Yesterday I had the pleasure of discovering for the first time a cool little walking trail that goes along the Prickly Pear Creek. It's just off Route 518 between East Helena and Montana City, right opposite the Ash Grove cement works. There's a park called Sunderland Park, and a groomed trail that is just over 1 mile long. After parking your car, you cross a wooden bridge and head north and east. The terrain is winding and undulating. None of the little ups and downs are too high or steep. When it has recently snowed, which it had when I was there, one or two parts are a bit muddy and slippery, but it's generally nice to walk on with a lot of chipped bark. According to the Helena IR, it's part of a thing called the Prickly Pear Greenway. Very nice!
The Last Chance Audubon Society lists this as a good birdwatching trail in their publication: http://www.lastchanceaudubon.org/images/last-chance-hotspots-helena.pdf, citing; "Common bird sightings include swallows,
American Dipper, Cedar Waxwing, Gray Catbird, Veery, and Song Sparrow." There are, indeed, lots of birds with very distinct calls there (although I didn't recognize them, sadly).
My walk was just over 6,000 steps, about two and a half miles, in about an hour and a half. Upon returning to the trailhead, I was glad of the rest at the concrete picnic tables and benches, although it was a bit cold to stay there very long after working up a good sweat. I'm sure it'll be a great place to go in the spring and summer. As I was leaving, one other person came with his dog, otherwise, no-one else was there.
It was a good workout for me, and definitely somewhere I'd return to when the weather is warmer.
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