The next few posts will be about a walk on August 3, 2012 on a trail to Little Thompson Peak in the McGregor – Thompson Roadless Area in western Montana. It is one of two 7,000 foot peaks in that area and is located just about in the middle of an area burned by the Chippy Creek Fire of 2007. That fire began in a valley to the northwest of the peaks on August 3, 2007 and during the following twenty-some days burned an area of the Lolo National Forest fifteen miles long and ten miles wide.
This is a photo of the 20,000 foot high smoke plume over the peaks taken on August 4, 2007 from Baldy Mountain about ten miles away to the south as the fire exploded up the northwest slopes of Cook Mountain and behind the Thompson peaks. Little Thompson peak is the one about in the center of the photo.
A forest is always a place of contrasts and one that has recently gone through a major fire is even more so. I will start this series simply with what seems to me to be one of the greatest contrasts of the trip: the morning sun on the drab silver and black fire-killed trees as the trail nears the peak…
and this little frost-covered plant growing just beside the trail, making its own contribution to Nature’s restoration of the forest.