16 June 2008

Butte Montana: Spring Hiking & Trout Fishing

For an outdoors people, Butte Montana is at the hub of choices. Jan Munday, RTD, and I wanted to get out for a hike. The Moulton ski trails were still covered with 6 inches of snow from last week's storm, so we drove down to the hills of the lower Big Hole River, to one of my favorite rocky ridges:

We hiked up a coulee that goes up to a grassy saddle on the ridge. We saw some big horned sheep ewes (too far for my little camera) and jumped several mule deer does that have their young fawns hidden among the shade of junipers and mountain mahogany:

Though close to the river, this is desert country, with lots of prickly pear and some kind of little barrel-shaped cacti:

And other signs of dry country, such as buffalo plum locoweed (Astralagus crassicarpus):

But there are some lush swales, too, with grasses and wildflowers such as larkspur:

Lots of lichens grow on the rocky outcrops and boulders. They produce infinitely varied and beautiful patterns:

And a wide range of colors:

Looks (and smells!) like a mountain lion stashed a deer carcass or two under this small rock overhang:

RTD high-graded a choice bone out of it, and cracked it open to enjoy the very ripe marrow:

Enough of hiking in dry country, RTD & I headed to the upper Big Hole River to fish a favorite mountain creek:

The water has been high, and it must have been terribly -- indeed, impossibly -- difficult for this young antelope fawn to swim the creek:

Death comes in many forms: the talons of an eagle, the crunch of a wolf or coyote, a hunter's bullet, or an angler's fly:

RTD and I enjoyed the warm afternoon sun, ate our lunch alongside a snowbank near a patch of Douglass fir, cleaned & packed our fresh trout in snow, and headed home for supper.

1 comment:

troutbirder said...

I do envy the terrific venues you have for being outdoors. Very interesting