Montana Outdoors

May 5, 2018


Filed under: Teepee-Spring Creek roadless area, Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 3:50 pm

Fairy Slipper, Calypso Orchid

Fairy Slipper, Calypso Orchid

Fairyslipper, Calypso orchid ~ Calypso bulbosa

This little orchid called “Fairyslipper” or sometimes “Calypso Orchid” is the first to bloom of the dozen or so wild orchids native to this area. It is named after Calypso, a beautiful little sea nymph and the daughter of the god Atlas who was found by Ulysses when he was wrecked on the island of Ogygia in Homer’s Odessey. The name means “concealment” and I think it is an apt name for this flower. They have not been plentiful this year and these two are the only nice specimens that I’ve encountered so far. These two are growing at about 3,600 feet in elevation along the Munson Creek trail (USFS trail 372) in the Teepee-Spring Creek roadless area.


June 24, 2017

Think cool!

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Two miles up the Spring Creek trail on a hot summer day. Crystal clear, ice cold water cascading down a deep canyon under the canopy of tall, old-growth cedars…

May 16, 2017

The trail and the stream

Filed under: Teepee-Spring Creek roadless area — Tags: — montucky @ 6:29 pm

The Spring Creek Trail welcomes a hiker into a rather crowded pine and fir forest, then enters a cedar canyon through which the creek cascades. Following are a few photos of both.

Spring Creek Trail

Spring Creek Trail

Spring Creek Trail

Spring Creek Trail

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

May 15, 2017

Violets along the trail

Violets have appeared along the Spring Creek Trail (USFS trail 370 into the TeePee/Spring Creek roadless area).

Early Blue Violet

Early Blue Violet

Early Blue Violet ~ Viola adunca

October 30, 2016

KooKooSint trail

KooKooSint Ridge

The KooKooSint trail (USFS trail 445) starts about a mile north of the junction of the Thompson River road and Montana Highway 200 and makes its way up to the top of the western end of KooKooSint Ridge. In about two miles of hiking through eleven switchbacks on the primitive, rocky and rugged foot trail you climb about 2,000 feet to the ridge top from which this photo was taken looking to the east over the Clark Fork of the Columbia River. Somewhere near this point was where the Copper King fire started this past summer.

October 25, 2016

Inside the Copper King fire area ~ Part 3

After leaving the Big Hole Lookout, we hiked due west on the Bay State Creek trail (USFS trail 1268). The first two photos were taken of the trail in the first mile west of the lookout through what is still virgin timber that remains after the fire. The third was perhaps another half mile just before encountering the burn area of the fire where it crossed the ridge on its way north. There must have been a lot of retardant dropped along that edge of the fire, first noticeable when I saw my boot tracks turn red as they pressed the snow down into some of the remaining retardant.

Copper King fire 33

Copper King fire 34

Copper King fire 35

On one of the days in the early part of the fire the weather produced a very strong south wind that pushed the fire to the north across the ridge. Before seeing the area I had thought that we would encounter a huge burned area extending far to the west. Instead, there was a swath of no more than about a quarter of a mile wide that must have looked like a huge blow torch when he fire burned through. That wind may well have saved the lookout and a lot of devastation to the east of it because it must have pushed the fire through that swath so fast that it burned practically nothing on either side until it went over the ridge, sparing the forest on either side. The transition from untouched forest to completely burned timber was an area of only perhaps 30 yards. The next 7 photos were taken within that area.

Copper King fire 36

Copper King fire 37

Copper King fire 38

Copper King fire 39

Copper King fire 40

Copper King fire 41

Copper King fire 42

I took many more pictures as we walked through the burn, but they all looked the same. One last step in the severe part of the burn, then about ten more and suddenly we were in completely untouched timber again. The last two photos show the short transition from the burned area back to virgin forest to the west of it. At that point we had just enough time remaining to hike back to the trail head before dark. I still hope to be able to make one more trip up there before the deep snow comes just to hike a couple more miles to the west and see what the fire may have done that far west.

Copper King fire 43

Copper King fire 44

Older Posts »

Blog at