07 April 2009

Springtime Hike in the Northern Rockies: Along the Big Hole River

Sunday, Dave Carter and I took a spring hike on a favorite ridge along Montana's Big Hole River, just a half-hour south of Butte America.

We started in along the railroad tracks and took a route up the "back" side:

The river was noisy with the reciprocating honks of mating pairs of the Canada geese people:

We put out a few white-tailed deer from the river bottom (and of course 50 or 60 mulies along the ridge):

RolyTheDog loves deer, or at least deer bones:

Watch out for those treacherous cave ins from the tunnels of the old phosphate mine:

Lichens--you just gotta "like 'em:"

Ah, the first caterpillar of spring:

As we started up the ridge, a sentinental big horn sheep ewe watched us from the ridge (fuzzy photo by holding my little camera to the eyepiece of my spotting scope):

While her kids fed nearby:

As we topped the ridge to the "front" (highway) side, there was knee-deep snow. JackTheDog (Dave's new dog) soon found a lovely mule deer carcass:

Which he generously shared with RTD:

A deer mouse, too, appeared to have been making trips to the carcass:

I was so inspired by my hike with Dave and the dogs that I made a few hours to fish the Jefferson River canyon (of which the Big Hole is a tributary):

While fishing, I was treated to the sight of an osprey, a golden eagle, and two bald eagles. Here is a pic of one of the balds:

The fishing was a little slow, with one rainbow(catch & release required), and one brown trout (for supper):

Welcome spring!

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