow lying across the rock on the right is so beautiful, just exquisite, as is the light on the rocks in the middle. It actually is bringing tears to my eyes. Such beauty. Stunning. It has the look of a perfectly rendered painting. Oh, to be standing there, in that very spot. It would be as close to heaven as I could wish for in this realm.

    Like

    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — December 9, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    • This is a strange little place, yet one to which I return many times a year. When it’s not possible to venture into those roadless areas across the river, they can be seen from there and I’m comforted that the Big Horns seem to do the same.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:37 am

  12. I wanted to mention, the “snow” falling gently across the screen is magical, especially with this shot.

    Like

    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — December 9, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    • That snow is courtesy of WordPress this time of year. I think it adds something to winter scenes!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:38 am

  13. splendid lighting!

    Like

    Comment by Anonymous — December 9, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

    • Thanks! The light wasn’t especially friendly that day, but I liked what it created in this scene. It’s so hard to catch just right!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:41 am

  14. I would like this view even without the buttercups.

    Malcolm

    Like

    Comment by knightofswords — December 9, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

    • You would love this little place, Malcolm. You could sit for hours under a big Douglas Fir there and read or write as you wish completely undisturbed.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:43 am

  15. That is just what a person needs to get through a long winter.
    I have seen wild pansies in February, but that is about all.

    Like

    Comment by sandy — December 9, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    • Several years ago I was astounded to see flower buds there in what is usually the middle of winter. I have returned every year since to see them and I still wonder how they are able to do that.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:46 am

  16. Gorgeous! Not too much snow — yet!

    Like

    Comment by Barbara — December 9, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

    • I’ve been there where there was much more snow. There will be much more to come before spring, at least I hope so!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:47 am

  17. Beautiful, how the foreground curves are almost exactly like the background curves.

    Like

    Comment by TheDailyClick — December 9, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

    • I found that interesting too. Perhaps that is what attracted me to that particular shot.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:49 am

  18. I love all your photographs. I appreciate that you are willing to share the results of the effort you put into capturing the wide, wild world of Montana!

    Like

    Comment by Margie — December 9, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

    • Thank you, Margie! I think it would be wonderful if everyone could see this wild world as I do, but I know that so many times the photographs will have to do. One of the things I like best is that nearly all of my photos are taken in or of one of our National Forests. These scenes belong to all of us in America!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:52 am

  19. Very beautiful, as usual! I agree that it looks like a painting.

    Like

    Comment by jomegat — December 9, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

    • Thanks! Were I a painter, I would likely paint a scene from there, but the I would be spending all of my time out there instead of just most of it.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:55 am

  20. You have a very scenic neighborhood 🙂 Look forward to seeing pictures of the early spring flowers!

    Like

    Comment by Watching Seasons — December 9, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

    • By the time the wildflowers start to bloom I will be more than ready to be out there photographing them!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:56 am

  21. Hi Montucky, Great picture. The scenery is gorgeous. I like seeing Coyotes and Big Horn Sheep but have not seen many (the sheep I saw were in the Southern California desert mountains and I have seen Coyotes in Calif. in many places but none here in TN (I have however, heard them at night). Have a fantastic weekend!

    Like

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — December 9, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

    • I actually see few coyotes although they are abundant here. Lots of Big Horns though. Just a few weeks ago I stopped to chase a big ram off the highway before he got into trouble and at one point I was only a few feet from him. What a thrill that was!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 12:59 am

  22. I love this photo with the layers of clouds and the taller mountains in the background. Looking forward as well to your photos of the first buttercups next spring.

    Like

    Comment by kateri — December 10, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

    • I’m already looking forward to the wildflowers too, but still expecting some great winter weather before long. If we don’t get a lot of snow here this year, I’m only a hundred miles from Glacier and I’ll make a trip there for it.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 10, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

  23. What a beautiful spot! I suspect the area that yields wildflowers in February is south facing? What is the elevation of the ridge?

    Like

    Comment by WildBill — December 11, 2011 @ 6:13 am

    • Yes, it is on the north side of the valley kind of nestled between several ridges. The river is at 2,400 feet, this ridge is a couple hundred feet higher. THe tall ridge to the south is about 7,000.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 11, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

  24. I can nearly feel the “spirit” there.

    Like

    Comment by kcjewel — December 11, 2011 @ 8:22 am

    • Yes, it does have a special feel to it. Each time I visit I think about the Big Horns that spend time there: it’s almost a bond.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 11, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

  25. Absolutely gorgeous in its winter starkness. Love it!

    Like

    Comment by Marcie — December 11, 2011 @ 10:39 am

    • There is a little snow on the near ridge but it’s serious winter on the far ones. It will be winter there until June.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 11, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

  26. That’s a beautiful shot, the way the sunlight is hitting just that one small area. And so crisp. Awesome.

    Like

    Comment by Candace — December 11, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

    • Thanks Candace! That would be a good shot for your 50mm: this photo was at 40mm.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 11, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

  27. I like the diagonal “flow” of the photograph. Curiously, with WordPress’s snow turned on, I have the impression that snow is falling on the scene as I look at it.

    Steve Schwartzman
    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com

    Like

    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — December 14, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    • There has been a little more snow on the ridge since the photo, but hopefully there will be much more soon.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 14, 2011 @ 11:38 pm

  28. Do you have email Montucky?

    Like

    Comment by Ron Mangels — December 15, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

  29. Lovely light hitting the top of the ridge… gorgeous composition!

    Like

    Comment by Victoria — December 28, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

    • It’s an interesting spot, Tory. I look forward to hiking up there when we get a real snowfall!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — December 29, 2011 @ 12:25 am


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