Continental Divide - Red Rock Pass straddling Idaho and MontanaContinental Divide – Red Rock Pass straddling Idaho and Montana

Earlier this week I was enthralled to see the Alaska Basin that straddles Idaho and Montana and winds through Beaverhead National Forest and Targhee National Forest. I have traveled a lot in my life and I have never lost the wonder and joy of seeing a new area, new mountains or new views. I “ohh” and “ahh” and feel giddy.

White-crowned Sparrow at the Continental DivideWhite-crowned Sparrow at the Continental Divide

Before going up the road I spotted this White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) resting on a post at the Continental Divide at Red Rock pass. This is an adult Interior West subspecies.

Montana's Alaska Basin viewMontana’s Alaska Basin view

Stopping along the way to take images of the scenic views was wonderful. In this image I can see the Centennial Valley, the Upper Lake of Red Rock Lakes NWR and part of the Centennial Mountains.

Panoramic view facing westPanoramic view facing west

This is a panoramic view which is a composite of three images stitched together to show more of what I was so delighted to see. The Sagebrush smelled awesome and the view simply speaks for itself.

Vesper Sparrow on the Alaska Basin trailVesper Sparrow on the Alaska Basin trail

I spotted this Vesper Sparrow on the way up as it perched on rusty barbed wire with out of focus sagebrush and wildflowers in the background.

Sugarbowl - LeatherflowerSugarbowl – Leatherflower

I had to photograph some of the wildflowers that were blooming, I simply could not resist. This Sugarbowl (Clematis hirsutissima) stood out with its royal purple color. A common name for it is Leatherflower.

Prairie SmokePrairie Smoke

Blooming in close proximity was this unusual looking wildflower, it wasn’t until I came home and researched it that I found out it is Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum) and is also called Old man’s Whiskers. After the flowers finish blooming the seeds begin to form and the seeds have long fuzzy tails which in a mass do look like smoke near the ground.

Flowers along the roadFlowers along the road

Those are Dandelions along the road, I had to take the image despite how common they are, they looked lovely along the edge as far as my eyes could see.

Uinta Ground SquirrelUinta Ground Squirrel

And how could I not take this Uinta Ground Squirrel’s image when it posed so nicely on the weathered part of a Sagebrush? Ground squirrels are a pretty common sight this time of the year but it won’t be long before they will disappear for the winter, perhaps as early as late next month.

View from near the top of Alaska Basin trailView from near the top of Alaska Basin trail

I couldn’t tell when I was in Montana or when I’d crossed over to Idaho because the road zig-zags through both states. It really didn’t matter much to me because I was totally immersed in the beauty of the scenery.

A rocky slopeA rocky slope

There are alpine meadows dotted with rocky slopes. I do wish that a Yellow-bellied Marmot had popped up about the time I created this image, but alas, I was not that lucky.

Flowers in an Alaska Basin trail alpine meadowFlowers in an Alaska Basin trail alpine meadow

The white wildflowers in this alpine meadow are White-rayed Mule’s Ears, I took some close up images of them about two weeks earlier in another part of Idaho I will post later.

Big sky, wildflowers and firsBig sky, wildflowers and firs

More White-rayed Mule’s Ears, firs and plenty of big sky. I’m glad a few clouds showed up for this image.

Alaska Basin trail facing north eastAlaska Basin trail facing north east

In this image I can see the road that skirts the Madison Mountain Range in Madison County, Montana and if you head south on that road it takes you to Henry’s Lake in Idaho.

The road we traveledThe road we traveled

In this frame the dirt road is visible that we traveled on as I looked back behind me.

It was an incredible morning exploring an area new to me and I am extremely grateful for the views, the wildlife, the fresh air and the great companionship. Life is good, living it to the fullest is even better!