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  • Writer's pictureKarl Koerber

Today's Walk - Early Blooms on the Mountain

April 5, 2023

With a week of rainy weather looming in the forecast, I took advantage of the last sunny day and went for a walk on Mount Sentinel. This is one of my early spring go-to hikes because of its micro-climate; the steep south-facing slopes are snow-free a few weeks earlier than most other Kootenay sites.

I spotted a few birds along the way, including this red-tailed hawk circling above me.

Also chickadees, a nuthatch, ravens, a hairy woodpecker and a female mountain bluebird. I saw only one elk, but there was an abundance of tracks and scat, and I often caught the strong, musky elk smell. Their trails also made for easier walking through the brushy areas.

With the snow beginning to melt at the higher elevations, the ephemeral streamlets on the hillside have now started to flow.

The earliest of the wildflowers have also come into bloom, including sagebrush buttercup and western spring beauty.

I also noticed a new plant to me, which a friend helped me to identify as Geyer’s biscuitroot (Lomatium geyeri). I've added it to my gallery of white flowers.

This solitary few-flowered shooting star was blooming surprisingly early, maybe because it was tucked into a little alcove in the rocks.

Great views of Castlegar and the Columbia River valley from up here.

I’m a happy camper when the hiking season comes around again! So thankful that I'm still able to get into the hills, even though I'm a lot slower than I once was and I have to put up with complaints from my joints and muscles. A heads-up to anyone planning to hike here - I picked off ten woodticks over the course of the day and we just found one more crawling around in the house.

This Google Earth shot shows the track of my hike:

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