Thursday, February 04, 2016

Hoover Ridge traverse: Bender to Henn

A view from the Hoover Ridge top looking east toward Old Baldy

Perfect, if cold conditions for our trip

This 9-mile traverse travels up the Bender Creek valley to the Hoover Ridge top and over to Henn Creek, gaining and losing nearly 2,500 feet in the Little Belt Mountains south and east of Great Falls.
The ridge itself is heavily timbered and gentle to follow along a newly reconstructed and reconfigured Trail 736.  Our route was a blend of the old and new trails.
Along the way there are extraordinary open parks that make for good telemark turns and vistas of such mountains as Servoss and Barker to the west and north and the Big Baldy (over 9,000 feet) to the east.
While there are old roads and mining claims, this area maintains a wild character in the winter.
Our trip was icy cold to begin with; the temperature 7 below zero, which never rose above 18 degrees despite bright blue skies and radiant sunlight.
As we topped the final ridgeline we temporarily lost and regained the old trail and then lost it again and found ourselves steeply descending to the Henn/Ruby divide, finally coming out at the new Trail 736 trailhead.  Unfortunately, we didn't have the advantage of open tele slopes, but had to bushwhack around deadfall and brush and closely spaced trees.
Then it was two miles down a fast and sometimes the steep Henn Gulch road used by snowmobilers and skiers in the winter.
This area is accessed from Monarch by the Dry Fork/Hughesville Road, with Bender Creek about 9 miles from the turnoff, and good starting point.  On that road it is about a mile between Bender and Henn Gulch access points.
This was one in a series of Wayne's Wednesday Wild Walks, and conceived by Chuck Jennings, who has hiked sections of it in the summer.
For a map and more, CLICK HERE
The sun was welcomed after a minus 7 start
Chuck Jennings spending his turns off the Hoover Ridge

Finally reaching the Henn Road 

No comments: