The Trouble with the Light, or How Green Is the Valley

I cannot say enough about the benefits of sagebrush to cure whatever ails you. It’s certainly enough for me to forgive three dogs for thinking that I needed to get up and feed them at five in the morning. (You’re not included in this sin, Bob. You would have been more than happy to snooze for another hour.)

But the trouble with light is that it is very different here in Montana. The world starts turning that hazy blue just after five this time of year, and the sun is up well before six. Even if you were thinking of sleeping in on Sunday morning, it’s hard to when there is so much light out and about. So that is just what I did. Got up, put on my hiking boots, and took the dogs for a hike up in the hills behind the house.

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Sunday Hiking Companions (Pearl Came, Too, But Didn’t Want to Be in the Picture)

With the heavy–and in some cases late–winter snows this year, there are lots of wildflowers to be seen. If this keeps up, I may head down into Wyoming in August. Hopefully the Big Horn Medicine Wheel will be open, and the mountain wildflowers should be fantastic. But in the meantime, here are some of the flowers that I saw. Much lower elevation than the Medicine Wheel, but lovely to see so much spring color on display in May.

The dogs, as you guessed, had a fantastic time. Ruby, Pearl, Mattie, and I hiked up around the horn (much less wheezing on my part, so all the Texas hiking is working), through a field of sage, then came out on the other side of the top gate. I once read that people have a great difficult getting to someplace, anyplace, where they cannot hear man-made sounds, but that is not the case here. All I heard were birds, the Dorvall’s cattle off in the distance, and the far honks of Canada geese. It was pretty misty, however, and the sky was a bit overcast, a departure from its usual banner blue. The distant Beartooths were behind storm clouds.

It’s nice to see everything so green, even though I know many will be worried about summer fire danger (ranchers, never happy with the weather they have). Although I may complain about the early wake-up call, it was the perfect reason to experience morning up high.

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