Montana Outdoors

February 22, 2009

Munson Creek in winter (4)

Munson Creek ice

February 20, 2009

Munson Creek in winter (3)

In the spotlight

November 25, 2008

Big Hole Peak in July

Every summer a number of folks will hike up USFS trail 368T to visit the old lookout on Big Hole Peak in the TeePee – Spring Creek Roadless Area in western Montana’s Cabinet Mountains.

What most don’t know is that the lookout isn’t exactly on the top of Big Hole Peak. From the old cabin, a quarter of a mile west (if you’re a Crow or a half mile if you have to walk), and a few feet higher is the peak itself. I’ve found it well worth the extra walk! Here are a few photos of it taken in July of 2008.

If you want to get away from the rest of the world for a few hours, or days, or however long you want, I highly recommend it!

Big Hole Peak

Big Hole Peak

Big Hole Peak

Big Hole Peak

Big Hole Peak

Big Hole Peak

October 8, 2008

Another “Big Hole” day

Taking advantage of a break in the weather today (cold, dry, partly sunny), I paid a visit to the Big Hole Lookout and Peak, the last for this year.

From the trail head at about 5,600 feet

Start of the trail to the lookout

to the old Cabin itself at 6,922 feet

Big Hole Lookout

it’s a little over 2 miles on a very nice trail in the TeePee/Spring Creek roadless area of western Montana’s Cabinet Mountains.

Trail 368 just above the trail head

I will think often, during the winter, of this old friend awaiting my next visit come spring.

Big Hole Lookout

(If anyone is interested in the Big Hole Lookout, I have put THIS set of photos on Flickr).

August 25, 2008

Koo Koo Sint 1

As David Thompson explored and mapped much of the northwestern United States and western Canada in around 1800, he carried a brass sextant of 10 inches radius and an achromatic telescope of high power. Every night he took his readings from the planets, and the Indians came to call him Koo Koo Sint, “the man who gazes at stars”.

Last week, despite the efforts of the ever-present vandals who have all but obliterated every single one of the Forest Service signs, by diligently studying the Lolo National Forest map, throwing in just a dash of Kentucky windage and a pinch of luck, I was able to locate the eastern end of USFS trail 445, the Koo Koo Sint trail. Today I hiked the first couple of miles of it.

After leaving the Jeep at the trail head,

08:30 – 2938″ elevation
09:00 – 3367″
09:30 – 3765″
10:00 – 4249″
10:30 – 4748″

At about 10:20 and at 4640″ the trail topped out over the east end of Koo Koo Sint Ridge, providing this view to the east. The high country on the right side of the river is the Cherry Peak roadless area in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains and the high country along Koo Koo Sint Ridge on the left side of the river is in the TeePee – Spring Creek roadless area in the Cabinet Mountains.

Lower Clark Fork River

I thought it was worth the climb and I’m pretty sure David Thompson thought it was too.

May 2, 2008

Spring Creek

Who would not like to walk along this stream on a cool spring day? Today I was able to make it about two miles up the Spring Creek trail before the stretches of deep snow across it made it more tiring than it was worth. In a week or so maybe the snow will have melted enough to make it passable.

The first two miles proved to be a steep hike for as the stream cascades down, the trail beside it changes elevation 900 feet in the first two miles reaching 3,400 feet elevation at that point. The rest of the trail will also be steep though because after another five miles the top is at 6,900 feet. I really look forward to being able to hike the whole length!

At its mouth, the Spring Creek canyon enters the Weeksville Creek canyon a few miles upstream from the Clark Fork river, but Spring Creek itself goes underground about a mile short of Weeksville Creek and I presume simply serves to supply the underground water table. If so, it’s possible the sweet cold water in my well at home may be coming from this beautiful little stream.

As you might notice, I got a little carried away with photographing the creek, but it’s inspiring and comforting to me to be near an ice cold stream of pure water, the thing that makes life on this planet possible in the first place.

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

(Spring Creek originates in the TeePee-Spring Creek roadless area in the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana, Lolo National Forest.)

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