Lots of snow…..but little rain.
The northern Rocky mountains are humid with snow melt (helps with irrigation), but there is almost no rain here. – Lots of beautiful days for trekking…..but fire is always on your mind.
We had a beautiful hike around Bear Lodge (Devil’s tower) and I actually saw my first snake since starting to hike the Continental Divide Trail……yeah…..I don’t see very many!
A real treat
The area north is some of my favorite territory on the Great Plains……too bad some of it is named after Custer.
Treated myself to a new backpack, Osprey Exos…..sweet. Period…………
First real hike was a route over the Nicholson Mine in the Tobacco Roots. Road from the east is very nice and easy to follow with the help of maps and map sense. The other side…..well….I think there is some strategy to keep 4wheelers away…..so…..there is not much of a trail……so down I go! The mine is perched with remnants of ancient structures.
We left the cool mornings and evenings of the mountains and headed out to Boulder, Montana and took in some soaks in the hot springs……love it. Feel it.
A couple of warm up hikes south of MacDonald Pass to get ready for the first multi-day of the summer finds us in some HUGE beetle kill areas. Six, seven miles of two tree lengths cleared on both sides of the road. The harvest is too late for another purpose other than a fire pyre…..and there is one after another. This must be a strange place to be after the snowfall and the pyres are lit.
The tree and not me
We wait out a very active thunderstorm with some close strikes and begin a hike down Telegraph Creek. Hmmmmm. Momma stops because of all the smoke and waits for me, thinking that it may be a party. Creeping up in to the woods…..I find a tree ablaze! The close neighbor is blown apart and the root system is glowing orange with coals. The ground around is wet, almost bog like, but we discovered the next day that this was only because of the rainfall. The area was snap dry before the rain.
Turn on the phone and find that there is service. The number to the Helena Forest Service tells me that they are closed for the weekend, but, to call another number to report fire.
The Forest Service responds to investigate……and immediately drop the shovels and tools for the hose on the tanker. At least this one was accessible.
A couple of days and nights in some old mining country. Patented claims everywhere just waiting…..waiting. One camp was in lodgepole pine so thick that I did not need stakes…just tie up to the trees!
Heard bells……thought it may have been the Isreali group hiking but he was a solo……wearing headphones (to avoid the annoying bells?….hello!)……he missed the bugling of the elks too (all evening and morning).
A tight camp
Talked for a while with the 5th generation rancher from the Dunn Canyon Ranch while we were in Long Meadow on the CDT. His shirt is worn more than my last studio smock! Asked if that was to make the identification easier for his wife……..he thought that she might like to see it disappear! He talked of high snowfalls this year and no rain……but also about his, “days at the office”. We laughed.
Cold Spring is a very nice piped spring with a tank. Bathing and filling up on a ridge high above the valleys with views of the southern CDT route through Annaconda (and the stack) make for an early evening with Maxfield Parrish colors, stars and the nightly perch for the local hummingbirds.
Always camping a distance from any solitary water source to make it easy for wildlife….I was startled from my breakfast to find wildlife at the spring……another hiker…..that did not know I was there!………this was one of the Isrealis!
On the Backbone of North America
Later at Champion Pass, now reunited with my parents, we drove back up the access road to Blizzard hill for views and lunch. Visited with Kohrs-Grant Ranch, a late supper at the M&M in Butte and finally…..stars….stars….stars.
Mom and Dad with the Geyser Moons
The next day we went through Yellowstone and lingered long enough to take in the harvest moon at West Thumb Geyser Basin.
The Cody Museum took us two days……..amazing!
Thermopolis is celebrating the “Gift of the Waters” pageant with the Shoshone and there is a lot going on …… so we stay two days to soak and eat “peaches and cream” corn (not “sugar and gold”).
Now we are off to the Winds…..and the best ice cream in the region (in Shoshone)….we will just have to see how much dust we kick up.