"Wild & Scenic"

        Within this gallery I want to present the progression of fall color change here in Montana. Unlike most states in the lower 48, the color doesn’t just affect the deciduous forests. There are levels, stages to the color variations that occur.

In Northwest Montana, there aren’t a lot of deciduous stands like Utah or Colorado. But the land makes up for the lack of leafed trees. Below I will briefly discuss each layer that completes Autumn in NW Montana or more specifically Glacier National Park and the surrounding areas.

       -Ground Foliage is the first at bat. This carpets the floor of the landscape and when they change, the land truly morphs into tie die like colors. These bushes that stay very close to the ground, such as species of Huckleberry plants.  


       -About a week or two after that phase, with some areas overlapping, the “Deciduous Stands” start to change; Birches, Cottonwoods and Aspens start popping off. Usually lining riverbeds or bordering meadows and all at lower elevations. These unique stands aren’t the easiest to photograph but dang, when they start they seem to never stop!


       -Third in line; is the mid-height foliage, some areas are so dense with these, the mountains seem to have metachrosis: to change color on command. These bushes or small trees such as Serviceberry or Mountain Ash carry edible berries that bears seek out.        


        -Last but very far from least is the Western Larch. A hybrid of Deciduous and Conifer; a pine tree that changes colors and loses its needles come winter. Have you ever seen a pine tree forest change color? It is bonkers! These often grow within the same areas as Ponderosas, Evergreens or Lodgepole and grow just as tall or taller. If an area has been subject to a fire, Larches may take that place in the ecosystem. Which means acres upon acres of bright yellow pines.

This brief explanation of the seasons change cannot quite express the amount of "awe" that was felt daily or truly show the beauty through words. Below will help to express those feelings and moments through images.

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