When it seems that the trail can go no farther upwards and you expect to see the top of Mt Silcox you find that the trail instead has flattened out and follows a high and very narrow ridge leading to the south: the top of the Mountain is still a half mile away. It’s a strange feeling to walk the trail, knowing that you must be at the top and yet it goes on and on, looking for all the world like a trail much lower in elevation.
Trail 478 as it approaches the ridge leading to the top of Mt Silcox.
High ridge trail
High ridge trail
High ridge trail
Finally, a peek over the top
The view to the south overlooking the town of Thompson Falls.
The base of the old lookout tower.
A log cabin was built on this site in 1908 which was replaced in 1923 by a 35′ steel windmill tower. In 1926 a cupola cabin was erected on the concrete base shown in the last photo. It was destroyed in 1967.
These photos were taken from trail 478 between the Goat Lakes and the top of Mt Silcox, and I will post them with only one comment, for perspective. If you look closely in the lower center part of the last photo you will see a faint, roughly horizontal line just above the trees: that is the lower part of the trail just above the Goat Lakes.
USFS trail 478 climbs rather steeply from the trail head at ~ 5,400 feet to the first of the two Goat Lakes at ~ 6,100 feet and nearly two miles up the trail. It’s a very good trail, but does not provide the views that will be seen from Goat Lakes to the top of Silcox. I was pleased to see here that I was backtracking a cougar who had come down the trail some time during the night.
The rising sun has already flooded Eddy Mountain across the Clark For River valley in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains.
First glimpse of the high country above into which the trail leads.
Higher on the trail, scenes of the Coeur d’Alenes become much broader.
About half way to Goat Lakes, the forest opens up a bit along the trail.
Mountainside foliage as the trail approaches Goat Lakes.
As I reached the lower of the Goat Lakes, the sun was just beginning to touch the water.
Early morning sun and long shadows still on the lake.
Upper Goat Lake just beginning to awaken with the new day.
This is the beginning a series of posts of photos that were taken August 22nd on a trek to Mount Silcox, which stands at the southern end of the Cube Iron – Silcox roadless area. It is an unusual place because it is within the roadless area, and the country to the north of it and on both sides is very wild country, yet four miles to the south and 4,500 feet below the peak is the small town of Thompson Falls Montana. Looking down at a town after a hike up to a wild mountain peak is not one of my favorite things, but the trail to it and the surrounding country makes it well worthwhile anyway. The trail by which I chose to approach the mountain begins at the Goat Lakes trail head situated at the end of a twelve mile long Forest Service road that branches off from the West Fork of Thompson River.
Because the weather was quite unsettled and because I had never been to this place before, I decided to drive to the trail head in the evening and spend the night there, allowing an early start on the trail the next morning.
You know a trip will be pretty when scenes like this can be seen from the road to the trail head:
(By the way, the very sharp and tallest peak on the skyline just about in the center of the photo is Eddy Peak. It was from it’s top that the photo in my previous post was taken and I will post a series of photos taken on that trip a little later.)
The sleeping accommodations at the trail head were a bit Spartan, but it was very comfortable to be out of the wind, and listening to the rain on the shell of the truck for an hour or so during the night was just delightful!
Today’s outing was not what I had anticipated, but there was still plenty of nature’s beauty for those who love clouds. I visited the lookout on Eddy’s Peak although it is now closed for the season, and hiked from there way back along a trail into the Cherry Peak roadless area. The trail was not what I expected and the weather was, well, different. I shot (and will probably post) far too many photos like this one: there’s just something about a sea of clouds.
The photo was taken looking toward the west from Eddy Peak in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains. On the right side of the photo, the Clark Fork River valley is about four thousand feet below those clouds.