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Tuesday, May 19, 2015
To the top
So I repeated yesterday's run only I kept going past the 2.5-mile mark to see how far up I could get. I made it to the top, where I was greeted by these old pallets. Who knows what the loggers had brought up on them — either that or they were just kindling for the old fire ring nearby. That might make sense except that the whole area contains probably 40 tons of deadfall per acre. Oh well.
The "peak," such as it is, is at 5,460 feet, which means the total climb was approximately 900. I think I passed by this spot on my meandering exploration on Saturday. There appear to be alternative routes down, including the north-face traverse that I stumbled into Saturday, but today I opted for going back down the way I came.
There were a few glacier lilies at the top, and lots of arrowleaf balsamroot en route.
I glimpsed my big bird again and it continues to mystify me. This was an even more fleeting view than Saturday's, but it confirmed that my color recollection was accurate: light tan, maybe even with some white. Were it not for the round-ish head I thought I saw Saturday, I might guess that it's a huge owl, but I'm still not sure. Definitely not a heron, however, despite seeing one in the area yesterday.
I also saw seven elk just over onto the state land, a little more than 2 miles into the run and at about the 5,100 level. They again calmly wandered on up the ridge, never to be seen again.
It was a pleasant enough run, but I continue to be surprised at the temperatures — in the low 40s. It's pretty good for running, but it is unseasonably cool, even for the mountains of Montana. We have touched 70 maybe twice all year, and the 60s only half a dozen times. Meanwhile it continues to freeze frequently at night (not that unusual).
6; 11; 79; 392
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