29 March 2013

Springtime in the Rockies: The Snowshoe Rabbit Moon

Spring is coming to Butte America, my home in the northern Rockies. Weather has been colder than average, we seem to be paying for the very mild winter. Still, it's warm enough to hike on the snow-free hills of the lower Big Hole River (see http://ecorover.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-spring-hike-in-montanas-high-desert.html ), while at the same time the snow base on the hills just north of my home has set up, making for excellent -- and true -- cross-country skiing. The Snowshoe Rabbits (yes, I know, Lepus americanus is a actually a hare) are much more active now and seem to appreciate the endless terrain that is now open to them: 

Given the ability to ski anywhere, trails at The Moulton are merely a suggestion. Still, it was nice to run a "trifecta" one morning on the area's greatest trails--Buzzy, Big Nipper, and Yankee Boy: 

The good base makes for easy travel on Big Flat (aka "Moonlight Flat"), with great views to my little city of Butte and to the Pintler Mountain Range: 

Big Flat is a fun place to skate ski, although I can't keep it up too long on my heavy "back country" Fischer E99s:

A small ridge north of Cabin Meadow has open terrain and a slope just right for my downhill ability. Note the darker green, Douglas-fir ( Pseudotsuga menziesii ) on the upper slope vs. the lighter green, Lodgepole Pine ( Pinus contorta ) on the lower slopes: 

Many of our Lodgepole Pines are dead, killed by the global-warming exacerbated outbreak of Mountain Pine Beetles ( Dendroctonus ponderosae ). Luckily, lodgepoles are prolific and lot of seedlings are sprouting up to replace the lost generation:

Coming off the ridge, I enjoy making a few telemark runs, and find it easy on spring snow compared with the earlier season's deep powder that causes me to flounder: 

This month's full moon, which I like to think of as the "Snowshoe Rabbit Moon," will light up the snowy hills (view from by backyard): 

OK, let's go night skiing. Maybe my last ski of the season, though--the trail back down to the parking lot was super ICY, scraped a season's worth of wax from my skis!:

 Well, time to start trout fishing. Stay posted. Happy Easter!


Sylvia K said...

Ah, memories of my Montana years! Wonderful captures! Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!!

Secret Agent Woman said...

Colder than average here, too, after a mild winter. I heard someone on the radio calling in Marchuarary, because this month was colder than last month!

Judy said...

I am still fighting the exhaustion that has plagued me all winter, but our walks are getting longer. Still slow, but we are out for an hour now..
And I found some green sprouts this morning. I will process and post them shortly!!!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

I enjoyed this post. I think that in our local mountains in S CA the Douglas Fir were hit the hardest by the bark beetles, but not positive about that. Been a long time since I used cross country skis... I liked the pic of your telemark turns!

troutbirder said...

Looks like great fund gliding quietly through the forest. My specialty though was "floundering". I like lets go fishing...:)

Merri said...

as always, thanks for the educational tour!
interesting that the hiking sign is in kilometers, not miles... indicating, perhaps that Montana is miles ahead of the rest of the world. ?
- The Equestrian Vagabond

Janie said...

I love "snowshoe rabbit moon." The perfect name, I think. Looks like you had some great ski days. We've warmed up here in the Utah valleys. Steve will be getting out his fly fishing gear, too.