On Saturday I hiked on the trail to Sacajawea Peak in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains. It is not as scenic as some of our trails here, staying mostly inside the forest, but a pleasant one none-the-less and some of the Western Larch were in full color. Grouse were plentiful, there was a fair amount of bear scat on the trail and some very fresh wolf scat, probably deposited earlier in the morning (bear scat from the previous day was frozen hard, but the wolf scat was still very soft – if you’re interested in such things). The trail (USFS trail 385) is steep in places and goes through some fairly wild country: I hiked only a little over four miles of it which gave me a climb of 1700 feet and six hours on a remote trail with no one else anywhere around, which is always a good way to spend a day.
Western larch can grow much taller than the ones in these photos, the largest as tall as 200 feet. It is also fascinating to consider the longevity of these trees which can live as long as 700 years. It is likely that there are larch still living that were 100 feet tall when Columbus first landed on the shores of America.
Despite low clouds and a constant drizzle today, my son and I spent the morning in the Cabinets just below the snow line. Even under the dull gray skies the golden needles of the western larch stood out against the green of the firs, pines, hemlocks and cedars.