Montana Outdoors

July 30, 2013

St Paul Lake: Cabinet Mountains Wilderness

St Paul Lake

The best definition of wilderness that I have seen is, “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain…” It clearly applies to this area.

July 29, 2013

On the edge

Filed under: Montana — Tags: , — montucky @ 10:26 pm

Bull River country

The photo was taken today along western Montana’s Bull River while I was returning home from a hiking trip into the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. The mountains in the background are in the wilderness. I’ve long wanted to spend some time there and today was the first of many trips (I hope) exploring its 147 square miles. After 7 hours on the trail I am very happily tired.

July 28, 2013

’tis the season for huckleberries

About this time in late summer one of the delicacies of the northwest begins to ripen and nearly everyone in these parts take to the mountains to harvest a few huckleberries. Black Huckleberry, Vaccinium membranaceum, is perhaps the most common in this area but I read somewhere that the native Indians were able to recognize 21 different species of them . I can recognize only three, but what the heck… they’re all good! I did a brief search and found an advertised price of $69 for a gallon (about 5 pounds).

Today I ventured out to pick a few and succeeded in getting enough for my wife to make one of the most delicious pies that anyone has ever tasted. And, at today’s going price, the berries I brought back at least paid for my gas.

The location:

Today I chose a section of USFS trail 404 (the CC Divide trail) just inside the southern border of the Patrick’s Knob – North Cutoff roadless area south of the town of Plains Montana. Trail 404 proceeds for many miles along the crest of a high ridge that roughly separates the Lower Clark Fork River from the St Regis River

From Trail 404

From Trail 404

The trail:

Trail 404

Trail 404

Trail 404

Trail 404

The star of the show:

Huckleberries

Huckleberry

The competition: 

When attempting to acquire about anything that is desirable, there will be competition. Today the largest competitor was probably back in a thicket somewhere sleeping, but others were out and about.

Dusky grouse

Adult male Dusky grouse, Dendragapus obscurus.

Dusky grouse

Dusky grouse, this summer’s chick.

Dusky grouse

And always there are flowers:

Fireweed

Fireweed

Harebell, Bluebell of Scotland

Harebell, Bluebell of Scotland

Fireweed

July 26, 2013

Today’s visitor

Filed under: Animals, Elk — Tags: — montucky @ 11:35 pm

When we first acquired the little piece of Montana that we call home we decided to forever leave everything in a small draw to the west of the house in its completely natural state. It’s only about an acre in size but the brush is very thick and it is well protected on all sides. It is a sanctuary for birds and there is often a whitetail or two bedded down in its upper end. Today this fine looking lady elk stopped by for a visit and a meal of browse and berries.

Cow elk

Cow elk

Cow elk

Cow elk

July 24, 2013

Back yard sunset

Filed under: Sunsets — Tags: — montucky @ 10:23 pm

Back yard sunset

This was the briefest sunset I’ve ever seen. It started to get bright, I snapped two pictures and it was gone all in the space of about 2 minutes.

July 23, 2013

…and the livin’ is easy…

Filed under: Butterflies, Summer — Tags: , — montucky @ 2:09 pm

Butterflies and thistle

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