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Blodgett/Mill Creek Circuit + Blodgett Mountain, Bitterroots

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Date: October 20, 2018 Leader:  Forest Dean Participant: Bryan Kercher
Bryan and I met at Mill Creek Trailhead at 6:15am on this starry skied Saturday morning.  We left a vehicle then drove over to the Blodgett trailhead and started, by headlamp, at 6:45.  We made good time alternating between hiking and running as we headed deep into the Bitterroot backcountry.  It was the first time either of us had been up the trail past the bridge.  The trail is very conducive to running- flat and well maintained.  At about 9:15 we reached the junction with the Blodgett Pass Trail (about 10 miles in) and headed up the switchbacks to the pass.  From there we followed the crest of the ridge (mostly slab granite) west to the base of Blodgett Mtn.  A direct ascent up the east ridge would require 5th class climbing- we did an ascending traverse along the base of the south facing cliffs until finding an easy break up the the SW ridge.  From there it was a 5 minute stroll to the broad 8647’ summit. 
We…

Castle Crag, Bitterroots

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Date: 10/14/18 Trip leader: Laurel Vielle Attendees: Brittany Bauer, Dell and Gail Meuchel, Nick Pritchard, Laurel Vielle, Robin Young
On a beautiful Saturday morning, six of us struck out along the trail to Castle Crag.  Right from the get go there was snow on the trail, a dusting at first then increasing to several inches higher up and further in. We were following an intrepid person's prints in the snow and were thankful to whomever for breaking trail.  Several miles in we ran into that intrepid sole, a fisherman heading out who was stymied by ice and snow on the lake and creek higher up.  After telling him our plans, he was like "it's not going to happen", due to snow being on the route.  We said our goodbyes and then after many miles of hiking through snow and trees, we broke out below Castle Crag.     After enjoying the views at Garrard lake we went a bit further up and took a gander at our route.  Well, sure enough, the route up was choked with snow, making the b…

TRM Cabin Workday

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Date: October 6, 2018 Participants: Paul Jensen, Maria Cassidy, Doug Grisham, Dave Fox, Dave Kahl, Julie Kahl, Lance Cherry, Rosemary Polichio, Mary Dalton, Forest Dean
We enjoyed a solid turnout for our annual Cabin Workday with 10 folks pitching in to get things ready for the winter recreation season.Paul and Dave Fox carried chainsaws up the 1.5 miles and 1200’ to the cabin and cut down a few dead trees.The rest of us hauled, split, stacked, cleaned the cabin and just generally tidied up.We started at 10am and were mostly done by noon.Enjoyed a bit of lunch inside (it was snowing outside) while discussing possible future repairs and policies.Julie and Dave donated a nice new big pot for melting water (thank you!!).Around 1:30pm we headed back down the short trail to the parking area and then decided to eat again!We lingered around until about 5:00pm eating brats and hot dogs and drinking beer around a campfire.Kris Cahoon, Steve Schombel and Lois Crepeau showed up and helped suppo…

Return To Nemote Creek

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Date: Oct. 14th, 2018
Trip Leader: Julie Kahl
Participants: Maria Cassidy, David Kahl

I never was sure who it was you order perfect hiking days from, but they delivered today. The goal here was to explore the south end of a road we had explored earlier in the year, to see, if in reality, it was a point to point route through the northeast ridges of Nemote Cr.’s tributaries, like it looked like on a map. The previous trip had showed that the expected junction with a road up from Alice Cr. no longer existed. Scoping out this end, on that trip, had looked promising. The Stark Mt. Lookout road has long been my favorite to take "flatlanders" on if you really want to scare them. It hasn’t improved over the years, going up we met a large pick-up coming down, he pulled one set of wheels more than part way up on the bank to let us pass. At our road junction, about 2/3 of the way up the switchbacks, it seemed a normal road, until we went about 300 yards/274.32m, and the road turned to…

Sweeney Peak, Bitterroots

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Date: September 26, 2018 Trip leader: Vick Applegate Participants: Edna Blanchfield, Eileen McGurty and Samson, Tom Shreve, Vick Applegate
This hike was a spectacular Fall day despite a cool blustery summit-wind.Fall colors highlighted the alpine landscape dominated by yellow/gold alpine larch.A portion of the route is within the 2017 Lolo Peak burn area.There seemingly out-of-season in full bloom were infrequent groups of pink fireweed, white yarrow, yellow arnica and blue asters.Bluebirds, Clark’s nutcrackers, northern three-toed woodpecker, ravens and Townsend’s solitaire were active along the route.
Much of the east ridge route has been burned over by the Lolo Peak fire of 2017 so hikers will find fallen logs to go over or around and ash soils to tromp through.Heads up for occasional burned-out stump holes and falling snags.
Samson, Eileen’s Italian Alps Sheepdog provided motivation to crawl over downed trees, boulders and provide water breaks.Thanks Samson!
Vick, a ham radio ope…

Spotted Dog Drainage, Spotted Dog WMA

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Date: Sept. 15th, 2018
Participants: Lance Cherry, David & Julie Kahl

The Spotted Dog, a drainage that flows into The Little Blackfoot River, just west of Avon (Hwy 12), became a state Wildlife Management Area (WMA) around 2010, primarily to provide elk winter range. It has one road that accesses it from the west, just outside of Deer Lodge, up O’Neil Cr. on the Clark Fork- Little Blackfoot Divide, -the west rim of the Spotted Dog Cr. basin. And one road that comes in from the north and ends on the Spotted Dog -Trout Cr. Divide, the east edge of the basin. It has been my desire to find a point to point route through the WMA from one road end to the other, that would be about 8 miles/ 12.87k. The west road accesses a small part of the WMA that is west of a strip of private land this private land comprises most of the west side of the Spotted Dog drainage and part of the CF-LB divide, and on down into the Freezeout Cr. drainage. There is one, several hundred yards/meters wide, sectio…

Triangle Peak, Rattlesnake

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Date: September 8, 2018 Trip Leader and Participant: Forest Dean
Perhaps the late notice did not attract any attention, or maybe nobody likes to go on trips with me!Either way, I set out solo on this sublime Saturday morning at 9:15am, heading for the remote Triangle Peak on the north boundary of the Rattlesnake Wilderness.I rode my bike up FR 99 for about 14.5 miles to the intersection of Trail 515.The ride up took about 1:15.It then stashed my bike, changed into trail runners and alternated running and hiking a couple miles up the trail to a point where I followed a small stream up and to the east.I eventually topped out on a ridge and followed this to the very uninspiring 7827’ summit of Triangle Peak (really just a high point along a relatively flat ridge).There are remnants here of an old lookout or something.Took just over 3 hours to reach the summit.After lounging around for about an hour, I headed back the way I came.Flying down the FR99 was fun.Round trip time of just a hair …