Sunday, October 1, 2017

My Hiking Journal - Entry 6

Monday, May 22, 2017 - Trout Lake - 7.6 miles out and back

If you've been following my blog, you know that I fell in love with the Calypso Orchid when I first spotted it on a hike on May 9.  So, you can imagine my absolute joy over dozens of these orchids nestled in the moist climate of hillsides along the Trout Lake Trail.
This trail goes up and over Howe Ridge, a glacial moraine formed from melting glaciers that once filled the Lake McDonald basin.  The elevation gain to the top of the ridge is quite challenging, but I was easily distracted by the views and the flowers along the way.

The first 2.5 miles pass through an area heavily burned by the 2003 Robert Fire.  While a fire is often devastating, it has the benefit of opening up vistas otherwise unseen at lower elevations.

I first glimpsed this flower peeking out amidst some shrubs; as I learned later, it is a climbing vine and relies on those shrubs for support.  And the name - what an ideal choice for something so delicate!

Since it was early spring (at this elevation anyway), many flowers were just starting to bloom.  And we had the usual spring suspects such as Trillium.

Upon reaching the summit of Howe Ridge, we were rewarded with a view of Rogers Peak and the Camas Ridge.

And of course, then it's "all downhill from there" to get to Trout Lake, known as especially good moose and grizzly bear habitat.  

Along the way, we crossed over the remains of an avalanche  chute, littered by many trees that had been carried downhill during the winter. 

Avalanche chute
Trees wrapped around another 
tree - left after the snow melted

Once we reached the valley floor, the trail flattened out and we emerged from the woods to the mirror that is Trout Lake.  And in the background?  Nothing less than Heavens Peak.

While Spousal Unit caught and released lake trout, I kept one eye out for grizzlies (we saw a fresh paw print on the trail near the lake) while the other eye focused on flora.
Clockwise from top left: Valerian, Fairy Bells, Blue-eyed Mary, Lake Trout,
Jacob's Ladder, Serviceberry

On the way back, I lingered on the northern hillsides favored by the Calypso Orchids.  How many pictures will my phone hold???  Anyway, lest I lose you to my infatuation, I have included just two more below.  Aren't they exquisite?

We did not see any more Calypso Orchids on our spring hikes - perhaps their growing window is only May.  The good news?  That is only 7 months away ... The weather man has called a Winter Storm Watch in certain areas tomorrow.  Soon enough, the mountains will be sporting their winter coats once again. 

Linking to Mosaic Monday
Linking to Nature Notes
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Linking to Outdoor Wednesday


  1. A winter storm watch!? Those orchids would be lovely to come upon on a hike. I admire your hiking adventures. My niece and her mom just made it to Kalispell from southern California. I'm glad they made it before the storm. Niece will be staying and my sister in law will fly home. Hope you have a good week ahead.

  2. How amazing to see those orchids growing WILD! I know it's a thrill to find things like this when you hike! It's such a surprise! Beautiful photos! WOW!

  3. The orchids and the mountains are amazing! We live in such a beautiful state. Did ya wear your bear bells when you were hiking? And don't forget to carry Bear Spray. Glad you had such a great time. I am expecting my first hard frost tonight. :) Kit

  4. The wild Calypso orchids are simply beautiful how amazing it must have been to see them growing en masse. I so enjoyed taking this hike with you today, glad we didn't see any grizzlies along the way. Winter Watch warnings already, yikes!
    Happy Mosaic Monday.

  5. You were in orchid heaven! Fires are so sad, but they do good things for the forests, I'm told ... new growth and more flora! Beautiful hike -- thanks for taking me along. Happy Monday!

  6. Oh Angie, you could show a whole post with those orchids and I wouldn't be bored with your infatuation! No wonder -- they are exquisite . I love all your other wild flowers too though -- an amazing and beautiful hike. (I rather hope the next seven months go by quickly for you, but that is just me. I imagine that you two love all seasons in your Montana paradise.)

  7. Beautiful place to hike. Lovely flowers.

  8. Hello Angie, what an awesome hike. The view of the wildflowers and mountains are gorgeous. I like the pretty lake too. I have seen a grizzly in Wyoming, I was happy I was in a car at the time. I would not want to meet up with a bear during my hike. Beautiful photos. Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

  9. Angie, What a lovely place to hike. You found some wonderful flowers. The lake is really nice. Thanks for sharing and have a great day! Sylvia D.

  10. Beautiful area Angie and I love to learn more about wildflowers... It has been so hot here...Michelle

  11. The Calypso Orchid is just gorgeous, as are the views of your hike. We have been out wild orchid hunting today. Have a fabulous week, happy travels, and thank you for stopping by my blog last week.

  12. One of my favorite memories of Glacier NP was the multitude of flowers growing there! We did the hike from Logan Pass to Hidden Lake and the boardwalks crossed over thousands of flowers. We were there in August so there were no orchids and I think we missed most of the Bear Grass, but there were so many other flowers


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