It was an enjoyable time, but tinged with sadness as the Rocky Mountain Naturalists Club hosted a hike through Moe’s Canyon Nov. 4 in memory of long-time member Peter Davidson, who passed away suddenly on a club hike only a week before.
Some 24 people participated in the two and-a-half hour hike including several non-club members that were friends of Peter’s.
It was a cool and cloudy day with about half an inch of new snow on the ground for the hike which was quickly organized after Peter’s funeral. Participants met at the Kimberley Nordic Trails parking lot and started up hill on the new “Magic Line” mountain bike trail to the Boundary ski trail run, which leads to the west entrance of Moe’s.
We then followed the trail underneath an old mine portal and a mixed forest of aspen, fir and larch which still bore some golden needles but were well past their peak. As the trail followed the canyon bottom we climbed slightly and passed some damp, mossy areas then crossed an area of rock slides and large windfalls that were fortunately cleared from the trail. After passing the crest of the canyon floor, we descended into a narrow valley where we started to encounter old growth timber culminating in a small flat at the eastern end of the canyon where there was a magnificent stand of Golden Western Larch including one with a huge burl about 40 feet up its trunk and measured more than 13 feet in circumference at breast height.
Unfortunately, the giant larch named “Big Bill” started to lean about five years ago and may not stand erect much longer. It began leaning at the same time as some lodgepole pine salvage logging took place within a hundred yards or so and may have been a factor in the tree’s possible demise. Time will tell.
On the way back, we joined up with the Magic Line Trail again and climbed to the canyon’s rim and followed it back to the beginning of the trail which formed about a seven km. loop. Back at the parking lot the group broke up for home with about a dozen retiring to Montana’s Restaurant in the hotel where a toast was raised to Peter and a late autumn day well spent.