Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Foys to Blacktail - partial hike

On Tuesday October 10 Joyce and I hiked part of the recently built Foys to Blacktail trail. (http://www.foystoblacktailtrails.org/)   The trail was completed sooner than the volunteers expected.  As a result not all the signs are up, nor is there a good map of the complete trail.  Still, Joyce wanted to hike part of the trail sooner than later.  When you are over 80 there is no sense waiting.

Joyce talked with a trail committee volunteer and learned where the trail crossed the road in the Patrick Creek area.  The trail actually crosses National Forest Road 2991.   This is near the halfway point of the trail.  I *believe* the trail is 16 or so miles long.  This northern half would be about 10 miles long to the trailhead in Herron Park.  We hiked 9 miles as we got off the trail before Herron Park.

We started at the Patrick Creek Emmons Saddle trailhead.

Here is a map of the overall trail.

We chose to hike on Tuesday as this looked to be the last nice day for a while.  Joyce's husband dropped us off at our starting point and we hiked back to where I left my pickup.

We started the hike shortly before 10 am, and didn't finish until around 4:30 pm.   The hike was not hard, and I didn't think we were dawdling, but I guess we were at times.  The surprising thing to me was I was a little tired at the end.  I am surprised as I do a lot of walking around the ranch so I am in shape.  Also the next morning my calves were sore, and the day after that they were still tight when I first got up and moved around in the morning.  Must be because this was my first hike of the year.

While there is a 2004 ft elevation difference between the start and finish, my gps unit said we climbed 1229 ft and lost 3157 ft during the hike.

The only person we saw on the trail was a mountain biker who we saw twice.  There were a good number of mountain bike tracks in the trail dirt so it appears the main users of the trail once it is away from the Herron Park area are mountain bikers.

There is now an actual sign at the trailhead we started at.  It would have been nice if they had listed the number of miles to Herron Park.

There were some signs along the way (outside the Flathead National Forest) naming various parts of the trail.  We saw nowhere near the number of signs as on the trail's map.

Other than a brief sight of the north end of Flathead Lake near the beginning...

and the Whitefish Range nearer the end of the trail,

the three main views along various parts of the trail were of Blacktail Mountain and ski resort,  Kalispell and Glacier Park, and Smith Lake and Kila, Montana.

Blacktail Mountain and ski resort

View around (I believe) a mile from the start.

Our last view of Blacktail closer to the northern end of the trail

Kalispell and Glacier Park

White Glacier Park mountains behind the Whitefish Range mountains.

Whitefish Range mountains on left of "v" (gap in mountains).  Swan Range mountains to the right of "v".

and Smith Lake and Kila, Montana.   Kila is along the trees on the far side of the lake.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mt Headley hike

Saturday, July 23, 2016, Patti, Joyce and I hiked to the top of Mt Headley in the Cabinet Mountains.  This was the last of the hikes with Patti before she moved to Wisconsin.  Over the past few weeks we had done a hike in most of her favorite areas around here:
  1. Glacier Park (Red Eagle Lake)
  2. Southern Swan Mountains - with a good view of the Mission Mountains (Upper Holland and Sapphire Lakes)
  3. Northern Cabinet Mountains (Cedar Lakes)
  4. and now the southern Cabinet Mountains with this hike to Mt Headley.

I don't remember it taking us almost three hours to get to the trailhead.  Between the company present and the drive along the Clark Fork valley from Plains to the trailhead must have warped time.

The hike was 8 miles long round trip.   We started our hike at the trailhead at Vermilion Pass where there was plenty of area to park your vehicle.  At Vermilion Pass the elevation was 6026 ft.   Mt Headley is at 7429 ft. The elevation change was 1403 ft.  Mt Headley ranks as the 1266th highest mountain in Montana.

Prominence is defined as the elevation of a summit relative to the landscape surrounding it.  Apparently Mt Headley is ranked #27 in prominence in Montana with 3716 ft of prominence.  I didn't remember Mt Headley being so prominent - maybe because we started the hike so high and only had 1403 ft of elevation gain.  Then I remembered looking down on a small plane flying below when standing on Mt Headley.  I have a 10 second video of that.  https://youtu.be/q2kwOiRS_Vg

I got this photo from the Internet.

As we drove to Vermilion Pass we passed by this waterfall.  I am not sure the creek's name.  Maybe Graves Creek?

Here is a 27 second video of the falls: https://youtu.be/tzO0NrZFiuM

The view off to the northern side at the start from Vermilion Pass.

The trail forked here.  With no signs we weren't sure which way to go.  This is the view of the left fork.  This was not the trail to the top of Mt Headley.   If you look back to the photo with the labels "start" and "Mt Headley", I believe the following photo view is the same as the snow covered mountains on the left side of the earlier photo.

Mt Headley is the high point on the right side of the following photo.

Patti and I had hiked to Cabin Lake in July 2015:  http://tallpineshiker.blogspot.com/2015/07/cube-iron-mountain-and-four-lakes.html

Views from the top of Mt Headley.

Looking NW towards the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness area.  Earlier in the week Patti and I were at Cedar Lakes in this area and I don't remember the mountains being so tall.

Apparently this is a lookout on top of Priscilla Peak.

Too bad Patti moved away.  If she was still here the Priscella Peak lookout would have been a future hike for us.  That is how we explored the Whitefish Range: hike to the top of a mountain, look over at another mountain, see something and plan a future hike to that mountain.

Parts of the trail were brushy.  The brush was still wet from the previous night's rain.  Patti is wringing out her soaked socks once we were at the top of Mt Headley.  Patti had a second dry pair of socks and on the hike back down the mountain the brush was dry.

Joyce.  A pretty good hiker for someone around 80 years old and who had knee replacement surgury back in January.

Here is a 57 second video of the views from the top of Mt Headley: https://youtu.be/yqmdTJMRu_M

For more (better) photos of Mt Headley:  https://montucky.wordpress.com/tag/mt-headley/