Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Waynesburg, PA
    Hammock
    Hennessy Exp ASym
    Tarp
    Stock Hennessy
    Insulation
    Hennessy UQ
    Suspension
    Straps and Fig 9s
    Posts
    74
    Images
    1

    Smile Montana Vacation, August 2010


    Twenty-five Days in Montana

    It was my privilege to spend twenty-five days car-camping, day-hiking, backpacking, and just generally hanging out and visiting with my daughter and son-in-law in Montana, August 10 to September 03.

    I could go on forever about how wonderful Montana is and how much I loved the chance to spend some extended time there... Just go to Glacier National Park, drive the Going-To-The-Sun-Road, and you'll be hooked.

    Pics in my Gallery. (UPDATE: I created an album about 10:00 AM. Hope you like the pics.) Maybe in a few days, I will take the time to figure out how to embed those nifty, hot-linked thumbnails in my posts; then, I will come back and edit this post to include thumbnails.

    I hung my Hennessy Expedition A-Sym throughout the outdoor portions of the vacation. I used the Hennessy UQ and the stock rainfly. My son lent me his brand-new North Face Elkhorn sleeping bag, which I used as an OQ. (synthetic fill, rated for 0*) I slept way warm, often shoving the bag to one side. Night-time temps never got lower than the high 30s. I slept comfortably through a few thunderstorms that offered heavy rain and high winds.

    IMPORTANT>>> My Hennessy was enhanced by the 2Q/ZQ Zipper Mod #4. This was well worth the price. The mod made my hammock much more comfortable and convenient to use. I can happily recommend the mod. The workmanship is ___superb___.

    Frankly, my hammock, rainfly, and UQ stood up to the foul weather better than my raincoat and rain pants. I conclude that my raingear is fit only to keep me mostly dry while I set up my rainfly and prepare to ride out the storm. I need better raingear. My Merrell Switchback Goretex boots were a lifesaver on stream crossings and on the rocky trails---dry feet all the way and no foot or ankle problems. (Smartwool socks) My REI Ridgeline 65 internal-frame pack handled a bit of an overload with dignity. Nite-ize Figure Nines handled tightening duties with minimal effort; large ones on the ends of my hammock; small ones on the side-tie-outs for the hammock and rainfly; a small one for the Dyneema we used to hang our food. (Thanks, Redden Marine! The discount code worked.)

    Big Hole; Sawtooth Lake Trail

    My daughter and I drove down to Big Hole, then over to the Elkhorn Hot Springs area. We car-camped at the Grasshopper Campground in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. (3.35 Million acres) The nightly fee was eight bucks, if memory serves. I ended up using a separate ridgeline. The trees were just a bit too close together. We visited the ghost town of Bannack, dug for crystals at Crystal Park, hiked the Sawtooth Lake Trail, and soaked in the Elkhorn Hot Springs.
    On our way back, we visited Butte, Montana. The Mineral Museum has an astonishing collection of crystals of all kinds, including a nearly-500-lb. quartz crystal that is the largest found in Montana. It is a free visit. If you like crystals, this stop is not to be missed.

    Trapper Peak

    My daughter and I climbed (almost) all the way to the summit of Trapper Peak. At 10,157 ft., it is the highest peak in the Bitterroot Mountains. The trail to the top climbs 3,800 ft. from the trailhead. The trail is somewhat "old-school," in that it consists of very few switchbacks. Mostly, it is plain "up." The last 500 ft. of elevation require scrambling over broken, loose rocks ranging in size from "basketball" to "Volkswagen." We had to pull the plug about 300 ft. shy of the summit. The scrambling was slow going, and we were running out of daylight. Maybe next year, all the way to the summit...

    Hiawatha Trail

    OOPS! Is my face red! I nearly forgot to mention one of the trip's best days: My daughter and I rode bicycles down the Hiawatha Trail. (I added a few pics to the vacation album.) The Hiawatha Trail is a sand-and-gravel road (well-packed) that traverses roughly twelve miles of the old Hiawatha railroad right-of-way. (Another 31 miles are in the planning stages.) It is very gently downhill all the way; you scarcely have to pedal at all. Helmets and headlamps are required and can be rented; so can bicycles and trailers. $8 to ride down the trail and $9 for the shuttle-bus that brings you back up to the starting point. The trail was known as one of the most scenic train routes in the country; ride down it and you will know why.
    Fabulous scenery, plenty of historical information, great views, ten tunnels, seven high trestles. We did it in about three hours. You could easily spend four hours on it, or even the whole day. Take a light lunch, take a supply of water. Be sure your bike is ready for the journey.

    Huckleberries and thimbleberries grow along the trail. We ate plenty.

    The St. Joe Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest administers the National Forest land on which the trail is located. The Hiawatha Bike Trail is operated by the Lookout Pass Ski Area under a special use permit of the U. S. Forest Service. Websites for the trail are http://www.fs.fed.us/ipnf/rec/activi...iking/Hiawatha and www.ridethehiawatha.com


    Glacier National Park; Many Glacier, Grinnell Glacier, Swiftcurrent Pass, Two Medicine Lake

    Daughter, son-in-law, and I car-camped at Many Glacier campground. (I think it was $20 per night.)
    We hiked to Grinnell Glacier---awesome, otherworldly terrain; great scenery along the trail. We actually got to touch one of the remaining ten or twelve glaciers in Glacier National Park. (They are melting fast.)
    We took a stab at Swiftcurrent Pass but the steadily-worsening rain, cold, and wind forced us first to suit up in our rain gear, and then to turn back. We still had a great hike. As we neared the trailhead on our return, we met three Park Rangers heading up the trail with radio equipment and what looked like a shotgun. (Maybe a beanbag gun?) They informed us that a Grizzly had been "misbehaving," and that the trail was closed.
    We took a boat ride across Two Medicine Lake and hiked the short trail to Twin Falls. Along the way, we enjoyed a few huckleberries.

    The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex; Scapegoat Wilderness, Scapegoat Massif, Half Moon Park

    The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex comprises three wilderness areas: the Great Bear Wilderness, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the Scapegoat Wilderness. These three, contiguous areas contain over 1.5 million acres without a road.

    "The Bob" is (to the best of my knowledge and belief) the largest unspoiled, roadless tract of public land in the Lower 48. It is part of, and is surrounded by, four National Forests: Helena NF, Lewis and Clark NF, Flathead NF, and Lolo NF.

    You Can Get. Seriously. Away. From It. ALL.

    My Son-in-law and I backpacked into the Scapegoat Wilderness. (The trailhead lies at the end of about 12 miles of gravel road that winds gently toward the Rocky Mountain Front through ranchland stretched far and wide. Then it is a 1.5-mile hike through private property to get to the border of the Lewis and Clark National Forest. THEN, it is another couple of miles of hiking to the Scapegoat Wilderness Boundary.) We stayed four days and three nights. We made one intermediate camp on the way in, then we crossed Welcome Pass, set up a base camp, and did some day-hiking. The Scapegoat Massif was awesome to behold. We hiked a loop that took us down through Half Moon Park, then back to our base camp.

    We saw scat of Grizzly Bear, Black Bear, and Elk but enjoyed no direct sighting of anything but Elk.

    We arose early on the fourth day. We had planned to stay another night but the clouds were ominous, so we pulled the plug. It turned out to have been a wise decision. When we got back to civilization, we learned that the weather had turned, with temps in the 30s, winds in the 20s, and snow above 7000 ft..

    The Future...

    Next year, we want to do a cross-hike (East-West or West-East) through some part of The Bob. Ultimately, we want to do a South-North or North-South but that will need some planning, logistics, honing of gear, and some fairly serious conditioning. Oh, and some snakeskins.

    I was not able to convert my son-in-law to hammocking but I did persuade him to try lying in my hammock; he agreed it was comfortable. Baby steps...

    All in all, we had a great time. I highly recommend Montana.
    Last edited by BBQDad; 09-09-2010 at 08:24. Reason: Created album, added pics, Hiawatha Trail info, Trapper Peak info.

  2. #2
    mbiraman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West Kootenays,BC,Canada
    Hammock
    Warbonnet BB DL 1.1 & Lite Owl
    Tarp
    Black MacCat Del.
    Insulation
    Yeti 3,4 & HRQ/HGB
    Suspension
    webbing/whoopie
    Posts
    4,366
    Images
    7
    Hey BBQ; i look forward to your pics. Montana is a beautiful part of the lower 48.
    " The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it."

    “The measure of your life will not be in what you accumulate, but in what you give away.” ~Wayne Dyer

    www.birchsidecustomwoodwork.com

  3. #3
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Minnesota
    Hammock
    DIY GreenBeanHammock
    Tarp
    DIY Tarps/HG Cuben
    Insulation
    Frankenquilt/Pod
    Suspension
    Whoopie Slings
    Posts
    14,486
    Images
    62
    Terrific TR!!!!!!
    Thankee.
    I now have Montana envy big time.
    Shug
    Whoooo Buddy)))) I Love Onions, Grits, Greens, Livermush, NC Style BBQ, Potted Meat, Anchovies, 'Naner Puddin", Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake and Cocoa and Straaaaaawwwwberrrry Milk and Coffee Crisps....
    I Hope Heaven has a Bakery!!!!



    Shug's YouTube Videos

    Hammock How-To Videos ..... Essentials For Noobs

    Shug and Friends Jammin'

  4. #4
    Member Mick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    ontario
    Hammock
    DIY gathered end
    Tarp
    Superfly
    Insulation
    winter beast sys.
    Suspension
    whoopie slings
    Posts
    77
    One of the things I love about this site is the trip reports from all over the world and close to home.
    Thanks for the report BBQDad. I look forward to the pics as well
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/micklynx/

    “You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus”

    Mark Twain

  5. #5
    Rockdawg69's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    South Central TN, Southeast GA
    Hammock
    WBBB 1.1 dbl & TTTR Switchback
    Tarp
    OES SpinnUL 11x10
    Insulation
    Nest, Hudson River
    Suspension
    Whoopies/Stingerz
    Posts
    1,021
    Uh Oh! another one on the bucket list. Too many places and not enough time. Thanks for the report and the pics. Living vicariously through all the reports!!!!!!!
    Rockdawg69

    Professional Prevaricator: Part-time dealer in Yarns, Tales, Half-Truths, & Outright Lies -1st half-hour session at no cost (Lawyers and Doctors excepted).

  6. #6
    Running Feather's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Hendersonville, NC
    Hammock
    DIY of the Day
    Tarp
    DIY of the Day
    Insulation
    DIY PLoft/IX-UQ/TQ
    Suspension
    WS or Spyder Line
    Posts
    2,211
    Images
    1

    What to say?

    That's the trip of a lifetime let alone a summer. Thanks so much for the report. I look forward to the pics.

    "If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is STOP DIGGING "

  7. #7
    Poppabear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lexington Park, MD
    Hammock
    Warbonnet Blackbird 1.7
    Tarp
    Zpacks Cuben Fiber
    Insulation
    Leigh's UQ
    Suspension
    Whoopies/Treestrap
    Posts
    2,642
    I am officially jealous that sure was some great trip you are truly blessed to have been able to do that. Good on ya!
    Terry

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Waynesburg, PA
    Hammock
    Hennessy Exp ASym
    Tarp
    Stock Hennessy
    Insulation
    Hennessy UQ
    Suspension
    Straps and Fig 9s
    Posts
    74
    Images
    1

    Smile Three more notes...

    First, please let me say a hearty "Thank You!" to those who posted such nice responses to my trip report. It was a bucket-list vacation, for sure.

    Second, if you know someone who is disabled, encourage them to travel to Glacier National Park and drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Even if one is confined to a wheelchair, the GTTSR is a stunning visual experience.

    Third, the Steri-Pen worked for my son and me in challenging circumstances. While in the Scapegoat Wilderness (part of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex), my son and I used a Steri-Pen to treat our drinking water. We had tablets as a backup but the Steri-Pen did its job.

    The entire region is blessed with abundant wildlife.

    We saw significant amounts of scat of animals both wild and domesticated---grizzly bear, black bear, elk, dog, horse, and so on. (The area is heavily favored by horsepackers.)

    We actually drew drinking water from a fast-running, clear stream whose banks were liberally festooned with cow manure---some fresh, some not so fresh. We were careful to draw from the middle of the stream, where the water flowed most swiftly. (The trail to get into the Scapegoat Wilderness goes through 1.5 miles of cattle-ranch land, then through another one or two miles of National Forest lands that are open to grazing. Also, there is horse traffic everywhere along the trail. Therefore, I consider all surface water suspect.)

    The incubation period for Giardia is (from what I have read) 5 to 15 days. I have been back for almost a month and have experienced no adverse effects from my Montana sojourn.

    Therefore, I believe that the Steri-Pen is a worthy addition to any backpacker's kit.

    Again, many thanks for the positive comments.

  9. #9
    DanaMac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    202
    Congrats on the trip. My brother lives in Bigfork, MT, just south of Kalispell. That is some beautiful country, and I don't get up to see him enough. Never camped in Glacier, but I've been through it a few times with my bro.
    AARN USA - North America Distributors

  10. #10
    Senior Member MrGreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Hammock
    TrekLight
    Tarp
    HG Cuben
    Insulation
    7D HG 3s Phoenix
    Suspension
    Whoopie
    Posts
    178
    Images
    80
    Nice report ! I just spent a week in Glacier and there's know question it's one of the most beautiful places on earth. I hope you had a chance to sample some of that Grinell Glacial water. Purest water ever to enter this sole !
    Meka Leka Hi Meka Hiney Ho ~ Jambi

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •