Montana Outdoors

April 11, 2013

Despite the weather

Although the weather has been rather cool, wet and with snow forecast again for this weekend, the wildflowers are managing to bloom pretty much on schedule. At the bottom end of Munson Creek near the footbridge a few Trilliums are blooming today. A little further up the trail some Glacier Lilies have emerged.

Western White Trillium

Western White Trillium, Trillium Ovatum

Glacier Lily

Glacier Lily, Erythronium grandiflorum

Western White Trillium

Another mile up the trail and no flowers have appeared yet, but the lichen are doing well after a cold winter in the canyon.

Frosted Rocktripe

Frosted Rocktripe, Umbilicaria vellea



  1. “The lichen are doing well after a cold winter in the canyon.” I love that phrase, and these flowers are stunning. Wonderful photos.


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — April 11, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

    • Aren’t they something? Completely natural and un-touched, they bloom so beautifully every year. These are in the TeePee/Spring Creek Roadless area: I hope we never disturb that natural balance!


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

  2. The lily is so delicate. We get trilliums here too. Trilliums of them. 😉 That rocktripe is interesting!! It’s like modern art.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — April 11, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

    • As summer goes along it will be interesting to compare the flower species that you have and the ones here. I’m sure we share many of them, but your coastal location probably will include more (and different) species.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

      • Yes, that will be interesting, for sure.


        Comment by wordsfromanneli — April 11, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

        • My favorite book on plants actually comes from British Columbia, but it’s coverage is quite accurate for northern Montana as well. I think it is used as a text at the U of Montana.


          Comment by montucky — April 11, 2013 @ 10:15 pm

          • Title? Author(s)? Maybe I have it.


            Comment by wordsfromanneli — April 11, 2013 @ 11:39 pm

            • The title is “Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest”, edited by Roberta Parish, Ray coupe and Dennis LLoyd. First published in 1996 by the B.C. Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing. I really love the book!


              Comment by montucky — April 12, 2013 @ 12:15 am

  3. They manage to survive in spite of conditions, it appears.


    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — April 11, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

    • They sure do. The roadless area provides good insight into what has naturally lived there and fortunately in this area nothing much has ever changed since the days of Lake Missoula.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

  4. The triumph of life!


    Comment by Mary Strong-Spaid — April 11, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

    • It is indeed. Fortunately, the flowers in this area (and most other roadless areas) have had to contend only with the natural events of the land and the weather. We humans have disturbed them very little. The trail that I follow through there is an old pack trail leading to a fire lookout. The actual tread of the trail is only a foot to a foot and a half wide so it is not very intrusive.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2013 @ 9:49 pm

  5. I need to get out and check for trilliums. The trout lilies should be blooming soon too.


    Comment by jomegat — April 11, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

    • They have just started here, but seem to be right on their normal schedule. These are at about 2400 feet. In a week I’ll see how they are doing up higher. The large bloom there is at around 3700 feet so there could be a little snow left in the canyon.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

  6. Trilliums seem to be so gorgeous. Glacier Lily sounds exotic in my ears, very beautiful. What comes to Frosted Rocktripe, I would say that I have seen it in Finland somewhere. I am happy when seeing Yours photos of these gorgeous flowers.


    Comment by Sartenada — April 11, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

    • I’m glad that you enjoy the flowers, Matti. I will be posting many more this summer as I encounter them on my hikes, and this year I plan to include a little more information about the terrain and the ecology of the places I visit.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2013 @ 12:12 am

  7. The glacier lily reminds me of our trout lily (Erythronium americanum,) We won’t be seeing those or trilliums for a while yet. The red wake robin will be the first trillium to appear here. I love the frosted rock tripe! I’ve been looking for it but haven’t seen any here.


    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — April 12, 2013 @ 4:15 am

    • Both the trillium and the lily are just starting to bloom right now. They may be put on hold for a few days with some cold weather and snow coming up.

      That lichen is fairly common here. I find it mostly in the shade of deep canyons growing on very large rocks/cliffs, often alongside moss. I suspect that it likes a lot of moisture.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

  8. Superb photos of these hidden mountain gems. I always love your photos!


    Comment by Jo Woolf — April 12, 2013 @ 4:31 am

    • Thanks Jo! I do wonder sometimes if lots of people see these flowers or whether they are somewhat hidden. The lily is probably more familiar because it will grow in more conspicuous places than the trillium which does seem to hide because it likes to be near small streams, often in brushy canyons where the mist from the stream will reach them, or at least the increased humidity will.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

  9. Very pretty, esp the glacier lily… wonderful capture =)


    Comment by Tricia — April 12, 2013 @ 7:47 am

    • Thanks Tricia. They really brighten up the landscape when their main bloom occurs, and they grow in many different shapes and siaes, sometimes with as many as four or five blossoms on a single stalk.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

  10. Your photos always brighten my day! I love the details in them. If I had come across that frosted rocktripe, I might have kept on going. But seeing your photos gives me inspiration to look a little closer at my own surroundings.


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — April 12, 2013 @ 7:52 am

    • I’m so glad that you enjoy the photos. Something especially wonderful about the roadless areas. Because they have been hardly disturbed over the years, there is some type of life form almost everywhere you look, either flora or fauna. Today I hiked into a small area that seemed to have been particularly left alone because of the terrain and I must have wakened a bobcat from his mid-day sleep and he bounced out ahead of me. Just caught a glimpse.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

  11. Terry:

    I can’t resist: I really lichen the lichen photo!



    Comment by Kinzel, Charles H. — April 12, 2013 @ 8:09 am

    • That’s alright Chad, but it will cost you a hike later this summer!


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

  12. What incredible pictures! Nature is one heck of an artist. These remind me of when I was a kid, and loved the magazine “Ranger Rick” because of all the close-up nature photography you had to try to identify.


    Comment by coachdaddyblogger — April 12, 2013 @ 8:21 am

    • Nature is the supreme artist, I think. There are so many miracles in the back country. I see and enjoy so much of it and yet I know there are so many things that I miss and so many more of which I have little knowledge or understanding.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

  13. I’m completely taken with the rocktripe. The scientific name intrigued me – I just learned that the Umbilicaria is because there’s “one central holdfast”. I’ve never come across the word “holdfast” as a noun, either. There are mysteries in them thar hills! It’s such fun to make the discoveries I do here on your blog!


    Comment by shoreacres — April 12, 2013 @ 7:06 pm

    • There are so many species of lichens around that it’s incredible. They are quite a study by themselves. I have been meaning to be more conscious of them because they are everywhere and so interesting. That may be a good thing to study next winter when the other plants are dormant or snow-covered or inaccessible. There are many places at low elevations that I can get to in winter and many of the lichens are still visible. This particular one seems to like huge rocks/cliffs on the shady sides of deep canyons. Sheer rock faces here are usually covered with several very different species of lichens, and in the canyons most of the trees, especially firs, are well decorated with them.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

  14. The detail in your lichen photo is amazing. I think I’ve only ever seen trilliums here on your blog.


    Comment by Candace — April 12, 2013 @ 11:11 pm

    • Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah are the only states in the lower 48 that do not have at least one species of trillium. Rather surprising, but I don’t remember seeing any in Arizona. It might be that the areas with the right elevation are too hot and dry and the cooler, wetter areas are too high. They seem to grow here between 2500 and 3600 feet.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2013 @ 11:25 pm

  15. Such beautiful, amazing…and TOUGH, given your weather…constructions! Just wonderful.


    Comment by FeyGirl — April 13, 2013 @ 9:18 am

    • Most of the wildflowers are very hardy and especially the ones growing in the roadless areas. They have not had any un-natural changes to their habitat and so are very well attuned to the foibles of spring weather.


      Comment by montucky — April 13, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

  16. Beautiful photos!! We received another 12 inches of snow over the past week, so it may be a while yet until we start seeing flowers here.


    Comment by alskamom — April 13, 2013 @ 10:54 am

    • That’s a lot of snow for this late in the year. The nearest pass to here (about 70 miles) is supposed to get 8 inches tonight though. Our snowpack is less than it should be this year though, so we will welcome anything we can get.


      Comment by montucky — April 13, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

  17. … [Trackback]…

    […] Find More Informations here: […]…


    Trackback by URL — April 14, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

  18. It boggles my mind that you can so much further into spring than we are despite your latitude and altitude. We’ve see nothing close to spring and have not lost all of our snow yet. There are no nooks or crannies where anything grows yet. Still it will come.


    Comment by WildBill — April 14, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

    • You have had much more of a winter this year than we have. It has been very mild here, never reaching below zero temperature at all.

      Your spring will be a beautiful one I’ll bet after that winter!


      Comment by montucky — April 14, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: