Montana Outdoors

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

November 8, 2008

Along 404

This week the mild weather permitted another trip to trail 404 on the CC Divide. This is a very long trail, perhaps 50 miles in total, maybe more, and I’ve only covered a dozen or so, about three on this trip, which will likely be the last of this year because heavy snow and ice will soon block the road.

Forest Service road 7583 intersects the trail as it crosses the CC Divide. (The road is golden because it is covered with the fallen needles of the Larch trees along its sides.)

F.S. road 7583 to the CC Divide

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Here’s a little preview of USFS trail 404 between Patrick’s Knob on the east end and Penrose Peak about 10 miles to the west.

USFS trail 404

USFS trail 404

USFS trail 404

USFS trail 404

(Note the old blaze marks on the tree at the extreme right of the photo.)

USFS trail 404

USFS trail 404

Upon the arrival of early summer, I plan to take trail 404 to the junction of trail 398 and follow it for another visit to PENROSE PEAK, which is visible in the distance in this photo. Until then, this high country will rest peacefully beneath a deep and warm blanket of snow.

USFS trail 404

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