Oh my. Where to start. The day was spellbinding.
All of us, including Mountain Dog (MD) set out to walk the Sypes Canyon trail on Sunday, starting a little later than planned, but wanting to wait for all the sunshine we could hope for. MD set out in her rather pricey Mutt-luks, our choice for her because of the length of time we’d be walking, but as always, she shucked them off within a few hundred yards. They seem to be so stiff that they work their way down her legs and her motion kind of kicks them off. So, it was back to the ol’standbys, her simple polar fleece booties with leather bottoms and velco fasteners…aka her ski booties (as she has little grip). No sweater for her as we thought she’d stay warm enough by exertion. Depending on where you read about this trail, it’s between 4.0 and 5.5 miles. Feels closer to 4.0 miles.
MD, showing off her fine footwear.
The trail begins with a serious of short, but fairly rigorous climbs through the woods. There’s one short scramble, but with all the snow the trail was easy to grip. One walker had gone in before us and after encountering dog tracks and two black hairs, it appeared that he (she) had a black lab along. More on that in a bit.
We continued along the trail, up and down, until the last long stretch, which is a moderate, but steady climb to the final top. There’s a very welcome bench at this point, where we sat and enjoyed our lunch, overlooking the Gallatin Valley. Let’s see…it was warm enough, very little wind, beautiful sunshine, unbelievable scenery, good food, hot tea…what more could anyone wish for?
Sorry for the finger there in the lower left 🙂 I positioned all of my gear on a trail post and simply enjoyed being there!
So, then the decision was whether to turn around as this seems to be the end of the trail, or continue another half-mile uphill, to reach the gorgeous saddle between two minor peaks. After a little…um…persuading of one member of our family…we all carried on. MD was stoked on turkey and cheese and very willing to continue. This trail is more in the open, affording fantastic scenery, again, of the Gallatin Valley.
Rounding a corner, where we above some of the clouds…
We met the earlier walker at this point; he was descending with his…black lab! He seemed as thrilled with his day as were we. Reaching the saddle, or ridge…
MD had no problem being held…that tummy was snow-deep for lots of the walk. You can see Baldy Mountain in the background (the peak to the right, in the clouds), here. Walking to the peak is a goal for the summer. Apparently, about a half-mile on from this point this trail divides into a trail to the north, straight on to Baldy, or to the south, leading to The M. That one’s our other goal for next summer.
Anyway…just loving being here….
We didn’t stay here long, as we still had the walk out. But, it’s gorgeous, don’t you think…?
Heading back down, this view is toward The M (toward the south).
We caught Jeff, our leader, just as he was about to round an edge corner, with the valley below him…
We caught up with the earlier walker back at the bench, where he was resting. His black lab and MD had great fun chasing each other…boundless energy! We talked a bit, and he’s who explained the fork in the path beyond the saddle. We also talked about cougars in the area, as I’ve been wondering about my experience above The M ever since that day. This gentleman said, calmly, that we’d probably been watched along the trail we’d come up, as this is cougar habitat. Just a little unnerving, as we were still to walk out, but really, we were fine in a group of four. MD always walks among us, not in front or behind us, so with all of our commotion, we were perfectly safe. Mum, there was nothing to worry about 🙂
It was just a wonderful outing with a perfect mix of walking, scenery, great weather and food. These ol’ hiking boots are good friends.
Today, it was just a standard walk to The M for Jeff, MD and me. We encountered a rather cold wind at the top and it was the first time in a long while that I actually wore my polar fleece sweater and a hat. Good to be out, though. Heading home…
All the best to you in 2013!