My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Day's Worth of Adventures

I had the day off yesterday so decided to go find the covered bridge that is northeast of Chico.  I went by Llano Seco and caught the sun boiling the fog away. .

 Then I got to see lots of swans.  Four were even close enough to capture with the camera.

 And it was so early, I caught a couple of sandhill cranes in the fields.  There were another thirty in view and still more in earshot at Llano Seco when I stopped to check the wildlife out there.

I went  on to Chico thinking I could find a road that said "Centerville", which would take me right to the covered bridge. But no such luck. I had to stop and ask directions to the covered bridge. I found I needed to be on the Skyway Drive.  Then a long time later, I realized I should have done a few more turns.  No problem, Just change the  plan. Since I was already  heading into the Sierra Nevada mountains and I could see there are lots of places on the map to recreate, I planned to take a hike there before coming back.  

This is a view of Butte Creek Valley from Skyway Drive. 

Soon I realized that I was in a forest of spruce, pine trees and other conifers and climbing steadily.  Then, when I hopped out of the car to take pictures, I froze.  I didn't have enough layers with me to hike up here. More changes happened. First, I started seeing snow.  Shortly after that, the paved road turned into a dirt road than a  muddy road from the melting snow. Signs said: Proceed at your own risk.  Road not maintained in the winter.

I stopped at a pull-off and took the next few pictures. 




Then I saw a very muddy and rutted area ahead and decided I'd better turn around while I still could. So I never reached the Butte Meadows which was my new destination.  I headed back down  Skyway Drive towards Chico and stopped  for lunch at a little town.

 Finally, about 1:30 P.M., I found  the road to the covered bridge.  But it was along Butte Creek and I found a place where I could take a hike.  So I once again changed plans and took another hour to enjoy this wild place.

The preserve is apparently a bunch of small units that are operated to give the salmon an improved stream in which to spawn.

View looking up hill from the creek. 

This log seems to have an entire ecosystem on it.

The path drew me through golden leaves.

Some leaves are bigger and brighter than others.

The path ended at the creek. This area is being protected and rehabilitated to help the salmon have a good place to spawn.

I found lots of small mullein plants.  These are introduced species and are in Texas also.Probably they occur in every state.

I finished my walk, got back in the car and started looking for the covered bridge.  But that will be another story. I did get back to Chico and, after more adventures, got groceries, and even found my way home in the dark.