Archive for July, 2011

Spring is finally here in the high country.  Not summer mind you, but spring.  We headed into the Anaconda Pintlar Wilderness of SW Montana for a short day hike.

Three miles in and three miles out.  Sounds pretty easy.  However the trail gains about 1500 ft, so it should be steep.  It was.  In fact all the elevation gain is achieved in the first 2 miles on an old road.  Occasional views of the nearby peaks and the sound of a small creek provide welcome distractions from the steady climb.

Once at the real trail head, two miles in, you are done climbing.  A lovely and blessedly level trail leads on to Ivanhoe Lake.

This path often achieves what I call the Trifecta of hiking:  a 1.Level 2.Shady patch with a 3.Breeze.  If you’ve ever hiked up hill on a sunny windless day, you know what I’m talking about.  The Trifecta is wonderful.

Anyway, then comes the lake.  A beautiful glacial cirque.  Looks like no one has made it up here this season, except maybe a moose and calf, judging from the tracks.  This has us a little concerned.  Sitting quietly lakeside we see a brown thing, a big brown thing, emerge from the trees about 50 yds away across a small finger of the lake.  First we thought it was the moose we feared.  But we soon realized it was a spike horned elk.  We were down wind and it didn’t know we were there.  To our delight it went for a frolicking swim!


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