Montana June wildflowers

The photo below is Monkshood found growing near shallow water on Lake Alva. We found many of these but they were near the end of their blooming.  I had to search in my book for this one as it was new to me although I’m sure I’ve seen it before.  All of these pictures enlarge.  I am submitting these to Today’s Flowers, which is a fun site to visit.


Beargrass !  Last year was the big Beargrass year but I somehow failed to get photos. Everywhere you looked were white flowers blooming.  Suddenly, as we drove into the campground last week I found a few stragglers. This grass blooms only once every few years but the stalk will stay upright into the next season, so the patches are easy to recognize even when they are all dried.

Beargrass waves
from the shade side of the road
white flags dancing.


bear grass0

This is a Glacier Lily taken last week on top of McDonald Pass. There was an entire hollow covered with these lilies, but more of those tomorrow along with other wild flowers from our excursion to the lakes.
Glacier lily

Back at Lake Alva

We’ve been jaunting about with the canoe; thus the silence here on QP.  When it stopped raining on Tuesday we headed for Holland lake over in the lake country but the skeeters were so awful we decided to try Lake Alva, where we spent a weekend in May.  The mosquitoes were considerably less annoying at Alva although there were standing pools of water in just about every nook and byway.  We made a fire to combat them at night.

We came back with a lot of images, mostly of the flora and fauna.  Below is the outlet of the Clearwater River at lake Alva.  We paddled all the way around this small lake one morning.  The Clearwater river was very inviting but we declined its invitation to canoe down it.  It ends up in lake Inez and we didn’t want to have to walk and walk all the way back to our car afterwards. We’ll have to hire someone for shuttle services if we want to do that sometime.  It looks beautiful, though although running very high.

Clearwater River

We stopped often to look at the numerous wild flowers and I had to get out in one little bay to check for amphibians. I was not disappointed. This frog just sat the whole time while we tried to get a good image.  I think this might be the Columbia Spotted frog but it is my first attempt at amphibian  identification.  If anyone knows otherwise… they were leaping all over on this side of the lake.

Here is the quiet little bay where we saw the frogs. Red Raven is liking it here.  We also saw a pair of Common Loons too but I have yet to get a photo.  They like you to be very not-fussy, very non-intrusive.  We never get very close for that reason.  Tomorrow I will post some flower photos.  The wild flowers were abundant, large, and gorgeous.  Firstly, I have to identify all of them.
Alva bay

This was taken that evening on the north end of Alva. It is very much like a pond here. The sky was reflecting perfectly in the water and it was mesmerizing while paddling. I know, I know – the hat again. Always, always with the hat.  But, my Mom told me to always wear a hat outdoors to avoid getting wrinkles prematurely.  I almost always listen to my Mother.  And do I have wrinkles? Case in point.
heaven reflects7

Lake rocks rock


There are places on the shore of Flathead lake which harbor the best rocks.  Each rock you look at is interesting or appealing to anyone who likes rocks, even just a little bit.  The shapes, textures, colors, minerals embedded were a major discussion in my family one recent afternoon we spent down at the shore.  My brother and Mom brought home a small variety of rocks and we are still talking about them and turning them over in our hands.  Nature’s own creativity is so darn interesting!  The rocks are awesome but of course the view is alright too…


In the middle of the lake

Two eagles watch them
a mother Grebe with little
babies on her back
swim out to the Island cove
catching sunshine on the way.

serenity lake

Note: The subject of my tanka is a mother Grebe we saw yesterday swimming in the middle of the Lake; off on some kind of expedition with all her babies. Two bald eagles from Goose Island started swooping down on her all of a sudden. We were celebrating my Dad’s birthday at the lake and while we all watched anxiously from shore Mrs. Grebe tried to fend the Baldies off. Finally the eagles stopped, but I sadly think they might have snatched one of the babies. We are not sure; they didn’t appear to be munching on anything afterwards. The mother Grebe continued paddling her route with all the babies on board. Well, mostly on board, one would fall off now and again only to hop back on. She had a mission and would not be deterred. The photo above was taken in the middle of the lake while we were out in the canoe. Not exactly a Grebe-eye’s view, but close.

The first warm day…

…. after days and days of rain. OK, weeks of rain.  Onto the water we go to seek out serenity.  The afternoon turns out to have more sunshine than clouds, but this is how we begin – with clouds, yet the water is calm on Flathead Lake.  Click these photos if you would like to see a larger version.

on the water

The water, which is usually crystal clear, is murky right now with run-off and lots of yellow pollen.  The yellow powder gathers and collects at the shoreline – sticking to everything, including the canoe!

Flathead cliffs

The cliffs along the lake are full of green and blooming things like this wild Coral Bell.

wild coral bell

Raven rests happily along the lake. Just sitting here quietly for a moment or two is enough. We have this stretch of shore to ourselves for most of the day.  Some sun screen and camp chairs make it perfect.

Raven rests