Montana Outdoors

March 2, 2018

Well, maybe better late than never…

After one of my last hikes of last summer into the Patrick’s Knob Roadless area on the top part os USFS trail 205 and the east end of USFS trail 404 I put these photos into a pending file and forgot them. It might be interesting to note that these plants are presently resting under about eight feet of snow.

USFS trail 205

Along USFS trail 205

USFS trail 404

American Vetch

American Vetch ~ Vicia americana

Parship-flower Buckwheat

Parship-flower Buckwheat ~ Eriogonum heracleoides

Douglas' buckwheat

Douglas’ buckwheat ~ Eriogonum douglasii

Pearly Everlasting

Pearly Everlasting ~ Anaphalis margaritacea

Yellow Clover

Yellow Clover ~ Trifolium aureum

Pearly Everlasting

Pearly Everlasting ~ Anaphalis margaritacea

Fireweed

Fireweed

Fireweed ~ Chamaenerion angustifolium

Birch-leaved Spirea

Birch-leaved Spirea ~ Spirea betulifolia

Mountain Ash

Mountain Ash ~ Sorbus scopulina

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August 7, 2014

Along Trail 345

This old trail has been de-commissioned by the Forest Service but it still exists and I walk along parts of it when I can. Something of interest seems always to be there.

Trail 345

Fireweed

Fireweed ~ Epilobium angustifolium

Fireweed garden

Thimbleberries

Thimbleberries (Rubus parviflorus) are ripening

Thimbleberry blossoms

Thimbleberry blossoms (From my archives)

Pinedrops

Pinedrops ~ Pterospora andromrdea

Pinedrops

Pinedrops are saprophytic perennials, without chlorophyl or green leaves. You have to look closely at them to tell if they are newly blossoming or dried from the previous year.

Northern Green Bog Orchid

Northern Green Bog Orchid ~ Platanthera huronensis

Northern Green Bog Orchid

Bog orchids can easily be overlooked.

Pine White on Goldenrod

Pine white butterfly ~ Neophasia menapia

July 28, 2013

’tis the season for huckleberries

About this time in late summer one of the delicacies of the northwest begins to ripen and nearly everyone in these parts take to the mountains to harvest a few huckleberries. Black Huckleberry, Vaccinium membranaceum, is perhaps the most common in this area but I read somewhere that the native Indians were able to recognize 21 different species of them . I can recognize only three, but what the heck… they’re all good! I did a brief search and found an advertised price of $69 for a gallon (about 5 pounds).

Today I ventured out to pick a few and succeeded in getting enough for my wife to make one of the most delicious pies that anyone has ever tasted. And, at today’s going price, the berries I brought back at least paid for my gas.

The location:

Today I chose a section of USFS trail 404 (the CC Divide trail) just inside the southern border of the Patrick’s Knob – North Cutoff roadless area south of the town of Plains Montana. Trail 404 proceeds for many miles along the crest of a high ridge that roughly separates the Lower Clark Fork River from the St Regis River

From Trail 404

From Trail 404

The trail:

Trail 404

Trail 404

Trail 404

Trail 404

The star of the show:

Huckleberries

Huckleberry

The competition: 

When attempting to acquire about anything that is desirable, there will be competition. Today the largest competitor was probably back in a thicket somewhere sleeping, but others were out and about.

Dusky grouse

Adult male Dusky grouse, Dendragapus obscurus.

Dusky grouse

Dusky grouse, this summer’s chick.

Dusky grouse

And always there are flowers:

Fireweed

Fireweed

Harebell, Bluebell of Scotland

Harebell, Bluebell of Scotland

Fireweed

August 16, 2012

Little Thompson Peak (2)

In the area burned by a major fire such as the one that engulfed the Thompson Peaks, one of the first signs of the natural regeneration process is the appearance of fireweed (Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium or Epilobium angustofolium). I will post photos of some of the burned area of the Chippy Creek fire next, but to start I think it’s fitting to celebrate this beautiful and very beneficial plant.

Wikipedia describes it quite well when it states: ” the name Fireweed derives from the species’ abundance as a coloniser on burnt sites after forest fires. Its tendency to quickly colonize open areas with little competition, such as sites of forest fires and forest clearings, makes it a clear example of a pioneer species. Plants grow and flower as long as there is open space and plenty of light, as trees and brush grow larger the plants die out, but the seeds remain viable in the soil seed bank for many years, when a new fire or other disturbance occurs that opens up the ground to light again the seeds germinate. Some areas with heavy seed counts in the soil, after burning, can be covered with pure dense stands of this species and when in flower the landscape is turned into fields of color.”

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

FireFireweed, Chamerion angustifoliumweed

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

August 15, 2011

Wildflowers of summer (10)

Northern Bedstraw

Northern Bedstraw ~ Galium boreale – Along Little Thompson River

Brown-eyed Susan

Brown-eyed Susan ~ Gaillardia aristata – Along Little Thompson River

Red Clover

Red Clover ~ Trifolium pratense – Along Little Thompson River

Fireweed

Fireweed ~ Epilobium angustifolium

Ocean Spray, Creambush

Ocean Spray, Creambush ~ Holodiscus discolor

Suksdorf's Indian paintbrush

Suksdorf’s Indian paintbrush ~ Castilleja suksdorfii – Near Vermilion Pass

August 29, 2008

Fireweed 2

I can’t let summer pass without featuring Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium. It’s a beautiful and prolific flower and because it is one of the first plants to start the regeneration of the natural surroundings after a forest fire, it always signifies to me the hope for and the expectation of something better and more beautiful to come.

With the exception of the last photo, which was taken along trail 345 to Bighole Peak, these photos were taken near the start of the trail into the Reservation Divide roadless area.

Fireweed

Fireweed

Fireweed

Fireweed

7395 August 2008 Fireweed closeup
Fireweed

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