On Saturday, the group will hike up Trapper Peak, led by botanist Wayne Philips. The trail climbs 3,800 feet over four miles to the 10,157-foot summit. Missoula residents can meet at the southwest corner of the Wal-Mart at 4000 U.S. Highway 93 at 7 a.m. to carpool to the trailhead, while Bitterroot residents can meet at Sam’s Spade, 111 S. Fourth St., in Hamilton at 8 a.m. For more information, call Kelly at 258-5439 or Wayne at 453-0648.
At 6:30 p.m. Monday, botanist will lead a hike and examine the phenology of Mount Sentinel. Krebs will point out which flowers and leaves appear first. Participants can meet at the picnic table east of the U.S. Forest Service research lab near the corner of Beckwith and Madeline avenues on the south side of the University of Montana.
You’ve no doubt seen a lot of mentions of the blue camas in Packer Meadows, off U.S. Highway 12 near Lolo Pass, on this blog of late, but no photos.
Unfortunately, the bloom passes fairly fast, making it difficult to use as one of my weekly Wildflower Walks. For example, the Lolo Pass Visitor Center said on its Facebook page on Wednesday, June 27, that the flowers were about at their peak. By Saturday, June 30 – when the photo above was taken – the blossoms were already withering, and soon they’ll be gone.
So, the takeaway here is if you want to see the camas bloom at its best, pay attention to the visitor center’s reports – the blue view is worth it!
A reminder, though: Roads in the area of the visitor center along U.S. Highway 12 at the Montana-Idaho border to the meadows will be closed Saturday morning, however, to provide for the safety of runners in the Mountain to Meadow Half Marathon and 5K Fun Run. More details are in this earlier post. If you’re in the race, I might see you there!
Here are a few other Missoula area wildflower sighting for you weekend outings:
Western Montana Wildflower Walk for June 28: Pink Clarkia at Mount Jumbo! ht.ly/bTCfe
The camas bloom has begun at Packer Meadows off U.S. Highway 12 at Lolo Pass, but temporary road closures will limit access to the blue fields on Saturday morning.
The Mountain to Meadow Half Marathon and 5K Fun Run takes place in the area of Packer Meadows, and to ensure the safety of participants, forest roads No. 373 (Packer Meadows Road), No. 5671 (Packer Ridge Road) and No. 5670 (Packer Creek Road) will be closed to motorized use from 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. PDT.
If you’re interested in running, more information about the half marathon and fun run is available at www.runlolopass.org. The deadline to register is Wednesday.
The word this morning is now is the time to see the camas in Packer Meadows at Lolo Pass, off U.S. Highway 12 on the Montana-Idaho border! The large field of blue flowers is about 75 percent in bloom, according to the Lolo Pass Visitor Center’s Facebook page. Updates are also available by phone at (208) 942-1234.
Here are some more wildflower reports from western Montana for your weekend viewing:
A lot of bitterroots blooming on the North Hills ridge, and blanketflowers, too!
Features: This trail climbs into the Bitterroot Mountains, passing a nice pond – albeit created by a human-made log dam – and waterfalls on the way to Bass Lake.
Flowers: The primary flower in bloom right now is Albert’s penstemon, Penstemon albertinus. These funnel-shaped, blue to purple flowers have two joined upper petals and three joined lower petals. They bloom from 6- to 12-inch stalks with slender leaves. Albert’s penstemon often hybridizes with Wilcox’s penstemon, which grows taller. We also saw a little bit of arnica, spotted coralroot and roundleaf alumroot. (“Wildflowers of Montana,” by Donald Anthony Schiemann)
Description: The Bass Creek trailhead is located about 4 1/4 miles south of Florence on U.S. Highway 93, then 2 3/4 miles west on Bass Creek Road. For the first 1 3/4 miles, the path climbs west through the forest along the north bank of the creek, passing several spots that provide access to the water. Look for Albert’s penstemon along the uphill side of the trail. The trail levels out as it passes an old log dam with a pond behind it; the valley widens here and provides views of the surrounding mountains. The trail then enters thicker forest, passes into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and arrives at a junction. Turn north and switchback up the side of the canyon. After passing a rocky open area with views down the valley, you’ll reach a nice cascade at about 3 3/4 miles. Last weekend, we turned around just short of these falls due to heavy rain. The trail also continues about another 3 1/4 miles to Bass Lake.
Features: This is a three-mile round-trip hike with a small amount of elevation gain to a waterfall in the Bitterroot Mountains near Victor.
Flowers: When we were there Sunday, fairy slipper orchids (Calypso bulbosa) were blooming well. These small pinkish-brown flowers are 2 to 6 inches tall with three pointed pink sepals and two similar petals protruding from the top. A third petal forms a larger lip with purple stripes inside and white or yellow hairs on the upper edge. We also saw fairy bells, triliums and glacier lilies. (“Wildflowers of Montana,” by Donald Anthony Schiemann.)
Description: To reach the Bear Creek trailhead, drive 3.3 miles south of Victor on U.S. Highway 93, then 2.3 miles west on Bear Creek Road, 0.8 miles north on Red Crow Road and 3.2 miles west on Red Crow and Bear Creek roads. The trail sets out west through the trees along the south side of the creek, then quickly crosses a couple of boulder fields. Look for fairy slipper orchids as it returns to the shade of the forest, with the sound of the creek not far away. After 1 1/2 miles, the trail exits the trees at a large open cliff, with the creek running fast past its base. From the cliff, one or two small waterfalls can be seen, depending on the runoff. This is a good place to relax and explore, and the trail continues higher into the drainage and splits. Retrace the route back to the trailhead.