Crazy Mountain Interlude



West slope of Crazy Mountains, Montana



Yesterday was hike day.  The destination:  Cottonwood Lake in the Crazy Mountains.  The "Crazies"  are an isolated "island" mountain range in south central Montana.  A few widely dispersed dusty dirt roads provide access to the a limited number of trailheads.  

The trail starts as an old roadbed.  After a couple of miles, it morphs into a standard hiking trail as it climbs its way into the high country.  Since its a scenic drainage, and not too far from Bozeman, its predictably popular with hikers. 

After a couple of hours of hiking and admiring the views, I made it to the lake . I noted no fish activity, even though it was reportedly stocked a couple of years ago (I have caught fish here in the past).  I walked around the lake but didn't see any cruising fish. No matter. 

Still feeling good after a short break, I pondered my next move.  Rig the rod or hike further?  I decided that it was time to exorcise an old demon by attempting another scramble up to Grasshopper glacier.

My wife and I had camped at the lake many years ago.  On that trip, we tried to make it to the the glacier, but our scramble was cut short when a sizable rock slid onto my leg.  I was able to extricate said limb without incident, but that scare plus a multitude of encounters with tippy boulders, along with a rapidly building summer storm, convinced us to vamoose.  In short, we got the hell off of that rock pile in a hurry.

The boulders were every bit as tippy this trip, but I was determined to see the glacier, if for no other reason than to see and prove to myself that it really existed.  It's not visible from below, so there's no way to tell.  Well, I made it.  And yes, it really did exist.  It sits in a deep bowl, hidden from view behind a jumble of moraine.  But, someone, proverbially, was pulling our leg.  Alas, there were no hoppers.  I did see some moths and beetles plastered into the surface of the glacier though.  I scooped up a handful of snow to quench my thirst and took a few photos. Satisfied, I picked a different route down.  The old back was protesting mildly, but I was happy to be out hiking.  I chalked it up as just another good day, even though the fly rod stayed in its sack.






View from Grasshopper Glacier, Crazy Mountains, Montana


Cottonwood Lake, Crazy Mountains, Montana


Grasshopper Glacier, Crazy Mountains, Montana


Bluebells near Cottonwood Lake, Crazy Mountains, Montana


Paintbrush, Crazy Mountains, Montana


Comments

  1. Glad that you got to that glacier in one piece and took some nice photos to share. I once had to choose between attaining a Colorado summit or staying just below at a little lake. With clouds building up quickly, I chickened out and went back down. Insufficient but still rewarding.

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  2. Chickening out is the right choice once the lightning starts to fly. Actually an even better choice before it starts. As they say, better to live to fight another day. The mountains will always be there. I was glad to have had a brilliant blue sky day to make the climb. Thanks again Walt, good luck with your new book.

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  3. Quite the adventure Les..glad you made it without incident..

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    1. Thanks Mike, hope you're having a good summer "down east."

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  4. Lester
    Man!!! Do I envy you living there, such beauty everywhere and still snow, unbelievable; if I had places like that to hike I would probably venture out more often here.This time of year here in the Deep South if one decides to hike they need to take a towel along to wipe the perspiration away, because of the tremendous humidity. Thanks for sharing





    Lester
    Man!!! Do I envy you living there, such beauty everywhere and still snow, unbelievable; if I had places like that to hike I would probably venture out more often here.This time of year here in the Deep South if one decides to hike they need to take a towel along to wipe the perspiration away, because of the tremendous humidity. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Hi Bill, no humidity here, but hiking out of the high country in mid-afternoon can be a brutally hot venture. No towel necessary though. It takes just a moment to "air dry."

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  5. Les:
    I don't think my last attempt to post got through. So I'll try again. I enjoyed the hike into the Crazies. I first heard of them in a book by John Holt titled, Coyote Nowhere. I think it was that book as I've read several of his. Anyway, enjoyed the story and pics.
    bob garnier

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    1. Ah, the vagaries of the cyber world. Glad this post of yours made it through Bob. I'll have to look for the book.

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