Buncha walks, one outstanding, and MD tries a new gig

Weather.  Ours, like that of so many others, has been all over the place lately.  Let’s discuss yesterday, for example.  The morning started out cloudy, but fit for walking so Jeff and I hit the trail to Drinking Horse.  It began snowing at the parking lot and after our brief, 1.4 mile climb to the top, we were staggering around in a white-out.  A little moisture on the path makes for slick treading.  I finally stopped and dug my sunhat out of  my pack, just to keep the snow out of my eyes so I could see to walk.  So, it was one hand hanging onto my hat to keep it from blowing away in the gale and one hand on a trekking pole to help me stay upright. We drove home in slush, but within an hour, all evidence of our risky adventure had melted away.

Not to fret, though, because after that sunny interlude, Blizzard #2 was upon us.  This time, though, we were inside and happily out of the elements.

I did take one picture, subsequently deleted.  Let’s just say icicles hanging off one’s nose is not a complimentary look.  Indy was muddy and wet and so happy to jump in her tub for a nice hot bath.  On the up-side, I will say that for once, I wasn’t too hot while walking.

We’ve had a bunch of trips to The M, all pretty standard outings.  One day was warm enough for walking in shorts.  I was on my own and at one point, when I was going up the steep route, stopped and doubled over my trekking poles gasping for oxygen I happened to look at my calves, and oh my…all these climbs are adding a little definition to the ol’legs 🙂  I’ve also come to realize that some people who pass me on the steep route aren’t even in the parking lot when I start out, but, no matter.

But, on to the Great Walk!  This was absolutely the best and truly a taste of what’s to come soon, we hope.

If you live in the mountains you’ve probably heard of “ridge walks,” whereby walkers can walk along the mountain range ridge, sort of like walking along the spine of the range.  Walking in the Highlands of Scotland a few years ago our guide pointed this out to me…while I was gasping for air at our altitude he talked about the trail that ran along the ridge waaay above us.  My thought at the time was ‘who…in their right mind…?’ But, after my experience written in “Compelled,” when I scared myself silly being on the Bridger ridge and now, living and walking in the mountains,  I get it.

Jeff and I will walk from The M trail to Baldy Mountain once the snow is gone for good.  We decided, on Easter Sunday, to get a taste of what this will be like by walking to the ridge above The M.  This involves walking first to The M and then taking the trail above this, to the ridge.

We’d heard that the trail above The M was steep and we’d both been a little way along this route, so we knew this was true.  In practicality, it is steep, but then it does level off a bit.  It was a hot, dry day, so we had lots of water along for ourselves and MD, who made the trip, too. (I’m not sure how to leave her home.  She recognizes all the signals of when we’re about to go, from the clothes we put on, to gathering up our backpacks, to filling our water containers.  I know she’ll have to stay home for our longer trips, but she will be one sad little doggie when that day comes.)

So, after a brief rest at the benches at The M, off we set.  It was just a matter of continuing to climb…

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…and oh, my….when we rounded the final corner, which was actually walking around a huge rock…there was the ridge path!  We were on the ridge!IMG_1043

This is the path that we’ll take to Baldy, but for now it was enough just to be up there, see the path and then take a look around at the 270 degree vista before us, as all was open to the east, west and south.

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This shot gives an idea of the scenery and how high we were.  The photos of me were all taken on Jeff’s phone and then sent to me, but they’re stuck in there, for me to enjoy only until I improve my photo-moving-around-skills.  Here’s Jeff, on the ridge.

Looking southeast…

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…and the flat area at the lower, right of the photo is the end of the Bridger range in this area.  (It continues across the road as you can see here and Drinking Horse mountain is the hill immediately across the road.)  Is this beautiful or what?

We sat for a bit and simply enjoyed being up there.  There’s something indescribable about this feeling…words elude me here…I’m actually an ocean person.  Maybe it boils down to simply a sense of accomplishment.  Mountains seem to draw us in, us being anyone who spends time among them.  It was a wonderful moment.  Jeff took a wonderful picture of MD here, with half sky and half mountain in the background…her head looks like it’s in the heavens…if I ever figure out how to get at those pix I’ll post that one.

It was a bit odd that no one else was around on this day and we decided that the time had come to begin our walk down.  There was still ice on parts of the trail and even where the path was just dirt the steepness of it made it slippery in parts.  It was truly a world of its own on this day…

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We did alright, though, and eventually came down to the top of The M.  I thought I’d include this photo so show that MD was still doing just fine…

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…and this shot gives a better perspective of the size of The M, with walkers sitting on the benches at the lower edge…

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After that glorious outing, its been regular walks, including scrambling over the outcrop of The M route…

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…and out in the back 40, where the elusive beaver has created a lovely pond with its dam…

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…and the dippers appear to have staked out their own sections of the creek.  Now when we walk along we often see one dipper at a time.  Should another happen into that area it usually is swiftly chased away, but it’ll land further downstream…perhaps in its own territory.  We’re guessing that they’ve each got nests, but this is just two biologists (one active, one not so much) hypothesizing.

Our dipper friend…

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And, now for MD’s latest adventure…

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Yep, ‘fraid so.  Jeff gave me a much-coveted bicycle basket for my birthday last summer and we finally had nice enough weather to give it a try.  I put Indy in it as we started out and she soon wanted to get out, but it turned out that she just had to do her thing in the bushes.  She ran along as I peddled slowly until we reached the end of this particular trail and then I put her back in the basket.  She sat down and leaned back against the handlebar edge and well, just rode happily along!  We rode nearly four miles and she just sat there watching the scenery go by!  We stopped and looked at horses, at a pond, other dogs (Ins may have turned a bit pink when by her brethren raised their collective eyebrows in passing, but she just kept her nose in the air), passed through the woods, and well, had a lovely outing.  When we arrived home and I lifted her out she had that sleeping dog weight to her…she couldn’t have been more relaxed 🙂  Is she a great dog or what?!!

All this writing about Indy and in looking through photos I came across a photo of Christmas, 2008, of both Indy and Sprig, our hunter-lab, which I want to include here as ol’Sprig has been on my mind of late…isn’t that the way with our great companions?

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About walksandrambles

My love of walking began in 2005, when, travelling with my Girl Scout troop to Switzerland, I joined a group of Norwegians for a day, to walk up Elsignenalp. I wasn't at all sure I could make it, but the guide was kind and through her encouragement, started out. It was an all-day affair for me and I was always the last one, but this didn't matter a bit...I'd found my new love! No photos exist for this...the camera went missing on a train...but I remember toasting myself with a cup of tea from my thermos at the top...it was a day of tough work and pure pleasure. If you walk, you know what I mean!
This entry was posted in Around Bozeman, Walking and Hiking. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Buncha walks, one outstanding, and MD tries a new gig

  1. You really explained the growing addiction to the views and the feeling of accomplishment when climbing a mountain beautifully. Wonderful pictures and a Great post!!!

  2. Gardengirl says:

    What amazing walks and experiences you have and share so beautifully. I love the bike basket and it’s great that Indy likes it so much. Who could ask for anything more than all that beauty and puppy love!

  3. Thank you! I’m anxious to try biking again…I’m wondering if Indy will so willingly go in the basket now that she understands what it’s all about! Too windy today, though….I’m a fair-weather biker.

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