Yesterday morning, I was sipping my coffee and working up the motivation to get out of bed. (Nothing bad - just nowhere particular to be, and my window offered a view onto the snow falling heavily outside. So, why get up?) My mind turned to my next blog post, and with amazement I considered that in 16 weeks, it will have been a year since we roamed this trail.
Wow. That means Montana has been home for almost 8 months.
|Starry False Solomon's Seal|
That means we will soon be hiking again (without Traxx or snow shoes)!
That means spring flowers ARE under yesterday's snow, slumbering peacefully.
While we are waiting, let's pretend it's May, and go for a stroll.
In my hiking journal, this trail earned a couple of exclamation points.
For the first time in the 2017 season, we saw bear grass in bloom!
Bear grass is an iconic symbol of Glacier National Park - you will find it on postcards, t-shirts and mugs everywhere. A unique aspect of this plant is that its colonies typically only bloom every five to seven years.
Since you see bear grass every summer, it means that there are always colonies in bloom while others are 'resting.' The plant is found mostly in western North America, from British Columbia south to California and east to Wyoming, in subalpine meadows and coastal mountains. My heart exploded with joy when I saw the ethereal blooms along the path!
Payette Beardtongue - only found in Idaho, Montana
This trail was an easy trek, as it roughly winds along a hillside without gaining much elevation. And the south-facing aspect delivered a proliferation of wildflowers relatively early for the time of year, hence another exclamation point!
Upper left - Western Meadow Rue (male); Upper right - Heartleaf Arnica and Oregon Grape
Lower left - Coreopsis; Lower right - Fernleaf Biscuitroot
We crossed three major streams along the way. Given the spring run-off, we were grateful for bridges over each of them. Here's a video near one of the crossings. Don't you just love the sight and sound of running water?
The last half-mile of the trail, trees became sparser, opening vistas to the valley and even more wildflowers on the rock screes above and below the path. I was beside myself with the variety and quantity of the flowers - I couldn't wait to get home and identify all of them. Man with Hat was very patient as I snapped away with my phone camera. Can you see him waiting for me, ahead at the turn of the trail?
Middle - Yellow Violets; Lower left - Fernleaf Biscuitroot and Chokecherry
Lower right - Thimbleberry
The track continues over Wolf Creek; without a bridge, your choices are to
1) get your boots (and more) wet, 2) take off your boots and slip your way across mossy rocks while withstanding the bone-chilling water, or 3) attempt to use a fallen log for the crossing (only recommended if your last name is Wallenda). Look how fast the water was running here ...
Left - Biscuitroot and Larkspur; Upper right - Wood's Rose
Lower right - Foothill Death Camas
So we followed the spur above Wolf Creek, which led to a rocky outcropping, an ideal location for our picnic lunch. Flattened plants and signs of a recent campfire let us know that someone had taken advantage of the spot for camping. Come May 2018, that might be us!
|Left - Arrowleaf Balsamroot; Right - False Solomon's Seal|