Thursday, June 09, 2016

North Moccasin, Windy and Wright peaks

Approaching the final 300 feet to the top of the North Moccasins high point

Suffering on the way up

H. Wayne Phillips points out the many Central Montana mountain ranges from the Moccasins high point

Here are three small climbs taken over the past three days:

North Moccasins High Point

This was a 7 mile exploratory in the North Moccasin Mountains north of Lewistown to climb the high point in the range as part of Wayne's Wednesday Walks.  It meant going to the Kendall ghost town, which was the site of the Kendall Gold Mine, active into the 1980s and currently undergoing reclamation.  A rough road accessed through the Boy Scout Camp near the mine traverses most of the range, but for most folks, driving even a high clearance vehicle, getting to a spot above the mine will be plenty.  We hiked from there on the road, which rose and fell, sometimes very steeply to the grassy slope and the high point.  There are views of Central Montana's Island Ranges, including the Little Rockies, Judiths, Moccasins, Snowies, Little Belts, Highwoods and Bears Paw mountains, all the way to the Rocky Mountain Front.  I'm sure on a clearer day we could have seen the Sweetgrass Hills as well.  We were surprised that there appeared to be no cattle grazing, but acknowledged there is scant water. The high places were also devoid of aspens.  We were baffled why BLM had girdled and cut down many trees on ridge all the way to the top. There were many signs of off road and motorcycle abuse in the area, like hill climbs that scarred the landscape.

For more photos and good topographic map with route: CLICK HERE

Mount Wright and about the only snow on the peak

Looking north from the top toward Corrugate Ridge and Glacier in the distance

This chipmunk is the King of Mount Wright

Mount Wright

This is my annual late Spring trek up this 8,875 feet mountain in the Front northwest of Choteau to check my conditioning and see what the snow conditions are in the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex to the West.
I can report that the Jones Columbine wildflowers, along with the alpine Forget-Me-Not and Douglasia are out, the snow is sparse (I did not cross any snowfields), and I'm in pretty good shape.
The hike, on Tuesday, gained more than 3,200 feet over a 3.3 miles one way on a good Forest Service Trail.
The unearthly green of the Highwood Mountains

Windy Peak

I always try to get this hike in during the spring, just to enjoy the greenery of the Highwoods and the many wildflowers on display.
I also got some new lightweight hiking boots and wanted to try them out, and did so on Monday.
About 1,400 feet is gained over a 3 miles one way.

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