Montana Outdoors

September 23, 2010

Mt Silcox

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:

From the road to the Goat Lakes 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!

The Goat Lakes trail head

(To be continued…)


  1. This is so very beautiful… truly the adjective ‘beautiful’ is used a lot with your photos but beautiful this is. So, you were way over there on that sharp peak for the gorgeous (another word for beautiful) previous photo with the soft clouds and rugged rocks. Nice truck… and you are adventurous for sure. Do you ever hear anything else at night besides tapping rain? Perhaps a rumbling bear or something else? 🙂


    Comment by Anna — September 24, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

    • I thought I’d mention Eddy Peak to give a bit of an idea of how these mountains are related. I love knowing the area because then each peak appears as an old friend. There are often sounds in the night, but they are not always identifiable and there is a lot more activity that is soundless. During that night a cougar came down the trail not far from my sleeping accommodations as I could see from the tracks in the morning.


      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

  2. How much of Montana do you figure is mountainous and wooded? I see so many photos of flat, open country, but all of yours look more like the Pacific North


    Comment by sandy — September 24, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

    • Montana is quite large, about 147,000 square miles, a little less than 300 miles from north to south at the widest point and nearly 600 miles long. A rough guess is that about a third of it is mountainous, mostly the part near or west of the Continental Divide. That is, if you view it as two dimensional. My contention is that if you could iron out all of the wrinkles in the western part, it would be larger than the eastern, it’s just that here in the west a lot of the land is nearly perpendicular, having been turned up on end.

      It is beautiful east of the Divide too, where the rolling hills go on forever. I think it was from that area that the “Big Sky” label came from.


      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

      • So, you probably have as many trees and mountains as our little state. I think you are in the prettiest area of Montana. I hope that doesn’t upset any flatlanders.


        Comment by Sandy — September 28, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

        • I greatly prefer the mountains, but of course, I was born here.


          Comment by montucky — September 28, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

  3. Hi Montucky, What a fun trip you must have had. I will be looking forward to your posts with your usual excellent photo’s!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — September 24, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

    • This was a nice trip, although for some reason it seemed hard physically. At the top though you tend to forget how tired you are.


      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

  4. Wow – Terry…those clouds just go on forever…so beautiful!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — September 26, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

  5. I can’t believe how much you are out and about hiking around. I, for one, would be too chicken to spend the night alone out there, even in a truck. It must be sooo dark although I’m sure just about everywhere you are the stars are packed solid. I’ve probably never even seen stars like you see every night…even when I’m out away from the city lights here.


    Comment by Candace — September 26, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

    • Well, Candace, I’m retired and so I have extra time to do some of the things i want to do. Being in the outdoors, specifically the back country and roadless areas is my favorite thing and I go there as often as possible. There may not be all that many more years in which I will be physically able to hike into the high country.

      Yes, on clear nights that stars are incredibly bright and numerous: the milky way looks like a big band across the sky. We don’t have much light pollution because there are not any really big cities around and in the back country there just aren’t any lights anywhere. It’s not exactly quiet though sometimes, but the sounds are not sounds of the city; wind through the trees, running water if there is a stream nearby, sounds of the animals (when I hear them I think of how well they are adapted to their lives in the wild and how much better equipped they are to live there than I but I recognize that while they are the rulers of the night I also have a place there), sometimes complete silence… they all fit.

      I feel comfortable there, much more so than I ever have in a city. I suppose the solitude isn’t for everyone, but I wouldn’t trade if for anything.


      Comment by montucky — September 26, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

  6. what fun! sleeping in a camper wouldn’t be so bad, and offers a bit of protection.


    Comment by silken — September 29, 2010 @ 7:28 am

    • It’s a very good option when there is rain or snow in the forecast.


      Comment by montucky — September 29, 2010 @ 8:52 am

  7. The skies are fantastic in the first photo. I’ve thought of getting a camper shell for my truck for when we go on photo shoots.


    Comment by Preston — September 29, 2010 @ 9:38 am

    • Mine is just a shell, but it is very handy when it rains or snows. I can do with just an air mattress and a warm sleeping bag… and dry stuff! Also a place to get out of the wind.


      Comment by montucky — September 29, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

  8. So nice looking camper!!! I have not seen here this kind. Thank You showing it, because now I have some kind of idea how You are travelling to these beautiful regions.


    Comment by sartenada — September 30, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

    • I seldom drive this into the high country because the roads are very narrow, but sometimes I do if I want to sleep in it because of bad weather. Most of the time I take this Jeep


      Comment by montucky — October 1, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

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