Thursday, July 21, 2016

It's Bigger than Rhode Island!

Well, so are some Super Walmarts. 

So how big is big? The Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness  can't be bothered to reside in one state. The big chunk lives in Montana. There's a slop-over portion in Wyoming. It takes three National Forests to contain it. In the big picture, it's part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. 

This wild expanse is made up of two distinct mountain ranges. 

The Beartooths are granite based, and occupy an above tree line topography. (That's more my style!) There's not much wild life since animals can't digest rocks. 

The Absaroka's are volcanic in nature. There's lots of trees (except for where I hiked today!) They are home to heaps of mammals, including Ursus horribilis. Better known as the Grizzly Bear. I am scared poopless of animals capable of making me a kosher appetizer.

I hiked two trails in the Absaroka's. They couldn't have been any different. 

My first hike was up to Pine Creek Lake. The payoff was worth the 3,500" of uphill in the five miles to get there. No complaints here. (See the photos). 

My second hike was along the South Fork of Deep Creek up to Davis Pass. There were no trees. In 2012, a careless human started a fire on private property which spread into the National Forest. The blaze incinerated an entire four-mile long valley of mature timber. There were no survivors. Instead of stands of lodgepole pine, spruce and fir, there's stands of fireweed. There's also berries, common Mullen and runty aspens, red maples and miniature lodgepoles. 

It's sad. 

All this devastation caused by one human pyro accident. I'm OK with lightning caused fires. That's Mother Nature, but I get upset over stupidity.

Don't hike the South Fork of Deep Creek for another 100 years. 
Smokey Bear is right. "Only you can prevent wildfires." 

Don't play with matches.


  1. Not purple loosestrife. Fireweed!!!! Beautiful!

  2. If you get a chance just take a little ride up Sunshine Valley, which is a turn to the west off of 296 going toward Cooke City between the west/north side of Dead Indian Pass and the junction with 212 that goes east to Red Lodge. Sunshine Valley is one of God's prettiest creations.

    1. Been there done that a few years ago. I'm in Glacier now. There's so much to see.