Hike to Trout Creek Canyon to See the Kelseya Uniflora Flower
Seven Giggers made a four-mile round trip hike up Trout Creek Canyon in search of the rare Kelseya uniflora, which grows on limestone cliffs in eight counties in Montana, four counties in northwestern Wyoming and two counties in south-central Idaho. The plant was first discovered along the Missouri River northeast of Helena in 1888 by Francis Duncan Kelsey, one of Montana’s first resident botanists.
From the beginning of the trail, we observed many mats of tiny blue-green rosettes on the cliffs but few flowers. About two miles in, we found one mat with flowers in the beginning stage of blooming. Along the trail, we stopped at each of the ten stations and read from the Forest Service brochure which discussed erosion, vegetation, limestone formations, birds and other wildlife, flooding, Microclimates and caves. This was the first time Sheila, Debra, Randi, and Noreen had been on this hike.
Since we were all Covid vaccinated, we were happy to hike without social distancing, to ride together again and to stop for lunch at the York Bar. Due to prior commitments, Sheila and Noreen did not lunch with us. The burgers did not disappoint.
We left Great Falls at 8 a.m. and returned around 4 p.m. Who went: Jo Ann, Gail, Kuntz, Sheila, Debra, Randi, and Noreen.