Montana Outdoors

July 4, 2018

A hike with a climate change.

Yesterday morning I left early for a hike on USFS trail 340 to the top of Mount Baldy, determined to hike no matter what the weather might be (and was prepared for most anything). Near the trail head this Indian Paintbrush was bright with the color of full bloom:

Scarlet Indian Paintbrush

Scarlet Indian Paintbrush ~ castilleja miniata

By about 7:40 where the trail reached the first big switchback and cleared the heavy timber, I stopped to admire the first open view of the valley below. There were clouds overhead but the sky was open and bright blue over the valley and the valley floor was in full sun.

Clark Fork Valley from Mount Baldy

As I sat for a while enjoying the view of the valley and the Bitterroot Mountains about 50 miles to the south I could see heavy clouds rapidly moving in from the south and west and soon the expanse of blue sky was shrinking rapidly, the wind was picking up and the clouds overhead started dripping just a little on this Shrubby Penstemon beside the trail.

Shrubby Penstemon

Shrubby Penstemon ~ penstemon fruticosus

About an hour later as I reached the top, the sky was dark with heavy clouds, my fingers were getting numb from the cold wind and a light snow was falling.

Storm on Mount Baldy

It was time to go back down before the already slippery rocks on the top part of the trail got even more slippery and the clouds closed in completely over the trail. It was a good hike.

There is a moral to this story for those who hike on the higher mountain trails: always be prepared for all kinds of weather, even in summer, because you will probably encounter it. (Tomorrow’s forecast for the valley is a high of 92º.)

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July 26, 2017

A short hike on USFS trail 223 ~ July 11, 2017

Sometimes it’s nice to begin a hike with a pleasant scene.

Clark Fork River

USFS trail 223 starts along the river at an elevation of about 2,400 feet, climbs up and over a small hill then proceeds up the river for another 7 or 8 miles. In their seasons, wildflowers along it are diverse and plentiful. Those included in this post are the late-season ones.

Trail 223

Common Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose (Oenothera villosa): the first one I had seen this year.

Bluebell-of-Scotland

These bluebells are everywhere this time of year and I can seldom pass up a chance to photograph them.

Trail 223

As the trail enters the lower and most dense part of the forest, the color is intense.

three-leaf foamflower

The shade-loving Three-leaf Foamflower ~ Tiarella trifoliata 

Devil's Club

The berries of the Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridus) are just beginning to turn red.

Bluebell-of-Scotland

Bluebell-of-Scotland

I did mention that I love these bluebells, didn’t I?

Slender Hawkweed

Slender Hawkweed

Slender Hawkweed ~ Hieracium triste

Western Blud Clematis

The seed head of the Blue Clematis, (Clematis occidentalis)

Trail 223

Trail 223

I love the steeper parts of this trail: there is a small stream below.

Pearly Everlasting

Another flower which grows at just about all elevations, Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea).

Clasping Twisted-stalk fruit

These are the fruit of the Clasping Twisted-stalk (Streptopus amplexifolius) which is a plant that I have seen in only two locations. It is interesting because the flowers and fruit appear on the underside of the leaves.

White Sweet-clover

White Sweet-clover ~ Melilotus albus

October 26, 2015

Heart Lake (2)

Heart Lake *

Heart Lake

Heart Lake

Heart Lake

Heart Lake

Heart Lake

Heart Lake

Heart Lake

Heart Lake

That day was cold and cloudy, good for hiking but I would have preferred a clear sky for photos.

October 23, 2015

Along the trail

Filed under: Autumn, Bitterroot Mountains, Hiking — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 7:20 am

Along the Heart Lake trail 171

Sometimes a scene just jumps out and begs to be photographed. On the way up the trail I completely missed this group of trees which seem completely out of place in that area, but on the way back the scene appeared like a window into the forest.

October 21, 2013

Sacajawea Peak trail # 385

On Saturday I hiked on the trail to Sacajawea Peak in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains. It is not as scenic as some of our trails here, staying mostly inside the forest, but a pleasant one none-the-less and some of the Western Larch were in full color. Grouse were plentiful, there was a fair amount of bear scat on the trail and some very fresh wolf scat, probably deposited earlier in the morning (bear scat from the previous day was frozen hard, but the wolf scat was still very soft – if you’re interested in such things). The trail (USFS trail 385) is steep in places and goes through some fairly wild country: I hiked only a little over four miles of it which gave me a climb of 1700 feet and six hours on a remote trail with no one else anywhere around, which is always a good way to spend a day.

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

October 10, 2013

Cloud-filtered light

Cloud-filtered light on the trail

Right at the level on the trail where the clouds meet the sun.

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