Montana Outdoors

June 28, 2015

June 2015 visit to Big Hole Lookout

Every summer I visit the old fire lookout near Big Hole Peak in the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana. The trail to it is good (USFS trail 368) and it’s a pleasant hike of only about 2.7 miles to the lookout. The elevation of Highway 200 is about 2400 feet; the elevation of the trail head is 5500 feet and the elevation at the lookout is 6922 feet. The old cabin is undergoing a restoration so it may be used as a rental for summer visitors who will enjoy some nice long distance views during their stay there. Deer, elk, possibly a moose, cougar, and black bears may be encountered on the road to the trail head or on the trail itself.

To reach the trail head, turn onto the Weeksville Creek road (USFS road 887) from Montana Highway 200, about six miles west of the town of Plains Montana. Then at about 3 miles turn left on USFS road 5587 and take it ten miles at which point it forks and both forks are closed by gates for the protection of wildlife. The trail head for 368 is right there. There is adequate parking for horse trailers before the gates. It is a single track road that is quite narrow in places but there are plenty of wider places where you can pass another vehicle. It is rocky (not muddy) and not a lot of fun to drive on when it’s icy or snow-covered.

Following are some photos of the trail, wildflowers along the trail, scenery and the lookout taken on June 11, 2015.

Penstemons

Bear Grass

Bear Grass

Big Hole Lookout trail

Bear Grass

Vetch

Larkspur

Big Hole Lookout trail

Big Hole Lookout trail

Big Hole Lookout trail

Untitled

Big Hole Lookout

Big Hole Lookout trail

Big Hole Lookout

East from Big Hole Lookout

Big Hole Lookout

Big Hole Lookout

Big Hole Lookout

Marmot Peak

Untitled

Big Hole Peak

Bear Grass

Vetch

Big Hole Lookout trail

June 27, 2015

Friday’s wildflowers

Harebells

Harebells ~ Campanula rotundifolia

Harebells

Harebells ~ Campanula rotundifolia

Pearly Everlasting

Pearly Everlasting ~ Anaphalis margaritacea

Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye Daisy ~ Leucanthemum vulgare

Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye Daisy ~ Leucanthemum vulgare

Pipsissewa, common prince's-pine

Pipsissewa, common prince’s-pine ~ Chimaphila umbellata

Pipsissewa, common prince's-pine

Pipsissewa, common prince’s-pine ~ Chimaphila umbellata

Nodding onion

Nodding onion ~ Allium cernuum

Nodding onion

Nodding onion ~ Allium cernuum

June 20, 2015

Wildflowers blooming today,

well, at least on the lower part of the Spring Creek trail.

American twinflower

American twinflower ~ Linnaea borealis

White spirea

White spirea ~ Spiraea lucida

Three-spot Mariposa Lily

Three-spot Mariposa Lily ~ Calochortus apiculatus

Orange Honeysuckle

Orange Honeysuckle ~ Lonicera ciliosa

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot ~ Corallorhiza maculata (an orchid)

June 16, 2015

Revett Lake ~ 2015

Filed under: Idaho — Tags: , , — montucky @ 6:48 pm

When I visited Revett Lake in late summer of 2014 the tall stalks of Bear Grass flowers could be seen in vast quantities on the seep mountainside on the far side of the lake, although the flowers were already gone. I made a note then to return this year during the time that they would be blooming because it would be a magnificent sight. Well, today I paid another visit and although the Bear Grass is in bloom, they are very sparse compared to normal years and the spectacle I had anticipated was not there. It’s still a nice hike and a beautiful lake, and following are a series of photos of the trail and the lake, starting with a early morning view from just past the trail head looking farther back into the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.

Revett Lake trail

Revett Lake trail

Revett Lake trail

Revett Lake trail

Revett Lake trail

Revett Lake trail

Revett Lake

Revett Lake

Revett Lake

Revett Lake

Revett Lake

Revett Lake

Revett Lake

Revett Lake

Revett Lake trail

Revett is located just on the Idaho side of the Montana/Idaho border at Thompson Pass, about 24 miles west of Thompson Falls, Montana. There road to the trail head takes off at the large parking area at Thompson Pass which is also the trail head for Blossom lakes on the Montana side.

June 12, 2015

Wild Blue Flax

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , , , , — montucky @ 9:05 pm

Wild Blue Flax

Wild Blue Flax AKA Prairie Flax ~ Linum lewisii, found growing on Camas Prairie.

June 11, 2015

Hiding in plain sight: Mule deer fawn

This time of year when the new young of most animal species begin to appear, it is very common for those of us who live here in western Montana to see the fawns of White tail deer. Not quite so commonly seen are Mule deer fawns, and so it was a treat for me to encounter one today. I left early this morning for a hike up to the old look out on Big Hole Peak, and at about the mid point of the trail I saw a beautiful Mule deer doe ahead of me on the trail and I watched her bounce on up the trail then disappear on the mountainside. After another dozen or so strides I discovered this little fawn which I would guess to be no more than a week or two old.

For many thousands of years an apparently successful escape strategy for fawns is to lie flat on the ground, as flat as they can get, and stay absolutely still, which is what this little one was doing, and because they have no scent at that age predators normally will not find them. Usually this happens in tall grass on a hillside or meadow or among downed timber or other disruptions in the landscape, but when this little fellow went into “hide mode”, it did so right in the middle of the trail. I took a few quick photos and circled far around the little one to continue on up the trail, leaving it undisturbed and still completely motionless. Hopefully, next time this fawn won’t try to hide again in plain sight.

Mule deer fawn (hiding)

Mule deer fawn

Mule deer fawn

Mule deer fawn, Odocoileus hemionus

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