Friday, May 26, 2017

It's time for Central Montana Island Ranges

Katie approaches the top of Gold Butte in the Sweetgrass Hills. That's West Butte in the distance

Gold Butte in the background.  Lots of wildflowers. 
Visiting where the 13 Forest Service smokejumpers died in Mann Gulch in 1949

Climbing what is our best guess is where two of the Mann Gulch survivors fled to safety

Crown Butte hoodoos on a glorious day

Still some snow on Highwood Baldy.
I've never been to Ireland to check it out, but I can't imagine that that Emerald Isle is any greener than we are in Montana during this wet Spring.
That has kept me anchored in Central Montana and its Island Ranges where in the past week I've made trips to the Highwood Mountains for the Center Ridge hike, a climb of Gold Butte in the Sweetgrass Hills, another tour of Mann Gulch via the Beartooth Game Range and Gates of the Mountains Wilderness, a climb through a new cleft in Crown Butte near Simms, and a foray into the Little Belts.
Our off-trail Mann Gulch hike followed a ridgeline directly above the junction of Willow and Elkhorn creeks.  As we've done in the past, we tried to located where smokejumper survivors Rumsey and Salee survived the 1949 fire by climbing through a tight opening in the ridgeline, where below 13 other smokejumpers died.  We used Norman MacLean's authoritative account of the fire disaster, "Young Men and Fire" as our guide to examining the gap.
Yeah, that's lots of trips.  The gorgeous weather and clear skies make me crazy if I hang around the house.  This past, rough winter plays a factor, too, propelling me into the mountains as often as I can get there.
All of these trips I've taken many times before and reported here, so I won't repeat them.
In the upper left hand part of this blog you can simply enter the search words like Highwoods, Gold Butte, Mann Gulch and you'll find descriptions.
The ticks don't seem to be as omnipresent as they have been in weeks past, which is a relief.

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