Montana Outdoors

July 8, 2017

Avoiding the heat

There is a heat wave covering this part of Montana at present, with daytime temperatures up into the low 100’s, very hot for here, and so hiking has become an activity for early in the mornings. Today, my choice was the lower part of Munson Creek which is only a 10 mile drive from home and always a pleasant place to go.

Today Ocean Spray shrubbery lined the beginning of the trail, a pleasant way to enter the world of the forest above.

Munson Creek trail

Just up the hill a short distance from the creek crossing a stand of Wild Bergamot was in full bloom.

Wild Bergamot

Wild Bergamot ~ Monarda fistulosa

At intervals along the next mile of trail I found the three phases of life of the Brown-eyed Susan or Blanket flower.

Brown-eyed Susan, Blanket Flower

Brown-eyed Susan, Blanket Flower

Brown-eyed Susan, Blanket Flower

Brown-eyed Susan, Blanket Flower ~Gaillardia aristata

Near my chosen turn around point, a little side trail leading to the creek again welcomed me with a doorway of Ocean Spray.

Munson Creek trail

The creek was running cold and clear.

Munson Creek

Nearly always on a hike, near the turn around point the thought occurs to me, “Since I’m already here, I might as well go…”, which always ends up with seeing something interesting and nearly always with a lot of physical exertion. This time I followed an elk trail which led down to the stream and a pretty little cascade.

Munson Creek

The short side trip also provided a glimpse of a flower with which (to my surprise) I was not familiar, a Common Tarweed,

Common Tarweed

Common Tarweed ~ Madia gracilis

the seed head of another common summer plant, a Yellow Salsify,

Yellow Salisfy seed

and a pretty setting of the blossoms on a tall stalk of grass that I would not have seen had I not taken the short side trip.

Grass in bloom

All in all, a cool and pleasant morning walk before the heat of the day set in!

June 29, 2017

From the Black Mountain ATV trail 763:

Filed under: Montana — Tags: , , — montucky @ 10:42 pm

Today a friend and I rode the Black Mountain ATV trail 763 in the Kootenai National Forest of western Montana that climbs a very steep ridge above the east slope of the Trout Creek drainage. It was a very tough ride (and my first ATV trail ride) and the trail was not ridable as far as we had hoped it would be, but still there were some nice views and I learned a whole lot about riding an ATV in rough country.

Black Mountain trail 763

Black Mountain trail 763

The mountains at the horizon are the Bitterroots along the Montana/Idaho border.

Black Mountain trail 763

The body of water is the Noxon Rapids Dam on the Clark Fork River

Black Mountain trail 763

Black Mountain trail 763

June 24, 2017

Think cool!

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Two miles up the Spring Creek trail on a hot summer day. Crystal clear, ice cold water cascading down a deep canyon under the canopy of tall, old-growth cedars…

Today’s favorite

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , , — montucky @ 1:19 pm

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot ~ Corallorhiza maculata

February 4, 2017

Mission Mountains

Filed under: Mission Mountains, Winter — Tags: , — montucky @ 10:09 am

Mission Mountains

The Mission Mountain range runs north and south for about 30 miles through western Montana. Most of it is in the 74,000 acre Mission Mountains Wilderness Area. McDonald Peak is the highest point in the range at 9,280 feet, not especially high, but an awesome sight from the low valleys. (This photo was taken from an altitude of about 2600 feet along the lower Flathead River, about 25 miles away.)

January 13, 2017

Winter scene on the Clark Fork River

Filed under: Winter — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:23 pm

Clark Fork River

There have been many sub-zero nights in the last couple weeks and the water is very cold. There are a few ice cakes floating on this part of the river, but there is a large ice dam further up stream that is keeping them to a minimum for the moment.

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