Montana Outdoors

July 9, 2008

Penrose Peak, Part 4

At this view point about half way to the area where I planned to stay the night, the light was already beginning to change, giving an unusual look to the view to the northeast over the Clark Fork River valley into the Cabinet Mountains.

From the trail to Penrose

Beyond this area, the road stays in the trees, leaving few places where one can see out of the forest. One such place includes a little patch of the road as it crosses below Sunset Peak

From the trail to Penrose

and another provides a brief look at the north slope of Sunset Peak. Note the stack of rocks at the top of the peak. There are some photos taken from that peak on a post from last year, Views from the top.

Sunset Peak from the north

As I approached the place where I would camp, in a little saddle along a ridge and where USFS trail 385 intersects with the old road, I found the hillsides were covered with beargrass in bloom.

Beargrass at the saddle

Beargrass at the saddle

By the time I arrived there, darkness was beginning to settle in. Luckily I found a small depression between a couple of Lodgepole Pines where there was a comfortable place to spread my sleeping bag on a cushion of beargrass which were not blooming this year (each plant blooms only every seven years) and set up a hasty camp for the night.

Hasty camp at the saddle

When camping in bear country it is prudent to keep all foodstuffs up out of their reach when you’re not around camp or when you’re sleeping. As I always do when I’m away from my pack, I hoisted my food, pack and all up out of their reach. It’s good to avoid as many confrontations with them as you can. One of my best bear strategies involves wearing a very good quality pair of boot socks: eventually a Grizzly might end up eating me, but at least in the mean time my feet will be comfortable.

Food kept above the reach of bears

Fifty feet or so from my sleeping quarters, USFS trail 385 can be seen as it exits the forest, coming from the Sacajawea and Sunset peak area. I would have a date with that trail just after daylight in the morning.

Intersection with Trail 385

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