Sunday, July 29, 2012

Scapegoat on a hot, hot, hot day

We were luck to find this oasis of shade and water on this hot hike
We set out to explore an off-trail way into Falls Creek in the Dearborn River country and wound up climbing to the Continental Divide in the Scapegoat Wilderness Area Saturday.
Each way would have involved the Dearborn River on this scorching summer afternoon.
Dearborn River in tight canyon
Because of the heat, we opted for trail all the way and in the process learned about Blacktail Creek and how its trail connects to the Landers Fork country deep within the Scapegoat.
Over about 18 miles of hiking we consumed four quarts of water each and still came out thirsty.
There was an occasional, random cloud that gave us some shelter.
Dave Ashley cools down
Luckily, we had to cross the Dearborn River, which meant getting into thigh-deep water, which provided a small amount of cooling.
While we didn't do the off-trail exploratory into Falls Creek, we could see a very direct route in up Skull Gulch and on to Monitor Mountain.
Had we been sensible we would have stayed on the Dearborn River bottom where it was somewhat cooler.
Several weeks ago I walked into this Dearborn country, but only as far as Devil's Glen, which is a gorgeous area where the river is forced through a tight canyon and rushes in bursts through chutes and over waterfalls.
Steamboat promontory above the Dearborn
Obligatory wilderness sign photo
Another half-mile further up the trail climbs through a rock slide above another narrow canyon and the scenery is breaktaking like the scenery in Yellowstone Park.  The water is an emerald color and winds through tall, colorful canyon walls.
Our goal was the Continental Divide and we figured the Blacktail Creek trail would get us there the quickest.  We crossed the river and proceeded up that trail which climbs about 2,000 feet in less than three miles into an open area above the Landers Fork with Red, Pyramid, Olson, Galusha and Crow peaks within view.  This is Scapegoat interior country, yet the trail sits on ridgeline that connects to the West Fork of Falls Creek trail.
To the north, Steamboat Mountain's long ridgeline dominates the view.

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