But I was far more interested in the - plant geek alert - thirteen species of conifer growing in a relatively short elevation range! I counted nine of these on our hike alone, of which my old Botany professor Roger del Moral might say is totally freaking bio-diverse-tastic. Plant nerd paradise indeed. Here's the conifer list off the forest service web site:
Northwest Montana Evergreens
"I went to the Cabinet Mountains and all I did was look at plants." There was one point on the hike where we stopped to look at an avalanche track on the hill across the valley: we realized that we were also standing in another avalanche track. In this area about 50 feet along the trail there were about 12 species of shrubs. Down in the Puget lowlands where I live and work you'd never get that many. Interesting (to just me I guess) was the fact that around Seattle some of these species would never grow together. Wet-loving species right next to species that don't need any water.