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Showing posts from May, 2013

Salami and Citrus

The snowline has been retreating rapidly up the sides of our nearby mountains.  This morning, temptation got the better of me as I took a hike that I usually save for early June.  When I arrived at the trailhead, it was thirty-seven degrees.  I loaded my pack and hastily grabbed the wrong end of my lunch bag.  Out came the grapefruit.  It hit the ground with a thud and promptly rolled under the car.  I retrieved the errant citrus and dropped it into my pack.

Donning wool gloves, I grabbed the hiking poles and headed up the trail. It would take a couple of hours to hike the five or so miles to the little creek.  The cool temperature would make for comfortable hiking.

Along the way, the alders and maples were starting to leaf, at least at the lower elevations.  The early flowers were also starting to show an added a splash of color to the trailside.  I was surprised to find huckleberries in bloom, some with forming fruit.  It seems too early.  Usually some combination of frost, hail or …


Winter and what passes as spring can be painfully slow and cruel to the angler.  I had anxiously waited for the opportunity to ply some small freestone stream for a trout. The catch?  Would there be any clear water to fish?  Most of our nearby rivers had already blown.  The small creeks likely not far behind.

A short drive would put me in touch with an old friend, a little stream that I'd neglected for so many years.  I stood in this same spot, some thirty plus years ago.  It was the same Saturday in May. The traditional opening day for fishing our small Montana streams.

Up early, I arrived at the stream and found it quite fishable, a pleasant surprise.  Near heaven, it was the most perfect of mornings.  I've said it before.  Give me a fifty degree day, overcast and light mist.  What could be better?

The first pool produced a fish on the first cast.  The next three casts resulted in solid hookups with streamside vegetation.  One tree and two bushes.  Not bad, four casts and …

Lava Lake Hike

Three miles in, and, not surprisingly, three miles back out, Lava Lake serves as what I would consider the first mountain hike of the year.  It's a popular hike with Bozemanites, as the trailhead into the Spanish Peaks is a short drive from town.

The first part of hike is pretty easy and gains relatively little elevation.  The only major creek crossing is via a footbridge over Cascade Creek.  From there it's a steady pull into the lake.

Early season hikes are usually a matter of chasing the snowline up a muddy trail. Yesterday, the first part of the trail was in pretty good shape, mostly dry as far as the bridge.  From there on, snowpack covered parts of the trail.

Not surprisingly, the lake was still frozen.  The ice typically goes off as early as the third week in May or as late as first week in June.  A narrow band of skim ice covered the lake margin.  It should go off soon with the warm weather.

I didn't see any bears, and, quite frankly, didn't expect to on this…