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!


May 11, 2017

Mid May wildflowers

You know it will be a pleasant hike when it starts out like this:

Munson Creek

Munson Creek

Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape ~ Berberis aquifolium

Howell's pussytoes

Howell’s Pussytoes ~ Antennaria howellii


A Dandelion was competing with some undergrowth for light and its stem was nearly two feet long.

Lemonweed, Western Gromwell

Lemonweed, Western Gromwell ~ Lithospermum ruderale

Pink Pacific Trillium

This Pacific Trillium is about at the end of its blooming time and has turned pink.

Field Chickweed

Field Chickweed ~ Cerastium arvense

Heart-leaf Arnica

Heart-leaf Arnica ~ Arnica cordifolia

Heart-leaf Arnica

Arnica bud

July 2, 2016

More from along the Munson Creek trail

Ocean-spray, Creambush

Near the start of the trail, where it first crosses the stream, the vegetation is heavy at the crossing. The flowering shrub to the right of the trail is called “Ocean Spray”.

Ocean-spray, Creambush

Ocean-spray, Creambush ~ Holodiscus discolor


Sometimes a tree will fall across the trail. This one is a couple miles up from the trail head. For perspective, I leaned my hiking staff on the tree: the staff is 62 inches long.

Brown-eyed Susan

Brown-eyed Susan ~ Gaillardia aristata

White Spirea, Shinyleaf Spirea

White Spirea, Shinyleaf Spirea ~ Spiraea lucida

Yellow Salsify seed head

Many flowers have already completed their summer and have already gone to seed. This one is from a Yellow Salsify.

Butterweed seed head

I think this one is from a species of Butterweed.

Common St. Johnswort, Klamath weed

Common St. Johnswort, Klamath weed ~ Hypericum perforatum


Thimbleberry ~ Rubus parviflorus

Scarlet Gillia, Sky Rocket

Scarlet Gillia, Sky Rocket

Scarlet Gillia, Sky Rocket ~ Ipomopsis aggregata

Liverleaf Wintergreen, Pink Pyrola

Liverleaf Wintergreen, Pink Pyrola

Liverleaf Wintergreen, Pink Pyrola

Liverleaf Wintergreen, Pink Pyrola ~ Pyrola asarifolia

Wood's Rose

Wood’s Rose ~ Rosa woodsii

June 29, 2016

First, the purples

This morning before the temperature climbed too far toward its eventual high in the 90’s I hiked a ways (about two and a half miles) up the Munson Creek trail (USFS trail # 372) toward Big Hole Peak. Almost at the start I noticed that the array of wildflower species there was remarkably different from the ones on the Spring Creek trail on which I hiked just two days ago and which is only about 9 miles to the east. Interesting, and not entirely explainable by a steeper trail and a slightly higher elevation.

Today’s post will feature the purples.

Western Mountain Aster

Western Mountain Aster

Western Mountain Aster

Western Mountain Aster ~ Symphyotrichum spathulatum

Nodding Onion

Nodding Onion

As the name “Nodding Onion ~ Allium cernuum” implies, these could be detected by smell before their appearance.

Wild Bergamot

Wild Bergamot ~ Monarda fistulosa, well known for its pleasant smell.

Bluebell-of-Scotland, Harebell

Bluebell-of-Scotland, Harebell

It’s hard to resist a picture of the “Bluebell-of-Scotland, Harebell ~ Campanula rotundifolia” when they pose so nicely.

Pinkfairy, Deerhorn, Ragged Robin

Pinkfairy, Deerhorn, Ragged Robin ~ Clarkia pulchella

December 20, 2015

A little break in the weather

Filed under: Cabinet Mountains, Munson Creek — Tags: , , — montucky @ 9:33 pm

KooKoo Sint Ridge

KooKoo Sint Ridge

KooKoo Sint Ridge

Munson Creek

Munson Creek

Munson Creek ice

Munson Creek ice

Moss icicle

Lichen icicle

Lichen icicle

Munson Creek

Munson Creek in winter

December 13, 2015

Munson Creek waiting for winter

The mountains are in the Coeur d’Alene Mountain range, across the Clark Fork River from Munson Creek which flows out of the Cabinet Mountains.




The white color on the overhanging branches is not frost, but lichens which seem to be doing well from the moisture and unseasonally warm weather.




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