Golden Larch Lure Gals to Seeley for Weekend at Mary N's Cabin; Gals Rescue Dog along the Way
Our overnight fall hiking weekend began early Saturday morning as Gail and Jo Ann rode with Cathy while Roni and Paula joined Beth in her car. About five miles out west of Lincoln, we noticed a medium sized black dog scampering along the highway...all alone. There was no sign of hunters or fisherman in the area; the dog sprinted to the car as we pulled off the road and promptly hopped in the back seat of the car. He appeared to be injured as he had a distinct gait, but upon further observations, he only had one hind leg. He was extremely friendly and seemed so happy to see humans. We ended up taking the dog, Boone, whose name was printed on the collar, to Lincoln. The staff at the Hi Country Beef Jerky Store also noticed a phone number on his collar so they called the number and left a message. They offered to keep the dog and reunite the dog with his owner so we went on our way.
We arrived at Mary’s cabin in Seeley Lake around 10:00AM, unloaded our cars, and prepared to head our to our destination of Holland Lake Falls. The beautiful golden color of the larches scattered throughout the hillsides in the Swan Valley on our 20 mile drive to the trailhead was amazing. Some of the larches had begun to lose their needles and we noticed sporadic areas of a carpet like appearance from the needles. On our way up to the water falls, we saw very few people on the trail and the reflections of the trees in the calm water of Holland Lake was stunning. When we arrived at the falls, we ate lunch and some of us ventured on a side trail to the base of the falls to gain a better view. The weather could not have been better with clear skies and temperatures in the upper 60’s. The return trip was just as wonderful and we stopped periodically to enjoy the views and fall colors of the forest and western larch. The round trip distance of the hike was four miles was very much enjoyed by all.
So what is a larch tree? The soft larch needles are about one inch long, grow in large clusters from a single part of the branch called a spur shoot in older branches and grow singly on current year branches. The trees grow to be quite tall, as much as 80-100 feet. They are a special kind of tree called a “deciduous conifer” because they form cones and grow needles, while in the fall, their needles change color and fall off the trees. And Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks states that we do not have native tamaracks in northwestern Montana.
Before returning to Mary’s cabin, we took a short drive to see the world’s largest Western Larch tree at 153 feet tall, named Gus. Being over 1000 years old and surviving at least 40 fires, the tree is HUGE. It’s circumference is as large as five of us women standing in a large circle with our fingertips barely touching. After walking downtown to visit a couple of the stores in the town of Seeley Lake we enjoyed some daiquiris at Mary’s before eating dinner at the Double Arrow Lodge. Mary made us a delicious breakfast the following morning and then we drove to the pullout north of Seeley at Beaver Creek. We hiked a loop on an old logging road and admired the larches one last time.After hiking we headed back to Great Falls, with one car stopping at the Blackfoot Pathways, Sculpture in the Wild Park on the way home. We did find out that Boone (the dog we found running along the road) was taken to the animal shelter in Great Falls.
Who went: Beth, Mary, Kuntzie, Paula, Roni, Gail, Jo Ann