Spring Arrives in the Rockies

This past weekend was definitely the start of the Montana spring with sun, rain, and snow…you know, spring in the Bitterroot. The Lee Metcalf NWR was alive with Great Horned Owls hooting and Red-winged Blackbirds carrying on.

First Wildflower of 2017 – Sagebrush Buttercup

Woke up this morning with a vision of a buttercup in the snow. I rushed out to Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, and intensely survey the areas under ponderosa pine. And what did I find? That’s right a Sagebrush Buttercup, and as one of our earliest bloomers, it is generally my first wildflower of the… Read more »

My First Isolation Float Tank Experience

Well, I went for my first float in a float pod at Enlyten Lab in Missoula on the Hip Strip. The experience generated a slew of experiences from boredom to self-realizing exhalation. The float tank itself is a sensory deprivation environment where you receive no input from sight, smell, sound, or sensation. Floating in a… Read more »

Bass Creek Falls Hike – Winter Edition

We did this hike last year, but with considerably less snow. It has really dumped this year in the Bitterroot Mountains, and the Bass Creek drainage is under a blanket of the white stuff. Were we deterred? Oh hell no, Jeff and I made relatively good time to the old log dam where I flew… Read more »

The Trump Control-Alt-Delete on Climate Change

President Trump hit the reset button on government dissemination of climate change information and further research into the issue. The Climate Change page was stripped from whitehouse.gov and the EPA has been ordered to removed all references to global climate change. The government is actually denying science from its own agencies. There has been a… Read more »

Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge – Christmas Bird Count 2016

It was that season again…not the holidays, but the Christmas Bird Count season. Joined by Tom Forwood and Bob Danley at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge. We explored the back areas of the Refuge that are typically closed to the public, and we turned up 56 species through a long day. the highlights included… Read more »

Sweathouse Falls Hike – Winter Edition

Sweathouse Falls has always been my favorite water in the Bitterroot Mountains with its stream falls off a sheer face. Another reason that this hike is among my favorites is its relatively little use (i.e. no people). This time around, Jeff and I hiked to the falls with a fresh layer of powder snow. As… Read more »

Rock Creek and the Welcome Creek Suspension Bridge

The other day, I was wanting to fly the DJI Phantom 4 drone at a new location, so decided on driving 14 miles up Rock Creek (east of Missoula, Montana) to video the Welcome Creek Suspension Bridge. The bridge crosses Rock Creek as a major access to the tiny Welcome Creek Wilderness Area. In fact,… Read more »

1st Day of Winter at Glade Creek, Lolo Pass

The first day of winter and the sunset suggests a slightly longer day than the one before. I flew the DJI Phantom 4 over Glade Creek at Lolo Pass to capture the Seussian play of pillows of deep powder snow and low angle light. Grab the image below to view a 360-degree immersive images.

Wallman Trail – Rattlesnake Recreation Area

Winter hiking offers the bundled hiker the opportunity for solitude and challenge. The solitude comes from the lack of other intrepid souls and the snow dampening any ambient sound. The depth of the snow and unsure footing creates a scenario that can be challenging, especially when breaking trail on a steep slope. So, we took… Read more »

  • Hiking 2016

    Lake Como – Circumambulation

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    Lake Como, not the Italian one either, is nestled in the Rock Creek drainage in the Bitterroot Mountains. While actually a reservoir, Lake Como is nonetheless stunning, and the fact that there is a trail that encircles the entirety of the shoreline and a massive cascade at the west end of the lake makes this… Read more »

  • Hiking 2016

    Weir Hot Springs

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    Weir Hot Springs is the secret that is, well, not much of a secret with the locals folks and, increasingly, travelers. Located along Highway 12 in Idaho roughly 20 miles west of Lowell (known for the terrific Lochsa Lodge), the hot springs are roughly a mile hike along Weir Creek to several pools, although the… Read more »

  • Hiking 2016

    Bear Creek Falls

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    Late autumn hikes afford you the opportunity to capture the timeless nature of things. This is Bear Creek Falls in the Bitterroot Mountains, one of my personal favorite spots that can be reached in an afternoon. The trail follows Bear Creek on the south side as it alternatively cascades over boulders and peaceful sections that… Read more »

  • Hiking 2016

    Flying over Blodgett Canyon in the Bitterroot Mountains

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    Blodgett Canyon cuts deep through the granite of the Bitterroot Mountains in Montana. The walls are nearly vertical, which is why the area is known to climbers. The canyon was carved out by ice age glaciers, which left behind the U-shaped valley and steeply carved granite cliffs. The glacial valley is carved into granitic rocks… Read more »

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    Kayaking on the Bitterroot River

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    It was a hot day, and to escape the heat, we took the kayaks down to the Bitterroot River for a 8 mile float. I brought along the GoPro Hero4 for a little scene capture. The sun shined above us, and below many trouts, whitefish, and other fish scattered from the shadow of the boats.

  • Hiking 2016

    Getting out before the storm: Saint Mary Peak

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    Atop Saint Mary Peak is a fire lookout that has seen the Roaring Lion Fire and hundreds of lightning strikes in the past few weeks. The hike to the top of this peak starts at a lofty 6800 feet, and well-traveled trail gains another 2500 feet to the summit. From the peak, the Bitterroot Mountains… Read more »

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    One Weekend, One Montana

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    A weekend in Montana, is there anything better? We went birding, drank a great beer, took a road ride, rode the WaveRunners, and went for a hike…another great weekend in Montana

  • Hiking 2016

    Hiking along Cache Creek

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    We haven’t spent much time in the mountains to the west of Missoula. I have heard of Cache Creek for some time, so we decided to make the trip this past Sunday. The drive to the trailhead from Lolo is great as you travel west on Highway 12, take the Fish Creek Road from around… Read more »

  • Hiking 2016

    Circumambulation of Clearwater Lake

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    Buddy Jeff and I completed the short hike around Clearwater Lake at the foot of the Swan Range. While not challenging in the slightest, but enjoyable to the max. The total hike is around 3 miles and circles the lake. We heard and saw Common Loon, and many species of dragonfly were about the margin… Read more »

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    Canyon Creek & Lake in the Bitterroot Mountains

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    Difficult, but this hike offers great views of Canyon Falls before reaching Canyon Lake. We arrived late (just before noon), and the parking lot  was already filled. This lot serves both the Canyon Creek Trail and the Blodgett Canyon Overlook trailheads.   The trail starts off easy for the first 3 miles, although it is a rather rocky and… Read more »

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    Camas in Bloom at Packer Meadows

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    Every year during the first week in June, the camas blooms in the meadows of the Rocky Mountains. The dark blue flowers create a carpet that is best viewed from the air. How do we get in the air? Easy with the DJI Phantom.

  • Hiking 2016

    Glen Lake and No Name Lake – Journey through a ghost forest.

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    The trail was littered with downfall (thanks to last winter’s winds and the trail crews have not yet made it here), but the views – man, the views – were beyond worth a little more effort and a few scraps. Hiking partner Jeff set a brisk pace (okay, the bastard nearly killed me), but we crossed into the Selway-Bitterroot… Read more »

  • Hiking, Hiking 2016

    Camas Lake in the Bitterroots

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    One of the greatest aspects of hiking is the opportunity to explore new areas, even places near your home. Camas Lake is just one of those places…close to home and never explore. That was true until today when Vida and I made the hike to the lake and we were awarded with spectacular views and… Read more »

  • Hiking, Hiking 2016

    Blackfoot River Valley – Simply Amazing

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    Spent an awesome morning hiking and exploring on a private ranch in the Blackfoot River Valley. The landscape was an enticing mixture of rolling hills, ponderosa pine stands, and meadows. Cow elk were everywhere with calves dropping (we did see two little spotted guys). The most unique sight of the day was a western painted… Read more »

  • Hiking 2016

    Morrell Falls – Crowded Beauty

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    Morrell Falls is a quite popular destination for hikers and families looking for an afternoon stroll to one of the most photogenic waterfalls in Montana. Swan Mountains dominate the skyline as you weave through a rather monotonous lodgepole forest for the first mile and half. These eventually gives way to a spruce-fir forest with Morrell Creek… Read more »