Quick afternoon Blue Mountain Lookout jaunt

For those of us that live in western Montana, we are extremely fortunate to have so many great hiking destinations in such close proximity to our homes. Blue Mountain stands over Missoula, and on top of its forested slopes is a little-used fire lookout. The hike to the summit is a rather quick 1.9 miles… Read more »

Hike to Glen Lake (with extension to No Name Lake)

Through a forest of gray spires, the hike to Glen Lake offered us the immense vistas of the Bitterroot Mountains. I have also enjoyed the Glen Lake hike as it is relatively easy and a cruise. The biggest plus is the short additional hike to No Name Lake, a small, shallow pond that sits in… Read more »

Evening hike along Bass Creek

O! Bass Creek, how I love thee? Is that flowery enough? But seriously, I love hiking the Bass Creek drainage with its proximity to my home and the vistas that abound on this trail. On this evening, I was joined by my two favorite hiking partners, Vida and Jeff. They are my favorites because they graciously… Read more »

Hopping along Big Creek, Bitterroot Mountains

Feeling a little tired and sick, but needing some outside time, Jeff and me decided to hike to pleasantly inclined Big Creek trail. Following the, well, big creek, the sweeps under and through western red cedar, western larch, and ponderosa pine as the stream creates a din of white noise that is occasionally broken by the… Read more »

Scooting up Skookum Butte

It has been 2 years since I have made the short hike to the historic lookout atop Skookum Butte. This time, Vida joined me, well, she rather tolerated me as my hiking speed was limited to a crawl due to a cause of bronchitis and asthma (together in some kind of oxygen-deprived stew of disease)…. Read more »

Camas Lake in the Bitterroots

Hiking into Camas Lake is one of the most enjoyable hikes in the Bitterroot Mountains. The nearly 3 miles to the first lake features some great stream crossings under a dense canopy. The trail switchbacks up a slope that has massive slabs of granite. Reaching the lake, we immediately noticed numerous trout jumping at a… Read more »

Cruising through the Ninemile Valley

Vida and I decided to take a quick cruise through the Ninemile Valley (located west of Missoula) to hike the Grand Menard Discovery Trail (actually more of a stroll) and fly the DJI Phantom 4 over a few of the picturesque meadows of the valley. The meadows were covered with common camas, meadow buttercup, and… Read more »

Chaffin Butte – Is It a Summit???

Chaffin Butte or the “C” Hill stands above Corvallis and is accessed via an easement through private property. The flanks of the hill are covered with big sagebrush and scattered stunted ponderosa pine. The soils are rocky and dry, and the plant life can be likened to those communities found in the Big Hole Valley… Read more »

Awesome Spring Hike – Bear Creek Falls

Taking full advantage of the terrific spring weather on Saturday, we hiked to and beyond Bear Creek Falls on the Bitterroots. Only a short and relatively easy 1.5 miles from the trailhead, Bear Creek Falls is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. I have made the trip to this… Read more »

Spring Arrives in the Rockies

This past weekend was definitely the start of the Montana spring with sun, rain, and snow…you know, spring in the Bitterroot. The Lee Metcalf NWR was alive with Great Horned Owls hooting and Red-winged Blackbirds carrying on.

  • Mountian Biking

    Hidden Treasure/MoZ Downhill

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    Starting at the Crazy Canyon, I made it to the top of trail 301.2, and started a bomb downhill that ended in Missoula. The ride along the MoZ, which was constructed for mountain biking, is stunning with views of the entire valley and wide switchbacks for a little fun.

  • Running

    1st Hill Run of 2016 – Vista Point

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    1000 vertical feet, 2 bursting lungs, and 1 amazing view from Vista Point. I was more than a little nervous about running uphill, so far I have doing only relatively flat runs. So let’s do a REAL run, and go up to Vista Point in the Blue Mountain Recreation Area near Missoula. It was an… Read more »

  • Hiking 2016

    Blue Mountain National Recreation Area – Trails 3.06 & 3.03

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    Living near Missoula, Montana, we are fortunate have the Blue Mountain National Recreation Area just outside of the city limits. This 4,900-acre recreation area includes 41 miles of system trails, and on this day I hiked along trails 3.03 & 3.06 for a quick 3 miles. In the video, I rant against the militia currently occupying… Read more »

  • Birding, Hiking 2016

    Birding along the Kenai Trail – Lee Metcalf NWR

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    A place that I have visited many, many times, the Lee Metcalf National Refuge has always had a special draw on me. The series of ponds host a variety of waterfowl and other water throughout the year, and has one of the few extensive wetland areas in the Bitterroot Valley, it serves as an important… Read more »

  • Hiking 2016

    Hiking to Bass Creek Falls in the Bitterroots

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    Happy New Year! And what better way to kickoff 2016, then with a winter hike into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and, specifically, Bass Creek Falls. The hike is relatively easy at a length of 3.25 miles to the Falls and an elevation gain of slightly more than 1000 feet. The views along the trail are outstanding… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015

    Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

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    Jerry Johnson Hot Springs are located a tad over a mile from the Lochsa River in Idaho. The hike starts with a crossing of the Lochsa River, followed by a gentle hike along Warm Springs Creek. On this day, I had the entire place to myself from parking lot to the pools themselves. The sign… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015

    Hiking to the Two Sisters

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    The Two Sisters are a pair of stone pillars that stand above the Bitterroot River near Lolo, Montana. It had planned almost 2 years since I had last hiked to them. You have a cross the Bitterroot River, which is low at this point in the year.

  • Hikes 2015

    Hike to Lolo Peak (via the Sawback)

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    Lolo Peak, or at least what appears to be Lolo Peak, towers over Missoula. But the actual summit is hidden behind a lower false summit. So the mystery of Lolo Peak grows. This hike to the summit was made more difficult by my awesome navigation skills, call me Magellan. I led us up the wrong… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015

    Hike to Trapper Peak Summit

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    Trapper Peak dominates the skyline of the south portion of the Bitterroot Vally with its three jagged peaks. The tallest of these stands 10,157 feet above sea level, and ranks as the highest peak in the Bitterroot Range. This particular route is largely off-trail as it follows a ridge above Baker Lake to the summit.

  • Hikes 2015, Thoughts

    Hiking Lee Ridge near Lolo Pass

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    Hiking the little used Lee Ridge Trail 295 starting at Lolo Pass at Packer’s Meadows is faint and steep, and the views and huckleberries are sweet.

  • Hikes 2015

    Hiking to Carlton Ridge

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    The hike to Carlton Ridge usually leads to the summit of Lolo Peak, but alas, I didn’t have enough time for that today. So, I headed out with Olivia in tow and made Carlton Ridge with it’s rich views and subalpine larch. The hike is relatively steady with a moderate incline throughout the uphill. Once… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015

    Skookum Butte Lookout

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    Skookum Butte sits on the Montana/Idaho border at 7215 feet. An ancient lookout sits atop of the knob of pillow granite. The Skookum Butte Lookout is one of only three remaining L-5 log/frame ground houses remaining. The wood has aged to barnwood gray, and the entire structure seems to be in danger of collapse at some… Read more »

  • Mountian Biking

    North Fork of Howard Creek, Montana

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    The trail along the North Fork of Howard Creek difficult with deep ruts and patches of loose gravel.  The downhill was bumpy and jerky…and fast!

  • Hikes 2015, Hiking

    Summiting Saint Mary Peak

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    Saint Mary Peak is one of the 9,000 feet plus peaks in the Bitterroot Range. The is a well-worn trail to the summit gains nearly 2500 feet in 3.6 miles. Jeff and I attacked this trail for our Tuesday afternoon hike, and after much effort, we reached the summit where we were treated to views… Read more »

  • Hikes 2015, Hiking

    Ch-paa-qn Peak and the Full Moon

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    Tackled Ch-paa-qn Peak (pronounced “cha-pock-qwin”) near Missoula in the late afternoon, and man, what a hike! Formerly known as Squaw Peak, the summit takes a bit of effort but man is it worth it! The views of Mission and Bitterroot Ranges are outstanding, and you can even look down on the National Bison Range near Moiese…. Read more »