Got to spend some time this week wandering on the mountain. The sense of relief and clarity I get from being above the city and looking out to the north and west is remarkable. So much wildness so close to all of us. Mount Sentinel served that inspiration when I was in college. Today it is Jumbo.
The mountain is gorgeous right now, soft green and dotted with wildflowers, such as Indian paintbrush, balsamroot, and many others I couldn’t name without a seasoned flower-girl with me. Oh, a seasoned flower girl. Well, I didn’t exactly have that this week, but I did get to share the mountain with New York Times best-selling author Laura Munson. We had a blast hiking the trail and peering over Missoula. She named just about everything growing out of the ground and I shot some images that I wanted for my archives. We shared a business lunch, too, and tapped each other’s writing brains and editor’s lists, over, get this, bloody Marys, sitting outside at The Old Post in the sun. Summer is near and this is the way to live in Montana.
Thought I’d share some of the images here. If you get a chance, visit Jumbo soon. You can find the trailhead by taking the Van Buren exit off of I-90. Drive north on Van Buren for two blocks and take a right on Cherry Street. Follow Cherry for a few blocks until it deadends in a dirt parking lot at the base of the mountain. Keep your eyes peeled. I saw a coyote and five mule deer on a hike the other day. Other times I’ve see black bears, elk, Hungarian partridge, and even a bull snake. Enjoy.