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Saturday, June 18, 2005

The mose went over the mountain ...

Well, in Helena Friday night for a friend's retirement party, decided to get up early Saturday and do Mount Helena for sunrise. (I just detoured into my picture files to get a photo or two from Mount Helena on an earlier trip, but I couldn't find any). It was cool, pretty, scenic and quite a bit easier than I thought it would be, considering my recent hiatus.

The wildflowers are out in profusion, especially the arrow-leaf balsam root, which covered some hillsides. It reminded me a little of a trip to Glacier Park a couple of summers ago, when we got into the thickest beargrass blooms I've ever seen.

All along the trail on the way up, I was seeing a kind of weed that had been pulled by someone. I got to the peak in 38-1/2 minutes, which is about as fast as I've ever done it. I went up by way of the south ridge (I forget the name of it, but it eventually turns into the approach that the locals call the Hogback). I came back down via the Prairie Trail, which goes off the west side of the peak and goes low on the north side before wrapping around to the trailhead on the east. Took 31 minutes to get back down.

Along the way down, and fairly low, I ran into Mark O'Keefe pulling yellow toadflax. We chatted for a few minutes, catching up on his activities (teaching, foundations, boards, conservation easement work). The last time I saw him, he was northbound (walking) on the Continenental Divide Trail near Rogers Pass with some friends. I was southbound, running. I think it was the summer before last. Mark was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for governor five years ago, losing to Judy Martz (which, in turn, set up this past fall's win by Brian Schweitzer, a good candidate who also was "anyone but Martz").

I don't think I've done this circuit much faster, and I should be in good shape to do it again later this coming week (we'll be back there for a Charlotte's family reunion), and next weekend to run up Missoula's Snow Bowl ski area, where we'll be for a wedding. I'm looking forward to all of it, love being what it is.

Posted by Mose, 1:39 PM


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