Friday, May 28, 2010

A Pleasant Day.

Just for fun — Montana, our black cat, had this rug all the way off the step, and then somehow put it back with himself under it!

We went for a hike in the foothills around Missoula, off the Blue Mountain Road. There are myriads of trails in the valley and over the hillsides. It may take us all summer to explore even a small portion of them. Here's something I'd never noticed before, the male strobili on a ponderosa pine. I'm guessing the pine cone forms on the end of the branch after the flowering part falls off. I couldn't find an exact description of the process when I 'googled' the tree.

I liked this old snag with a birdhouse attached.

Here is a shot of the Missoula Valley looking northeast, taken from the trail we were hiking. The water tower in the center is in old Fort Missoula, restored as an historical monument. You can barely see the 'M', a white speck on the hill slightly left of center, and the 'L' on the hill to the far left. Also, the Bitterroot River is showing as a light spot right below the water tower. It's truly a beautiful valley.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stevensville & Hamilton Montana

St. Mary's Mission in Stevensville, Montana
I copied this from the sign outside the museum:
Established in 1841 by Pierre DeSmet, in response to requests for Black Robes by four separate delegations sent by Flathead and Nez Perce tribes to St. Louis. Fr. DeSmet and his party erected Montana's first church immediately west on the bank of the Bitter Root River. They planted the first gardens and harvested the first wheat and oats, practiced first irrigation, bred first livestock, taught first classes and organized the first musical band. St. Mary's was the site of the first flour and lumber mills. Fr. Ravalli, Montana's beloved priest-physician-artist-sculptor-architect, for whom this county is named, was assigned to St. Mary's during 1845-1850 and 1866 until his death in 1884. He rests in the cemetery west of the chapel. St. Mary's ceased to be an Indian mission in 1891, when the Flathead-Salish were forced to remove to a reservation. The chapel served as a church for settlers until 1954, when a new church was built and mission became a historic site.

We loved the teepees erected near the mission. Notice the Bitterroot Mountains in the background, the highest peaks still snowy.

This is a mansion we spotted in Stevensville. Strangely, it had a "For Rent" sign in front!

We visited the Daly Mansion in Hamilton last summer but didn't take the tour inside. This time we came armed with dollars to do it! It is hard to imagine the luxury with which the copper king and his family lived. All those rooms, and then we thought about returning to our 5th wheel, so much easier upkeep.

Last summer I was more intrigued with this enormous cottonwood tree, the largest I've ever seen, than I was with the mansion. We took more photos of it, too.

Here I am on the porch of the mansion, admiring the flower boxes.

Last, but not least, Keith is holding our tickets for the tour!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Is It Spring Yet?

There has been so much cold weather in Missoula, we're wondering when it will be Spring! Here's a photo pointing along the Clark Fork River towards the Higgins Street Bridge. There is a walking and biking path along here with several pedestrian bridges across the river.

I'm not a bird watcher as such, but occasionally I see a bird I want to identify. These little creatures had a curious yellow tip on the ends of their tail feathers. (Click to enlarge.) We saw these as we walked across the Higgins Street Bridge. My bird book says they are waxwings, exactly what kind I'm not sure — probably the cedar waxwing.

I love identifying wildflowers. These have the leaves of our Washington lupines, but the flowers are smaller and single, rather than clustered in a column.

The ever popular and beautiful arrowleaf balsam — blooming much later than the ones we saw in central Washington when we left there in April. I plan to get photos of many more flowers as we see them. As it gets warmer (I hope!) we'll be taking some day trips around the area and I will be blogging a little more often. Thanks for visiting!