Montana Outdoors

July 8, 2017

Avoiding the heat

There is a heat wave covering this part of Montana at present, with daytime temperatures up into the low 100’s, very hot for here, and so hiking has become an activity for early in the mornings. Today, my choice was the lower part of Munson Creek which is only a 10 mile drive from home and always a pleasant place to go.

Today Ocean Spray shrubbery lined the beginning of the trail, a pleasant way to enter the world of the forest above.

Munson Creek trail

Just up the hill a short distance from the creek crossing a stand of Wild Bergamot was in full bloom.

Wild Bergamot

Wild Bergamot ~ Monarda fistulosa

At intervals along the next mile of trail I found the three phases of life of the Brown-eyed Susan or Blanket flower.

Brown-eyed Susan, Blanket Flower

Brown-eyed Susan, Blanket Flower

Brown-eyed Susan, Blanket Flower

Brown-eyed Susan, Blanket Flower ~Gaillardia aristata

Near my chosen turn around point, a little side trail leading to the creek again welcomed me with a doorway of Ocean Spray.

Munson Creek trail

The creek was running cold and clear.

Munson Creek

Nearly always on a hike, near the turn around point the thought occurs to me, “Since I’m already here, I might as well go…”, which always ends up with seeing something interesting and nearly always with a lot of physical exertion. This time I followed an elk trail which led down to the stream and a pretty little cascade.

Munson Creek

The short side trip also provided a glimpse of a flower with which (to my surprise) I was not familiar, a Common Tarweed,

Common Tarweed

Common Tarweed ~ Madia gracilis

the seed head of another common summer plant, a Yellow Salsify,

Yellow Salisfy seed

and a pretty setting of the blossoms on a tall stalk of grass that I would not have seen had I not taken the short side trip.

Grass in bloom

All in all, a cool and pleasant morning walk before the heat of the day set in!

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