Tuesday, December 10, 2013

78-year-old hiking friend

Joyce, a hiking friend, had a writeup in the local newspaper today.   This year she took up backpacking and camping in order to reach parts of the Park that can't be done on a day hike unless you can hike 20 plus miles in a day.

A hiker with hundreds of miles under her belt isn’t unique in this part of the world. But Joyce Moon, who has been taking intense hikes for six years, is a bit of a different story. She started tackling Glacier National Park’s many trails just six years ago, when she was 72.

Her last hike, a three-day adventure from Logan Pass to Goat Haunt and into Waterton, started cold and wet before a bit of divine intervention.

“I’m a Christian, so I prayed for good weather,” Moon said. “The clouds cleared up on the second and third days.”

She took four of her five children on that hike and was pleasantly surprised they were able to keep up without complaining.  Kendra and Greg, Kari, Kristen and Dave, and Jeff and Toni accompanied Moon on the hike, while Jerrold, the fifth child, couldn’t make it.

“I was pretty proud of my kids,” Moon said. “Everybody was really good sports. Jeff was pretty protective of me, and was saying, ‘We have to get to the next campsite, Mom.’”

Husband Edley doesn’t go on hikes with Moon, 78, and instead stays at the couple’s small cattle ranch near Foy’s Lake while his wife treks through the mountains.

While she had been hiking somewhat all her life, it took Moon until her 70s to give Glacier Park a shot. “I’ve been kicking myself for not going up there earlier,” Moon said. “When I hike, I just feel free. There’s so much to see.”

Born in 1935 in the tiny Montana town of Lambert, which now shares census results with Fox Lake, just miles from the North Dakota border, Moon moved to the Flathead Valley as a teenager.  However, it wasn’t until a fateful occurrence six years ago that Moon got up into the park. She saw a hiking group sign-up sheet and decided to give it a shot.

That first hike, a 20-miler, went from Bowman Lake into the park’s interior.  Moon was hooked.

“I’m going to keep doing it as long as I can,” she said. “You’ve got to keep moving, or you’ll end up in a wheelchair or stuck in front of the TV.”

Although Moon no longer hikes with the same group she started with, she has built up a small group of hiking acquaintances and has made it her goal to hike as many of Glacier’s trails as possible.

Sometimes, like on the hike from Logan Pass to Goat Haunt, the septuagenarian must deal with some nasty weather. “It was awful,” Moon said of that hike with her kids, which took place from Sept. 18 to 20. “It was raining and snowing, and that wind up near the top [of Logan Pass] really blows. My husband called me crazy for going out.”

The later-season hikes are a result of Moon trying to get big groups out in the park. The campsites fill up in the summer, so August and September are the best chances to reserve the sites. This means that her large group can go for three days into the park without running into the hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit during the warmer months.

Despite her accomplishments, Moon remains humble.  “Compared to some people, I haven’t done anything,” Moon said. “God has kept me well and healthy.”

When not going on Tolkien-esque journeys through the mountains, she loves to cross-country ski in Herron Park near her home, take shorter hikes around Hungry Horse Reservoir and make blankets for local charities. (She has more than 100 to her credit at this point.) Moon also makes a mean huckleberry pie.

She also picked up the trumpet for the first time in more than 50 years in 2009 and joined the New Horizons Band.  “I played in high school for half a year, but I was so shy,” Moon said. “But everyone there is learning with each other and laughing together.”

Keeping active and the brain healthy is a priority for Moon, who doesn’t even have a working TV in her home. Her part-time job at Sportsman & Ski Haus is just the cherry on the top.

Already itching for next season, she has a hike planned from Chief Mountain, on the east side of the park, to Goat Haunt and up into Waterton.

If any hikers see a little lady zooming past them on the trail with several tired-looking adult children in tow, give a shout out to Moon as she conquers Glacier National Park.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Hoskins Lake

While Tammy was holding a Tastefully Simple party in the Yaak area, I went on a short easy pleasant 2 mile hike for a few hours.  Nearby was Hoskins Lake.

Apparently there a number of bears in the area.  I didn't see any.

There is a study being done on bears.  The researchers are trying to gather bear fur on wires to do DNA testing.  From this they can determine the number of unique bears in the area.  A similar study recently was completed in the Rocky Mountains near and around Glacier Park.

Hoskins Lake at the south end looking north.

I walked all around the large lake.   Below is the view of Hoskins Lake looking south.

Until I looked on Google Earth I didn't realize a smaller lake lay to the north of Hoskins Lake. Here is the view looking north of Hoskins Lake.  Here you can see why I never realized there is a lake on the other side of this meadow.

This area might be good moose habitat.  But I didn't see any moose.   I could see - and hear! - three squirrels who were not happy I was in their area.

As I mentioned I walked all around the lake.  The best part of the trail is on the east side (right side) of the lake.  The trail is pretty established on the east side.  Part way up and along the lake is a campsite area for one and a fire ring.

On the west side of the lake the trail is easy to follow for about halfway up the lake.  The upper half is doable but you'll have to pick your way along in some parts over fallen trees. It is not hard as there is little undergrowth.

Not the trail, but a representative view of the area where the trail comes and goes.

There are a few large rocks near shore on the west side and more places to access the lake on the west side than the east side.

Follow this link to see more photos of the lake.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Krag Peak

Going through old photos and I put together another hiking post...

Sunday August 4, 2013 Patti, Gene and I hiked to the top of Krag Peak.  Tammy was in Minnesota attending a Tastefully Simple business convention.
Krag Peak 7510', is the highest of a trio of peaks that sit relatively close to one another in the northern Whitefish Range of NW Montana. Next to, and just to the south of Krag, lies Krinklehorn Peak 7411', next to and to the SW of Krinklehorn lies Deep Mountain 7406'.
Krag Peak is located up near Fortine and Eureka, Montana.

This is the route we followed:
From downtown Whitefish drive 43 miles north on Hwy 93. 
Turn right onto Grave Creek Road and drive 3 miles until reaching Stoken Road and turn right again. 
Proceed on Stoken Road for 1.47 miles until reaching Forest Service Road #7019 (Williams Creek Road) as it angles in from the right. 
Proceed on FS Road #7019 for 3.86 miles until reaching the parking area at the trailhead.

It was a beautiful day: not too cold, not too hot.  Mostly sunny with a few clouds, more clouds as the afternoon went on.  I would have lingered longer on top of the mountain but Gene and Patti were concerned about the clouds and whether we would be rained on as we had over 5 miles of hiking to get back to Patti's car.  We stayed dry.

To get to Krag Peak we hiked on Krinklehorn Trail.

Krinklehorn Peak

At the saddle north of Krinklehorn Peak, the Krinklehorn Trail continues down the other side.  To get to Krag Peak one must leave the trail at the saddle and bushwhack over a half mile up to Krag Peak.

The bushwhack doesn't look too bad, does it?

Yes, the bushwhack is steeper than it looks in the previous photo.

Krinklehorn Peak, from almost half way on the bushwhack to Krag Peak.

Krag Peak is in the distance.  Note the lower open area below the top of Krag Peak.  A later photo looking back to this spot was taken there.

Bushwhacking up Krag Peak.

Looking back to the open area at the top of that peak where I took the earlier photo.  Also, to the right of this small mountain is the saddle (behind the dead triple trunk tree) where we started our bushwhack.

From the top of Krag Peak.   Eureka Montana, and beyond Eureka is Lake Koocanusa (the small sliver of water just above the mountain ridge top right of center).

The next two photos are an area shown via Google Earth in the third image. 

Here are more photos from my hike:


More info on hiking to Krag Peak: http://www.summitpost.org/krag-peak/747508


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Firefighter Lookout

On June 8, 2013, Tammy, Patti, Joyce, Gene and I hiked up to Firefighter Lookout on a nice Saturday. The lookout is located on the east side of the Hungry Horse Reservoir.  This was the only hike Tammy did when she lived here.

From Martin City, MT on the east side of the Hungry Horse Reservoir take FS road 38 for 15.3 miles to reach the trail head.

Tammy had a GPS app on her smartphone.  Here is the route from the lookout back to the trailhead.

Here is the trip's stats one way - from the lookout back to the trailhead.

The lookout -which is staffed in the summer with volunteers - was closed so we could not go all the way to the top of the structure.  Still, the views of the mountains and Hungry Horse Reservoir were great.

Firefighter Lookout

Firefighter Lookout

Firefighter Lookout

Great Northern Mountain, Mt Grant and Mt Liebig

Great Northern Mountain, Mt Grant and Mt Liebig

Great Bear Wilderness and Great Northern Mountain

Hungry Horse Reservoir

Great Northern Mountain and Hungry Horse Reservoir

Hungry Horse Reservoir with the Swan Range beyond the reservoir

Heading back to the trail head

During the hike back to the trail head Tammy lost her balance.  I was walking ahead of her and caught her before she fell down.  But she twisted one of her ankles.  She could still walk, but with a limp.  We found a stick for her to use to take some of the pressure off her ankle as she walked a  mile or two back to the trail head.

Walking stick and smartphone back at the trail head

On the drive back to Columbia Falls we passed Lost Mare Creek and we decided Tammy should soak her ankle in the very cold water to help with the swelling.  Tammy was reluctant as the water was very cold but Patti insisted Tammy soak her ankle to reduce the swelling.  I can handle cold but I couldn't put my foot in the water for as long as Tammy did.

The color shows where Tammy's foot was in the cold water.