09 August 2010

August Wildflowers, Trout Fishing, and a bit of history

Depending on how you look at it, I've been blessed or cursed with a bull moose hunting permit for this fall. A tag of a lifetime, perhaps, but one friend told me that "Second prize is TWO moose tags." I'm a bit ambivalent about the whole thing, since I rather like moose on a personal level and much of the moose venison I've had over the years has not been very tasty when compared with elk or even mule deer. At any rate, Dave & I loaded the dogs into the LandRover and took a drive to scout the unfamiliar, eastern side of my tag area. Not a bad road in this pic, but where it climbed from the lower meadows to the ridge it was wet, deeply rutted, and treacherous--low range, first gear; never even thought of stopping for a photo there!:

The area had mostly dry ridges forested with lodgepole pine and narrow stream bottoms without many willow, tag alder, or other lush moose habitat. It was a pleasant drive nonetheless, with some striking scenes like this lovely bed of Mountain Arnica (Arnica latifolia):

We stopped to explore a lush spring-fed meadow of Mountain Bluebell (Mertensia ciliata) and Arrowleaf Groundsel (Senecio triangulus):

Looking more closely, we found Big-pod Mariposa Lily (Calochortus eurycarpus), aptly named as the "butterfly flower":

Also Yellow Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus):

Sticky Geranium (Geranium viscosissimum):

And Rosy Everlasting (Antennaria microphylla):

Though not a striking plant, tiny flowers of Narrow-leafed Collomia (Collomia linearis) also dotted the grassy coolness:

Climbing from the wet, north-east facing sidehill, we crossed the large park (in the West, a "park" is a big open area surrounded by forest) at the northern end of Mount Fleecer:

Out on the dry sagebrush prairie, we spotted Orange Globemallow (Sphaeralcea munroana):

No moose and very little moose sign sighted, but all in all a good day in the hills. As we ate a mid-morning lunch, we pondered the meditative question learned from Dennis Haley and Jack Goebel, "What are the poor people doing today?"

Trout Fishing
I'm not getting away for my usual weekly summer backpacking trips (yes, still spending weekends on the kitchen renovation), I do get a kitchen pass to fish once a week. The Big Hole River continues to fish well, especially in my favorite pocket water in the canyon:

While the trout were not running consistently large as they were last week, they were eager for a dry fly. As morning light spilled over the steep ridge, small rainbows and browns began "looking up" (i.e. feeding on the surface):

And soon larger fish came to hand:

My net is often just in the way, but while wading swift, deep water it came in handy for those times when a "shake & release" didn't free the fly:

I experimented a bit, but as usual it was hard to beat a Parachute Adams fly. By the way, when folks ask an angler, "Where'd you catch 'em?," the proper reply is, "Right in the lip, every one of 'em:"

As has become our custom, the morning ended with MollyTheDog performing some stick fetching on our hike upriver to the parking spot:

A Bit of History
Back home in Walkerville, I heard heavy machinery and walked up the street to investigate. New owners of the Mike Brunell house are tearing down the old Brunell homestead that was in their backyard:

A little home of perhaps 600 square feet (plus a basement), it's hard to believe the parents of Mike and Don "Gubby" Brunell (my former neighbors) raised six or more kids there in the early 1900s. The little house was a  testament to the frugality and modesty (and crowded living conditions!) of an earlier time. It hasn't been occupied for decades and was long overdue in being torn down, but I can't let the week pass without remembering this small bit of history:


troutbirder said...

All around interesting. Those mountain flowers are something else. I need to rethink my decade long avoidance of a return to Montana. Birding, flowers and the dry fly. Hmmm.

secret agent woman said...

Love the photos, but kind of sad to see the cabin being demolished!

Arija said...

Your posts are always a delight to me. We seem to like the same things only you are young and can still enjoy doing them, whereas I can only enjoy stirred memories that rise involuntarily as I look at your pictures.
What joy it is to fish in a rippling trout stream and devour the catch grilled on a camp fire.
Thanks for keeping this old biddy happy.

Anonymous said...

I like the neolib approach of apologizing for something because it doesn't fit with the way you talk, but it definitely fits with the way you walk. "I'm not sure I want to kill a cuddly-wuddly moose;" then why did you PAY for and APPLY for a chance to get a tag?

~ Sheepheads said...

Very best of luck on the moose hunt. Congratulations on the tag.

One of these days, I'm going to buy a net. I guess we do have one for the steelhead.

EcoRover said...

Sorry, Anony-mouse, I just don't think the world is a black & white place. And I'm not sure why you consider moose "cuddly" as in general they are not--talk with anyone who's been treed by an angry cow after getting too close to a calf while fishing in a creek bottom. Applying for the mtn goat/big horn sheep/moose tags is always a good donation to Montana FWP. If I decide not to fill the moose tag, hey, that's one more moose for the wolves to eat ;-)

Should Fish More said...

Fitzgerald said that intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind...and retain the ability to function"

Why oh why is it necessary to jump in and lable someone as 'neolib', or any other crappy term, instead of discussing it rationally?

Nice pics, Pat.

Anonymous said...

Eco, nice on the "mouse" comment, I do have the timidity to not state my name. Nonetheless, as far as "cuddly," I was attributing that quote to from the tone of your post. Face it, you're very very excited you got a moose tag, DON'T APOLOGIZE for it! Donation to FWP? Give me a break, if you put in for the tag, you want to kill one of those animals. If not, you are just being a jerk by taking away someone else's "once in a lifetime opportunity," and you're not a jerk like that. So go shoot your moose and be excited about it - and if you don't want to eat it, give it to me ; )