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.
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
Linking to Outdoor Wednesday