Montana Outdoors

June 20, 2008

The longest three mile trail in Montana (Part 1)

It began yesterday and will continue tomorrow (at least the posting part of it).

It’s time to replenish the firewood supply for winter and we’ve been working quite diligently on doing just that. Early yesterday morning I tackled the job of splitting and stacking the last of the wood my son and I have hauled down from the high country and before noon it was all split and stacked: three full cords so far; 15,000 pounds of beautiful, dry, hard lodgepole pine.

As a reward to myself for swinging a 6 pound splitting axe for three hours, I then decided a ride on the Wing would do very nicely and so headed for a spot about thirty miles away, combining the ride with taking a look for the trail head of a trail I’ve been wanting to hike. It’s a trail (USFS trail 205) which travels right through the middle of the Patrick’s Knob roadless area with the top at 5,000 feet at the high ridge of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains and the bottom along the Clark Fork River at 2,500 feet. I had hiked just a little of the top end but didn’t know exactly where it came out at the bottom, and I had planned to hike it from the top down. According to the Forest Service, the trail is three miles long.

Finding the trail head turned out to be an easy thing to do and I hiked a mile or so of the lower part of the trail and headed home a little after one. About ten miles east of the town near where I live I could see a huge column of smoke above town and I immediately headed for our Rural Fire headquarters. Turns out there were two houses burning and I then spent four hours battling those blazes. It all made for a long day!

Today I hiked the trail from the bottom to the top and back down. I knew what the change of altitude would be, but I’ll guarantee that whoever in the Forest Service decided it was a three mile long trail has never hiked it! I’ll describe it a little more next post and show a few more photos, but for now, here’s one of a pretty little wildflower I have never seen before. There are a few growing in one small area along trail 205 at an elevation of about 4,500 feet.

Tricolor Monkeyflower, mimulus tricolorUnidentified

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