Montana Outdoors

December 18, 2011

Thankful for the archives

Trail to Cube Iron

For most of the past month our weather here has been rather dismal, the beauty of the autumn colors having passed and the bright snow of winter not yet in residence. It is a good time to visit the photo archives and reminisce about past journeys and scenes from along the summer trails. This photo is from the USFS trail 460 to Cube Iron Mountain in the Cube Iron – Silcox Roadless area. It was not included in a series that I posted about that trip in August of 2010.

I believe that trails like this are treasures of the American West and I fervently hope that they will always be respected and preserved. The land through which they wind is part of our National Forests and therefore they belong to all of the citizens of our country no matter where they reside and all are welcome to use and enjoy them.

 

 

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September 3, 2010

The flowers of Cube Iron

As I followed trail 460 upward toward Cube Iron Mountain the weather looked as though it might be about to bring a bit of rain and so I focused more on the landscape than on the flora, leaving most of that to be documented on the return trip (I love to photograph wildflowers in the rain anyway). Here are a few photos taken on that return trip of some of the wildflowers still blooming at the higher levels, several of which were new species for me.

DSC_9110Sickletop Lousewort, Pedicularis racemosa

Shrubby penstemonShrubby penstemon

ThistleThistle

northern buckwheat, Eriogonum compositumNorthern buckwheat, Eriogonum compositum

Dwarf Hawksbeard, Vrepis nanaDwarf Hawksbeard, Vrepis nana

Subalpine Daisy, Erigeron peregrinusSubalpine Daisy, Erigeron peregrinus

Unknown water flower

Pink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisiiPink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisii

Pink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisiiPink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisii

Pink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisiiPink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisii

September 1, 2010

Cube Iron (8)

I think I mentioned before that I took a lot of pictures from the top. It was very pleasant to look down at Four Lakes Basin. I didn’t hike into there this trip, but I will next time I go into that area: trail 450 goes right through there on its way north to Cabin Lake and Mt Headley.

Scene from the top of Cube Iron

Four Lakes Basin

Four Lakes Basin

Scene from the top of Cube Iron

Four Lakes Basin

Four Lakes basin

Trail to the sky

full size

August 30, 2010

Cube Iron (7)

At the top

Arriving at the summit of a mountain is always accompanied by a feeling of exhilaration, the fulfillment on an expectation, a sense of accomplishment, a wave of awe at the world that is revealed from there… And then all of those feelings become somewhat bittersweet at the thought that circumstances may well dictate that I may never visit there again. And I take lots of pictures.

Scene from the top of Cube Iron

Scene from the top of Cube Iron

Scene from the top of Cube Iron

Scene from the top of Cube Iron

Scene from the top of Cube Iron

Scene from the top of Cube Iron

Scene from the top of Cube Iron

Scene from the top of Cube Iron

August 28, 2010

Cube Iron (6)

The top part of the trail. These photos were from the last hundred or so yards to the top of the peak. The next to last photo is of the location where the lookout once stood, which is now a site for a helipad (the orange markings). Just a few of the concrete support anchors now remain from the old tower.

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trailLooking back down the trail

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trail

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trailToward the Clark Fork Valley

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trail

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trailA first look at the Four Lakes Basin

HarebellsHarebells on the trail

Top of Cube Iron Mountain Site of the lookout tower built in 1935

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain trailThe first peek over the top

August 25, 2010

Cube Iron (5)

Toward the top of the peak the trail becomes quite steep and therefore the altitude increases rapidly, changing the perspective and bringing more of the distant mountains into view. By the time I reached the peak, the sky became cloudy and the changing light conditions created brand new images. It’s impossible to stop taking pictures. By the time I returned to the trail head I was glad that I was prepared for rain.

In several of these photos you can see a bit of a deep and distant valley. It’s the valley of the Clark Fork of the Columbia River and the nearest highway, Montana Highway 200, runs through there along the river.

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

On Cube Iron Mountain

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