Montana Outdoors

April 25, 2019

Today’s wildflower finds

This afternoon it seemed to me that I ought to check the area of West Swamp Creek (about 20 miles to the southwest of my home). Sure enough, there were several species blooming there in profusion and I was glad that I paid attention to my hunch.

Small White Violet

Small White Violet ~ Viola macloskeyi

Both the white and yellow violets are growing right in the water of a small spring fed stream, which makes photographing them a rather wet and messy endeavor, but that’s alright because it is now warm!

Pioneer Violet

Pioneer Violet ~ Viola glabella

Pioneer Violet and Alpine Springbeauty

Alpine Springbeauty

Alpine Springbeauty ~ Claytonia megarhiza

Glacier Lily

Glacier Lily ~ Erythronium grandiflorum

Shooting Star

Shooting Star ~ Dodecatheon pulchellum

Small Bluebells

Small Bluebells ~ Mertensia longiflora

Slender Phlox

Slender Phlox ~ Microsteris gracilis

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April 23, 2019

Finally!

Spring has finally come to this part of western Montana and the first wildflowers are now starting to bloom. Everything here is about a month late this year.

Woodland Star

Woodland Star ~ Lithophragma glabrum

Sagebrush Buttercup

Sagebrush Buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

White Trillium

White Trillium ~ Trillium ovatum

Yellow Glacier Lily

Yellow Glacier Lily ~ Erythronium grandiflorum

July 25, 2018

Pipsissewa

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , , — montucky @ 7:52 pm

Pipsissewa

Pipsissewa

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Pisissewa, Prince-of-Pine ~ chimaphilia umbellata

Blooming in July and August, Pipsissewa flowers are in clusters of 3 to 10 at the top of its stem, but the flowers always face down toward the earth. It is common across most of the northern US and Canada, but because the flowers always face down I suspect they are often overlooked.

July 6, 2018

A new one for me

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:43 pm

This tiny flower is a new one for me. I know I must have seen it out of the corner of my eye hundreds of times but it’s so small that I just didn’t look really closely at it. The little cluster of blossoms could easily hide behind a small pea, and it seems to like to grow beneath taller plants. This is another “mustache in the dirt” shot.

Enchanter's Nightshade

Enchanter's Nightshade

Enchanter’s Nightshade ~ circaea alpina

July 5, 2018

Still catching up – 3

Group 3 of additional 2018 wildflowers blooming in May & June:

large mountain monkey-flower

Large Mountain Monkey-flower ~ erythranthe tilingii

Grand Collomia, Large-flower Mountain-trumpet

Large-flower Mountain-trumpet ~ collomia grandiflora

Pyramid Spirea

Pyramid Spirea ~ spiraea pyramidata

Mock-orange

Mock-orange ~ philadelphus lewisii

Silky Lupine

Silky Lupine ~ lupinus sericeus

Birch-leaved Spirea

Birch-leaved Spirea ~ spiraea betulifolia

Bluebell of Scotland

Bluebell of Scotland ~ campanula rotundifolia

Orange Honeysuckle

Orange Honeysuckle ~ lonicera ciliosa

Kinnikinnik

Kinnikinnik ~ arctostaphylos uva-ursi

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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