April 19, 2009

In season

I've started up my wildflower blog - WildflowerWalks.com - at work again. Watch it for updates on wildflowers blooming in western Montana. And, if you're in the Missoula area, look for my column in the Missoulian newspaper.

Fun in the sun - and snow


With the weather warming up, we got the chance to stretch our legs for the first time this spring, on the Blodgett Canyon trail near Hamilton.

This classic Bitterroot Valley hike parallels Blodgett Creek, steadily climbing first through forest burned in the wildfires of 2000 and then through boulder fields. The first three miles up to a bridge over the creek afford views of the rocky spires of Printz Ridge.

While the sun was shining and the temperature reached up into the 60s, there was still plenty of snow on the trail after the first couple of miles, and we created our fair share of postholes.

See the photos here.

Distance: 6 miles round trip, turning around at the bridge over Blodgett Creek. (Trail continues).

Trailhead: From U.S. Highway 93 just north of Hamilton, turn west onto Bowman Road. After about three-quarters of a mile, turn south on Ricketts Road and continue 1.7 miles. Here, the road turns west and becomes Blodgett Camp Road. Follow it about 4.25 miles to the trailhead.

April 7, 2009

Backpacker's best

We received the May issue of Backpacker magazine in the mail the other day and were surprised to see some familiar ground listed in the "America's Best Dayhikes" article, which features 100 trails broken down by region.

We've hiked a handful of the selections in recent years - see the list below and follow the links for photos from our travels.

Best waterfalls: Eagle Creek, Columbia River Gorge, Ore.

Best wildflowers: Siyeh Pass, Glacier National Park.
Best wildlife: Swiftcurrent Pass, Glacier National Park, and Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.

Best canyons: Zion Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah.
Wildest geology: Navajo/Queens Garden Trails, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.

Best lakes: Itasca State Park, Minn.

Watch the watefowl

Here's a video I shot for the newspaper on our recent trip to see the spring waterfowl migration at the Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area, near Fairfield and Choteau.

The sound is really what makes it, so be sure your speakers are on.