Montana Outdoors

August 25, 2008

Koo Koo Sint 1

As David Thompson explored and mapped much of the northwestern United States and western Canada in around 1800, he carried a brass sextant of 10 inches radius and an achromatic telescope of high power. Every night he took his readings from the planets, and the Indians came to call him Koo Koo Sint, “the man who gazes at stars”.

Last week, despite the efforts of the ever-present vandals who have all but obliterated every single one of the Forest Service signs, by diligently studying the Lolo National Forest map, throwing in just a dash of Kentucky windage and a pinch of luck, I was able to locate the eastern end of USFS trail 445, the Koo Koo Sint trail. Today I hiked the first couple of miles of it.

After leaving the Jeep at the trail head,

08:30 – 2938″ elevation
09:00 – 3367″
09:30 – 3765″
10:00 – 4249″
10:30 – 4748″

At about 10:20 and at 4640″ the trail topped out over the east end of Koo Koo Sint Ridge, providing this view to the east. The high country on the right side of the river is the Cherry Peak roadless area in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains and the high country along Koo Koo Sint Ridge on the left side of the river is in the TeePee – Spring Creek roadless area in the Cabinet Mountains.

Lower Clark Fork River

I thought it was worth the climb and I’m pretty sure David Thompson thought it was too.


  1. Definitely worth the climb. Everything is so green. Just give it about 6 weeks…is that about right for your colors to pop?


    Comment by Bo — August 25, 2008 @ 8:17 pm

  2. Six weeks is just about right. Most of that forest if fir and pine, but there is some larch and by then it should be golden. Some of the lower growing bushes are already beginning to turn.


    Comment by montucky — August 25, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  3. worth? that’s an understatement! I am DYING to be there!!!


    Comment by Sumedh — August 25, 2008 @ 10:33 pm

  4. It gives new meaning to the words “A River Runs Through It”



    Comment by Tabbie — August 26, 2008 @ 12:56 am

  5. I now know what drew the mountain men to ride off into the peaks and valleys!


    Comment by Cedar — August 26, 2008 @ 5:00 am

  6. Whew! That’s a serious climb over a short distance!


    Comment by teaspoon — August 26, 2008 @ 7:01 am

  7. Sumedh, be sure to bring your camera!


    Comment by montucky — August 26, 2008 @ 8:09 am

  8. Tabbie,

    This is about a hundred miles downstream from that setting, but that water does flow through here. I think this photo shows much better than my words can describe why I love this part of the country.


    Comment by montucky — August 26, 2008 @ 8:12 am

  9. Cedar,

    Yes, who wouldn’t want to explore this. All of my life I’ve wished I could have seen this area before “civilization” arrived. In the middle of these roadless area though, a lot of things are the same as they were when Thompson came through here.


    Comment by montucky — August 26, 2008 @ 8:16 am

  10. teaspoon,

    Yes, it’s a fairly aggressive trail, but a beautiful one. Yesterday I hiked only the first part of it: there’s another 8 – 10 miles and another 2000 feet of elevation to go. That part hasn’t been cleared for awhile though and I saw lots of downed trees over it. I’ve been to both ends now and will try to cover the rest if it’s possible before the snow flies.


    Comment by montucky — August 26, 2008 @ 9:28 am

  11. Worth the climb, I’m sure. But I would need a casket to rest in once I’d reached the summit.


    Comment by Pinhole — August 26, 2008 @ 7:45 pm

  12. Well, Pinhole, there was a lot of cedar around.


    Comment by montucky — August 26, 2008 @ 8:42 pm

  13. Oh, that’s so gorgeous!! It looks like it was well worth the climb. And I bet it’s a fantastic place to see stars.


    Comment by Sara — August 27, 2008 @ 10:34 am

  14. It certainly is that! There are no city lights around for miles. On clear nights we get a great look at the milky way too.


    Comment by montucky — August 27, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

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