Montana Outdoors

April 25, 2019

Today’s wildflower finds

This afternoon it seemed to me that I ought to check the area of West Swamp Creek (about 20 miles to the southwest of my home). Sure enough, there were several species blooming there in profusion and I was glad that I paid attention to my hunch.

Small White Violet

Small White Violet ~ Viola macloskeyi

Both the white and yellow violets are growing right in the water of a small spring fed stream, which makes photographing them a rather wet and messy endeavor, but that’s alright because it is now warm!

Pioneer Violet

Pioneer Violet ~ Viola glabella

Pioneer Violet and Alpine Springbeauty

Alpine Springbeauty

Alpine Springbeauty ~ Claytonia megarhiza

Glacier Lily

Glacier Lily ~ Erythronium grandiflorum

Shooting Star

Shooting Star ~ Dodecatheon pulchellum

Small Bluebells

Small Bluebells ~ Mertensia longiflora

Slender Phlox

Slender Phlox ~ Microsteris gracilis

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May 1, 2018

Bluebells

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 7:11 pm

This time of year, when the bluebells first start to bloom, photographing them is not an activity for the faint of heart. Near here the earliest ones can be found at about the four thousand foot level on the open but nearly vertical slopes along Forest Service road 5587 which takes off from the Weeksville road and provides access to the trail head for Big Hole Peak and Lookout. After digging footholds in the mountainside with your boots so you can climb the slope, you then get into the prone position with your toes dug in to enable you to stay there and take your photos. (A prone position on those slopes leaves you with your chin in the dirt and still only about ten degrees from vertical.) Getting back down is much harder than going up, but assuming you make it without a major injury, it’s worth it to see the first ones in bloom. (And of course, today it was raining.)

Small Bluebells

Small Bluebells

Small Bluebells

Small Bluebells

Small Bluebells ~ Mertensia longiflora

Here’s where these are growing: photo taken from the road overlooking part of the Clark Fork River valley and the upper slopes of Big Hole Peak.

Big Hole country

April 22, 2017

Today’s wildflowers

Canary Violet

Canary Violet ~ Viola praemorsa

Small Bluebells

Small Bluebells ~ Mertensia longiflora

"Heart-leaf

Heart-leaf Springbeauty ~ Claytonia cordifolia

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.

May 6, 2013

Today’s flora & fauna

On today’s walk with the canine member of the family:

Prairie Smoke, Old Man's Whiskers, Purple Avens

Prairie Smoke, Old Man’s Whiskers, Purple Avens, Geum triflorum

Field Chickweed

Field Chickweed, Cerastium arvense

Early blue violet

Early blue violet, Viola adunca

Small Bluebells, Long-flower Bluebells

Long-flower Bluebells, Mertensia longiflora

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

April 14, 2013

Snow-bells

Filed under: Spring, Wildflowers — Tags: , , — montucky @ 7:48 pm

Yesterday in my wanderings I noticed an early blooming bluebell but I had left my camera at home. I thought it might be of interest to post a photo of the flower and another of the place where it is growing and so today The Pointer and I took our walk in that area again, this time with the camera, hoping to find the flower and we did; in the middle of a very nice (and very wet) spring snowstorm.

Weeksville

The bluebell and a whole lot of buttercups live in a sunny spot on this little open ridge just before it slopes down to the stream bottom to the left.

Small Bluebells, Long-flower Bluebells

Small Bluebells, Long-flower Bluebells, Mertensia longiflora

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