Montana Outdoors

April 27, 2014

A short hike today on Spring Creek trail

Spring Creek trail

Glacier Lily, Yellow Glacier Lily, Yellow Avalanche Lily

Glacier Lily, Yellow Glacier Lily, Yellow Avalanche Lily ~ Erythronium grandiflorum

Spring Creek trail

Small Bluebells

Small Bluebells, Long-flowered Lungwort, Trumpet Bluebells ~ Mertensia longiflora

Mixed lichens and moss

It was still quite cold in the Spring Creek canyon today with patches of snow remaining in the heavier brush off to the sides of the trail and the wildflowers this year are blooming two to three weeks later than most years, but it was so nice to be hiking on a back-country trail again. Although I can’t hike all of this trail today, I will later and it leads into the TeePee/Spring Creek roadless area where the headwaters of the creek form on the southern slope of Big Hole Peak.


  1. that trail looks inviting…..

    all the spring flower photos look so lovely!


    Comment by skouba — April 27, 2014 @ 10:20 pm

    • It’s a very nice trail, Stacey, and close to my home. It’s good to see the wildflowers starting to bloom! It was a long, hard winter.


      Comment by montucky — April 27, 2014 @ 10:30 pm

  2. I love that last photo. Looks like a rich painting.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — April 27, 2014 @ 11:07 pm

    • That is a collection of moss, dead leaves and lichens on a rock just off the trail. It was so desperately different from everything else in the area that it stood out. I liked it.


      Comment by montucky — April 27, 2014 @ 11:15 pm

  3. The Glacier Lilies are beautiful!


    Comment by centralohionature — April 28, 2014 @ 3:42 am

    • They had just come through a 28º night and the night before that, a heavy rain. Amazingly resilient little flowers!


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2014 @ 10:03 am

  4. Perfect place for a hike, and wonderful flowers lucky you.


    Comment by bentehaarstad — April 28, 2014 @ 4:22 am

    • That’s a favorite trail and close to home. Certain flowers grow at their appointed times in various places along the trail. It’s a real study.


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2014 @ 10:05 am

  5. I like the trail with the glacier lilies. It isn’t easy to get a good shot of large groups of those. I keep trying on our trout lilies. The lichen looks like a dog lichen (Peltigera canina). If you’re following the trails your knees must be feeling better, and that’s a good thing!


    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — April 28, 2014 @ 5:06 am

    • That is the only place that I know of where the shot would be possible. It’s a small section of the trail that gets full sun for most of the afternoon because the canyon spreads out to the south and lets the sun in. There are little “windows” like that spread all along the length of the trail.


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2014 @ 10:07 am

  6. Good news that you are able to take some short walks in some of the places you love. The best medicine in the world. Thanks for taking us along on your spring time walks.


    Comment by anniespickns — April 28, 2014 @ 7:26 am

    • It’s a start, Annie. The timing has been good because the main trails won’t be accessible until in late June anyway, but there are a few that are open at their lower ends for a short distance. The lower elevation flowers are starting to bloom now too.


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2014 @ 10:10 am

  7. Looks like a great trail. What I wouldn’t give to walk along it.
    Love the Spring flowers.


    Comment by Vicki — April 28, 2014 @ 7:32 am

    • It’s a very pleasant trail, full of wildflowers in the spring and a cool retreat during the hot part of summer. You would love it! Sometimes you will see wildlife there too because most of the larger species use it in their travels. I’ve seen deer, elk, bear and moose on that trail and the tracks of wolf and cougar.


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2014 @ 10:13 am

  8. Beautiful scenes, with such lovely wild flowers. Still threatening to snow here, so I haven’t seen much of the spring yet.


    Comment by Sue — April 28, 2014 @ 8:09 am

    • It has been about 20 degrees below normal here for about a month now, but the flowers at the low elevations (around 2400 feet) are very determined. Higher up on the mountains, there as been new snow most every night.


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2014 @ 10:15 am

  9. Hi Montucky, I really enjoy virtually tagging along on your hikes! Pleasant views and great photography. Have a super great day today and a fine week ahead!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — April 28, 2014 @ 8:55 am

    • I’m glad that you enjoy the hikes, wildlifewatcher! That’s why I maintain the blog! Have a great new week!


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2014 @ 10:16 am

  10. That trail just beckons to be followed! Looks like you had a beautiful day


    Comment by The Lonely Dogs — April 28, 2014 @ 10:14 am

    • Yes, that’s one of those trails that, when you are on it, it’s difficult to turn around and head back. It gets little human traffic and so I find refuge there quite often.


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2014 @ 10:17 am

  11. Glad to see you’re on the trail. Love the bluebell flower shapes, too.


    Comment by Lynn Millar — April 28, 2014 @ 10:20 am

    • Thanks Lynn. It’s good to at least get a start again. I wish I could walk a few of those rather flat trails that you mention!


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

  12. I always enjoy getting an email with your latest and greatest adventure in our area. I only get to go to my cabin once or twice a year and the rest of the time, I have to live through your pictures and writing. Every time that I research a hike or plan a fishing trip in to one of the hidden lakes, your blog turns up with images and descriptions of where I want to go. This year, I want to fly fish in Duckhead lake. I suppose I will have to camp over night and I will probably have to bring the entire family along. I would like my Dad to come. He has hunted all around the Liver Peak area. My Grandfather built the roads up the West Fork of the Thompson River. It seems to me that you have enough material to put together a very good book about our area. I don’t think anyone has walked as many miles in the forests and photographed as much as you have. Thanks for all of the reference material and the illustrated guides.Even though Sanders county and the area in general is not the most popular in Montana, it helps to keep all of the beautiful places hidden and protected so that every time I visit, it just seems to get better.


    Comment by David — April 28, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

    • Thank you for your kind words, David. I’m very happy that you have gotten some benefit from my blog. That’s one of the big reasons why I created it. I’ve not been to Duckhead Lake, but it’s on my long list of places to visit. I’ve been to Cube Iron to the north of it and Silcox to the south but never did make the connection on trail 450. I’m hoping I will be able to hike through there next summer, down 450 from Mt. Headley to Silcox and then on down to T. Falls.
      I bet your Grandfather has some stories to tell about the early days up the West Fork! That whole area is one of the most beautiful places anywhere!
      You are right, the general area contained mostly in Sanders county is not well known or very popular and that may very well be a good thing. I think it contains some of the most beautiful wild country in the world and part of the allure, for me at least, is that it is not over-run with people. Our Parks like Glacier are beautiful too, but there is just too much human activity there for me: it is not like truly wild country. Last summer I enjoyed some parts of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness also for the same reason. A Ranger at the Cabinet Ranger Station mentioned that the west side of the wilderness gets the fewest visitors, and I found that to be true.
      I hope you and your family have a great time at Duckhead Lake next summer!


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2014 @ 10:20 pm

  13. Wonderful images Terry but the Bluebells are totally sweet !!!!!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — April 28, 2014 @ 6:38 pm

  14. Wow, what a beautiful path, and I love the Erythroniums! So glad to hear you are getting out and enjoying the outdoors a bit more now. I can imagine how that makes you feel! Fabulous photos.


    Comment by Jo Woolf — April 29, 2014 @ 12:56 am

    • Thanks Jo. Yes it really feels good to be hiking on the trails again, at least a little. I still can’t go too far, but it’s a welcome start! It has been a long and painful winter.


      Comment by montucky — April 29, 2014 @ 7:03 pm

  15. Good to see you hiking again ! … Beautiful photos … // Maria 🙂


    Comment by mariayarri — April 29, 2014 @ 5:44 am

    • Thank you Maria. It feels good to be out on a trail again. I should be back in fairly good form by summer now.


      Comment by montucky — April 29, 2014 @ 7:04 pm

  16. That trail looks stunning! It’s great to finally have hiking weather again.


    Comment by sfwolf — April 29, 2014 @ 7:59 am

    • It’s a wonderful trail. Only the bottom couple of miles are open already, up higher there is still snow, but it certainly is hiking weather now.


      Comment by montucky — April 29, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

  17. It is fun to see groups of flowers in some of your photos. It helps with relative size, and puts them in a different perspective. When I used to spend more time up in our hill country, it was interesting to see how the wildflowers would claim little patches of sunlight and become truly profuse. Ten feet away, in a spot shaded all day? No flowers at all. It was a great introduction of wildflowers, just observing “what” grew “where”, and asking, “Why?”


    Comment by shoreacres — April 29, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

    • Large groups of wildflowers are a little unusual up here, more prevalent later in the summer. I’ve been admiring some of Steve’s photos of large groups of flowers down in your neck of the woods though.
      The “whats”, “wheres” and “whys” are a real study wherever you are. I wonder about those all summer!


      Comment by montucky — April 29, 2014 @ 7:45 pm

  18. Well, yay! You got to take a hike. I know you must have been just relishing every moment.


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — April 30, 2014 @ 8:12 am

    • “relish”… exactly! I will return to that trail in a few days. Nearly all of our trails are still blocked by deep snow after the first mile, but I can’t go much further than that yet anyway.


      Comment by montucky — April 30, 2014 @ 7:33 pm

  19. Although You flower photos are stunning, the first photo impress me very much. It just invite me to visit the place.


    Comment by Sartenada — May 1, 2014 @ 4:58 am

    • Yes, those trails just make you want to be there and follow them!


      Comment by montucky — May 1, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

  20. I’m gad you’re hiking again, even if they’re abbreviated. It looks so lush there already.


    Comment by Candace — May 1, 2014 @ 7:23 pm

    • Thanks Candace. Yes it’s good to hike even though not as far as I am accustomed to. The timing is still good though because by the time the now pack melts and the trail open I’ll be ready for a little more.


      Comment by montucky — May 1, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

  21. How did I miss this gorgeous post, both your writing of the experience and the beautiful flowers. Your photos are exquisite.


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — May 1, 2014 @ 8:05 pm

    • Thank you Teresa. I have a love affair with the real natural world. It makes the photography of it such a challenge, so simple because it’s there, so complex because it’s so important to get it right.


      Comment by montucky — May 1, 2014 @ 9:21 pm

  22. such wonderful findings
    and beautiful photos


    Comment by Tammie — May 1, 2014 @ 9:50 pm

    • Thanks Tammie. Isn’t it wonderful to see the world being re-born!


      Comment by montucky — May 1, 2014 @ 10:10 pm

  23. Dig (figuratively) those little trumpet bluebells. They’re new to me.


    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — May 2, 2014 @ 9:32 pm

    • They are nice bright spots this time of year, but this year it is so dry they are not doing well.


      Comment by montucky — May 3, 2014 @ 7:33 am

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