Friday, July 18, 2014

Patrol Mountain July 16, 2014

Coming off Patrol Mountain and into Honeymoon Basin
Patrol Mountain (8,015 feet), is an annual hike that we've done so many times that we've become friends with long-time lookout ranger Samsara Chapman.  Last week I visited her father, Mike Chapman, lookout ranger at Prairie Reef.

This is a really fun hike on a great trail that begins at the Benchmark campground and covers 11.3 miles and more than 2,900 feet cumulative elevation gain --- with 2,500 of it coming in the last 3 miles after wide and cold Straight Creek is waded (bring good water shoes).

We hiked this in extremely hot weather (it was during a 90s stretch in Great Falls) that was further marred by smoke coming in from Oregon and Washington state fires.

It seems ironic that we have to deal with smoke this summer since we've had such wet weather to this point.  There is still plenty of snow in the high country and it is beautifully green in the meadows.

My two left boots
This was a hike I almost didn't make.  As I was cleaning my car, I took out what I thought was an extra pair of boots.  What I was doing was actually taking out both of my right boots, leaving me with two left foot boots!  I still climbed the mountain, but in my sandals!

After the hike I had a flat front tire and we limped back home with a spare.

The day before this climb we went to Missoula and did a guided float of the Alberton Gorge, a first for me.  Katie hadn't floated it since college.

We cut over to Augusta and stayed at the Bunkhouse Hotel, an old two-story boarding house that is being refurbished.  We had a comfortable night.

Click on this link for more details and map:

Patrol Mountain July 16, 2014 | Garmin Adventures

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