Montana Outdoors

May 3, 2018

Cascades and Fairy Bells

Filed under: Spring Creek, Wildflowers — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 4:19 pm

Now that warmer weather has arrived, the mountain streams are running full from snow melt and the wildflowers are beginning to bloom. The flowers are late blooming this year and the early results seem to show that they are rather sparse and have suffered some effects of the turbulent weather. Still, it’s good to finally see them!

Fairy Bells

Fairy Bells

Fairy Bells, Hooker fairy-bells ~ Prosartes hookeri

Spring Creek

Cascades on Spring Creek


  1. A lovely flower definitely not seen here in Ohio!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by centralohionature — May 3, 2018 @ 4:21 pm

    • USDA Plants has very little about this species, so I can’t get a good feel for its range. I think it is mostly confined to the region east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington, extending into this area as well. The plants are low growing and the blossoms are about a half inch across.


      Comment by montucky — May 3, 2018 @ 6:08 pm

  2. Very cool Terry reminds me of the Mandarins that grow in the southern mountains !!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Bernie Kasper — May 3, 2018 @ 4:47 pm

    • They are pretty little things. I’m not familiar with the Mandarins though.


      Comment by montucky — May 3, 2018 @ 6:09 pm

  3. Such delicate flowers!


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — May 3, 2018 @ 5:38 pm

    • They are very small and delicate. I think their range might extend up into your area.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — May 3, 2018 @ 6:10 pm

  4. We have them here in Oregon both in the Cascades and Coastal Mountain Ranges.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by derwoodynck — May 3, 2018 @ 6:36 pm

    • I suspect they may be native only to the pacific northwest, extending into this area.


      Comment by montucky — May 3, 2018 @ 6:48 pm

  5. Lovely flowers! A sign of spring!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by heartandsoul974 — May 3, 2018 @ 7:36 pm

  6. That stream looks fresh and icy cold!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by de Wets Wild — May 3, 2018 @ 7:47 pm

    • It is both. The snow level is still only a couple miles further up the trail and most of the water in the stream now is from snow melt. The rest is from mountain springs that flow all year. I’m sure the higher elevation aquifer is full now.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — May 3, 2018 @ 7:54 pm

  7. Really like the light play in the forest picture. Ron

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Anonymous — May 3, 2018 @ 7:51 pm

    • I do too Ron. That is in a deep canyon and only rays of sunlight like those penetrate the cedar canopy.


      Comment by montucky — May 3, 2018 @ 7:56 pm

  8. They’re beautiful little flowers. Another common name I found for them is “drops of gold.” I suppose that refers to the anthers hanging down below the flower, although they really remind me more of windchimes — perhaps because of the bell reference. I rarely read eFlora entries because they’re so far beyond my understanding, but I did find this little note that I thought was interesting: “The recently discovered population of Prosartes hookeri in the Porcupine Mountains of upper Michigan (E. G. Voss 1972–1985, vol. 1) is a noteworthy disjunction for this otherwise western species.”

    I wonder if, at one time, their range extended all across the northern tier of states.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — May 3, 2018 @ 8:17 pm

    • I saw them called “drops of gold” on the USDA Plants site too, but they had no really good information on them. They are called “Hooker fairy-bell” on the Burke Museum site and their range is described as “Both sides of the Cascades in Washington; British Columbia south to Oregon, east to Montana”. It is interesting that some were also found in Michigan.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — May 3, 2018 @ 8:34 pm

  9. I like the sound of mountain water. Too bad your great photo doesn’t come with a sound track.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — May 3, 2018 @ 10:32 pm

    • Yes, the sound of the water in the cascades and waterfalls is wonderful. Along this creek, especially so. The stream runs all year but by mid summer it goes underground at a point about a half mile up the trail. As you start the hike up the forest is dead silent and at the half mile point you suddenly hear the water. In another half mile the trail reached the creek and the sound of the cascades is very pleasant. This time of year when the creek is flowing full, the sounds are very loud.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — May 4, 2018 @ 8:39 am

  10. A delicate flower and aptly named.

    I’ll bet that water is cold.

    Can you drink from the flowing water in your local streams?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — May 4, 2018 @ 12:48 am

    • The water is ice cold, this time of year coming directly from melting snow, but in summer the flow comes from springs that stay ice cold all year long.

      There is no easy answer to whether the water is drinkable. In general, yes. I remember back in the 50’s there were springs along the highways the crossed through mountain passes and signs up showing them as drinking water. There is however the possibility of a microscopic parasite called giardia which can cause a very uncomfortable stomach condition. Every year I check with the local doctors at the hospital to see if there have been any cases reported in this area and none has ever been reported, but in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness (about 100 miles west of here) the literature cautions that it may be present in the water, probably because of an abundance of caution. I do drink from the local streams after a few tough miles up the trail, but I always carry a water filter system in my pack if I plan to use natural water in other areas, just in case.


      Comment by montucky — May 4, 2018 @ 8:53 am

      • I read in a nature book recently that rotting dead animals can taint ‘flowing water’, whereas as 40-50 years ago I read that flowing water is far more drinkable in an emergency, than stagnant pools of still water. I think I’d be carrying a filtered bottle and/or water purifying tablets.
        My brief urban walks always have me carrying a fairly large flask of clean drinking water as I have a dry mouth condition from one of the meds I have to take.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Vicki — May 4, 2018 @ 6:52 pm

        • In all of my meanderings in the mountains I can’t recall ever seeing a dead animal in a stream, so I don’t see that as a concern in the back country. As far as flowing vs still water, I think it all depends on the unique circumstances. Actually it is organisms in natural water that help to purify it, and those can be in both still water and flowing water. Typically the harmful things in natural water are things that have been introduced by humans as well as other animals. As far as I’m concerned, the farther away from human traffic, the cleaner the water and the safer it is to drink, although wild animals can also introduce parasites like giardia but I consider that very rare in this area.


          Comment by montucky — May 4, 2018 @ 7:20 pm

  11. This is a wonderful time to be in the mountains. Thank you for sharing, Terry.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by seekraz — May 4, 2018 @ 10:04 am

    • It is indeed! And after the winter we had I’m more than ready!


      Comment by montucky — May 4, 2018 @ 6:39 pm

  12. Those are beautiful flowers that remind me of lilies by their shape, and fly honeysuckle by the way they come in pairs.
    I’m guessing that there’s a lot of snow melt in that creek!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — May 4, 2018 @ 2:59 pm

    • Yes, they are in the lily family. We seem to have many members of that family here.
      Just a rough guess, but at the moment probably three quarters of the water in these mountain creeks is recent snow melt.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — May 4, 2018 @ 6:42 pm

  13. That last shot is lovely … I bet that water is super cold!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — May 7, 2018 @ 1:16 pm

    • It is super cold from snow melt now. It’s very cold in the summer too, coming from mountain springs.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — May 7, 2018 @ 1:40 pm

  14. Beautiful. I am glad that spring is there. Here – nearly. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — May 8, 2018 @ 12:45 am

    • Yes, it’s finally here, although we are having some much needed rain this week.


      Comment by montucky — May 8, 2018 @ 8:41 am

  15. How nice that the springs are running now. Definitely a new season.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — May 9, 2018 @ 9:19 pm

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