Montana Outdoors

September 23, 2013

Big Hole ~ September 2013

Filed under: Cabinet Mountains — Tags: , — montucky @ 6:59 pm

Big Hole Lookout trail 368

Big Hole Lookout

Big Hole Lookout

Mission Mountains

The first snow of the season is now on the Mission Mountains.


  1. First snow! My first inclination was to think it early, but just because we’re still sweating down here doesn’t mean to the rest of the country is. On the other hand, we’re past the equinox, and even here the light is changing. The color in your first photo of the trail is beautiful – not only autumnal trees give pleasure. OH! and I just found the lookout cabin atop the peak in the second photo. Oh, my.

    Those repairs look pretty recent – I think I see fresh wood chips, and obviously new logs.


    Comment by shoreacres — September 23, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

    • The huckleberry bushes are among the first signs of the changing season in the high country. These still had a few ripe berries on them but most were drying up.

      The lookout cabin is being restored as a project of Passports in Time. I presume that it will then be in the rental list of lookout cabins. Access is by a very good 2.7 mile trail (USFS trail 368); 5500 feet elevation at the trail head, 6922 feet at the lookout. Probably not the best place for someone who sleepwalks.


      Comment by montucky — September 23, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

  2. Oh, I see the lookout cabin now, too. Nice to see where you climbed. The reddish flora in the first photo looks very autumnal.


    Comment by Candace — September 23, 2013 @ 8:23 pm

    • Yes, the huckleberry bushes are just starting to turn color. There has been frost already and now snow on the mountains.


      Comment by montucky — September 23, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

  3. What is the purpose of the cables. Are they anchoring the cabin down? My take on the reddish flora is… blueberries?


    Comment by jomegat — September 23, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

    • Their cousins, the huckleberries.

      Yes, the cables anchor the cabin. Winter winds up there are horrendous! And there is a braided copper grounding strap the size of one of those cables for lightning.


      Comment by montucky — September 23, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

  4. Beautiful. We’ve had snow in the Sierras. Brrrr.


    Comment by badwalker — September 23, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

    • We have had snow in the Glacier Park area, the Missions and I heard now on some of the peaks around this area. Next week I hope to be hiking in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness again and there should be snow on those peaks too.


      Comment by montucky — September 23, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

  5. Please tell your weatherman to keep the snow at the higher elevations for October so we can enjoy a snow-free holiday.
    Those mountains in the snow pic almost look like they’re floating in the sky.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — September 23, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

    • I think most of it will stay high for that long, but there will likely be an inch or two that will make it into the valleys here.
      You can barely see those mountains in the third photo, and in the fourth, I gave it about all the zoom I had. They were about 50 miles away.


      Comment by montucky — September 23, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

  6. Goodness, what breathtaking views – and the first snow! I can’t believe it. But we have also had snow in the Cairngorms. That view from the cabin is just spectacular. I don’t think I’d ever want to go back down!


    Comment by Jo Woolf — September 24, 2013 @ 12:23 am

    • It’s a pretty place, not far from home and a fairly easy hike. I visit there every year.


      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2013 @ 8:52 am

  7. Fantastic views ! … 14 days ago , the first snow came in the mountains here in Jรคmtland … But on the lowland were i live, we have to wait another month or so before the snow is coming … // Maria ๐Ÿ™‚


    Comment by mariayarri — September 24, 2013 @ 2:23 am

    • It is pretty typical here to have the first snow of the season in September, followed by a nice Indian summer before winter settles in.


      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2013 @ 8:53 am

  8. We had snow on Mount Washington the other day too, so it’s cooling off in the upper atmosphere. As soon as I saw those cables I knew that you had visited a very windy place. They use huge ship anchor chains on the buildings on Mt. Washington-or at least they did the last time I was up there. That shot with the cabin in the distance shows what you had to go through to get there. Quite a hike!


    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — September 24, 2013 @ 4:26 am

    • There are very strong winds on these peaks and deep snow drifts of to their sides by spring. Yes, the last part of the hike to the cabin is a little steep, but overall it is a rather gentle trail.


      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2013 @ 8:55 am

  9. Gorgeous!!!!


    Comment by scaboo — September 24, 2013 @ 5:53 am

  10. Looks like you had the perfect day for an adventure. It looks so peaceful – I am envious.


    Comment by Homestead Ramblings — September 24, 2013 @ 6:34 am

    • It was an excellent day for a hike. Sunny, in the 60’s up there, no other people around.


      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2013 @ 8:56 am

  11. Looks like you had perfect weather for this excursion. The views are spectacular! Where is the Big Hole Lookout…I can’t seem to find it on my topos.


    Comment by dhphotosite — September 24, 2013 @ 7:45 am

    • It is approximately 13 miles NW of Plains, Montana. (Montana Meridian, SW1/4, Section 4, T.49N, R.27W)
      The lookout is about a quarter of a mile east of Big Hole Peak, placed there for a better view to the south and east.


      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2013 @ 9:00 am

  12. I just love that 3rd photo from the top (with the cabin on the left of the frame). That place looks to be in the most heavenly position – with the mountains in the distance.


    Comment by Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) — September 24, 2013 @ 8:16 am

    • Yes, that’s a great view. In the state of Montana, 626 mountains had, at one time or another, a fire lookout cabin on their tops, all chosen for greatest visibility. Only several cabins remain, but most of the old pack trails to the peaks still remain and provide excellent hiking opportunities. Most have relatively little traffic.


      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2013 @ 9:05 am

  13. I still dream of spending a week in a lookout cabin. If I was younger and feeling especially Kerouacy, I’d choose longer… Gorgeous photos. Your caption is pure poetry …


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — September 24, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

    • I know you would enjoy a stay at a lookout. I understand that they book a long time in advance.

      Through this blog I met the man who manned this lookout during the summer of 1966. We have become good friends and in fact, we will be hiking together most of next week in this general area, hopefully in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness as well. We both love these high places!


      Comment by montucky — September 24, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

      • Wow. Does that sound like fun.

        I am definitely keeping the lookout on my list of things to do …


        Comment by Teresa Evangeline — September 24, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

        • If you have never been to one, you owe it to yourself. There is nothing else like it. You can drive right to some of them too, for example the one on Cougar Peak that I posted about last summer. The cabins give you shelter if the weather gets wild and keep the wildlife on the outside of the walls if those are concerns.


          Comment by montucky — September 24, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

  14. Some really wonderful shots ! The views are amazing. I would so love to hike in your corner of the world ! ๐Ÿ™‚


    Comment by Inspired and pretty — September 25, 2013 @ 8:11 pm

    • Yes, this is a beautiful place in which to live for anyone who loves the outdoors. There are hundreds of trails like this one in just this single National Forest. It’s free to anyone and there are excellent maps. This lookout site is one of 636 such sites in Montana, some more spectacular than others, but all worth seeing. This summer I have broken some new ground to the northwest of here and have enjoyed it thoroughly. Next week I hope to explore three or four new places in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.


      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

      • How wonderful ! Can’t wait to see your photos ๐Ÿ™‚


        Comment by Inspired and pretty — September 25, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

        • I’m hoping for at least a little clear weather. There has already been snow in that area.


          Comment by montucky — September 25, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

  15. Snow, ha ha: it hit at least 95ยฐ in Austin this afternoon.


    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — September 25, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

    • My condolences, Steve! Here we had the second hottest summer in history, with 41 days with a high temperature over 90 degrees. Snow will be welcome this year!


      Comment by montucky — September 25, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

  16. Wonderful photos all of them. This time I was inspired about the first photo in which there are reddish bushes. In Lapland at fall many plants come reddish.


    Comment by Sartenada — September 26, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

    • The red bushes are the first colors of fall here. Next will be some yellows from the trees.


      Comment by montucky — September 27, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

  17. The first snow….I’m getting ready! Last year we had our first snow in October, don’t know what will transpire this year. Our leaves are just starting to turn and I’m hopeful for a lovely fall (my favorite). As always, your photos are so beautiful. ๐Ÿ™‚


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — September 27, 2013 @ 10:38 am

    • We are really looking forward to fall colors this year. Fall is my wife’s favorite time of the year and we had a very dull colored autumn last year. So far it looks as though this year will be much better.


      Comment by montucky — September 27, 2013 @ 8:13 pm

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