It was wonderful to be back on the trail today.
I had no “must-dos” today, so I was free to gather up my walking gear and join in with the group of Bozeman ladies who meet on Tuesdays for hiking. We ended up choosing the Sourdough Trail, but, true to the nature of this adventurous group, we opted for a side trail instead of staying on the well-used main trail.
Our side trail just so happened lead up straight up to the ridge, with nary a switchback in sight. We figured this was about a 1,400′ elevation gain in about two miles in, for a four-mile or so roundtrip total.
About halfway along we began to run into a light dusting of snow on the ground.
As we were getting along, the hiker who’d encouraged us to take this side trail began to recount a bear encounter she and a friend had had along this trail last spring. With our fall weather being so warm, bears around here are still very active (did you happen to see the recent video that went viral of a black bear inside the Bozeman High School?). These gals are all amused at my unease at the mention of bears, but….I think I’m the sensible one! No bears today, however.
Up we went for about an hour or so, until we decided to have a snack break. I flushed a grouse…likely a ruffed grouse, at that point. The trail was well-used, but narrow…more like a game trail.
We continued on, thinking that perhaps our trail would loop back and join the Sourdough Trail, but we came to an interesting rock outcrop which was the perfect spot for lunch.
We each found a rock seat. I had the chance to try out my new sit-upon (the yellow pad)…a birthday gift from my husband. I’ll post the brand name sometime, as it was super. It has a reflective side that seemed to reflect my body heat back to me, which I appreciated as it was winterish sitting up there. I was thankful to have my thermos of tea and a wool sweater to add to my three layers. I’d also thrown a wool hat in my pack and what a difference it made…I’ll keep it with me now.
Me, in the most layers I’ve ever worn for walking, plus hot tea. Gotta toughen up for winter.
We opted to retrace our steps as we really weren’t sure where we were. If anyone has an app to suggest that works in the wilderness…I’ve tried many and they’ve all lost their GPS connection along the trail…I’d appreciate hearing from you.
Most of our trail was through an open understory, overlaid with ancient and huge Douglas firs. This one would have quite a story to tell. It took three of us joining hands, to enclose it.
As always with this group, a good workout with great scenery and company.