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Showing posts with the label wildflowers

Firehole Morning

Three o'clock in the morning.  Can't sleep.  Start coffee.  Well, since I'm up, might as well go for a Yellowstone.  The drive through the Gallatin Canyon is eventful as regards wildlife. There's deer, loads of elk, a moose runs across the road.  I get to the park before six, vehicle intact.  
Along the Firehole River, it's early morning, the sun is barely up, barely visible through the high hazy clouds.  An ethereal mist hangs in the air, plumes of steam from the geysers that spew forth along the river.  I smell sulphur.  I smell bison, they're everywhere.
I walk the river, no particular destination in mind, I've never been here before.  I play tourist. The geysers and hot water pools are splendid, fascinating.  I snap a few pictures, bend over, stick a pinkie in the water.  Nice and warm.
Bison stream from a patch of open timber.  They mill along the river.  One jumps in, the rest follow.  Steam rises in the background.  It's an iconic Y…

Sun Gods and Tobacco Roots

This photo brings color and cheer on a cold and snowy Montana morning.  It is my favorite photo from 2014.  No fish.  No grip and grin.  Just a pretty little flower and gorgeous mountain scenery.
The yellow bloom is an alpine sunflower (Hymenoxys grandiflora).  Also known as "Sun God", the large blooms were said to absorb sunshine from the rarified air and while taking on the color of the sun. In A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Flowers (Craighead, Craighead and Davis)  it was pointed out that:
 "Compass flower might be a more appropriate name for they do not follow the sun around but continue facing east.  The direction that any large number face is a far better indication of east than moss on a tree as an indication of north."
Now that I think back on it, these little guys were indeed facing east.  Granted, it was a small sample size.
Most importantly, the fact that I was able to hike to the high country pleased me to no end. Hopefully more good days to come for …

Sheep Lake Hike

Nice one today.  Up at four, dawdled 'til 5:30.  Decided that the feet might be up for a hike.

I've been wanting to get a look at Sheep Lake in the Lionshead country for a long time. It's a nice drive along the Madison River to the trailhead near Raynolds Pass. Hit the trail by 7:45 a.m.

Last nights rain left the trailside vegetation pretty drippy.  It wasn't long before I was thoroughly soaked.  My boots squished audibly with each step.  I wouldn't have been any wetter had I hiked naked.  But, the sight of a skinny white guy high stepping it up the trail clad only in hiking boots would likely have traumatized the local wildlife.  Common sense, along with the fact that I haven't yet lost my mind, dictated that the hike continue in sodden clothing.
Seriously though, it's a pretty hike.  There are a few stream crossings.  Several bridges span the creek, so one needn't get wet feet.  The exception is the aforementioned drippy vegetation.
There are a coup…