Quick day hike in the Montana Absarokas

Jackson

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June 26, 2022

We've been doing day hikes and trails runs once or twice a week for the past little bit and I thought I'd share the most recent one. This was a little 6 mile loop a bit under an hour from us in the far northern end of the Absarokas. Great lower elevation hike for early summer. We had considered doing it a week ago, but the majority of this section of the forest was closed at that time due to the recent flooding of the Yellowstone River and its tributaries. It fortunately reopened a few days later.

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Trailhead at 9 a.m. wasn't too busy. Maybe 5 or 6 more cars had shown up by the time we were finishing.

The first half of the route is down in the bottom of the canyon, heavily forested and shaded. It cool and wet down in there. I didn't get any photos. There was a multiple months old moose carcass a ways up the trail with warning signs posted nearby about related grizzly activity. The warnings were from early April, so we weren't too concerned. The carcass was only 10 or so feet off the trail.

We had to cross a couple creeks, one where we had to get our feet wet due to lack of options for dry crossing given the water levels.

Around halfway, the trail climbs out of the canyon bottom and up onto the south-facing hillside. The views opened up and there were lots of wildflowers all along the way.

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Starting up out of the canyon.

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Walter likes to jump in every body of water he can. He also really likes doing the "between" command, as here.

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Some type of aster, I think.

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Fuzzytongue penstemon


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Blurry one of Lewis flax

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Arrowleaf balsamroot?

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Pretty boy.

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Yellow goatsbeard. Not native.

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I still am not sure about this one.

There were also some Indian paintbrush, larkspur, lupine, western blue clematis, bluebells, and more I'm forgetting.

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Views opening out into Paradise Valley.

Great half day trip for some scenery and wildflowers!
 

Wanderlust073

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Do you have two dogs or is that a random in the last pic? Your pup seems to have turned in to a good hiking buddy.
 

wsp_scott

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That looks like a great place for a dayhike, I'm jealous :)
 

Jackson

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Do you have two dogs or is that a random in the last pic? Your pup seems to have turned in to a good hiking buddy.
Yeah we have two. The one farther out was our first. She's a 4-5 year old lab mix. She likes to be out in front the whole time, so she doesn't show up in photos as often. Haha.

Walter, the Aussie, is a great hiking companion and has really learned great recall. We're just working on getting him not to bark at strangers now, and he's improved a lot on that over the last year or so.
 

Jackson

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Yep. A stellar year for arrow leaf balsam root around this area.
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It's really cool to look up at the Bridgers and realize that what looks kind of like dried up grass on the slopes is actually huge patches of arrowleaf balsamroot.
 

Jackson

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Nice hike, very Alberta like. Which brings me to that mystery flower. It's Alberta's provincial flower- the wild rose.
Thank you! I think the image in my "Wildflowers of Yellowstone and Grand Teton" book isn't very good because I skimmed right over it multiple times.
 

Jackson

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Nice hike, very Alberta like. Which brings me to that mystery flower. It's Alberta's provincial flower- the wild rose.
From the book I mentioned in my other comment: "the wild rose is perhaps the most quickly recognized of all the flowering shrubs."

I guess I'm just a doofus! Haha. I'll always quickly identify it from here on out at least.
 

John Goering

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Jackson

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Jackson, do you have a copy of Whitney Tilt's Flora of Montana's Gallatin Region? Not all inclusive but very good.
I don't but I'm going to soon, thanks to your recommendation!
 
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