|Glorious Fall colors already in the Middle Fork|
|One of the many crossings|
|Catching our breath in one of the many caves|
|The canyon walk|
My wife considers this an annual event now, something we eagerly anticipate.
As usual, Newhall’s leadership and the scenery on the hike were stellar.
The area was in full fall color and the water seemed especially cold as we crossed it repeatedly as it winds its way down a narrow limestone canyon.
Each time I take this hike, which starts near the Yogo Creek confluence with the Middle Fork, climbs to Woodchopper Ridge and then down the lovely Arches Coulee trail to the Middle Fork, its beauty stuns me.
I am also stunned that it hasn’t been designated wilderness yet by Congress.
An 89,000 acres area in the Lewis and Clark National Forest has been under study as the Middle Fork of the Judith Wilderness since the mid-70s.
It has been held up by in holdings at the head of the river and by strident opposition from off road vehicle users who cross the river more than 30 times to its head.
When I first came into this area about 30 years ago it was jeep and motorcycles that crossed the stream.
|This absurd behavior must come to an end|
They make a mess of the stream when they get into it.
The Forest Service has got to be able to recognize the damage these ATVs are doing to the stream and forest.
The area represents what is most beautiful about the Little Belt Mountains and should be protected.