Quick afternoon Blue Mountain Lookout jaunt

For those of us that live in western Montana, we are extremely fortunate to have so many great hiking destinations in such close proximity to our homes. Blue Mountain stands over Missoula, and on top of its forested slopes is a little-used fire lookout. The hike to the summit is a rather quick 1.9 miles… Read more »

Hike to Glen Lake (with extension to No Name Lake)

Through a forest of gray spires, the hike to Glen Lake offered us the immense vistas of the Bitterroot Mountains. I have also enjoyed the Glen Lake hike as it is relatively easy and a cruise. The biggest plus is the short additional hike to No Name Lake, a small, shallow pond that sits in… Read more »

Evening hike along Bass Creek

O! Bass Creek, how I love thee? Is that flowery enough? But seriously, I love hiking the Bass Creek drainage with its proximity to my home and the vistas that abound on this trail. On this evening, I was joined by my two favorite hiking partners, Vida and Jeff. They are my favorites because they graciously… Read more »

Hopping along Big Creek, Bitterroot Mountains

Feeling a little tired and sick, but needing some outside time, Jeff and me decided to hike to pleasantly inclined Big Creek trail. Following the, well, big creek, the sweeps under and through western red cedar, western larch, and ponderosa pine as the stream creates a din of white noise that is occasionally broken by the… Read more »

Scooting up Skookum Butte

It has been 2 years since I have made the short hike to the historic lookout atop Skookum Butte. This time, Vida joined me, well, she rather tolerated me as my hiking speed was limited to a crawl due to a cause of bronchitis and asthma (together in some kind of oxygen-deprived stew of disease)…. Read more »

Camas Lake in the Bitterroots

Hiking into Camas Lake is one of the most enjoyable hikes in the Bitterroot Mountains. The nearly 3 miles to the first lake features some great stream crossings under a dense canopy. The trail switchbacks up a slope that has massive slabs of granite. Reaching the lake, we immediately noticed numerous trout jumping at a… Read more »

Cruising through the Ninemile Valley

Vida and I decided to take a quick cruise through the Ninemile Valley (located west of Missoula) to hike the Grand Menard Discovery Trail (actually more of a stroll) and fly the DJI Phantom 4 over a few of the picturesque meadows of the valley. The meadows were covered with common camas, meadow buttercup, and… Read more »

Chaffin Butte – Is It a Summit???

Chaffin Butte or the “C” Hill stands above Corvallis and is accessed via an easement through private property. The flanks of the hill are covered with big sagebrush and scattered stunted ponderosa pine. The soils are rocky and dry, and the plant life can be likened to those communities found in the Big Hole Valley… Read more »

Awesome Spring Hike – Bear Creek Falls

Taking full advantage of the terrific spring weather on Saturday, we hiked to and beyond Bear Creek Falls on the Bitterroots. Only a short and relatively easy 1.5 miles from the trailhead, Bear Creek Falls is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. I have made the trip to this… Read more »

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.

  • Featured

    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 »

  • Hiking 2016

    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 »

  • Flowers

    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 »

  • Flowers, Hiking 2016

    Chaffin Butte

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    Sometimes the most magical places are in the back yard and in plain sight. Chaffin Butte (the “C” hill above Corvallis) is just such a place. This short, steep trail leads through sagebrush to the top of Chaffin Butte with panoramic views of the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains. The trail quickly drops down from the… Read more »

  • Birding

    Morning spent in the blind

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    Managed to get out to Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge for a little birding and photography. Spending most of my time in one of two photo blinds where a number of waterfowl swam by at close range. Walking around the Wildlife Viewing Area, loads of California Quail scurried about and a broken top snag was… Read more »

  • Flowers, Hiking

    Calypso Rain

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    I’ve always love to walk to the rain. Everything becomes slow, and yet vibrant at the same time. Everything becomes a contradiction. There’s silence, yet sound surrounds. There are no people, but I’m not lonely.

  • Birding

    Birding – Easy Like Sunday Morning

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    Birding on a warm, lazy Sunday morning in April is like visiting with old friends. These friends are returning from journeys, both short and epic. The landscape of the Montana is being filled with color and sounds as the migrants return. The return coincides with a explosion of life that tracks with increases daylight and… Read more »

  • Mountian Biking

    Buttercup Loop on Blue Mountain

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    Made this great loop around the lower reaches of Blue Mountain for a great mountain bike ride that featured 2 climbs and a good portion of single track. A big plus was that hardly anyone else was out on the trails…I might be a bit greedy on that one.

  • Hiking 2016

    Mount Jumbo from Lincoln Hills

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    Vida and I shared on the best early season hikes around Missoula, the short, steep ascent to the top of Mount Jumbo. The temperature soared into the upper 60s as we departed from the Lincoln Hills trailhead, which sits below the Saddle. At the saddle, the wildflowers were just starting to pop with Sagebrush buttercup… Read more »