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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July on the Divide ... with pictures!

I went to the Continental Divide Trail south from Rogers Pass (15 miles east of Lincoln, Montana), hitting the trail a little after 6 a.m. The sun was shining on the mountains across the way, but I was in shadow until about 6:30 as I climbed up to the high ridge that runs southward toward Flesher Pass and Helena.

It was as pretty a day as ever I've seen up there, the temp 42 at the outset and 68 at the end (3-1/2 hours later). It was clear and windless, which is unheard of on that stretch of the Divide, which overlooks the prairie on one side and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex (Scapegoat at this end) on the other. On the east is the Dearborn (into the Missouri) drainage, and the west is the Blackfoot (of River Runs Through It fame), which runs through Lincoln and down to Missoula and the Clark (of Lewis and Clark) Fork of the Columbia.

Until the very end, I didn't see any wildlife in person. Plenty of sign though, with rocks dug up by bears and scat of bear, deer and elk. The fun one was at the end, though, about half a mile from the car (straight up). I spooked a young buck in flagrante delecti, as they say, and he was mad and aggressive, snorting and stomping at me from about 20 feet away. I snorted and stomped back, and he didn't like that. He paralleled me down the mountain, snorting and stomping all the way, with me returning the favor. He was still snorting when I drove off.

I'm pleased to report that I felt very good, with only a minimum of my old foot pains. It was not nearly as trying as last week's marathon up Stonewall Mountain, about 15 miles to the west. We'll paint a while this morning, then go to the river to cool off later (supposed to get into the 90s late this afternoon, before the big fireworks explosion, which is why we're here on a Tuesday).

Have a wonderful Fourth!

18; 18; 18; 710
Posted by Mose, 10:11 AM

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