Montana Outdoors

April 5, 2015

A Lily for Easter

Filed under: Spring, Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 7:07 pm

This was in full bloom today (after a night time temperature of 20°F), a week earlier than I’ve ever seen before, but just in time for Easter. Happy Easter, everyone!

Yellow Glacier Lily

Yellow Glacier Lily ~ Erythronium grandiflorum

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April 4, 2015

Fading away

A couple of days ago a friend and I hiked part of an old trail, probably for the last time; the Ashley Creek trail 454. It was created sometime in the 1930s, probably by the Civilian Conservation Corps by the looks of its construction, but apparently hasn’t been tended to for several years and although the Forest Service still shows it on their maps, it is going back to its earlier natural state. I am fearful that it is but one of many that the Forest Service will keep alive only on paper, probably in an attempt to show a larger than actual trail inventory as their department steadily morphs into another hopelessly incompetent and ineffectual bureaucracy. Following are some photos from along the trail.

Ashley Creek trail 454

The old trail sign still exists as it nears the century mark.

Ashley Creek trail 454

Ashley Creek trail 454

Ashley Creek trail 454

Ashley Creek is the water supply for a small Montana town.

Ashley Creek trail 454

Ashley Creek trail 454

Ashley Creek trail 454

Ashley Creek trail 454

Ashley Creek trail 454

It was a very pleasant surprise to see two species of wildflowers in bloom in a sunny spot on the mountainside along the trail, a thousand feet above the trail head. Upon perusing my photo library, I found that this is the earliest bloom for either of them that I’ve encountered by about two weeks. Who’d-a-thunk-it!

Small Bluebells, Long-flowered Lungwort, Trumpet Bluebells ~ Mertensia longiflora

Small Bluebells, Long-flowered Lungwort, Trumpet Bluebells ~ Mertensia longiflora

Small Bluebells, Long-flowered Lungwort, Trumpet Bluebells ~ Mertensia longiflora

Early blue violet, Viola adunca

Early blue violet ~ Viola adunca

Ashley Creek trail 454

Ashley Creek trail 454

Ashley Creek trail 454

It’s sad to lose another such treasure from our early days.

March 30, 2015

A two photo day

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 7:09 pm

Yellow Bell ~ Fritillaria pudica

Yellow Bell ~ Fritillaria pudica

Yellow Bell ~ Fritillaria pudica

March 16, 2015

The blossoms of the willows

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 9:32 pm

It rained here all of yesterday and I wanted to photograph the willows which are just starting to bloom but while the soft light was wonderful for taking pictures, the rain wasn’t. I tried by holding an umbrella with one hand, a hiking staff serving as a monopod with another hand and the third hand (!/?) working the camera. (And, to make it more interesting, what I was trying to shoot was too high for me approach closely, forcing the use of a 70 – 300mm lens to shoot from a distance of about 5 feet.) So when today turned up dry, I re-shot yesterday’s photos again with a real tripod and I am posting a few of them. (The last photo is one from yesterday’s batch with poor focus, but I still rather liked it.)

Pussy Willow ~ Catkins

Pussy Willow ~ Catkins

Pussy Willow ~ Catkins

Pussy Willow ~ Catkins

Pussy Willow ~ Catkins

Umbrella shot ~ Pussy Willow

March 13, 2015

Woodland Star and friends

A few of the tiny wildflowers are beginning to emerge.

Small-flowered Woodland star

Small-flowered Woodland star ~ Lithophragma parviflorum (blossom size about 1/4 in – .64cm)

Spring Draba, Spring Whitlow-grass

Spring Draba, Spring Whitlow-grass ~ Draba Verna (blossom size 1/8 in – .32cm)

February 28, 2015

Mule deer buck ~ B & W conversion

I seldom participate in challenges, but Maurice at i AM Safari invited me to post in the current Black & White challenge and I have a photograph that is so similar in its essence to the one that he posted from half the world away that I simply had to post it.

When I was a kid growing up here in western Montana in the mid 40’s, we lived near the edge of town and about a mile away from our house (within my permissible roaming distance) there was a large section of natural prairie which in the spring was very nicely decorated by a profusion of wildflowers, most notably the state flower of Montana, the Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva). The Bitterroot has always been considered a valuable plant to the native Salish and Kootenai Indian tribes who cooked and ate the roots and large numbers of tribal members came from the nearby Flathead Indian Reservation each spring to camp and harvest roots on that section of prairie. They were very friendly people and were quite pleased to let a little kid like me help them with their harvest, and that became a real highlight for me every spring.

Sadly, that special place has now long been buried under the asphalt , concrete, and brick and mortar of commercial development that some folks call “progress” and Bitterroots have become very scarce. They do still bloom in places on the Reservation though (although not in great numbers), and each June I visit there to see and photograph the flowers.

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia rediviva

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia rediviva

In June of 2011 a couple of miles from where I had been photographing Bitterroots I encountered a beautiful young Mule deer buck and was able to capture one of my favorite photos of that species, and probably the only photo in my entire library that I think looks fairly decent as a black and white conversion: a native mulie, perfectly at home in his natural habitat, wondering who or what I am and if I really belong there too.

Mule deer ~ Odocoileus hemionus

Mule deer ~ Odocoileus hemionus

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