Montana Outdoors

January 22, 2018


For about a week now the weather here has been mild for this time of year (nights in the upper 20’s and days just above freezing) and on a hunch because there was a brief period of sunshine today, I made the short but difficult hike up to a favorite winter place I call Buttercup Ridge; a little earlier than in previous years.

The snow was knee deep in places on the climb up to the ridge, but when I reached the ridge top I caught a slight glimpse of yellow in a place between snow drifts and sure enough the first wild flower of 2018 was in full bloom.

Sagebrush buttercup

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

It had a couple friends quite close too, lichens already in their fruiting stage:

Cup lichen

Cup lichen ~ Cladonia pleurota


The next two photos show the ridge top itself. The first shows the view to the south across the Clark Fork River and in the second the little flower is barely visible in the lower left.

Buttercup Ridge

Buttercup Ridge

My timing was good. On the return I caught a shot of Baldy Mountain and the deep snow at its summit

Baldy Mountain

and one of a snow storm sweeping in across some foot hills from the Coeur d’Alene Mountains to the southwest.

January snow storm approaching

The incredibly hardy little flower will be covered in several inches of new snow by morning.

January 26, 2016

“Flowers” in January

Filed under: Lichens, Winter — Tags: , , — montucky @ 9:59 pm

The brightest things in the forest today were cup lichens ~ Cladonia pleurota. They are tiny but their fruit is bright red.

Cladonia pleurota ~ lichen

Cladonia pleurota ~ lichen

Cladonia pleurota

Cladonia pleurota ~ lichen

Cladonia pleurota

Cladonia pleurota

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