Montana Outdoors

May 18, 2013

Beyond the Fairy Slippers

Nearly all of my photos result from my frequent wanderings in the mountains and forests of western Montana. The wildflowers in my previous post were encountered on the way to a hike to view the peaks of the Cherry Peak roadless area, something I choose to do at least once every year. After a ten mile drive from the valley to a starting point at 5000 feet and a two mile hike from there up an old road to 6000 feet I arrive at my preferred viewing spot with an open view of the north side of the peaks. Mountains are always viewed best from high places.

Cherry Peaks

Viewing spot

USFS Road 7581

The road at 6000 feet

Wood Violets

Wood violets (Viola glabella) in bloom just below the snow level.

Clark Fork River valley

View to the northwest over the Clark Fork River.

Koo-Koo Sint Ridge

View of Koo-Koo Sint Ridge north of the river from the access road.


  1. Gorgeous photos; I can’t wait for just a little bit more of the snow to melt so I can start to get a little higher then I will start to see similar views.


    Comment by Charlie@Seattle Trekker — May 18, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

    • That’s the way I feel too. I’ve been stopped by snow on four trails so far. Also quite a few trees down over the trails and I don’t know what the Forest Service will have for trail crews this year.


      Comment by montucky — May 18, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

  2. You must have a fabulous camera and a lot of skill in operating it. I’m really impressed by your photos, and of course you have the beautiful state of Montana to practice in. Perfect!


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — May 19, 2013 @ 12:27 am

    • Thanks Anneli. Actually, I go to places like that just to be there: the feeling is immense. The camera lets me bring back images for those who can’t be there. I’m grateful for a DSLR!


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 7:01 pm

  3. I know I’m lucky where I live to be able to enjoy landscapes, seascapes and nature, but I so envy you, I would love to hike in the places you can get to. The idea of a roadless area sounds like heaven to me. So I’m very grateful for your posts, I get to see such magnificent places through your eyes. We are planning a trip to the US next year and your photos are getting me all excited 🙂 Thanks man, Mike


    Comment by Mike Howe — May 19, 2013 @ 3:31 am

    • I’m glad that you enjoy seeing scenes from this are, Mike. I know you would love the roadless areas. They are as close as we can get to seeing the world as it has been for many thousands of years. Makes one very close to it.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

  4. Many years ago, sometime in the early ’90’s, I was driving between Cripple Creek and Victor, Colorado. I pulled over at a bend in the road and stopped to look at the mountains. It’s a view I’ve never forgotten. Living among them must fill you with wonder on a regular basis… 🙂


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — May 19, 2013 @ 5:25 am

    • Yes, the mountains are awe-inspiring. I like it best walking high up among the peaks in places where I know there is no other person within many miles. That’s an experience I wish everyone could have. Now that the snow is melting up high it will soon be time to start visiting those places again. I already have a list.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 7:08 pm

  5. I’d climb all day to see views like those. Those yellow violets were a good find-we don’t see too many of those here.


    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — May 19, 2013 @ 6:43 am

    • This trip was easy, but often it does take all day to see views like these. Over a dozen hours on the trail, but well worth it!

      I’m surprised at how many yellow violets grow here. I see them nearly everywhere. I understand that there are eight species of yellow violets in this region, but I’m not knowledgeable enough to distinguish one from another.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

  6. Wonderful photos. Makes me wish I had the health to go hiking and climb mountains – they give a stunning view.


    Comment by victoriaaphotography — May 19, 2013 @ 6:52 am

    • I wish you were able to make the hikes too, Victoria. My wife is also unable to hike and that was initially the reason why I started to bring back photographs of the beauty I encounter in the back country.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

  7. Wow, those views are AMAZING, and the wood violets – like finding gold! What an exhilarating walk.


    Comment by Jo Woolf — May 19, 2013 @ 7:19 am

    • That’s a place I really enjoy visiting. It is especially meaningful to me because I have hiked over most of the that can be seen from up there and I remember each peak and canyon and stream within view. It is a very good thing to understand the landscape.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

  8. You have a nice “preferred viewing spot.”


    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — May 19, 2013 @ 7:23 am

    • There are actually two in that area, each with a slightly different view. It is impossible to spend enough time there.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 7:22 pm

  9. Wow. Lovely photos once again! Some view!


    Comment by roberta — May 19, 2013 @ 7:37 am

    • From that old road the views allow one to see the river at 2400 feet and all of the terrain up to the white peaks which are just over 7000 feet.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

  10. Your photos bring back so many memories of our visits to this area. These are truly a sight to see!


    Comment by dhphotosite — May 19, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    • I was born here and so my memories of it go back 70 years. My love for it has never changed.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

  11. It’s curious that we go to huge, vast places on this planet and then focus on the tiny. 🙂 I suppose it’s our way, as humans. I love your photos – taken from and of whatever. 🙂


    Comment by Val — May 19, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    • It’s an amazing planet, isn’t it Val. I love every bit of it!


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

  12. Oh, that view! Magnificent. 🙂


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — May 19, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

    • That’s a good word to describe these mountains. I wonder why some folks want to change them ever before they understand them.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

  13. Hi Montucky, Your photographs of the alpine landscape are gorgeous and cool! I appreciate that cool view – it was 91 today here in Sunny Central Florida. Have a pleasant coming week!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — May 19, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

    • The temperature when I left the house that day was 33. Much different from the 91 in Florida! I do much better at something in between!


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 9:01 pm

  14. I drove by Mt Washington (highest mountain east of the Mississippi) this weekend, and noted that it was still covered with snow.


    Comment by jomegat — May 19, 2013 @ 8:11 pm

    • That’s a pretty tall mountain. We still have snow at that elevation. There is quite a bit remaining over 6000 feet.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

  15. One of the things I love about your photos is the way in which they make the complexity of the world available to us. The seas are complex. The coastal prairie is complex. Even the deserts are complex – but it’s hard to train the eye there. In your world, there’s “this” peak and “that” valley, “these mountains” and “that violet”. Once we’ve learned to look among more obvious beauties, we’re ready to move on to the subtleties – which also abound in your area!


    Comment by shoreacres — May 19, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

    • I have a very personal view of Montana’s wild country, likely because I prefer to approach it on foot. Kind of like when men fought with swords, up front and personal instead of at a distance with missiles and drones. It’s a wonderful thing to have a love affair with such a vast, wild part of the country and be allowed to visit it often and know it like a friend.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

  16. Isn’t the land amazing…I could explore forever. Thanks for sharing your mountains!


    Comment by Bo Mackison (@bo_mackison) — May 19, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

    • It is indeed amazing. As far as exploring forever, I intend to.

      I thoroughly enjoyed your posts from Arizona and your trip back. I love these mountains, but I love that desert just as much.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

  17. Ahhh-mazing views! WoW! I really wish I could go hiking the trails up there… thanks for taking us along! =)


    Comment by Tricia — May 20, 2013 @ 7:03 am

  18. Makes me yearn for the mountain trails. Thanks!


    Comment by Sue — May 20, 2013 @ 7:08 am

    • The National Forests here have a treasure of trails. All of the old pack trails that were built in the 30’s for access to the fire lookouts. Many of them remain and are maintained by trail crews and fire crews before the fires start. I worry about them though because they get little attention. It would be tragic to lose them!


      Comment by montucky — May 20, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

  19. Such gorgeous terrain…. So very jealous of your hikes!!


    Comment by FeyGirl — May 20, 2013 @ 9:31 am

    • I wouldn’t know what to do if these trails were not around. I often think that the back country, the wild country, is all there is left of sanity.


      Comment by montucky — May 20, 2013 @ 9:01 pm

  20. You do so much to promote your beloved home state. I think we all wish we could experience some of that timeless solitude and beauty you bring back to us through your gorgeous photos.


    Comment by Candace — May 20, 2013 @ 11:10 pm

    • Actually I don’t really like the state or most of its people, just the wild country that still miraculously exists here. It will be gone before the end of this century, destroyed by the special interests of the exploiters and the greed of the corrupt and stupid politicians. In the mean time, I also wish that folks from all over could experience the wonder and magic of these wild places, to spend some time in the world as it was before “civilization” took over this continent.


      Comment by montucky — May 20, 2013 @ 11:57 pm

  21. Wow, what photos. I had to look again and again Your terrific photos searching details from them. Thank You for this great post.


    Comment by Sartenada — May 23, 2013 @ 11:27 pm

    • Thank you Matti. I’m glad that you enjoy seeing these Montana mountains!


      Comment by montucky — May 24, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

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