Montana Outdoors

June 19, 2012

In a cedar forest (2)

Filed under: Spring Creek, Wildflowers — Tags: , , — montucky @ 9:29 pm

Spotted Coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata, Orchid family

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot

About a mile from the trail head at Spring Creek, these little orchids are just beginning to bloom. They are widespread and common at low to mid elevations in moist and wet climates in most of the U.S. and Canada, although I suspect they are often overlooked. They are listed as “of special concern”, “threatened” or “endangered” in 7 states.

Their genus Corallorhiza (the Coralroots) are saprophytic, deriving their nutriments from decaying organic material and do not have the chlorophyll used by most plants for food production. As with most saprophytes, they cannot be cultivated and because of their dependency on decaying matter, they may be abundant in one part of the forest one year and completely absent the next.

June 18, 2012

In a cedar forest

Filed under: Spring Creek — Tags: , — montucky @ 9:06 pm

Devil's Club

Beneath the cedars

Beneath the cedars

Beneath the cedars

The very large leaves in these photos belong to a plant aptly called “Devil’s Club”, Oplopanax horridus; note the large sharp spines. It grows up to 9 feet tall and the leaves get up to 14 inches across. A flower bud is visible in the first photo: it will turn into white blossoms followed by bright red fruit. I will try to remember to follow up with photos of both later in the summer. I found there is a reason for the species name horridus after having accidentally making contact with some of the spines.

June 17, 2012

The trail ahead

Filed under: Spring Creek — Tags: — montucky @ 11:28 pm

Spring Creek trail

The Spring Creek trail (USFS trail 370) this afternoon, June 17, 2012 just before the rain.

May 12, 2012

Spring Creek

Here in the southeastern part of the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana a small stream flows down from the TeePee – Spring Creek Roadless Area at the end of KooKooSint Ridge below Big Hole Peak for about ten miles through tall old-growth cedars in a deep, steep and narrow canyon to where, in spring, it enters the Clark Fork River. In late summer, fall and winter, the stream disappears below ground several miles before it reaches the river.

This time of year however the stream is swollen with snow-melt and instead of simply flowing, it plunges, roaring, through several miles of steep cascades on its downward journey.

Here are a series of photos that were taken on the tenth of May of this year from the trail (USFS Trail 370) in the lower several miles of the canyon. The very first one though is from April of 2010 before the annual spring run-off when the stream flow was at a much lower level and was flowing at a much slower rate. It is posted by way of comparison.

I usually refrain from posting so many photos in a single post, but this is an attempt to provide the viewer with a visual feel for what it is like to walk the trail through the canyon.

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

June 27, 2010

Catching up ~ from May 28

For one who loves the outdoors, summer time in Montana provides a full schedule; so much to do and see and so many remote places in which to just be. Somehow I’ve gotten far behind in posting stuff and now will try to play catch up, knowing that as I do, things will backlog even further. Oh well…

A month ago on a very cloudy day it seemed good to walk in the high country, in the clouds and the rain. Here are a few photos spread through that ten miles of outdoor bliss.

For those who are familiar with this area, the hike was along the old logging road (Forest Service Road 5587) after the gate at the trail head to Big Hole Lookout, to the intersection with the Spring Creek Trail (Trail # 370) then along it to it’s intersection with the Munson Creek trail (Trail # 372) and then back out. I have promised myself that sometime soon I will leave a car at the Munson Creek trail head and then complete the hike from Road 5587 all of the way down Munson Creek. It will be a full day.

Road 5587Soft on the eyes, quiet underfoot

Road 5587The mystery of the canyons below

Trail 372, Munson CreekThis trail sign is very old, but in pristine condition; no vandalism 5 miles from motorized access.

From Road 5587Flirting with the ridgetops

In the cloudsPeering through a window in the clouds

April 9, 2010

Spring? What Spring!

Spring Creek trail

Along Spring Creek trail

Spring Creek trail

Spring Creek trail

On the Spring Creek trail today. As cold as it looks? No, much colder!

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