Montana Outdoors

August 24, 2010

Cube Iron (4)

After leaving trail 1512 it’s less than half a mile to the summit, but a very steep half mile. On this trip, as on so many, once above the trees my camera is very busy as I try to capture the views in all directions and as the light changes across the landscape, beauty abounds.

It’s difficult to decide which photos best represent the true feel of this country, and I will probably post too many. The photos in this set were taken along perhaps three hundred yards of the trail after it cleared the tree line: at times like this I can imagine how a butterfly must feel upon emerging from its cocoon to see that the world is now so much different from what it was just moments ago.

The mountains begin to reveal more of themselves now and that creates an incredible feeling, though all the while I know that there will be even more to be seen upon the ascent to yet higher levels. But for now…

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

Scene from Cube Iron Mountain

August 22, 2010

Cube Iron (3)

This set of photos was taken as I ascended the part of the trail that appeared to continue directly up to the peak. It did not. It made a sudden turn to the left and after a series of steep switchbacks, reached Cube Iron Pass, still below the summit of the mountain where it intersected with trail 1512. In the next post we will follow trail 1512 a hundred yards or so and then turn onto a small, unmarked and unmaintained trail that leads to the top.

There will likely not be a post tomorrow because I will be leaving in a few minutes on another trek into the Cube Iron-Silcox roadless area four or five miles to the south of Cube Iron Mountain, into the area of Goat lakes and Mount Silcox where I understand there is some very pretty scenery too. (And huckleberries!) Spending a rainy night tonight somewhere near the trail head should help with getting an early start on the trail in the morning. (Tomorrow’s forecast is “sunny”. They can be right once, can’t they?)

Cube Iron Mountain

Cube Iron Mountain

Arrowleaf buckwheatArrowleaf Buckwheat, Eriogonum compositum

Cube Iron Mountain

Cube Iron Mountain

Cube Iron Mountain

Cube Iron Mountain

Cube Iron Mountain

Cube Iron Mountain

Cube Iron Mountain

Junction of trails 460 & 1512

August 20, 2010

Cube Iron (2)

About a mile and a half up trail 460, the trail touches Four Lakes Creek, not far from its source in the Four Lakes Basin. At this point the stream is still quite small and flows down through a narrow little stream bed that is just crammed with vegetation,

Four Lakes Creek

including a wildflower that I encountered here for the very first time. It is growing right in the creek or on the very edge of it in stands of several dozen plants up to two feet tall.

Pink Monkeyflower, (Mimulus lewisii)Pink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisii

USFS Trail 460USFS Trail 460

This section of trail has just been completely reworked by the Forest Service trail crews.

USFS Trail 460USFS trail 460

False Hellebore dominates this particular area right beside the trail.

False Hellebore (Veratrum viride)False Hellebore, Veratrum viride

Its blossoms seem to be completely green in color!

False Hellebore (Veratrum viride)False Hellebore, Veratrum viride

Somewhere between two and three miles from the trail head (I don’t agree with the Forest Service on their assessment of this distance) Cube Iron Mountain appears in the distance about 800 feet higher up.

Cube Iron MountainCube Iron Mountain

The trail does begin to climb straight toward the peak (it can be barely seen in the foreground, center) then turns left, climbs to Cube Iron Pass and then follows the ridge the rest of the way to the top. I will post a series of photos taken from various stages of that trail as I continue the ascent.

Cube Iron MountainCube Iron Mountain

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