Montana Outdoors

July 4, 2018

A hike with a climate change.

Yesterday morning I left early for a hike on USFS trail 340 to the top of Mount Baldy, determined to hike no matter what the weather might be (and was prepared for most anything). Near the trail head this Indian Paintbrush was bright with the color of full bloom:

Scarlet Indian Paintbrush

Scarlet Indian Paintbrush ~ castilleja miniata

By about 7:40 where the trail reached the first big switchback and cleared the heavy timber, I stopped to admire the first open view of the valley below. There were clouds overhead but the sky was open and bright blue over the valley and the valley floor was in full sun.

Clark Fork Valley from Mount Baldy

As I sat for a while enjoying the view of the valley and the Bitterroot Mountains about 50 miles to the south I could see heavy clouds rapidly moving in from the south and west and soon the expanse of blue sky was shrinking rapidly, the wind was picking up and the clouds overhead started dripping just a little on this Shrubby Penstemon beside the trail.

Shrubby Penstemon

Shrubby Penstemon ~ penstemon fruticosus

About an hour later as I reached the top, the sky was dark with heavy clouds, my fingers were getting numb from the cold wind and a light snow was falling.

Storm on Mount Baldy

It was time to go back down before the already slippery rocks on the top part of the trail got even more slippery and the clouds closed in completely over the trail. It was a good hike.

There is a moral to this story for those who hike on the higher mountain trails: always be prepared for all kinds of weather, even in summer, because you will probably encounter it. (Tomorrow’s forecast for the valley is a high of 92º.)


September 16, 2016

A new Fall wardrobe…

Even though Fall isn’t officially here yet, the south-facing hillsides of Baldy Mountain are beginning to show off the new season’s colors, making a hike on one of my favorite trails (USFS trail 340 in the Baldy Mountain Roadless Area) an especially pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Baldy Mountain trail 340

Baldy Mountain trail 340

Baldy Mountain trail 340

Baldy Mountain trail 340

Baldy Mountain trail 340

Baldy Mountain trail 340

Fir tree resin/sap

A few drops of sap from a Fir next to the trail.

Baldy Mountain trail 340

Baldy Mountain trail 340

October 29, 2015

Looking forward to winter

From USFS trail 340

Photo taken from inside the clouds on USFS trail 340 on October 9, 2013

July 24, 2014

Backcountry bouquet

Beargrass on trail 340

Today, a cold summer day in the Baldy Mountain Roadless Area

January 11, 2014

Overlooking Corona Divide

Overlooking Corona

from USFS trail 340 in the Baldy Mountain roadless area on October 9, 2013.

November 5, 2013

Winter trail (Baldy Mountain roadless area)

Winter trail

Winter trail

Winter trail

Winter trail

Winter trail

Winter trail

Winter trail

Winter trail

Yes, it was as cold as it looks.

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