Montana Outdoors

October 21, 2013

Sacajawea Peak trail # 385

On Saturday I hiked on the trail to Sacajawea Peak in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains. It is not as scenic as some of our trails here, staying mostly inside the forest, but a pleasant one none-the-less and some of the Western Larch were in full color. Grouse were plentiful, there was a fair amount of bear scat on the trail and some very fresh wolf scat, probably deposited earlier in the morning (bear scat from the previous day was frozen hard, but the wolf scat was still very soft – if you’re interested in such things). The trail (USFS trail 385) is steep in places and goes through some fairly wild country: I hiked only a little over four miles of it which gave me a climb of 1700 feet and six hours on a remote trail with no one else anywhere around, which is always a good way to spend a day.

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Along the Sacajawea trail

Advertisements

53 Comments »

  1. Autumn is magnificent when it comes to color … And i love the landscape from this forest view too … // Maria πŸ™‚

    Like

    Comment by mariayarri — October 22, 2013 @ 2:21 am

    • It is so nice now to enjoy cool temperatures and beautiful colors, awaiting the white of winter.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 8:39 am

  2. Stunning, stunning photos. I love the colour of the larches. I can’t imagine how it must feel, knowing you’re hiking through a forest that has bears and wolves. Of course, they were here too, once! That panorama from the top is just spectacular.

    Like

    Comment by Jo Woolf — October 22, 2013 @ 2:30 am

    • Knowing the wild creatures are there, and seeing the signs that they leave is part of the wonder of hiking in the wild country. It gives one a feel of the world as it has always been, nature on its own, now altered or “tamed”.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 8:43 am

  3. Such beautiful Autumn (Fall) colour.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    Comment by Victoria — October 22, 2013 @ 3:02 am

    • The color is a treat for the eyes after a rather brown summer and looking forward to a white season.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 8:44 am

  4. Very nice colours by this trail.

    Like

    Comment by bente haarstad — October 22, 2013 @ 3:38 am

    • The forest in many areas will get even more colorful before the Larch lose all of their needles. I plan to enjoy it as much as I can.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 8:45 am

  5. The larch is a beautiful tree. I wish we had more of them here but they just dot the landscape here and there. That’s a beautiful hike with great views! Do you do anything special regarding the bears and wolves, like carry a weapon? We’re being over run by bears here and I’ve been thinking about getting one, but I’m having a hard time making the decision. Usually they won’t bother you but there is always that chance, and I’m out there alone.

    Like

    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — October 22, 2013 @ 4:28 am

    • My opinion is that if you hike alone far into the back country it is a good idea to carry a firearm, but you must be thoroughly trained in its use and comfortable using it. Wolves have never proved to be a threat, but mountain lions have been known to be problems on occasion (and one occasion is more than plenty). Since the early 70’s I have always carried a pistol when in the back country, usually my favorite, a S & W .357 magnum with a 4 inch barrel. When in grizzly country I also carry bear spray because a griz is so big and powerful that you can kill one with a good shot but he will live long enough to kill you as well: bear spray has proved to incapacitate one when used properly. Twice in all of those years I had to fire the pistol to discourage a black bear at very close range, and in each case one round as a warning was enough to discourage the bear and I didn’t have to harm him. I have never been threatened by a lion although I’ve noticed that several have followed my trail in the snow. There have been many lion attacks in Montana though and a friend of mine was threatened by one when elk hunting a few years ago.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 8:58 am

      • Thanks for the information. I haven’t done so in years but I used to do a lot of target practicing with a .357 magnum long barreled pistol. Now i’m thinking about getting a semi automatic .45 caliber handgun, hoping to use it only as a deterrent if absolutely neccesary. I considered bear spray but i read a lot of instances where the wind blew it back into the users face, pretty much disabling them. Why the bears that they were spraying it at didn’t attack I don’t know. Anyhow, I’m glad to hear you say that one round scared them away because that is exactly what I was hoping. I have no desire to harm a bear or any animal, but I even have bears wandering through my backyard and walking down the road, so it’s starting to get just a little nerve wracking around here. Thanks again!

        Like

        Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — October 22, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

        • I have never had to use bear spray, but I have often wondered about the wind. It’s another reason why I always carry the pistol. You might think about a magnum because of the concussion wave they produce. In both cases when I had to fire mine, the bears shook their heads violently before running off and I attributed that to the concussion of the magnum hurting their ears.

          Like

          Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 8:06 pm

  6. The yellow are like bits of flame showing off amidst the darker hues. Beauty!

    Like

    Comment by Debby — October 22, 2013 @ 5:36 am

    • They do have a flame appearance, don’t they! They sure show up in a dark green forest! Later, as the needles fall, the trails and even the back roads turn golden. It’s like hiking on a golden carpet.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 8:59 am

  7. A beautiful way to spend a Saturday. But I’d be looking over my shoulder wondering what else was out there with me. πŸ™‚

    Like

    Comment by Homestead Ramblings — October 22, 2013 @ 6:32 am

    • After enough years, you get very comfortable out there, but I always make it my business to know what is around me and I’m very vigilant in areas where I see a lot of sign; scat, tracks, signs of feeding etc.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 9:01 am

      • Yes, I know what you mean. Your ears and eyes get attuned to what is ‘normal’ and then when it’s abnormal, you pick up on it quickly.

        Like

        Comment by Homestead Ramblings — October 22, 2013 @ 10:26 am

  8. Beautiful. I agree anytime you can spend six hours on a remote trail with no one else anywhere around, is definitely a good way to spend a day.

    Like

    Comment by anniespickns — October 22, 2013 @ 6:41 am

    • It is, and it brings so many things back into focus; a truer perspective about our life here.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 9:03 am

  9. I love each little suggestion of trail. Yes, a beautiful way to spend a day. The third photo up from the bottom looks very much like a painting. Gorgeous images. Gorgeous country. Sacajawea Peak Trail … sigh …

    Like

    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — October 22, 2013 @ 6:57 am

    • That trail is a little difficult to see if you are looking for a tread. There are so many rocky areas and brush covers it in many places, but the corridor through the trees is always there and easy to see once you become familiar with those kind of trails. The photo overlooking the territory to the east was my lunch spot. And right next to where I sat was a place beneath the branches of some pines that had bear grass and a carpet of needles: a perfect place for a sleeping bag!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 9:07 am

  10. A lot of great color for your walk.

    Malcolm

    Like

    Comment by knightofswords — October 22, 2013 @ 7:42 am

    • Yes, despite the trail being nearly all within the forest, the colors make it a very pleasant place.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 9:07 am

  11. Gorgeous, Terry….sounds like a wonderful hike, too….all those miles, all that beautiful scenery (and scat!), and no other hikers…..heavenly!

    Like

    Comment by seekraz — October 22, 2013 @ 8:11 am

    • It has always been a little surprising to me that there are so many trails similar to that one here where you can hike all day or for several days without encountering anyone else. I spend a lot of my time on those old pack trails for that reason. The parks are much too busy and crowded and the designated wilderness areas also attract too many people for my likes. The real wilderness here can be found by using those old trails which are used by an occasional hunter, but mostly by folks who just like to be in the wild country. There seems to be very few of them.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 9:12 am

  12. Wonderful fall colours. Looks like a refreshing hike. Could you tell, maybe from the size of the droppings whether they were black bears or grizzly? I’m thinking the black bears would be more prolific. You know how to stay safe in bear country, right? If you see bear poop, you put a finger in it and if it’s still warm, run!

    Like

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — October 22, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    • That area of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains has not been known to be grizzly habitat, but it is just across the Clark Fork river from the Cabinets which is. It’s usually very easy to distinguish griz scat from black bear. Black bear scat has the diameter and approximate volume of a very large dog. Griz scat had the diameter of a soda can or beer can and usually in a volume of at least a gallon.

      There is an old story about Montana bears. Some people used to wear little bells to make a constant noise while they hiked to alert the bears (and supposedly keep them away). Others carry pepper spray. The saying is that you can recognize black bear scat because you can see small seeds in it. You can tell griz scat because it has little bells in it and has a slight odor of pepper spray.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 9:19 am

      • That story isn’t far from the truth. There have been documented cases where the bells attracted the grizzlies like a dinner bell. I think I read it in one of Gary Shelton’s bear encounter books.

        Like

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — October 22, 2013 @ 10:48 am

  13. Hi Montucky, I have only seen Wolves in the wild once and that was in Yellowstone Nat. Park. I had seen Grouse many times when I lived in the Sacramento, CA area years ago. Your Larch are beautiful! Have a super day!

    Like

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — October 22, 2013 @ 9:13 am

    • I haven’t seen a wolf for years even though I see their signs in most places I go and hear them sometimes. I also see a lot of lion tracks in the snow but seldom see a lion. The Larch are getting brighter every day now!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 8:09 pm

  14. Oh I miss seeing Larch trees and walking upon those paths of soft gold. Great shot.

    Like

    Comment by twoscamps — October 22, 2013 @ 11:17 am

    • I know I would miss that too. I look forward to it every year.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

  15. Autumn splendor, so beautiful. I ventured out today in search of some places to photograph, but I didn’t go into the woods. The thought of coming across a bear when I’m alone (and weaponless) kept me from it. There have also been some sightings of some kind of wild cat (mountain lion?) in our area.

    Like

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — October 22, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

    • It’s always best to be prudent. There is no sense to be made of taking undue risk.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

  16. What glory….absolute glory…

    Like

    Comment by zannyro — October 22, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

  17. Beautiful color in the larch. What a pretty place!

    Like

    Comment by Sue — October 22, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

    • In summer the Larch hide right in among the firs and hemlocks but in fall they produce a welcome surprise!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 22, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

  18. I love to see your larch every year! Funny that this trail isn’t considered as scenic as others, I’m sure to most of us it is gorgeous. I love #3 and the third from the bottom especially.

    Like

    Comment by Candace — October 23, 2013 @ 12:40 am

    • It’s a pretty trail, but there are few places where one can see out of the forest. One of my favorite photos was taken from this trail several years ago, a coyote which was on the same trail looking at me.

      Like

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

  19. Gorgeous colors of fall. The trail is interesting and we could think to hike there, but we are afraid of bears and wolves. Thank You for these lovely photos.

    Like

    Comment by Sartenada — October 24, 2013 @ 11:08 pm

    • I think you would enjoy seeing that trail Matti, but it is rather remote. It will get even prettier in a few days.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 27, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

  20. The golden tamaracks are sensational. One of my favorite fall colors.

    Like

    Comment by WildBill — October 27, 2013 @ 7:38 am

    • Nearly all of them are “blooming” now. I hope to take a hike in a few more days where there should be lots of them in color. The mountainsides are very bright here now.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 27, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

  21. Hello Montucky!
    On the edge of winter we stand again.
    Love all of your beautiful photos of Montana

    Like

    Comment by Mary Strong-Spaid — October 29, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

    • Hello Mary!
      Yes, right on the edge. It was 17ΒΊ when I left the house this morning. Snow above 6000 feet.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — October 29, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

  22. Such a beautiful area! Gorgeous photos!

    Like

    Comment by Fergiemoto — November 4, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

  23. That’s a very pretty area and very wild up there. I’m so glad that areas like that still exist!

    Like

    Comment by montucky — November 4, 2013 @ 8:20 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: