Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Back to Benchmark

A bull moose in velvet on the Benchmark Road beaver ponds
The drive to Benchmark might be the perfect day trip, whether you're hiking or not.
Yes, it's a long (32 miles west of Augusta), dusty, bumpy road, but there's hardly anything like it for what you'll see in the Front.
We had some spare time on Tuesday and after my wife finished teaching at 10:30 a.m., we headed up. We were back by 6:30 p.m., and enroute we saw a cow elk, a bull moose, two bald eagles, a pronghorn and some deer.
The fairy slippers (calypso) were everywhere
We also explored a waterfall, examined many varieties of wildflowers, and hiked the trail along the South Fork Sun River toward the Bob Marshall Wilderness Boundary. And....we had time for a lunch and a nap!
Not a bad day's drive.
This narrow road is between the Fairview Plateau and the Wood Creek Hogback, both inspiring alpine ridges with fingers of snow.  The Patrol Mountain ridge was particularly covered.  It passes alpine Wood Lake and many beaver ponds and meandering streams.
It was a short trip, but VERY sweet.

Top:  Patrol Mountain ridge;  middle:  the pack bridge over the South Fork Sun River; bottom:  Katie at Double Falls on Ford Creek

1 comment:

Tim Bondy said...

I loved that area of Montana. Thanks for the article and pictures. Someday I'll be back to hike, fish and enjoy the Front Range. Some day...