Yesterday my son and I tried again to find the lower end of the Fourteen Mile trail (USFS trail 1714), this time in 4 inches of new snow, and tasted a little success with the discovery of some old blaze marks on a tree a few hundred feet above the river. We lost it soon after because of the snow but I’m sure now that with the appropriate topo maps I will be able to locate it, although not until most of the snow has melted.
The following photo illustrates why I want so much to find the trail. It was taken from about three miles from the Jeep and a thousand feet above the river, and the top of the trail is still several miles and 3,500 feet further up the mountain. I have to think the views from the upper reaches will be worth the climb.
Our companions at this point were five huge Big Horn rams who were also looking out over the river. The trail is in the Patrick’s Knob Roadless Area of western Montana’s Coeur d’Alene Mountains and the country across the river is in the South Siegel Roadless Area.
One of the many wonders of the great outdoors is the way the same scene will change completely from one visit to the next, often dramatically, in only a short period of time.
Early this morning we received four inches of new snow and I decided to visit a trail that I was on just last Saturday and one of the scenes had changed so much I had difficulty even finding it. I re-shot it as closely as I could.
On Saturday, February 21st, it looked like this:
On Thursday, February 26th, it had an entirely different look:
Munson Creek is a small mountain stream that flows for only about 6 miles from the high country beneath Big Hole Peak and the Koo Koo Sint Ridge in the Cabinet Mountains, through the TeePee – Spring Creek Roadless Area to the Clark Fork river. There’s a great little Forest Service trail ( #372) which follows the route of the creek that will take the hiker about seven miles from the river, which is at an elevation of about 2,400 feet to the peak which is at 7,000 feet, and from the higher parts of it the peaks of the Cherry Peak Roadless Area in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains can be seen to the south across the Clark Fork Valley.
I dearly love that little trail for many reasons; in order of importance to me: it runs through some beautiful and wild country full of wildlife and wildflowers, it has very few human visitors, and the trail head is quite close to my home. I’ve tried to get lots of photos of the creek in its winter dress this year while I can: who knows what the next year will bring?
It’s fascinating to me to see a backwater of a river that has chosen to participate in an entirely different set of liquid dynamics from that of its parent.
This was photographed from a small rocky outcrop a couple hundred feet above the river and a mile away at a place where, on hot summer days, Bighorn Sheep lounge around in their pajamas in the shade of an old Ponderosa pine.