|Lady Slipper orchids|
|Gordon Whirry coming off Windy Peak|
|Sulphur flowers in abundance|
|One of my favorite summer treats: billowing white clouds on a clear day|
|Briggs Creek was clearer than usual|
|Butterflies added to our enjoyment|
|We complete the day with dry feet!|
It's hard knowing if and when we'll be able to use the Benchmark, Elk Creek, Willow, Dearborn, South Fork Teton, and Smith Creek roads. This could be a grim summer for recreation.
So, when the rain stopped I shifted my focus to the Island Ranges and took a short-tenative hike in the Little Belts on Pioneer Ridge on the final day of Spring (June 20), found it passable and planned a Highwoods hike.
We did the 7.5 miles Windy Peak-Briggs Creek loop on the first day of Summer (June 21), gaining and losing 1,700 feet along the way. The weather was ideal with poofy white clouds against a backdrop of clear, blue skies. The grass was greener than green and the wildflowers still pretty good. We were even treated to Lady Slippers, but the blue lupine stole the show for numbers and colors.
There are nine Thain Creek crossings along the way to Windy Peak, but there were logs and rocks down most of the way that made the higher than usual tiny creek more easy to cross.
Briggs Creek, usually smaller than Thain Creek, was about twice Thain Creek size. Thank goodness for the large Doug Fir across the creek at the end. We wound up with dry boots!
The Briggs Creek beaver ponds continue to grow and a fly fisherwoman at the end was testament to its fishing. Moose droppings everywhere there tells me there's a big-antlered resident there competing with the beavers.
The roads are in great shape, but I'd be careful about trying to take your car across Highwood Creek.