Tuesday, September 14, 2010

School day on Crown Butte

Up through the break in the cliffs

They say high school kids are in a fog, but here they really are!
Coming off the mountain
Crown Butte is the perfect place to take a bunch of high school kids for an outing.
I had had the perfect excuse Tuesday when asked to lead a Paris Gibson Education Center tourism class up this classic laccolith located between Simms and Cascade.
Unfortunately, it was a misty, foggy day that wet the tall grasses in the area, making it somewhat unpleasant to walk.
This was a fast group of students and before I knew it we were literally up in the clouds.
My greatest fear was that I would have a difficult time finding my way back in the dense shroud, but that proved to be groundless.
We saw a number of deer on top the butte and several below.
We were able to walk along the high rims and get a sense of their height.
The fog cut our trip somewhat short because we couldn't see well. I passed on cutting across the butte and finding high points from which to view the towering walls.
Despite the weather, everyone seemed to have a great time and no one got too cold or wet. The kids did great, hiking the 4 miles or so and gaining the 1,000 feet in elevation without complaint.
Just before we started hiking we were treated to a good-sized bull elk with a hefty rack of antlers on the north flank of the butte.
The attraction of this butte is its wild, untouch beauty. We saw grasses that hadn't been grazed by cattle. We enjoyed walking on top of a geologic marvel that is unique to our area --- this butte formed out of molten lava that had been delivered through the break in the earth from a volcano many miles away.

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