Chocolate Lilies and Canadians Welcome New Hiker
Flowers Dot Ridge Overlooking Mountain Range
Although the arrowleaf balsamroot were fading, we still happened upon a stand or two in full yellow bloom. And we saw many other flowers: arnica, lupine, chickweed, larkspur, bistort, threadleaf phacelia, pink and white sticky geranium. The lupine were especially showing off in their purple-gorgeousness.
We hiked to the ridge and then went off trail to the top of a little knob where we could see the mountains in both directions before descending back down to the trail, going about three-miles.Along the way, we heard of Bonnie's exciting new adventures: her move to Las Vegas and new job at a charter school and her required class to be certified in Nevada.
We left GF at 6:45 a.m. and were home around 11:15 a.m.. Nice flower walk that still left us with time to hit the Farmers Market and enjoy the afternoon.
Who went: Roni, Mary, Deb, Bonnie and Katie
Thunderstorm Speeds Hikers on Ascent/Descent of West Butte
Orchid Walk Awesome with Calypso Fairy Slipper and Many More
Can't Beat this Lunch View: Grinnell Point, Swiftcurrent Lake
Kelseya Uniflora Blooms Amaze Gals in Limestone Canyon
A Day of Climbing and Roses: Mount Ascension Loop Provides Views while Trout Creek Beautiful Pinks
Snowy Glacier Mountains Provide Eye Candy for First Hike of 2018
Grouse Mating Dance Brings Hawks, Coyotes a-Calling
The weather was perfect; the birds cooperated; and despite the cool morning and having to leave at 5 a.m., everyone was very satisfied with the "show" of the mating dance of the sharp-tailed grouse.
For two years, we have tried to get drawn for a permit to go to the Benton Lake blind to view this spectacle, and for two years we were disappointed. So this year, Katie put in to go on a Friday as well as Saturday and Sunday, and it worked. We did get in, but on a Friday, which prevented some of those who work from being able to join in. So seven of us were lucky enough to go.
The blind is a bit tricky to find at dark, but we made the traverse across the swampy uneven ground, lugging our cameras, blankets, extra chairs, snacks with the light of our headlamps, silent as possible so as not to disturb the grouse. As we approached the blind, we could hear the birds were already out, making their drumming and cooing noises.
As we situated ourselves, moved the chairs and then slowly opened the blind windows, we were amazed to see over 40 grouse. The ranger at the office has said not too many birds had been dancing. She wasn't sure if many had died over the long, cold winter we had or if the long winter had delayed their mating, but not many had been on the lek (the term for the dancing ground). But they did show up for us.
We saw around 32 show-off males and many choosy females. As the sun arose, so did other animals. A hawk flew overhead, causing the grouse to lie low and quiet for a while, followed by two coyotes, one of which caught a bird (we think a duck and not a grouse as he was closer to the ducks) for a tasty breakfast. At this time, most of the grouse dispersed, leaving a few sitting, very quiet, females.
We left the blind at 7:37, the time which we were allowed to leave if the birds had stopped dancing, which they had (one hour past sunrise).
We arrived back in town at 8:10, with some of us having to scoot off to work and some to breakfast.
Who went:Jo Ann, Bonnie W, Susan, June, Roni, Catherine, Katie
Check our completed hikes in the archives below or upcoming on our calendar.
Girls in Glacier and Katie Kotynski