Montana Outdoors

June 13, 2008

–or–

Finally, we had a day with no rain: that called for a leisurely stroll up towards the Cherry Peak area. The trail there is on what was an old road from the trail head and so it’s quite wide for a trail and has a rather regular incline to it making it pretty easy hiking and the entire area is closed to motor vehicles. I’ve hiked it many times now and still have not met another person on the trail. Seems like no one ever goes there, maybe because it’s a long way to the top and all up hill. The surrounding scenery though, in my opinion, is really hard to beat. Like this:

Cherry Peak roadless area

After spending a day in that country it’s difficult to decide which photos I’d like to post (I brought back 40 and some are really pretty). I’ll likely post more from today’s hike later, but for now would you like to see…

Bear Grass, Xerophyllum tenax
Bear Grass

(this was the first I’ve seen this year and the blossom is just starting to fill out)

–or–

a Black bear,
Black bear

( I was lucky to come up behind this big guy today as he foraged along the trail, turning over large rocks looking for ants and grubs. I stalked him for about 15 minutes and got to within about 50 yards, taking the photo just as he was about to enter the thick brush. It was an experience I will remember for a long time: he’s a very large and representative Black Bear!)

or maybe

A Tolmie star-tulip.
Tolmie star-tulip

You decide.

May 6, 2007

Bear tree

Yesterday I paid a visit to a place I’ve know about for many years and visit every summer. It’s at a prominent location right beside an old trail in the high country where it passes through a thick stand of firs and cedars. It’s a “bear tree”.

Bear tree

It doesn’t look like much unless you know just what you’re looking for. For the resident male Black Bear in the area, it’s his signpost, advertising his residency and displaying his size. On this tree, about 7 feet from the ground are vertical scratches made by his claws. They are a easier to see in the following close-up. Sap has covered the older marks, but there’s a couple of fresh ones, made this spring. On my tip-toes I could barely reach the top of the highest marks.

Bear tree scratches

I first noticed this particular tree a dozen years ago, and each year I have seen new scratches. I doubt that the bear who made the scratches I first saw is still around, but his successor has certainly taken over where he left off, and continues to mark his territory.

This is part of his range in the TeePee/Spring Creek roadless area in the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana:

TeePee roadless area

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