Monday, May 18, 2009

Wildflowers on Mount Helena

Arrowleaf Balsamroots

Katie, with Helena below

My wanderings take an abrupt turn onto the trail, a trail with no snow.
My wife and I climbed Mount Helena on Saturday.
It was hazy, with temperatures climbing into the 80s.
On Sunday in Bozeman we found ourselves in 88 degree heat.
Along the trail on Mount Helena we encountered about a dozen varieties of wildflowers. I guess that must be a sign that I should be thinking about putting up the skis for the weekend.
We saw everything from shooting stars and Pasque flower to alpine forget-me-nots and varieties of phlox and even balsamleaf arrowroot.
I find myself a little startled by all the trails popping up on the mountain. They're well marked, but concern me some because I think a lot of trails is an invitation for erosion and abuse.
Mount Helena is an easy but satisfying climb. We encircled the mountain.
We were in Helena on our way to Bozeman for an event on Sunday and stayed the night at the Sanders Bed and Breakfast, a beautiful old mansion on Ewing near the St. Helena Cathedral.
The Gates of the Mountains were clear of snow, except on the ridgetops. The East Belts --- Edith and Baldy still have significant snow on all aspects.
Those mountains are over 9,000 feet.
I have Great Falls friends who went to Showdown on Saturday and said they skied in great snow. I could see Big Baldy is loaded and thought this last weekend would have been a great one to ski that mountain.
Spring is very evident now in Great Falls.
Some trees are beginning to leaf out, but the elms and green ash, the city's most prevalent trees are still bare.

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