Monday, March 12, 2012

First hike of the season

The South Shore Trail above the Missouri River
We could see Crooked Falls spilling
H. Wayne Phillips begins the hunt for the first wildflowers of the year
There's still 8 more days of winter left, but the weather has been so warm and windy thatinsteadof skiing I went hiking in Great Falls' backyard along River's Edge Trail.

We did the 8 mile roundtrip hike to Cochrane Dam on Monday in cold, wind and a dreary sky.
That caused us to kick it along and we did the hike in just over two hours.
Wayne Phillips had hoped to see some early wildflowers in bloom, but it was not to be.
We passed a burn just beyond Crooked Falls, but otherwise the hike was pleasant and uneventful;  no flowers, no wildlife other than birds down on the water.
With some five feet of snow at Showdown and Great Divide, I suppose we could have skied, but we figured that the blistering wind would have crusted up the powder and there would be some ice.
I'm not too worried that we won't find snow over the next weeks.  The past 10 years March, April and even May have been our best snow months of the year and I expect it will be like that this year.
Katie and I took a quick ride out to Fairfield and the Freezout Lake National Wildlife Refuge to view some of the early tundra swans and snow geese that have been migrating back.  We got a pretty good look at some of the birds through our field glasses.
Thousands more of these white birds will be landing on the lake in the next two weeks.  It is one of the great yearly events in this area, not to be missed!

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