A few western Montana wildflower-related events taking place in May escaped my attention in an earlier post:
This Saturday, May 11, Lone Pine State Park near Kalispell will join National Wildflower Week celebrations. Games and crafts are at 1 p.m., a hike is at 1:30 p.m. and a wildflower costume contest with prizes is at 2:30 p.m. The event also serves as the start of the park’s May and June wildflower walks, Saturdays at 11 a.m. The event is free.
The Montana chapter of the Sierra Club also has a few outings in May, starting this Saturday, May 11. At 8 a.m., a women-only hike will take place around Lake Como near Darby. The group will stop for lunch at the falls at the head of the lake. The hike is 7 1/2 miles with minimal elevation gain. Register by contacting trip leader Janet Fiero at (406) 203-2164 or firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 p.m. Friday, May 10.
At 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 15, the Sierra Club will hike to the top of Mount Sentinel, looping via the Hellgate Canyon and “M” trails. Distance is 6 1/2 miles with 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Register by Tuesday, May 14, by emailing Mary Owens at email@example.com.
And on Monday, May 20, the Sierra Club will hike the North Loop Trail at Mount Jumbo at 9 a.m. The 5-mile trip will gain about 800 feet of elevation. Register by 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19, by emailing Maria Ibarbia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m always up for trying out new photo or video apps on my iPhone, especially exploring their usefulness in the field, where conditions are less controlled.
Recently, I came across one called FocusTwist that seemed interesting for close-up wildflower photography. Basically, the app takes several photos of a subject and combines them into a single, re-focusable image. Viewers can then click on different parts of the image to adjust. Try it above in the image of trillium flowers in the Bitterroot Valley’s Mill Creek.
I tried the app several times before actually posting an image, mostly because I was trying to get the end result just right. It can be tricky if there’s even a slight breeze, and I probably wouldn’t even think about it for wildlife photos.
In the end, I’m satisfied with it and foresee using it in the future.
From wildflower hikes to events on birds and bull trout, there’s a lot going on in May around western Montana! Here’s a sampling of wildflower and other nature-related events:
At 6:30 p.m. today – Thursday, May 2 – botanist Michael Krebs will lead a hike on Mount Sentinel with the Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society. The group will meet at the picnic table at the southeast corner of the University of Montana Campus, near the intersection of Beckwith and Madeline avenues, and hike the Evans Street Trail to the fire road across the face of the mountain. Along the way, they’ll document spring wildflowers for Project Budburst. Call 728-0189 for more information.
Also today, May 2, the Montana Natural History Center will hold a seminar titled “Design an All-Season Garden with Native Shrubs” with Marilyn Marler from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the center, 120 Hickory St. Learn how to design a garden for color, screening and wildlife habitat. The event is free for MNHC members and there’s a $5 suggested donation for others.
Starting in May and running through June, the Flathead Chapter of MNPS will hold Tuesday morning wildflower walks on Bigfork’s Wild Mile Corridor. Anne Morley and Neal Brown will lead the easy walks along the Old Swan River Road starting at 10 a.m. Meet in front of Showthyme on Electric Avenue in Bigfork. Call Morley at 886-2242 or Brown at 837-5018 for more information.
An International Migratory Bird Day celebration will be held at the National Bison Range on Saturday, May 11. There will be videos, trivia, walks and a Migration Challenge. Call (406) 644-2211, Ext. 207, to register and get meeting place and time. The day also marks the opening of Red Sleep Mountain Drive for the summer season, weather and road conditions permitting. The 19-mile, one-way gravel road climbs to the high point of the range, traveling through grassland and forest. The refuge and scenic drives open at 6:30 a.m., and the visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Start Red Sleep Mountain Drive by 6 p.m. to complete the trip before the refuge closes as dark. Bird Day events are free but fees, starting at $5 for private vehicles, are charged for the scenic drives.
MNHC and the Endangered Species Coalition will hold a native plant sale and bull trout lecture to celebrate Endangered Species Day on Thursday, May 16. The plant sale is 5:30 to 7 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Fort Missoula Native Plant Gardens. The bull trout lecture, by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Wade Fredenberg is at 7 p.m. Both events, at the center at 120 Hickory St., are free.
Also on Saturday, May 18, the Glacier Institute will hold a course titled “Glacier’s Harlequins” with John Ashley starting at 8:30 a.m. Learn about and observe harlequin ducks in Glacier National Park as they feed and court during breeding season. There will be a slideshow, discussion and walk along upper McDonald Creek near Going-to-the-Sun Road. The course will end about 4 p.m. Meet at the Glacier Park Field Camp Meeting Hall just inside the West Glacier entrance to the park. Transportation will be provided during the course. Cost is $65.
MNPS’ Clark Fork Chapter will have a Dyer’s Woad pull on Tuesday, May 21, starting at 6:30 p.m. Dyer’s Woad is a noxious weed in the mustard family. Meet at the main Mount Sentinel trailhead on the east side of the UM campus. Call 544-7189 for more information.
MNHC will hold a Naturalist Field Day titled “ID and Ecology of Local Grasses” with botanist Peter Lesica from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 25. The group will learn about grasses in the classroom, then visit several sites in the field. Call 327-0405 to register. Cost is $70 for MNHC members and $80 for others. Some scholarships are available. Meet at the center, 120 Hickory St. Transportation to field sites is provided.
Also Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26, is the Loon and Fish Festival based in Seeley Lake. Organized by Alpine Artisans, the festival features art, films, wildlife exhibits, loon viewing and a wildflower hike to Holland Falls. Events are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The glacier lilies are unfurling their golden petals in Pattee Canyon and patches of purple pasqueflowers can be found there, too – here are this week’s wildflower notes from around Missoula. I haven’t been out to Blue Mountain in a while – maybe this weekend!
“Wings of Life” explores the relationship between birds, bees, butterflies, bats and flowers. The Disneynature film by Louis Schwatzberg is narrated by Meryl Streep and shows at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Roxy Theatre, 718 S. Higgins Ave.
For more information about the festival see the Entertainer section of the Friday, April 26, Missoulian.
Glacier National Park is going fee-free next week for National Park Week!
Entry fees to Glacier and other National Park Service sites will be waived Monday, April 22, through Friday, April 26, for the annual celebration is coordinated by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation.
Going-to-the-Sun Road is open to motorized traffic from the West Entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge and from the St. Mary Entrance to Rising Sun. Hiker/biker access is available for 5 1/2 miles from the Lake McDonald Gate to Avalanche while a road crew is working 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. No restrictions are anticipated for hiker/biker access on the west side or east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road on Saturday or Sunday. The Apgar Visitor Center is open every weekend 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
There area few nature-related events coming up in the remainder of April in the Missoula area:
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 20, Larry Evans will instruct a spring mushrooms field day for the Montana Natural History Center. Learn about mushrooms, then spend the rest of the day hunting for fungi. Meet at the center, 120 Hickory St. Cost is $70 for MNHC members, $80 for nonmembers. Call 327-0405 to register.
On Sunday, April 21, the Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society will hike up Spring Gulch into the Rattlesnake Wilderness for Earth Day in search of the steer’s head wildflower. It’s noted that last year’s hike was about 15 miles round trip with 2,500 feet of elevation gain, and well worth it. Meet at the main Rattlesnake trailhead at 9 a.m. Call 728-0189 for more information.
Next Wednesday, April 24, there will be a Naturalist Trivia Night at MNHC, 120 Hickory St. Bring a team of up to 10 people or join others at the 7 p.m. event. Coffee and tea are available; bring your own snacks or other drinks. It’s free for MNHC members and there’s a $4 suggested donation for nonmembers.