The Lookout: A Snowshoe Trip to an Abandoned Fire Tower

Abandoned Fire Tower
Public Land
Northwest United States
December 31, 2015 – January 2, 2016
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It is one thing to conceptually understand that you have the gear to bivy at 7,500 feet in the Northern Rockies with a forecast of six degrees below zero. It is another thing entirely to find yourself in circumstances where you end up having to do exactly that. And it was in such circumstances that I found myself on the last night of 2015. Perhaps I shouldn’t have turned down that invitation to a New Year’s Eve party after all.

I left home that morning later than I would’ve liked and drove for more than five minutes but less than five hours to the trailhead. Montana, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming . . . all within striking distance given the equation of time and space using motorized transportation. Discretion is the better part of many things in life, including keeping special places special by not indiscriminately broadcasting their details on the Internet. Hoisting my pack and stepping into snowshoes shortly after noon, I began what would be one of the most challenging hikes I’ve ever had the joy of undertaking.

Full report here . . . www.trailgroove.com/blogs/entry/64-the-lookout-a-snowshoe-trip-to-an-abandoned-fire-tower/

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Upper Miner Lake, Rock Island Lakes and Little Lake

Upper Miner Lake, Rock Island Lakes and Little Lake
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
Montana
September 3-6, 2015

Little Lake

Labor Day Weekend usually means crowded trailheads and fairweather backpackers fitting in their last trips of the year, but that’s no reason not to plan a trip and take advantage of the extra day off work. Just something to plan around. I’d chosen a somewhat remote area of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest for a three-night trip in an attempt to lose some of the crowds, but I think the forecast did most of the work in ensuring me a good shot at solitude. Depending on the elevation, the forecast for Thursday to Sunday called for rain, snow, thunderstorms (or a mix of all three) and highs between 45 and 60 degrees. Lows would be dipping below freezing at the higher elevations. Not an ideal forecast by any means, but not miserable enough to completely cancel the trip. As the Scandinavian saying goes, “No such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Continue reading

Kidney Lake, Bitterroot National Forest, Montana

Kidney Lake
Bitterroot National Forest
Montana
July 29-30, 2015

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In the interest of making this blog as comprehensive a documentation of my backpacking trips as possible, I’m making this a brief entry of the last overnight trip Justin and I did when he was visiting Montana in July 2015.

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We hiked up quickly to Kidney Lake, exchanged pleasantries with a family camped at the lakeside, walked out to the peninsula/island in the lake, set up camp, threw Frisbee, tried to stargaze but the moon was rather bright even though it was hiding behind the mountains, and went to sleep. The next day we hiked up Camas Peak, took a swim, and hiked out to the trailhead.

The next day, we got an alpine start (3:00 a.m.) to head to the Missoula airport, where we flew back to Louisville — Justin to head home and me to attend a friend’s wedding, which in addition to the matrimonial highlights and catching up with old friends, included a tour of the Willet Bourbon Distillery.

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And that is the first non-backpacking photo to appear on this blog. Cheers!