01 April 2011

Skywatch Friday: Spring Hike

Yes, it's springtime in southwest Montana. That means it's below freezing at night, above freezing during the day, and with skies that fluctuate from stormy gray to blinding blue several times over the course of the day. Here's a moment of stormy gray from a recent hike in the hills along the Big Hole River (old telegraph pole, note the wooden insulators below the cross arms):

It was a great hike and we saw two big herds of elk, a few bighorn sheep, antelope, and mule deer. Only these two mule deer people were close enough for a photograph:

There are some genuine signs of spring, too, such as these bitterroot rosettes:

Friend Dave Carter and I brought the dogs along for this hike in mostly open, snow-free country. The hills here are riddled with dangerous mines and a lot of collapsing shafts like this one in the distance over Dave's head:

If you fall in, the state can always claim, "Don't say we didn't warn you:"

We cut over the top of the ridge on our way back to the truck, encountering a little snow in the trees along the top. This is new, sheets of wire mesh bolted into a steep rockface, probably to protect the home on private property below us from a tumbling boulder:

This is a "shoulder season:" good snowfree hiking in the hills along the riverbottoms, but there's still good cross-country skiing on the hills above town:

And it's about time to wade into a local river for some early spring troutfishing. Next week?


Janie said...

Trout fishing sounds good but the river water is going to be frigid.
Nice to see snow free hiking and the bitterroots coming along. We're snow free to about 7500 feet now. The mountains have 150% snowpack, so we won't have hiking or riding up there until late June. Maybe we should break out the skis again.

Sylvia K said...

Ah, does bring back memories of my years in Montana -- as your posts frequently do! Great captures! Think you'll be ready for fishing next week? Have a wonderful weekend!!


Bill S. said...

Great Post. Spring is always fun to explore after the snow leaves.

Should Fish More said...

I was just looking at the Big Hole flow site; it's risen 400 cfs in two days, and still going up. I expect the Jeff is going up also. I drove by 'notellum' creek last week, still lots of snow.

Anonymous said...

I like the looks of that area. Well, al except for the mines. I would worry about the dogs and other animals falling in.

We had a nor'easter yesterday, but are back to nice weather today. Spring just can't make up her mind!

secret agent woman said...

Wow. And here I was complaining about rain!

tsduff said...

It is good to visit your blog again. I miss Rollie - but your ever beautiful pictures refresh my soul.

troutbirder said...

I'm over my cold and ready to go fishing. April here is all catch and release so other than weekends it will be just a few old timers out and about... :)

Serline said...

Wow, if this is spring, brrrrr my teeth are chattering just imagining fall and winter ;-P

Al said...

That looks like fun hiking. I know what you mean about the crazy springtime weather, it's like that here on the front range of Colorado in the spring too.