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.