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.

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.

  • Hikes 2015

    Hike to Trapper Peak Summit

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    Trapper Peak dominates the skyline of the south portion of the Bitterroot Vally with its three jagged peaks. The tallest of these stands 10,157 feet above sea level, and ranks as the highest peak in the Bitterroot Range. This particular route is largely off-trail as it follows a ridge above Baker Lake to the summit.

  • Hikes 2015, Thoughts

    Hiking Lee Ridge near Lolo Pass

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    Hiking the little used Lee Ridge Trail 295 starting at Lolo Pass at Packer’s Meadows is faint and steep, and the views and huckleberries are sweet.

  • Hikes 2015

    Hiking to Carlton Ridge

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    The hike to Carlton Ridge usually leads to the summit of Lolo Peak, but alas, I didn’t have enough time for that today. So, I headed out with Olivia in tow and made Carlton Ridge with it’s rich views and subalpine larch. The hike is relatively steady with a moderate incline throughout the uphill. Once… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015

    Skookum Butte Lookout

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    Skookum Butte sits on the Montana/Idaho border at 7215 feet. An ancient lookout sits atop of the knob of pillow granite. The Skookum Butte Lookout is one of only three remaining L-5 log/frame ground houses remaining. The wood has aged to barnwood gray, and the entire structure seems to be in danger of collapse at some… Read more »

  • Mountian Biking

    North Fork of Howard Creek, Montana

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    The trail along the North Fork of Howard Creek difficult with deep ruts and patches of loose gravel.  The downhill was bumpy and jerky…and fast!

  • Hikes 2015, Hiking

    Summiting Saint Mary Peak

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    Saint Mary Peak is one of the 9,000 feet plus peaks in the Bitterroot Range. The is a well-worn trail to the summit gains nearly 2500 feet in 3.6 miles. Jeff and I attacked this trail for our Tuesday afternoon hike, and after much effort, we reached the summit where we were treated to views… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015, Hiking

    Ch-paa-qn Peak and the Full Moon

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    Tackled Ch-paa-qn Peak (pronounced “cha-pock-qwin”) near Missoula in the late afternoon, and man, what a hike! Formerly known as Squaw Peak, the summit takes a bit of effort but man is it worth it! The views of Mission and Bitterroot Ranges are outstanding, and you can even look down on the National Bison Range near Moiese…. Read more »

  • Hikes 2015, Hiking

    Mill Creek Falls, Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness

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    Ah…Tuesday morning and time for hike with good buddy Jeff. Today’s target trail is the Mill Creek to a 60 foot waterfall with an excellent swimming hole at its base (no swimming today, weenie mode). This trail is an absolute gem with a continuous rock wall on the north side of the drainage, and open… Read more »

  • Travel

    Elk Meadows Sunday Drive

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    Vida and I took a spin to Elk Meadows, Packer Meadows, and, finally, Lolo Pass…a great Sunday drive. The Wildflowers  

  • Hikes 2015, Hiking

    Kootenai Creek on a cool morning

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    Kootenai Creek is probably the most used trail in the northern portion of the Bitterroot Range, but if you wake up 0 dark thirty, you can beat the crowd (okay, crowd is an over-statement, 12 people). This morning I had the place to myself, save for Olivia at my heels. Ground is covered quickly on… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015, Hiking

    Blue Mountain Lookout above Missoula

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    Clouds rolled overhead while they release precious few drops of rain. Strengthening light reveal Ruffed Grouse and Snowshoe Hares foraging on the slopes of Blue Mountain, which stands over Missoula. This is my first time hiking the final portion of the Blue Mountain National Recreation Trail (or Trail 3.01 for the locals). The trail switchbacks… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015, Hiking

    Sweathouse Creek

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    Sweathouse Creek is one of the less visited and most picturesque drainages along the east side of the Bitterroot Range. The trail becomes strewn with boulders and downed timber on the upper reaches of the route. These difficulties pale in comparison to the views of both of the Sweathouse Creek waterfalls. The Lower Sweathouse Falls… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015, Hiking

    Lolo Trail at Howard Creek

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    I had past by this trailhead a hundred times, and for no good reason. This morning I was feeling historical, and hiking this trail as it sidehills above Lolo Creek brings to mind the Corps of Discovery, the Nez Perce, and LouLou Rence. Now, they probably didn’t use this trail, but it is fulfilling to… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015, Hiking

    Glen Lake Hike or the 5.4 Mile Hurdles

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    The trail that leads to Glen Lake weaves mostly through the remains of the Gash Creek Fire, which fiercely burned through the lodgepole pines. The fire left almost every tree standing as a ghostly spire, and many of those have started to fall. The fallen timber is turning the trail into a 5.4 mile series… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015, Hiking

    Hiking along Saint Mary Peak

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    On Saturday morning, I went for a quick hike on the Saint Mary Peak Lookout trail. I left the house relatively earlier in the AM, and had the trail to myself the whole morning. I truly enjoy the solitude, save for the company of Hermit Thrushes.