Montana Outdoors

July 31, 2010

Mt Headley (5)

A few more photos taken from the top of Mt Headley. In the fifth one, you can see the lookout cabin that still stands atop Priscilla Peak, about six air miles to the southeast.

Scene from Mt Headley

Scene from Mt Headley

Scene from Mt Headley

Scene to the northwest with the tall peaks of the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness in the background:

Scene from Mt Headley

Priscilla Peak Lookout

An un-named peak in the roadless area to the south:

Scene to the south from Mt Headley

July 29, 2010

Mt Headley (4)

Mt Headley was the site of one of Montana’s 639 lookout towers that were built after the huge fire of 1910 that burned three million acres of forest in Washington, Idaho and Montana and which killed 87 people including 78 firefighters. The lookout cabin, built in 1928, was located just behind this sign at the very peak and there is still some debris from it remaining just below the sign. It was a cupola design cabin somewhat similar to the one that still stands on Priscilla Peak.

Signage at the site of the old lookout

Now, views from the top.

View from the top of Mt Headley

View from the top of Mt Headley

View from the top of Mt Headley

View from the top of Mt Headley

View from the top of Mt Headley

View from the top of Mt Headley

View from the top of Mt Headley

July 28, 2010

Mt Headley (3)

The last mile or so of trail 528 to the top of Mt Headley is a little steeper than the rest and there were still patches of snow across it, but the anticipation of breaking out on top made that part of the hike quite easy.

The “water” referenced by this sign may be only a mile away, but at the rate at which the trail to it descended suggests a very tough hike back up!

Trail 528 to Mt Headley

When a trail looks this way, you realize that the top is not all that far away.

Trail 528 to Mt Headley

The snowbanks were not very deep, but the breeze blowing across them was very refreshing in mid-July!

Trail 528 to Mt Headley

Finally, from a saddle .3 miles below, the first glimpse of the top of the mountain.

Mt Headley Peak

From the saddle the cliffs to the northeast are in full view and worth a couple of shots.

Cliffs to the NE of Mt Headley

Cliffs to the NE of Mt Headley

This signage is at the saddle, which is also the junction with trail 433 which winds down 1,200 feet below the cliffs, then back up to Marmot Peak and from there on down Sundance Ridge to Priscilla Peak and then on down to Thompson River. That entire trail will be a two or three day trip we plan on taking next year but the first part, to Marmot Peak, is still in my plans for later this summer.

Trail 528 to Mt Headley

Next post will include some of the views from the top.

July 27, 2010

Mt Headley (2)

For the next mile or so trail 528 pretty much follows a ridge line and in the open places between the trees there are nice views on both sides, the cliffs that are on the west side of Carbine Lake to the south and the area around Image Lake to the north.

The upper reaches of Graves Creek

The upper reaches of Graves Creek

Cliffs to the west of Carbine Lake

TRAIL 528

Trail 528

Mountainside above Image Lake

Mountainside above Image Lake

Mountainside above Image Lake

July 26, 2010

Mt Headley (1)

Four miles just about due North of Cabin Lake, 1,500 feet higher and also in the Cube Iron-Silcox roadless area is a peak called Mt Headley, upon which, in 1928, the Forest Service built a cupola style lookout cabin. The peak can be accessed from Cabin lake by trail 450 or from another trail that starts at Vermillion Pass.

On Monday, July twelfth my friend and I hiked up to the peak of Mt Headly not on trail 450 from Cabin Lake, but on trail 528 from its trail head at Vermillion Pass near the head of Graves Creek. This trail climbs a little over 1,500 feet over its four miles, but unlike the Cabin Lake trail which had a bunch of switchbacks, trail 528 stays at a fairly steady incline all of the way to the top. I’m not sure which is better.

A note about roadless areas: Roadless areas are natural areas without roads, but the term is more specific than that. It refers to a group of National Forest lands that are technically called “Inventoried Roadless Areas”. These areas include approximately 60 million acres of land, most of which is in the western US, Puerto Rico and Alaska. Many of the roadless areas in the lower 48 states are plots of land that are immediately adjacent to wilderness areas, parks and other protected lands. There is an excellent website called Roadlessland.org that is full of information on all of the areas, including great maps of them. Because these areas are part of our National Forests, they are owned, not by the states in which they exist, but by all of the citizens of our country. They are under constant attack by people and companies who are not only willing, but eager to destroy their beauty to make a little money. It will take not just those of us who live near them, but folks from all over the country who want to retain natural wild areas like them to take the steps necessary to protect them. It’s a continual fight. I hope that when folks see these glimpses into those beautiful areas they will want to help preserve and protect them as much as possible.

Over a number of days I will post photos of the Mt Headley area and trail 528 much as I did with the trip to Cabin Lake.

Scene to the north of Vermilion PassScene to the north of Vermillion Pass

Scene to the north of Vermilion PassScene to the north of Vermillion Pass

Vermillion Peak from Vermillion PassVermillion Peak viewed from Vermillion Pass

A little past a mile up trail 528 there is a beautiful basin to the north which contains Image Lake and a few dozen yards off the trail is a wonderful cliff from which it can be viewed.

Basin containing Image Lake

Basin containing Image Lake

Image Lake scene

Image Lake scene

Image Lake scene

Image Lake scene

July 23, 2010

Cabin Lake (6)

As we descended the trail toward the trail head, on some cliffs off the trail we were treated to a view of one of the icons of the Rocky Mountains, somewhat rare now outside of Glacier Park; a Rocky Mountain Goat, (Oreamnos americanus). For obvious reasons, I couldn’t get any close-ups. When I was a child we saw them fairly often, but it has been years since I encountered one outside of the park. It was a very rare treat!

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat

As if to make a closing statement at the very end of our Cabin Lake trip, along the Forest Service access road, these were in bloom, another wildflower that I had not encountered before.

Mountain hollyhocks,Mountain Hollyhocks, lliamna rivularis

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