Montana Outdoors

January 27, 2008

A contrast

In the middle of winter, while it’s nice to contemplate the beauty of all the snow and ice, it’s also enjoyable to occasionally reflect on what this cold world will be like once summer returns again.

The first two photos that follow were taken last Thursday, of Mount Baldy, a 7,464 foot high mountain near here with its cold cap of deep snow. As much as I’d like to be up there right now, I can’t be: for the time being, it’s prime avalanche country.

Mount Baldy

Mount Baldy

Last June, the mountain looked quite different than now and here are a few photos taken then, on the 26th to be exact, when, instead of longingly looking at it from below, I was able to view it from the top.

At the very peak the stack of rocks still remains which formed the base of a lookout tower, built not long after the turn of the century and replaced by a newer one years later. Both are now long gone, having been replaced by aircraft surveillance flights throughout the fire season. During the last year’s fire season, three temporary communications towers were in place near the ruins.

Mount Baldy, top

In fact, the trail to the top was created so pack strings of horses and mules could take the necessary material up for the tower’s construction and maintenance. Now it’s maintained by the Forest Service as a primitive hiking trail through the Baldy Mountain roadless area. (The mountains at the horizon are part of the Bitterroot range, 40-some miles to the south.)

Mount Baldy trail

Southeast of the peak, the trail winds past Baldy Lake. How I’d love to visit there this time of year, but that will have to wait until spring, probably mid to late May. In the mean time, the memories and the photos will have to suffice.

Baldy Lake

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