Sun Gods and Tobacco Roots

Alpine sunflower, Tobacco Root Mountains, Montana

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 us all!  


  1. Amazing photo, well-suited for this weather. Makes me wish I was there and then, filled with sunflower madness, climbing to the beauty of a season filled with light. So, thanks for that!

    1. Looking out at the snow-capped peaks this afternoon, it's hard to imagine warmth and sunshine and exposed rock and perfect little alpine flowers. But it exists in this photo, and it can be repeated again when the season of light as you call it returns, in (give or take) six months or so.

      Best regards Walt. Unlike your recent venture to Seneca Lake, it will be a while before we can cast a fly into an unfrozen lake here in the Rockies.

  2. Lester
    Absolute beautiful area, and the sunflower adds the finishing touch---looking forward to some great trout fishing post from you in 2015---by the way glad to back with you guys after being away from the blog scene for a while. Thanks for sharing

    1. Glad to see you back Bill. As I mentioned on your recent post, I was worried that something might have happened to you.

      Keep on posting and I'll try to do the same. I'm sure that there will be a few fish in our future.

  3. Les: I just read a couple of old posts: Flashback King and Where I Go. I love that antique pic of you holding the King Salmon. Hope you have that framed and hanging somewhere at home (and don't dust it), as it is a classic. Makes me think of Hemmingway, Wulff, Brooks, Haig-Brown...In the Where I Go post: beautiful Alaskan stream, great Steelhead shot, and like the style of essay/prose.

    1. Bob, thanks for taking the time to go poking around in the archives. Much as in your blog, I'd like to think that there is some worthwhile stuff lurking back there. If only we could recycle some of those old posts and bring them new life.

      As for the King salmon photo, of course I've got a framed, no, make that two framed versions. One sits atop my fly tying bench. Believe me, it goes un-dusted. I too like the sepia tone, but it's something that I try not to overdo.

      And, what can I say? Southeast Alaska. Beam me up.


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