In northwest Montana, tucked in right next to the Idaho border, there is a small roadless area of only 8,059 acres called the Evan’s Gulch Roadless Area and in the northwest part of it there are three lakes fairly close together and connected by one trail; Blossom Lake, Upper Blossom Lake and Pear Lake (which, by the way, is shaped exactly like a pear).
The trail head for these lakes is located at Thompson Pass which is right on the Montana – Idaho border on Highway 471 (also called Forest Road 7 by the Forest Service) about 20 miles west of the small town of Thompson Falls. Thompson Falls is 100 miles northwest of Missoula on State Highway 200.
Of the three, Blossom Lake is the largest and the closest to the trail head. It gets quite a few visitors who are usually quite tired by the time they hike the approximately three miles to it (the trail has a lot of “up” to it) and so the other lakes farther up the trail get very few.
Following are a few photos of Blossom Lake taken on July 23, 2012.
(A small stand of bear grass in bloom on the far slope just above the lake)
Both are reasons why I love the roadless areas so much. I spent last Thursday night at a trail head and reflected on the thought that there was not another human within 30 miles that night. I slept well!
All of the lakes at lower elevation have just that, and therefore I never go there any more. These high lakes are protected mostly by very steep, rough country that would be extremely difficult for road builders. Bear grass flowers will get up to five feet tall and can be seen from long distances.
Beautiful, it reminds me of some of the lakes in what’s known as the Lakes District of the Sierra. Some of those do have a road and cabins but many don’t and are only visited by those willing to climb their way to enjoy their beauty.
These lakes truly are jewels set into the mountains. Just beautiful – I’d love to be able to breathe some of that air. I’ve had it with heat and humidity. That’s a lovely stand of bear grass, too. I’m suddenly wondering – do bears like to eat it? or did it get its name just for its appearance? Have you ever seen baskets woven from it?
I’ve read that the bear grass flowers are poisonous but that bears do eat the fleshy leaf bases in the spring and that it how it got it’s name. I didn’t believe that for years until one spring in the Blossom Lake area I found a whole lot of the bear grass clumps that had been uprooted and chewed and the only critter who would do or be able to do that would be the bear. I have not seen baskets made from the leaves, but in British Columbia one of the alternate common names for bear grass is ‘Indian basket-grass’.
Completely divine… I’m so jealous of your “up” hiking, heh! We have a lot of sand-hiking, which can be tiring on the legs, after the nth mile — but it’s been awhile since I’ve hiked inclines. This is just magnificent.
So nice not to see people! I just went to Flickr to see if I could tell if the mountain in that first shot was made up of rock. I really couldn’t tell. You know it looks a lot like lichen, but I have never seen that much.
My thoughts, too…. The ones I visited this weekend are rather close to civilization…between two and three hours hiking UP into the canyon…more people were there than I cared to have present, but the place was still very clean…no trash or anything…all protected by Nat’l Forest status….
I’m sure the trails in your area get more traffic because of the population in the Salt Lake area. THere are more people in the Salt Lake metro area than in the whole state of Montana. That there is no trash is extremely good news and speaks well for the people there!