Trip Participants; Bob Clark, Chris Berman, Ron Pierson, Stan Skelton, Mark Criglar, Katie Morrissey, David Mildrexler, Andrea Diephuis, Andrea Mikus
At the trailhead we met Pvt. Joseph Whitehouse of the Corp. of Discovery, who gave a very nice presentation on the life of this expedition member. There were 1805 period robes, tools, trinkets and mockersins to look at. Made 6 miles the first day through lodgepole pine forest and climbed up to the Bitterroot Divide where we camped amid granite pinnacles with views into the trail-less drainage of Pebble Creek on the Montana side of the Great Burn.
A beautiful sunset was followed by a full orange moon which illuminated the surrounding snags and pinnacles.
On the second day the group hiked west along the Bitterroot Divide paralleling Lewis and Clark's route, which lies 5 miles to the south. After 3 short but scenery-rich miles we put down our packs at a high flower-filled meadow on the divide between Cache Creek and Crooked Fork -- a magical spot complete with ready peaks to climb, ridges to explore, and wildlife to observe. We were treated to round two of sunset and moon spectacle. Elk, mule deer, white tail deer, grouse, hummingbirds, pika, and bats were observed. One night, we were visited by a large owl that kept swooping in and out of camp while most of us lay sleeping. Sign of bear, coyote, wolf, and mountain lion was evident throughout the trail.
On the third day we picked our way down the headwall of Crooked Fork Creek and into the valley bottom where a faint trail awaited to take us out to our shuttle. Abundant huckleberries and grouse wortleberry made the going slow as we stopped often to eat. Several hikers swam with the trout in the cold, clear creek which runs along the trail.
No other hikers were seen during the three days. The footprints of elk, moose, and deer far outnumbered those left by people. It was universally agreed that this was Wild country, deserving of permanent protection.
It was especially nice to have three hikers from out of state along with us -- two folks from Mississippi and one from Texas.
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