A view of a small portion of the Bitterroot Valley and Sapphire Mountains to the east. I took this photo from the Bitterroot Mountains on the west side of the valley in February of 2016. I love living where I do and never tire of the endless amazing views. Enjoy! :)
When the sun shines through the smoke in the evening, it often casts a very noticeable color glow on everything. We occasionally have ash falling all around, and oftentimes the smoke is thick enough to completely obscure our view of the mountains.
This year has been the worst fire season we've had in the Bitterroot Valley since the fires of 2000. The Lolo Peak Fire is burning to the north of us through some of our hiking areas and nearly to Hwy 93. This fire has grown to almost 40,000 acres at this time and is not yet contained on its southern perimeter, so the Forest Service has extended the "evacuation zone" to our road at the base of St. Mary's Mountain. Some of the next closest wildfires to us are the Hidden Fire just behind Fred Burr Lake, and the Chute Creek Fire that has reached about a mile from Blodgett Lake. There are many other forest fires burning in western Montana and Idaho right now that are a little further out from us in every direction. They all contribute to our smoke.
We are not in any danger from the fires right now, but they have hindered our outdoor activities quite a bit, as we are inundated with smoke much of the time. The smoke levels have been labeled as "unhealthy" for breathing part of the time, and we sometimes notice effects from it on the really bad days. In addition to the smoke, road and trail closures have limited our hiking and backpacking in some areas. And not wanting to be too close to active fires has put some of our planned backpack trips on hold for now, too.
The fires will eventually be extinguished, as they are no match for our winter mountain snow. It's just a waiting game right now while most of the valley is hoping for some really good rain or an early winter. Just thought I'd give you an idea of what living in western Montana is like this time of year.
I got the opportunity to watch and photograph this owl in western Montana today. I'm always fascinated with how keenly aware owls are of their surroundings. And it's interesting to watch them blink, turn their heads, fly, and hear them hoot in the night.
We often get to enjoy seeing deer and other wildlife come through our place here in rural Montana. My husband recently captured some video of this whitetail doe with her two fawns and uploaded it to my new youtube channel. Thought I'd share it with you today... enjoy! :)
We love to stop and watch the wildlife any chance we get (and take a few photos). This small herd of sixteen elk captured our attention for a bit while on our evening bike ride tonight. Some of them kept an eye on us, but fortunately they weren't bothered by our presence enough to leave the area. So we were able to watch them and get a few pics and video before continuing on our way back home. :)
We've had quite a variety of butterflies fluttering all around us lately while hiking in the mountains and taking walks on the backroads. These two lovely butterflies were gracious enough to pose for some quick photos on our walk the other day. :)
Hello and welcome to my mountain adventures blog. Whether I'm out hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, etc ... I love spending time in the mountains.
I also enjoy photographing some of these wonderful moments in time and sharing my experiences with others. You are cordially invited to come along and join me on my journey … see you in the next post. :)
-- Nikki Weiss
explore. dream. discover.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." --Mark Twain
All of my fitness related posts will soon be moved to my new website that will be dedicated to my fitness + weight loss coaching.
"In the gym or out on the trail, Nikki adjusts her personal training to fit you as an individual. She always goes at your pace and does not insist that you conform to her way of doing things. So if you’re looking for a personal trainer who truly works with you as an individual and who provides gentle support and a great sense of humor along the way to achieving your fitness goals, you could not find a better guide in your journey than Nikki Weiss."
-- Dana H., Florence, MT