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!


  1. I hadn’t heard that you were getting such extreme heat there. I hope it cools off soon. We’ve been lucky so far, with bearable heat and humidity.
    That ocean spray shrub is huge. I like the way the flowers seem to drip.
    That was a worthwhile detour. I’ve never heard of tarweed. It’s a pretty little thing. I’ve found that whenever I have to take a detour for whatever reason I always find something interesting, as if the whole thing had been planned. The grass flowering is beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — July 8, 2017 @ 2:35 pm

    • The extreme heat from Arizona and South Cal was moved up here by a change in the winds. As far as I’m concerned, they can have it back.
      Yes, detours almost always turn out well, which is good because I can;t pass up a chance at one.
      I can’t believe that I hadn’t noticed the tarweed before. It’s tiny, but pretty. And that grass just blew me away!

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by montucky — July 8, 2017 @ 3:17 pm

  2. What a hike that was for finding interesting things. The spirea always looks great when it’s in full bloom like that. Reminds me of one of the formations you see in fireworks. The bergamot would be a special find! I’ve had some of the domestic kind in my garden and I love that flower. So do the bees! But the bergamot in my garden was more pink than purple. This one you found is an especially pretty colour.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — July 8, 2017 @ 2:39 pm

    • I think the wild Bergamot is lie the Bluebell of Scotland; it comes in many different shades of color. When you can, it pays to wander around in a favorite place every few days because everything keeps changing. I think tomorrow morning I will visit Spring Creek again to see if a Rattlesnake Plantain that I saw there yesterday is in bloom yet.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by montucky — July 8, 2017 @ 3:21 pm

      • Always something new. Every day is an adventure.

        Liked by 2 people

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — July 8, 2017 @ 5:48 pm

        • You are right Anneli. Each time out something new or different awaits. The natural world is dynamic and constantly changing and plants particularly show great beauty several times in their annual cycle.

          Liked by 2 people

          Comment by montucky — July 8, 2017 @ 6:41 pm

  3. What a beautiful hike, though….and nice little treasures, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by seekraz — July 8, 2017 @ 3:18 pm

    • I would like to be taking longer hikes, but with this kind of heat I wouldn’t enjoy them. In the mean time it’s nice to have a few places like this quite close.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by montucky — July 8, 2017 @ 3:23 pm

  4. Looks like the perfect hike on a hot day. Is the water in those cascades drinkable?

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Vicki — July 8, 2017 @ 6:54 pm

    • The shade makes it comfortable and the presence of the stream helps too. Yes the water is good: it’s very wild country and no people above it all of the way to its source: it also harbors small trout.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by montucky — July 8, 2017 @ 7:51 pm

  5. It sounds like you went from -40s to +100 in a few months in your area–wow! That’s hard on people, plants and animals. Lovely photos!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by jpostol — July 8, 2017 @ 6:57 pm

    • It is much hotter than usual for early summer. There was a change in the atmospheric conditions that brought the extreme heat from the southwest of the country right up to the northwest. Thankfully, the nights cool off to into the 50’s.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 8, 2017 @ 7:53 pm

  6. Just always love your photos and comments and knowledge. So glad I am priviliged to follow your travels Sincerely. Lores

    Liked by 3 people

    Comment by Anonymous — July 8, 2017 @ 9:04 pm

  7. Wonderful! Beautiful to see the different stages of a flower. The streams look so cool and refreshing. You certainly get a wide range of temperatures!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Jo Woolf — July 9, 2017 @ 3:19 am

    • There is indeed a wide variety in our climate, most of which I enjoy. I’m sure that is part of the reason why the natural part of this area has developed as it has. Everything has adjusted to the way things are and has achieved and maintained balance.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2017 @ 9:52 am

  8. You’re so right that everything changes from day to day. One of my friends was teasing me a week or so ago, saying, “Don’t you want to go someplace different to take photos?” I told her that going back to the same place every day still would produce “someplace different.” The last time I was out, I came across some bright red Indian paintbrush. Were they early, or were they late? Who knows? but there they were.

    That grass is really something. I love the way it drapes. Grasses are my next challenge. I can identify about a half-dozen with certainty, but there are so many more!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by shoreacres — July 9, 2017 @ 6:01 am

    • I should become much more knowledgeable about grasses too. I have not pursued that and I should because I sense that they are a big key to the existence and well being of wildlife. The blossoms that I see on the some of the grasses are intriguing.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2017 @ 9:55 am

      • Grass flowers can be exquisite, but are easily overlooked (green and small). They are difficult to ID, that’s for sure, but if you get a good grass book (or I suppose find them on the web these days), you can certainly make the acquaintance of the more familiar ones. A hand lens helps. Some of my favorite plants in the world are grasses! I once spent a lot of time with range grasses in the higher elevations in southeast Arizona, and in those days, long ago, I got to know a lot of them. I expect that you have mostly cool-season grasses there (the ones I was familiar with were mostly warm-season grasses–it’s a major distinction based on when they are active, where they grow, and on other botanical characteristics). I liked that photo you took of a grass in flower–it looked awfully sexy with those anthers and feathery pistils hanging out in the breeze!


        Comment by jpostol — July 10, 2017 @ 8:27 pm

        • I suppose that I have been very distracted by the flowers. I do admire the grasses, and there is a section in my favorite plants book (Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest) as well as good coverage on my favorite plant website (Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, WTU Image Collection) of grasses.


          Comment by montucky — July 10, 2017 @ 10:14 pm

  9. Though hot verý cool. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by nvsubbaraman — July 9, 2017 @ 7:01 am

  10. On the bright side Revett Lake is now completely snow free. A few patches left at Pear Lake. But all those lakes are smothered with campers

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by naughtyhiker — July 9, 2017 @ 9:18 am

    • Yeah, I thought there would be a lot of traffic there now. I will put off a visit there until late in the fall now. Evans Lake though might not be having many visitors now and it’s pretty too. Also the west side of the Cabinet Wilderness gets very little of the summer tourist traffic: they seem to prefer the east side.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2017 @ 10:00 am

  11. Yikes! So hot, I’d be tempted to stand in that cool creek with my bare feet forever or at least until it cooled down. My sister & brother-in-law are visiting us from Arizona where it’s been extremely hot there too. One day was 124 degrees, so they are enjoying our cooler temps but not our humidity. And I whine when it hits 90 here. I need to be more grateful! Stay cool, Montucky!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — July 9, 2017 @ 10:56 am

    • The weather patterns (especially wind) this year have pushed a lot of that Arizona and southern California heat up here. I will be glad when it cools off!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2017 @ 1:14 pm

  12. Have been enjoying your posts for 5 years or more. Hike on!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Sara Moore — July 9, 2017 @ 4:13 pm

    • Thank you for reading, Sara I’m so glad that you have found enjoyment here! That’s why I do it and why it makes the blog worthwhile!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2017 @ 7:54 pm

  13. Hi Montucky, The Tarweed is a pleasant-looking little blossom. That creek sure looks refreshing! Have a wonderful coming week!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — July 10, 2017 @ 1:48 pm

    • Hi wildlifewatcher. Refreshing, yes: I may spend a lot of time there in the next week.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 10, 2017 @ 1:58 pm

  14. beautiful


    Comment by ostendnomadography — July 10, 2017 @ 6:11 pm

  15. I enjoy seeing your part of the country through your eyes, your lens and your vision of your area! Thanks for taking all of us along on your hikes!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Reed Andariese — July 12, 2017 @ 8:25 pm

    • I’m glad that you enjoy seeing it Reed! I love this wild country and the more I understand about how it all works the more I am in awe of it all and the closer I get to the spirit and historical philosophies of the indigenous people of this area who lived in harmony with it all.


      Comment by montucky — July 12, 2017 @ 10:21 pm

  16. Beautiful images.. a great place to take a walk!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — July 13, 2017 @ 1:32 pm

    • It is and I go there often. Farther up the trail there is a lot of wildlife too: deer, elk, moose, bear, wolves…

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 13, 2017 @ 1:53 pm

  17. Haha, the heat might have moved up there but it also stayed here.Looks like a beautiful area. That Ocean Spray would draw one in, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — July 14, 2017 @ 1:41 pm

    • I was 50 years younger when I first started getting used to the heat in the Valley of the Sun, and I tolerated it much better then. Now I actually tolerate the winter’s cold better than the summer heat.


      Comment by montucky — July 14, 2017 @ 4:31 pm

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