Montana Outdoors

July 12, 2012

Hiking the Baldy trail (2)

Filed under: Baldy Mountain roadless area — Tags: — montucky @ 10:01 pm

The next two posts consist of more photos from the Baldy Mountains roadless area. It’s a beautiful area and I hope it will not be destroyed by exploitation or by those who want to open it up for off-road ATV’s. (They call it “access”.)

Northeast from Baldy


At the base of the old lookout

At the base of the old lookout

Along the trail

South from Baldy


Over the edge

North from Baldy



  1. Incredible – such dazzling blue sky and breathtaking views. I share your hope that there won’t be any ‘access’ planned for this area.


    Comment by Jo Woolf — July 13, 2012 @ 2:03 am

  2. Brilliant!
    D’you know, aside from the natural beauty there, I look at the carved date on the rock and think – in hundreds of years time (if our planet is still here) when our present language and number system no longer means anything to anyone, will people of the future think that the marks on the rock are some kind of message from the stars?


    Comment by Val — July 13, 2012 @ 5:57 am

    • Interesting thought. The way it’s going now, in a hundred years there will be very few people who can walk that far.


      Comment by montucky — July 13, 2012 @ 11:45 pm

  3. Here’s to REALLY hoping they maintain this PRISTINE land, keeping it free from ATVs that will only ravage it. I’ve seen it done. 😦 Hopefully there are groups fighting their access…!!

    I love the carved date — what an impact.


    Comment by FeyGirl — July 13, 2012 @ 6:15 am

    • It’s a continual fight here against the off-road advocates and those who want to exploit the forests for personal gain. In my lifetime I’ve seen huge amounts of forest (and that’s part of our critical watershed) severely damaged or completely destroyed.


      Comment by montucky — July 13, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

      • Just horrible. HORRIBLE. How much has to disappear before we (they) realize the effects? I like to think this process of realization is happening NOW, but alas… I see the same with the Everglades (the ORVs destroying endangered habitats — and areas belonging to endangered animals, including the Florida Panther). One has to wonder. I do believe there’s more awareness, though.


        Comment by FeyGirl — July 14, 2012 @ 7:33 am

        • As a large proportion of our citizens grow further and further away from nature, the situation rapidly gets worse. Especially is poor economic times, the politicians of all parties start to bray about “capitalizing” on our natural resources. Montana senator Jon Tester has written a bill he calls the “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act”. Among other things, it MANDATES logging 10,000 acres per year to create “timber jobs”. With the small amount of rainfall these western forests receive, this is not a sustainable harvest. Heavily logged areas do not recover for hundreds of years if ever and in the mean time the exploitation continues, despite no one even has a good guess about where the point of no return is for the exploitation of our forests. Besides logging the national forests, a company called Plum Creek Timber, which is the largest land owner in Montana with 900,000 acres, is continually logging off the land and then selling what they can. Their logging techniques and practices are the very worst of the worst.


          Comment by montucky — July 14, 2012 @ 8:57 am

          • WHAT? I had absolutely no idea… NONE. You should write a post (or perhaps you have already?) about this. I honestly had no idea, and would re-post in a heartbeat. MANDATING the destruction of an already-weakened ecosystem? WHAT?


            Comment by FeyGirl — July 14, 2012 @ 10:31 am

            • The rationale used is that timber is called a “renewable” resource. Well, it is, but not for quite a few generations in the relatively dry conditions in our western forests. I also can’t believe that with the housing and construction markets at low ebb, some of the lumber that is still being produced is being shipped to China.


              Comment by montucky — July 14, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

              • Exactly… You’re bringing up some wonderful points. You really should write a bit on it! I’ve always said that I would never, ever, EVER buy a *new* home or new furniture. There’s simply NO NEED. Americans must shift their sense their perception of needs a bit — it would make a tremendous, beneficial impact on this planet. We don’t need SUVs named after armadas of ships. We don’t need thousands of square feet in which to live. Etc. Etc. Etc. But I was raised in the military, overseas — perhaps my perception was already shifted, with demands like 30-second navy showers, heh. 🙂


                Comment by FeyGirl — July 15, 2012 @ 8:23 am

                • Along the same line, there has been so much talk and effort about energy sources, energy generation, energy transfer (pipeline, power lines, etc.) but the biggest and quickest and cheapest boost for our energy needs is conservation of it, and no one ever talks about that!


                  Comment by montucky — July 15, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

                • EXACTLY!! I’m always raising this concept when people discuss fracking (only because that’s the hot topic, now). Just… CUT BACK! It’s very basic, and can be done in baby steps. The average American, in my humble opinion, needs to do this — a quick glimpse at how the rest of the world lives in a day is testament. Someone raised this issue on a post (reblog) of mine — the “nice idea, but how do we find alternative sources of fuel” issue — and I stuck to my guns. There’s no need to go to an extreme one way or the other — simply cut back on our *unnecessary* over-extension of the earth’s resources. This would be very easy for people to accomplish in their everyday lives. VERY easy. A bit of unselfish and thinking-out-of-the-box attitude is necessary, granted… 🙂 Or just take a hike and see what’s at stake, sheesh.


                  Comment by FeyGirl — July 16, 2012 @ 5:36 am

  4. It’s amazing to see the effect of the wind on those evergreens. I wonder what they died of?


    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — July 13, 2012 @ 7:02 am

    • I doubt that there was any one thing or event that killed those trees. The skeletons are very old. There have been many fires over the years, but I hardly think that a large wildfire would reach the top over nearly a mile of rock. My best guess is that lightning has probably killed most of them. A thunderstorm on a peak like that is an awesome and powerful thing and lightning strikes are very common.


      Comment by montucky — July 13, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

  5. Since our skies have been a dingy brown for over a week now, these images almost make me cry they are so beautiful. The sky looks so pure. These types of images are always such a potent reminder of what the sky should look like, and of what we have done, and continue to do to our beautiful earth. I too hope they disallow the ATVs. They have torn up so much already and the sound and air pollution they contribute isn’t a welcome addition the the environment.


    Comment by anniespickns — July 13, 2012 @ 7:07 am

    • Exactly! The remaining roadless areas and wilderness areas do show what the standard for a healthy planet should be. They are necessary in their current state to support the biodiversity required for the health of the planet and to maintain the watershed that is so vital to life here. Personally, I think the biggest threat to the human species’ survival will be the availability of clean water.


      Comment by montucky — July 13, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

  6. Oh, ATVs. They’re really, really useful on big ranches. On land like this, they can be an abomination. Love the photos, especially the third, with the trees framed against the sky. And such blues! They certainly help to explain that “big sky country” name!


    Comment by shoreacres — July 13, 2012 @ 7:20 am

    • Yes, ATV’s can be very good tools, but also very dangerous to the ecology of the planet. Sadly though, they are being marketed and largely used as thrill machines and by people who have very little respect for the natural world.


      Comment by montucky — July 14, 2012 @ 12:02 am

  7. Can sure see why they picked that location for a lookout! Views in all directions that don’t end.
    Are the dead trees whitebark pines?


    Comment by Kim — July 13, 2012 @ 8:42 am

    • Baldy was an excellent and effective lookout. I think the trees at the top are mostly subalpine fir, but there may be other species. The trees up there all show damage from almost continual and sometimes violent wind and extremely cold winter conditions. They are dwarfs compared to those of their species living at lower elevations. There are some whitebark pines down lower but they are in serious trouble. An indication of that is that lately I’ve seen hardly any Clark’s Nutcrackers, a bird that makes most of its living from whitebark pine, up there any more.


      Comment by montucky — July 14, 2012 @ 12:07 am

  8. Wow! I definitely agree that this area should not be opened up for ATVs. I can just visualize how they would tear up the terrain. Hopefully, this area will remain just as it is – beautiful.


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — July 13, 2012 @ 9:18 am

    • I have not seen ATV damage on that mountain, but I have seen it further to the north and west. They are a serious problem: I think few understand how serious it is.


      Comment by montucky — July 14, 2012 @ 12:10 am

  9. I could look across those mountains all day! Are the twisted trees because of a burn? You have produced another beautiful set of photos.


    Comment by sandy — July 13, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    • I don’t think the top has ever suffered from a large burn because the tree population up there is sparse and isolated from the rest of the forest by nearly a mile of bare rock. I would guess that lightning is the main killer, and that wind, lack of water and severe winter cold are what stunts the tree growth.


      Comment by montucky — July 14, 2012 @ 12:13 am

  10. Incredibly beautiful!!


    Comment by allbymyself09 — July 13, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

    • It sure is beautiful. We are fortunate that there is as much of this kind of country left as there is.


      Comment by montucky — July 14, 2012 @ 12:14 am

  11. There are many places on this beautiful earth, such as this, where access should only be earned on foot. The feeling I have just seeing this photographs is beyond wonderful. To be standing there…. I’m so glad you’re taking the time to visit these places and share them with us.

    FWIW: I am intrigued by Val’s comment, and found myself thinking, “Perhaps those who read the date inscription hundreds of years from now will be From the stars.” 🙂


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — July 13, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

    • I believe that places like this are mandatory for the health and well being of the planet (and I sure hope that there are enough of them left for it) and also that those who wish access should do so with care and respect for the ecology. Clearly, my experience has been also that, as you mentioned, earning access on foot heightens the experience of being there and helps one understand a little about the natural forest.


      Comment by montucky — July 14, 2012 @ 12:20 am

  12. What a gorgeous, blue, sky day to be up there … what is the elevation?


    Comment by bearyweather — July 13, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    • The elevation of the Clark Fork river to the south and the little town beside it is about 2,400 feet. The trail head is at 5,900 and the top of the mountain is 7,464 feet.


      Comment by montucky — July 14, 2012 @ 12:23 am

  13. I hope you can keep the ATVs out, I detest them, such a menace and blight. Such a beautiful place this is.


    Comment by Candace — July 14, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

    • I hate to see ATV’s too and the damage that usually accompanies their use in the forests.


      Comment by montucky — July 14, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  14. Beautiful! It looks like you are on top of the world..


    Comment by Roberta — July 14, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

    • It seems like that up there. Think of those who manned that lookout, spending all summer with those views.


      Comment by montucky — July 14, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

  15. I can feel my feet on the trail and the exhilaration of making it to the top and having that view open-up to me…wonderful. Thank you, Montucky (Terry?)….


    Comment by seekraz — July 16, 2012 @ 7:17 am

    • You would love this trail then. The whole top part is rock and with the switchback you get great views at different arcs of the surroundings. Terry.


      Comment by montucky — July 16, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

      • It looks and sounds like I would, Terry…thank you.


        Comment by seekraz — July 16, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

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