By Alkali Springs Correspondent
We may be in the midst of a drought. At least it has been a long time since we have had a good rain or snow and area rivers and stored water is in some places very low. And remember we are writing these words just before Memorial Day. By the time you, gentle readers, are reading these words, Memorial Day will have come and gone and it would be very strange not to have a huge storm on at least one day during that long weekend.
So maybe when you are reading these words, water is not such a dire concern as it is while we are writing them.
But in traveling through the beautiful Bear Paws, it doesn't look like a drought. Not yet anyway.
For in the last two weeks, the hills have just been alive with chokecherry blossoms and beautiful yellow Balsamroot.
This year it heated up so quickly that we never did know when the Juneberry blossoms gave way to the chokecherry blossoms. We think that they are both out in great force yet and they are just the most incredible sight that we have ever seen throughout the mountains. Just looking up a hillside, any hillside and all you see is green and white. Why, even at our camp on Beaver Creek, hillside shrubs, which could be called nondescript most of the year, are just as white as if they had been kissed by the millions of snowflakes. We were looking out of a window the other day and all we saw all the way up and down our coulee was white, white, white.
This weekend we are getting the camera out and capturing some of this beauty for posterity. We have just, simply never seen such a display of white blossoms ever before in the mountains. Get out and see for yourself before it is all gone!
Then there is the Balsamroot. That is a bright yellow, large flower that just captures whole hillsides throughout most of the mountains but is especially happy in the higher areas. It is out now and never have we seen any more of it than we do now. Seeing whole hillsides of these large sunflower-like plants is like seeing something out of "The Wizard of Oz" - and like the white blossoms, never have we seen quite as grand a show as this spring.
Arrowleaf Balsamroot, as is its official name, gets its name from the fact that the plant's roots are long and as durable as balsa wood.
Some say that Lewis and Clark first gathered some of these plants on April 14, 1806 in Washington state and are responsible for the name.
One flower book states that Native Americans had used the plant for years and years for treating various diseases, swellings and insect bites.
Whoever found it, it is certainly incredible always and its display this spring is even better than usual.
A fishing report. Area anglers reported that stream fishing in Bear Paw streams has just been great for both brookies and rainbow these days.
But the big news is Bear Paw Lake. Someone told us that some publication in Montana has ranked it in the top ten of Montana fisheries. Fishermen report catching plenty of pound to pound and a half rainbow lately and we would think that must be true because morning, noon and evening, there are plenty of folks trying to and getting their limit of fish in that beautiful spot.