Thursday, April 04, 2024

Hiking Sluice Boxes, Mount Helena


The first Douglasia alpine flowers we found on Mount Helena

Near the top of Mount Helena with controlled burn behind us

The waterfall at the start of the Sluice Boxes cliff trail

Pasque flowers at Sluice Boxes

Low water rimmed by ice on Belt Creek at Sluice Boxes

The overlook at the tunnel

Our first buttercups

Low, clear water on Belt Creek in Sluice Boxes

This is shoulder season, and while there is skiable snow in some places, we start looking around for places to hike.

We took the scenic drive to Helena and hiked up Mount Helena, and the following day traveled the short distance to the Sluice Boxes State Park where we walked to the train tunnel, dodging some ice and spots of slick trail.

In both spots we saw the first signs of real spring ---- alpine flowers:  pasque, douglasia, buttercups and prairie smoke.

And, on our hike through the Sluice Boxes we encountered rain rather than snowfall.

In Helena we walked upwind from a controlled burn in the Helena National Forest just south of Mount Helena.  It fouled the air through most of the Helena Valley, but we were clear on the mountain.

There's a major snowstorm predicted for the weekend, so I haven't put up my skis yet, but there are hopeful signs of spring all around us.

No comments: