06 July 2009

Back Home Again: Pintler Campout, Pine Marten, Wildflowers

A good night's sleep upon our return from Portland, Maine, and Mrs ER & I were ready to revisit Montana. In part, this was to escape the fireworks madness of Butte America where all residents above the age of six are required to set off inordinate quantities of firecrackers, roman candles, sky rockets, and other bombs in a weeklong orgy of Independence Day celebration.

We packed the tent and headed to a nearby campground at the edge of the Pintler Wilderness. Turn here:

Common Paintbrush (Castelleja miniata) lit up the roadside:

Interspersed within, the occasional -- and very whimsical -- Elephanthead (Pedicularis groenlandica):

At the campground, we were welcomed by lupines no mortal landscaper could improve (cf. Solomon's altar of unhewn stone):

After setting up camp, we took a short hike. As I waded into an elderberry bush with MollyTheDog for this photo (Sambucus sp):

MTD spooked a creature from nearby brush that we first thought to be a squirrel. But no, it was a pine marten!:

One of the most insatiably curious creatures on the planet--if you stay still and appear non-threatening (and perhaps make a few squirrel calls--they eat pine squirrels), they simply must get another look at you (thought they seldom hold still for a photo):

On next day's hike up into the wilderness, we were greeted by many early summer wildflowers, including--

A meadow of Western Groundsel (Senecio integrrimus), which attracted innumerable butterflies. I was able to stalk a few for decent photos:

Trapper's Tea (Ledum glandulosum; a soothing tonic, but the alkaloids can be poisonous):

Rosy Pussytoes (Antennaria microphylla):

Heartleaf Arnica (Arnica cordifolia; flowers make an excellent antibiotic salve):

Pygmy Bitterroot (Lewisia pygmaea):

Aster (Aster sp):

Beautiful but lethal Mountain Death Camas (Zigaenus elegans; Indians would sometimes accidentally dig them along with tasty Blue Camas):

Western Meadow Rue (Thalictum occidentale):

And the cottony blossoms of a Willow (Salix sp -- maybe lasiandra?):

After a few days of quietude, hordes of mosquitoes, and an ear-splitting mountain thunderstorm or two, we were ready for the tailend of the July 4th holiday in Butte, Montana: bring on the skyrockets, oh little children of the 'hood.


Max said...

Thanks for the highcountry wildflowers! It has been ages since I saw the Pintlers in early summer.

Did you hike to upper Seymore? IT is one of my favorite lakes.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Beautiful area for camping, ER. And those wildflowers are gorgeous!!!!

Have a great day/weekend.

Janie said...

One night of fireworks is plenty, so you were wise to retreat to the wilderness beforehand!
Your wildflower photos are beautiful.