Thursday, October 29, 2015

We got a fair view from Fairview Mountain

Fairview Peak's east exposure

Approaching the summit

Joy at the top
This was another of Wayne Phillips' Wednesday Wild Walks from Great Falls.
Senior types gather for a day hike early Wednesday mornings, usually organized by Wayne.
We had six on our climb of Fairview Peak (elevation: 8,246 feet) west of Augusta, more a stroll than a climb, covering 8.6 miles and nearly 3,300 feet of elevation gain via the Willow Creek Falls trailhead.
This was the second time I did this enjoyable hike this year.  Given the opportunity, I'd do it more than that if I could.
An icy wind had us huddling for lunch
It involves going to a scenic trailhead near the old Scoutana girl scout camp, walking through the limestone walls of Willow Creek Falls, and just beyond the falls, accessing a cow path up the faint trickle of a creek to two successive saddles over a couple of miles.  You are bounded by Fairview to the east and Red Hill to the west.  Once at the high saddle it is another 800 feet on a gentle, domed slope to the top.
The view from the top are remarkable in every direction;  the Bob and Front to the north and west, the Scapegoat and Front to the South, and the island ranges of central Montana to the east.
We were surprised that there wasn't any snow since the Highwoods and Belts had been hit by good snowfall on Tuesday.
It was exceptionally clear, and we could see north to Rocky Mountain Peak, got a glimpse of the North Wall and Silvertip Mountain to the northwest, and of course, Scapegoat to the South.
We enjoyed the sunny weather, but the wind gave the summit an icy chill.
Along the way, the long, warm summer showed itself in the blooming wildflowers, like Pasque Flower.
All of us had to acknowledge the ravages of age, despite the easy mountain:  there were sore knees and flagging energy. At one point there were a group of four of us together, each using hearing aids.

For more photos, an elevation graphic and route, 


Looking toward the heart of the Bob Marshall from the flank of Fairview

Sheep Shed Mountain to the north

At the high saddle

Through the Willow Creek Falls Canyon

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