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Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Flesher Pass with berries and a trail crew
This is one of my favorite weird plants, an evergreen called pipsisewa. It's common right now in the darkest parts of the Flesher Pass-west trail, which I plied today on my way to Helena (nice routine, btw).
At the trailhead, I encountered probably a dozen, maybe more, people from all over the U.S. (Montana, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Idaho that I remember), a volunteer Continental Divide Trail crew. They'd been working on the other side of the pass (east and north) for the past few days, and were eating breakfast before departing to go to the Stemple Pass area, where I can attest the trail needs some work.
They were very nice and gave me a booklet on what's involved in volunteering. It's a project of the Wilderness Society and I've read about it in the past. Looked like fun, except for the sleeping-on-the-ground part. Maybe next year?
Anyway, the huckleberries (and whortleberries) were going to town today, though I'd say it's probably a week more from prime yet at this altitude (between 6,100 and 6,800 feet). I didn't photograph the hucks; I just ate them.
I went farther than I've gone the past couple of visits here. The trail was just about to go up over a new peak when I turned around.
Here's a sample of the whortleberries. They're still so tiny that even a rich-looking bush like this would yield a thimbleful. I think the bears just suck up the whole plant.
Here's one of the better views on this route, not too far (a mile or so) from the trailhead. It was a nice morning, probably in the 50s when I started and well into the 60s when I finished. It's in the 80s now.
9; 9; 84; 664
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