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Sunday, May 03, 2015

Glorious day on the Divide



Inspired by the photos and report of Katie Kotynski from Mount Helena this past week, I went to the Divide above Rogers Pass this morning to check out the wildflower progress.

It's earlier in the season up there, but the good stuff is out. These are just a few of them. Forget-me-nots and a type of alyssium on what Nora and I call "Remember Me Ridge," and the small photo at left is a glacier lily, which was the first flower I saw above the pass. They typically bloom right after the snow comes off.

In fact there were a couple of stretches, most notably on the north slopes, where snow actually blocks the trail. This spot is typically the last one blocked on this route, and it was true to form today.


At right is what happens beneath the snow all winter — Mice? Voles? Something always tunnels beneath the snow and its "tracks" are obvious when the snow melts. In fact, these kinds of tracks often are where you'll see glacier lilies. The little tunnels don't last too long.

Meanwhile this is what also can be seen on the Continental Divide Trail this time of year. The snow in the background is the remains of the lee-side cornice along the wind-swept Divide. It's still very deep, so the snow will be around for at least another month, I'd reckon.

The CD trail stays right on the ridge angling north and west from the pass.

This is one of my favorite runs in the world. After a semi-severe first mile-plus (1,500-2,000-foot vertical, with no break — it took me 22 minutes to get to the ridge today, a little slower than my usual, but hey, I'm 65!), you're on an open ridge that goes four or five miles before dropping to a saddle south of Green Mountain, then another climb up that one. From there, it'll drop down to Lewis and Clark Pass, then rise into the Alice Basin and on to Caribou Mountain. I'd say 90 percent of the route, which is as much or more than you'll want to attempt in one shot, is in the open and above 6,500 feet.


This is more or less the same view, without my bearded visage. The mountain in the background is what we call Nora Mountain. We built a cairn atop it 20 years ago and supplied it with a note in a jar, among other things declaring that to be the name of it. Today I ran to the saddle below it but didn't continue on up to the cairn. The valley dropping off to the left is Cadotte Creek, which eventually empties into the Blackfoot. Just out of view to the left is a horrific-looking new clearcut. Yuck!

I'll put two more pictures from today's run below.


This is the view to the prairie from the top of the first ridge, which as noted is home to lots of forget-me-nots, but I think they're still a few weeks from the peak season. The road below is Montana Highway 200, and it follows the Middle Fork of the Dearborn down from the pass.


Finally, this is a rock wind shelter someone has erected on Remember Me Ridge since the last time I was up there. I've seen these before, but they've always seemed kind of useless to me. I suppose if you've got a 60 mph wind on a chilly day, it might help while you eat your lunch.

6.5; 33.5; 11.5; 324.5
Posted by Mose, 9:28 AM

2 Comments:

Is that really you, Mose, or some backcountry miner?
Blogger Tom Kotynski, at 7:48 AM  
No, I ran into some members of ZZ Top up there!
Blogger Mose, at 9:55 AM  

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