It wasn’t even noon yet, when Lupe concluded her successful visit to all three possible Washakie County, Wyoming high points(9,600 ft.). There was still time in the day for Lupe to tackle her next peakbagging goal, Hazelton Pyramid(10,534 ft.), which was only 6 or 7 miles away to the SE. Lupe and SPHP headed E on Hwy 16 in the G6. After going just a couple of miles, SPHP parked at Powder River Pass.
Some sort of bicycling event was going on along Hwy 16. There were lots of bicyclists at the big pullout, which was serving as a rest and refreshment stop.
Lupe wasn’t here for the bicycle event. A short stroll S of Hwy 16 were some big rock formations from which SPHP wanted to get a preliminary look at Hazelton Pyramid.
The view of Hazelton Pyramid was encouraging. Lupe also got a look at Hesse Mountain, which she had climbed on an intermittently foggy day almost 2 years ago.
Lupe and SPHP returned to the G6. A mile E of Powder River Pass, SPHP turned S off Hwy 16 onto USFS Road No. 29. No. 29 wound around for 4 or 5 miles in a generally SSW direction. At a small turnaround loop where the road first reaches the North Fork of the Powder River, SPHP parked the G6 again (1:02 PM). Hazelton Pyramid was about 2 miles away to the ESE. Lupe would start for Hazelton Pyramid from here.
A bridge near the turnaround loop got SPHP over to the N side of the Powder River where Lupe started off heading NE on 4WD Route 584111. She soon turned E on Route 584116, which quickly leveled out and left open ground to enter the forest. Before long, the road curved S and crossed a small creek. Beyond the creek, Lupe and SPHP continued on the road, but not very far, since it started trending SW.
Lupe left the road to begin climbing ESE through the forest. The forest featured great views of, well, trees. Lupe was happy with that. Trees meant squirrels! The slope gained elevation at a moderate pace, making for a pretty pleasant shady trek. Lupe had fun dashing this way and that winding along a maze of faint animal trails. She did find a few squirrels to growl and bark at, while they taunted and hurled insults at her from the safety of the treetops.
After 0.5 mile or more going through the forest, Lupe reached the top of a relatively flat and broad ridge. There was a large meadow here from which it was possible to see Hazelton Pyramid again, and some of the high ground above tree line leading to it.
There were a couple of reasonable looking routes toward Hazelton Pyramid from here. Lupe could either climb above tree line heading ENE to the base of a rocky ridge which she could follow up to high ground near High Point 10201, or stay lower and farther S while heading E in an area of scattered forest.
SPHP thought the route up near the rocky ridge looked more dramatic and interesting. Lupe was quite certain the scattered forest would offer more squirrel possibilities, but she had no real objections to the rocky route. After all, there might be marmots up there, and marmots are fun, too! Either way was fine with Lupe. In any case, there was still a bit of forest to go through even to get to the rocky route.
Lupe lost a little elevation going through the last section of forest on the way to the rocky route, but quickly regained it on a somewhat steep climb just beyond the forest. Soon (well relatively soon, SPHP kept stopping for air) Lupe was approaching the area below the rocky ridge. Here the climb was not so steep. The views got better and better as Lupe headed for a saddle near the E end of the ridge.
When Lupe reached the saddle (a short distance SW of High Point 10201), she had a great view of Hazelton Pyramid ahead. Lupe could also see the high ground she would follow as it swept around to the summit.
Before continuing on to Hazelton Pyramid, Lupe checked out the views from the minor high point immediately SW of the saddle.
After a short rest break on the minor high point, Lupe and SPHP returned to the saddle. It was time to follow the high ground leading over to the summit of Hazelton Pyramid. Most of the time, Lupe was able to stay at or near the top of the long ridge. A couple of times she was forced to lose some elevation to get around small cliffs.
The last part of Lupe’s climb up Hazelton Pyramid was the steepest and rockiest, but still easily manageable. The true summit turned out to be along a ridge of boulders extending farther to the SE a few hundred feet beyond the apparent summit Lupe had seen while climbing up from the NW. Lupe and SPHP stayed on the NE side of this ridge due to a steep drop off immediately to the SW.
Naturally, Lupe and SPHP took a break up on Hazelton Pyramid for water, a bit to eat, and to spend some time admiring the splendid views. Although it had been a beautiful, mostly sunny day during the entire ascent, a line of gray clouds was now approaching from the SW. Streaks of rain trailed beneath the clouds. SPHP eyed the clouds suspiciously, even though they didn’t look too threatening.
Fortunately, there wasn’t any thunder or lightning. Lupe and SPHP stayed on the mountain. A SW wind picked up and blew rather strongly for a little while as the clouds approached. Lupe had to endure a rainstorm as they passed over Hazelton Pyramid, but it didn’t rain hard or last too long. The day soon grew somewhat sunnier again.
Eventually, of course, it was time to start down off Hazelton Peak to begin the trek back to the G6. For a long way, Lupe and SPHP continued to enjoy the wonderful mountain scenery visible from the high ground above tree line.
Lupe retraced her way up Hazelton Peak all the way back down below tree line. Not too long after reaching the forest, SPHP tried to take a shortcut, heading WNW down off the ridge before reaching the big meadow.
The shortcut became a longcut and a Lupe adventure all its own, but one without photos as SPHP tried to hurry through the darkening forest. At one point Lupe crossed a road which may have been 4WD Route 584113. Lupe explored beautiful little clearings of swampy land near a tiny creek. However, the forest seemed longer, denser, and more difficult to navigate than on Lupe’s original route.
All’s well that ends well, though! Lupe finally emerged from the forest and swamps on open ground above and N of 4WD Route 584116. SPHP recognized Route 584111 a little farther off to the W. Lupe trotted happily along. She was almost back to the North Fork of the Powder River and the G6 (7:37 PM).
Well, Loopster! That was a pretty good day wasn’t it? Up before dawn barking at cows and horses on the way to the Bighorns, visiting all 3 of the Washakie County High Point candidates, and then climbing Hazelton Pyramid, too!
Yes, this was great, and about time, too! What’s on the agenda tomorrow?
Tomorrow you start for Cloud Peak (13,167 ft.), the highest mountain in the entire Bighorn Range! It’s so big and so far it will take us 2 days to get to the top.
Oh, sounds exciting! Will there be squirrels?
I think you’re gonna like it, and yeah, there should be some squirrels. Believe me, your summer of 2016 is going to be fantastic. You haven’t seen anything yet, Looper!
Heh, I certainly hope so SPHP, until today that’s been just about literally true!
Huge sigh! One of many at long intervals. Dejected, Lupe lay bored on the floor. Sometimes she stared out the window. Sometimes just out into space. After a promising start with a trip to the Laramie Mountains in Wyoming in late May, Lupe had returned to the Black Hills on June 1st expecting great things from the summer of 2016. Instead, June immediately turned hot – too hot for her Black Hills expeditions. June shot by, and Lupe didn’t get to go anywhere in the hills.
Early July started out a little better, with two short Summits on the Air outings (Custer Peak & Boulder Hill) with Joe and Dusty. Then it was back to laying on the floor, forlorn and disappointed day after day. The middle of July came and went. Still Dullsville.
Lupe didn’t realize it yet, but great things were in the works. Preparations for her fabulous Summer of 2016 Dingo Vacation were nearing completion. Lupe would soon be on her way much farther than she had ever been before to visit beautiful places and climb some spectacular peaks!
One mountain on the list, however, wasn’t that far away. Cloud Peak(13,167 ft.), the tallest mountain in the Bighorn range of north central Wyoming, was easily the highest peak Lupe would attempt to climb this year. For Lupe and SPHP, Cloud Peak meant a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip.
Why not take Lupe to the Bighorns even before the start of her summer of 2016 Dingo Vacation? Getting Cloud Peak out of the way beforehand would free up several days on her summer of 2016 Dingo Vacation she could use to climb much more distant peaks she might never otherwise have a chance to attempt. It was a good idea, and high time for some action anyway.
SPHP checked the weather forecasts. Starting July 18th, 4 consecutive days of 100°F heat with little or no chance of rain were coming to Buffalo, WY. Perfect for adventuring in the high country, where it would be considerably cooler! Much to her surprise and delight, Lupe was on the road headed for the Bighorns before dawn.
Only a few hours later, Lupe was in the Bighorns! Before tackling Cloud Peak, though, SPHP had a couple of other easier peakbagging objectives in mind for Lupe. The first one was really easy – the Washakie County High Point(9,600 ft.). At 9:48 AM (66°F), SPHP parked the G6 just S of Hwy 16 along USFS Road No. 25. This intersection is in Washakie County only a short distance W of the Johnson County line.
The only thing time consuming or unusual about the Washakie County High Point is that there are three candidates for the actual highest point. Two of them are about 0.25 mile S of Hwy 16 on a low forested ridge. The third candidate is about the same distance N of Hwy 16. Lupe and SPHP headed across the field toward the S candidates first. As a guide, SPHP had a copy of a trip report by Edward Earl dated July 30, 2002.
At the edge of the forest was a barbed wire fence. The lower part of the fence was a wire mesh which Lupe could not get through. Lupe and SPHP followed the fence W until Lupe reached a gate with orange posts where she was able to get by. After that, Lupe sniffed around exploring the forest while making the climb to the first of the high points.
Lupe visited the two Washakie County High Point candidates S of Hwy 16. Both were very rocky. They were only a few minutes walk apart, but due to the forest, not really visible from each other. Neither had much in the way of views, although there were partial views to the S and E from the SE high point. The most open views were actually from a lower rock outcropping a bit to the S of the area between the two high points.
Edward Earl’s trip report mentioned a cairn at both high point candidates S of Hwy 16, but Lupe only saw a cairn at the NW high point. After visiting both of the S candidates, Lupe headed NE through the forest until she reached USFS Road No. 25 near a cattle guard providing an opening in the fence line. Lupe is an expert at crossing cattle guards, which present no obstacle to her at all.
Lupe and SPHP proceeded across Hwy 16 a few hundred feet E of the Hwy 16/USFS Road No. 25 intersection. Shortly after re-entering the forest N of the highway, Lupe came to another barbed wire fence. It had 5 wires, and the lowest wire was dangerously close to the ground for Lupe. SPHP lifted Lupe over the fence. Lupe then continued N, once again up a gentle forested slope while looking for her final objective – the third and last Washakie County High Point candidate.
Edward Earl’s trip report mentioned a small summit, with perhaps 20′ of prominence just E of the Johnson County line in Johnson County. Lupe came to a pile of boulders that looked likely to be this small summit.
According to Edward Earl, the 3rd Washakie County High Point candidate was located on a small E/W running ridge 50 to 80 yards to the W of the small summit. Only 100 feet W of the small summit there was supposed to be a 4 foot high boulder with a cairn on it and a log leaning against it. Mr. Earl thought the true high point was 50 to 100 feet farther W of this boulder.
It sounded pretty easy to find. Lupe and SPHP headed W from the small summit looking for the 4 foot high boulder and E/W ridge. However, Lupe had no luck. She went well beyond 100 feet without seeing the 4 foot high boulder. There didn’t seem to be any sign of the E/W ridge either. The forest in this area was all on gently sloping terrain. A 4 foot high boulder or a ridge of any significant size should have been easy to spot. Lupe and SPHP circled around the area several times, but found nothing of interest.
Puzzling. Lupe and SPHP returned to the small summit with all the boulders. Was it possible this wasn’t the summit Edward Earl had mentioned? A short distance to the N, the forest sloped up toward higher ground. Well, Loop, let’s go check it out. I can’t think of anything else reasonable to try.
After going a little farther N, Lupe and SPHP arrived up on a ridge that was definitely higher than the small summit. This ridge seem to go roughly E/W, although it was N of the small summit, not W of it. Maybe Lupe was too far E? Lupe and SPHP headed W along the ridge. Lupe hadn’t gone too far, when there was a break in the ridge. Not far away on the other side of the break was a small hill or continuation of the ridge. Lupe headed for it.
On the W side of the break, Lupe did have to climb up about 20 feet to get up on a little hill from which the ridge continued on in an E/W direction. Perhaps this was the small summit Edward Earl had mentioned? There was another possibility, too. The hill featured a rock several feet high with a cairn on it. A rotting tree to the N of it might have been the log leaning against the 4 foot high boulder?
SPHP wasn’t completely certain where Lupe was in relation to Edward Earl’s directions, but this area did seem to fit the general description. It seemed clear that Lupe should continue exploring farther W along the ridge for at least a few hundred feet in any case. If this was Mr. Earl’s small summit, Lupe should find a four foot high boulder about 100 feet to the W. If not, Lupe should still cross the 3rd high point candidate somewhere along the way. Lupe and SPHP headed W.
Lo, and behold! There it was! Roughly 100 feet away Lupe did find a 4 foot high boulder with a cairn on it! It was sitting off by itself in the forest, like a true landmark. SPHP felt 90% certain this had to be the boulder Edward Earl was referring to.
Since Mr. Earl thought the actual Washakie County High Point candidate was a point along the ridge 50 to 100 feet to the W of this boulder, Lupe and SPHP wandered over in that direction. The ridge sloped gradually down toward the W, so the actual high point candidate was simply located along the ridge wherever the Washakie and Johnson County border crossed it.
There was no fence or other indication where the county line was. Lupe went far enough to make certain she had crossed the third Washakie County High Point candidate somewhere along the way. She then returned to the area about 80 feet W of the boulder. Smile, Lupe! As far as I’m concerned, you’ve done it and can claim another peakbagging success. Congratulations on visiting all three candidates for the Washakie County, Wyoming High Point!
Well, that really hadn’t been hard at all. By 11:48 AM, Lupe was back at the G6. Still plenty of time left in the day for another, more scenic and challenging adventure! Hazelton Pyramid(10,534 ft.) was close at hand to the SE. Lupe’s fun in the Bighorn Mountains was just beginning!
A warmish forecast on a day in early December meant an opportunity for Lupe to go on one of her Black Hills Expeditions. SPHP parked the G6 at Newton Lake (just a pond, really) along Deerfield Road a few miles NW of Hill City. It was 9:46 AM, but still only 32°F. The sky was all overcast. It didn’t look threatening at all, but maybe things weren’t going to warm up as much as advertised.
Well, it didn’t really matter. Conditions were good enough, and Lupe was already here. There was no way the American Dingo was going to let SPHP back out now! Lupe and SPHP crossed Deerfield Road, and got on the Mickelson Trail heading SE for Burnt Fork Road. Almost immediately, though, SPHP decided it would be more fun to just cut through the forest instead. Lupe and SPHP left the trail to plunge NE into the forest.
It wasn’t far at all to Burnt Fork Road, but Lupe came to a fence. SPHP decided to just follow the fence N, staying on the W side of it. Union Hill(6,120 ft.), Lupe’s first peakbagging goal of the day, was to the NE. By heading N a little bit, maybe Lupe could find a route that avoided crossing the fence line.
Lupe wasn’t concerned about the route to Union Hill. She was looking for a route to squirrels. She soon found one, too! A whole lot of barking commenced. To Lupe’s surprise, her barking was answered – not by the squirrel, but by a couple of dogs who must have lived nearby. One of them, a big black and white dog, made an appearance at the edge of a clearing to the E.
The black and white dog approached Lupe warily. One can’t be too careful when dealing with a Carolina Dog, you know! Lupe and the black and white dog had a good sniff. The black and white dog seemed friendly, but was suspicious of SPHP. When SPHP tried to get close, the black and white dog slunk off barking and growling.
Lupe had come to an old road on the W side of the clearing. Lupe and SPHP followed it N, and soon came to an intersection. A marker showed that Lupe had been on USFS Road No. 389.1Q. The other road SPHP recognized as No. 389.1B, which ran E/W here just to the S of Lowden Mountain(6,055 ft.). SPHP had intended for Lupe to climb Lowden Mountain, but only after climbing Union Hill first.
However, with Lowden Mountain so close already, the plan changed. Union Hill could wait. Lupe and SPHP started climbing up the S slope of Lowden Mountain. The first half of the climb was steepest, but really not bad. About halfway up, Lupe started coming to rock outcroppings, but they were pretty easily traversed or avoided. The second half of the climb gained elevation more gradually. Lupe had to go farther N than SPHP expected, but it wasn’t too long before Lupe was at the summit.
The very highest part of the mountain was in a relatively small area. Pine trees blocked the view in most directions. However, a little way to the E was a mostly bare ridge offering wide open views. Union Hill was on display about 1.25 miles almost straight E.
This was actually Lupe’s 3rd time at the summit of Lowden Mountain. Way back on Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 54 on 4-6-13, Lupe had climbed Lowden Mountain twice on the same day. SPHP remembered that by going down a bit to the NW of the summit, it was possible to reach a very rocky high ridge that extended out the W. Lupe and SPHP left the summit to go over and check out the views from the rocky ridge. The best views were to the WNW and S.
Lupe left Lowden Mountain going down the steep N slope. For some reason there wasn’t any snow until Lupe had lost quite a bit of elevation. Lupe and SPHP angled toward the NE as Lupe descended. When she reached a forest of quite young pines, there was plenty of snow around. The young Ponderosa pines were growing very tightly packed together, making the going a little difficult for SPHP.
By the time Lupe was out of the thick stand of young trees, she was so far down the mountain that the terrain was leveling out fast. Lupe came to USFS Road No. 389.1K, which wound around, but generally made its way NNE. No. 389.1K led Lupe to USFS Road No. 389.1A, where SPHP stopped to check the maps. The maps showed a bewildering maze of roads in this area. Lupe had gone so far N that Union Hill was now off to the SE.
The partially restored ruins of the old Gold Mountain mine weren’t too far away to the E. Lupe had seen them once before back on Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 54, but it would be fun to see them again on the way to Union Hill. As SPHP put the maps away, SPHP suddenly realized that one of the water bottles SPHP always carries was missing. It must have fallen out of the pocket of the backpack somewhere along the way.
It was only a water bottle, but Lupe would go back to look for it. Not until she climbed Union Hill first, though. Sheesh! It looked like Lupe was going to make a tradition out of climbing Lowden Mountain twice each time she came here. Oh, well. In the meantime, onward to Gold Mountain mine!
The roads were snowy and slippery. It was actually easier just heading ENE through the forest. Lupe lost elevation as she went, and soon came to a rather snowy little valley with a small creek flowing SE in it. She stayed on the N side of the valley where the ground was snow-free due to the southern exposure. The creek flowed down to a snow-filled meadow. The ruins of the old Gold Mountain mine sat up on a hillside to the N of the meadow.
The Gold Mountain mine was first claimed in the late 1870’s, and actively worked until 1942. It is one of the few old mines still standing in the Black Hills. SPHP remembered that there was an old boiler or kiln up on the hill. Lupe and SPHP went up the hill to see if it was still there.
It was. So was a bunny! The bunny saw Lupe coming, made a mad dash for the S end of the kiln, and hopped inside. The kiln immediately became an item of great interest to Lupe. She circled around it sniffing carefully, but the bunny was safe inside. SPHP suddenly seemed to remember from Expedition No. 54 that there was broken glass scattered somewhere around this area. Lupe had best just leave the kiln and bunny alone, before something tragic happened.
Lupe and SPHP left Gold Mountain mine. A short road led SE down a hill, passed to the N of a little frozen pond, and met up with Burnt Fork Road (USFS Road No. 389). Lupe turned S on Burnt Fork Road, following it less than 0.5 mile to a primitive road coming steeply down a side valley from the E. Lupe turned E on this road and started gaining elevation.
A little stream flowed near the primitive road. Lupe had a great time exploring the woods along the stream. In some places, the stream had frozen, creating huge ice flows right on the road. SPHP had a less great time trying to get up the slippery ice flows. The primitive road led to a better road which came in from the N and turned ESE. Lupe continued ESE on this better road up to a snowy saddle.
By the time the better road reached the snowy saddle, it wasn’t better any more. In fact, it had almost disappeared. However, on the other side of the saddle, it looked like it got better again. It turned ENE down into a bigger snowy valley filled with aspens. Lupe wasn’t going that way. The saddle was due N of Union Hill. After a short rest break, Lupe and SPHP climbed the N slope. It was snowy and fairly steep, but soon Lupe was at the summit cairn.
The top of Union Hill was a long, broad, gently sloping ridge. It was mostly grassy and thinly forested. Lupe and SPHP went over toward the W end of the ridge to see what kind of view there might be back toward Lowden Mountain. The W end of Union Hill was more thickly forested, but there was one spot from which there was a relatively clear view of Lowden Mountain.
Lupe and SPHP returned to the summit of Union Hill on the way to do a little exploring of the E end of the summit ridge. Lupe agreed to pose for one more photo W of the summit, but she looked a bit stiff trying to hold her head up above the tall grass.
Lupe soon discovered that a road leads up near the top of Union Hill from the E. Lupe and SPHP followed the road for a little while after it turned NE. When it started bending SE, Lupe headed N into the forest. She followed a forested ridge to a little high point. Off to the W was the big snowy valley Lupe and SPHP had seen from the saddle N of Union Hill. Lupe and SPHP turned W and went down into it.
Down in the snowy valley, Lupe and SPHP went NW until Lupe found the road that had continued E over the saddle just N of Union Hill. Lupe and SPHP followed it N until it reached an intersection. SPHP was surprised. Lupe had been here before!
Back on Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 82, Lupe and SPHP had come looking for Lowden Mountain from the Marshall Gulch area to the NE. Lupe had reached this intersection, but SPHP had been a bit turned around, and gave up on finding the mountain. Lupe had made it this far, though. If SPHP had persisted in heading just a little farther SW, Lowden Mountain would have come into view. Instead, Lupe and SPHP had gone N from this intersection, and eventually circled back E.
The roads at the intersection were variously marked with USFS Road No. 389 or 254. The markers didn’t really make any sense when compared with SPHP’s maps, but SPHP knew which way to go without any markers. Lupe and SPHP left the intersection heading N again, but this time looking for a road to the W.
Lupe soon found one. The road going W went over a little rise, slowly curved SW and gradually lost elevation. Lupe sniffed around in the forest, while SPHP enjoyed an easy hike. The area seemed pretty remote and secluded. Eventually, it dawned on SPHP that this road was going to come out back at the upper end of the primitive road with the frozen stream.
And it did! Lupe had gone clear around High Point 5921 N of Union Hill. Lupe and SPHP followed the primitive road W back down to Burnt Fork Road. Lupe turned N and followed Burnt Fork Road to the road to the old Gold Mountain mine. Instead of returning to the mine, Lupe stayed on a lower branch of the road. It went right past the frozen pond.
It was time to start the search for the lost water bottle. Lupe and SPHP returned to where SPHP had first noticed it was missing near USFS Road No. 389.1A. The plan now was just to retrace Lupe’s route from earlier in the day until she came across the water bottle. It seemed easy enough.
However, it was harder than SPHP anticipated. Lupe and SPHP followed USFS Road No. 389.1K going SSW back toward Lowden Mountain. At first, SPHP wasn’t finding any of SPHP’s old footprints or Lupe’s paw prints. Lupe already had a good start on the climb up Lowden Mountain, by the time SPHP saw tracks in the snow.
Once the tracks were found, it was pretty easy to follow them up the N face of Lowden Mountain, at least until the snow ended. By then, it wasn’t that much farther up to the rocky W ridge, so Lupe and SPHP went there first to look for the water bottle. No luck. Lupe climbed up to the top of Lowden Mountain, completing her second ascent of the day. SPHP was really expecting to find the water bottle at the summit. It was nowhere to be found.
Since it wasn’t at the summit, the chances of finding the water bottle were now not very good. Lupe might still find it somewhere on the way back to the G6, but success seemed unlikely. Well, too bad, but it wasn’t exactly the end of the world. Lupe and SPHP stuck around at the top of Lowden Mountain for a little while enjoying the views again.
On the way back to the G6, Lupe and SPHP went back down the S side of Lowden Mountain again. There wasn’t much snow on this side of the mountain. Although SPHP saw tracks from earlier in the day a few times, most of the time there weren’t any tracks to follow. Going down, the terrain looked different than it had coming up. Unsurprisingly, SPHP did not find the lost water bottle.
The last chance to find it was along USFS Road No. 389.1Q S of Lowden Mountain, where Lupe had met the skittish black and white dog. SPHP kept watching for the water bottle, but neither SPHP nor Lupe came across it. Well, that was that. No telling where it had been lost.
At 4:53 PM (38°F), Lupe and SPHP were back at the G6. It was almost dark out. A full moon would be rising soon. Tonight, somewhere around Lowden Mountain, a water bottle bathed in moonlight was going to freeze and crack. SPHP had a much better fate in store – a long comfy snooze with a warm, soft, Alpo-stuffed American Dingo!
Day 12 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.
Lupe and SPHP went down to Howard Lake early in the morning before Lanis was up. The lake was calm and quiet. Even the fishermen weren’t up yet. Perfect! Lupe and SPHP took the single track trail heading S along the E shore.
Lupe saw ducks floating peacefully on the lake. She crossed a tiny inlet stream. Near the S end of the lake, the trail left the shoreline and went back into the cedar forest. A large crane was spooked by SPHP’s approach, and flew away with a great flapping of wings. Lupe found a few early-rising squirrels. SPHP did as much as possible to discourage her from barking at this early hour.
Looking back to the N, it was possible to see some of the higher mountains to the NW Lupe had seen the evening before on the mysterious Great Northern Mountain Trail No. 117. At the very S end of the lake, Lupe crossed another small inlet stream, shortly before reaching the broad cedar-lined trail on the W side of the lake.
By the time Lupe and SPHP had completed their circumnavigation of Howard Lake, Lanis was stirring. It was time to break camp, and continue W. Lupe was soon on her way. NW of Libby, a huge beautiful river, the Kootenai, flowed NW paralleling Hwy 2. Near Troy; Lanis, Lupe and SPHP turned S on Hwy 56 in order to go see the Ross Creek Scenic Area Giant Cedars.
The turn for the Giant Cedars off Hwy 56 was 0.5 mile S of Bull Lake. The side road ended at a trailhead 4 miles from the highway. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP all took the 1 mile loop trail through the towering forest. A small creek meandered through the area, and the trail crossed it several times. The ancient western red cedars had huge trunks. Ferns and moss grew between the monstrous trees. The forest felt prehistoric, like a dinosaur could come crashing along at any time. Lupe hadn’t been allowed to go on the Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park, but the Ross Creek Scenic Area Giant Cedars had to be just as impressive.
Lupe’s travels continued. Hwy 200 took her W into Idaho for the 1st time. Idaho became the 4th Lupe state! Soon huge Lake Pend Oreille was in view SW of the highway. At the N end of Pend Oreille, 3 bears ran across the road, right in broad daylight. They were gone in a flash. At Sandpoint, Lupe got back on Hwy 2 again. Washington became the 5th Lupe state. The American Dingo’s empire was expanding rapidly!
Hwy 2 took Lupe through Spokane, and then out onto barren plains in eastern Washington state. The area is probably quite pretty at other times of the year, but in late August it felt like a desert. It had been 95°F back in Sandpoint, ID, and it wasn’t any less out here. The sun beat down mercilessly.
The Element was air conditioned, of course. Lupe rode in comfort past yellow wheat fields, and many black fields that had burned or been plowed under. Dust devils whirled across the desolate landscape. Far to the N, mountains were on the horizon. To the S, there was nothing.
SPHP had bought a fried chicken at Safeway in Spokane. The plan had been to eat it at a city park in one of the little towns along the way. However, there didn’t seem to be any parks. Lupe passed through Deep Creek, Reardon and Davenport, and found nothing. On the way to Creston, there was a forlorn rest area with a couple of picnic tables. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP devoured the chicken there, but there wasn’t a green blade of grass anywhere. The place was like an oven.
Of course, at Creston there was a pretty nice little park, but with the chicken already gone, there was no longer a reason to stop. Lupe continued W. Past Coulee City, Lanis turned SW on Hwy 17. Soon Lupe came to a most amazing sight – Dry Falls. Lanis and SPHP had never even heard of Dry Falls before, but there was a parking area and a little visitor center right next to Hwy 17. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP stopped to take in the scene.
On the opposite side of a chain link fence were sheer 400 foot cliffs down to a broad canyon below. As the name implies, there is no giant waterfall at Dry Falls now, but the huge canyon downstream is thought to have been carved by recurring flooding on a cataclysmic scale at the end of the last ice age. A volume of water 10 times that of all the rivers now in the world combined plunged over a precipice 5 times as wide as Niagara Falls.
Hwy 17 eventually sloped down into the canyon several miles downstream of Dry Falls, and went past a series of lakes. At Sun Lakes State Park, lots of people were actively boating, swimming and camping. Of all the lakes, Lenore Lake was the largest. Hwy 17 went for miles along its E shore.
The entire canyon below Dry Falls was close to 20 miles long. Along the way, the canyon walls slowly became less impressive, gradually fading away completely before reaching Soap Lake.
From Soap Lake; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP took Hwy 283 SW to I-90. Pretty soon, Lupe came to another river gorge, that of the mighty Columbia River.
The light started slowly fading as Lupe, Lanis and SPHP rolled on W of the Columbia River. Suddenly it didn’t feel like it was too much farther to Puget Sound and Seattle. Off to the N of I-90, an impressive mountain came into view in the distance. SPHP figured it was probably Mt. Stuart.
The bright searing heat of eastern Washington state was gone. Clouds hung over the Wenatchee mountains ahead. It was much cooler and foggy as Lupe went over 3,022 ft. Snoqualmie Pass. Darkness fell. Near Lake Sammamish State Park; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP stopped for the night. Lupe was almost to Seattle. Tomorrow, Lupe would see the ocean!
Record setting warmth in December in the Black Hills region meant it was expedition time for Lupe! When it hit an unbelievable 70°F+, SPHP planned to take Lupe to Cicero Peak(6,166 ft.) the very next day. Unfortunately, when morning came, SPHP got off to a late start – too late to justify the travel time. It might be extraordinarily warm out, but that didn’t do a thing to boost the limited number of daylight hours.
Since Calumet Ridge(5,601 ft.) was closer, and Lupe had never been there before either, Calumet Ridge became Lupe’s primary peakbagging goal for the day. Expedition No. 108 started at a little side road just off USFS Road No. 358 (Boulder Hill Road). Lupe was less than 0.5 mile S of Boulder Hill (5,331 ft.) and a mile N of Hwy 16, as she left the G6 at 9:43 AM (57°F) following the little side road W.
There was still ice on the road, and snow in the shadier parts of the forest. The road skirted to the N of Silver Mountain(5,405 ft.), which Lupe had climbed for the first time only a few weeks earlier on Expedition No. 105. Years ago, the Ponderosa pine forest on Silver Mountain burned almost completely in a devastating wildfire. In less than a mile, the road Lupe was following turned WSW and entered the burn area.
The road disappeared completely in the grass as Lupe headed up onto a barren ridge sweeping down to the NW from Silver Mountain. Lupe followed the ridge a little way, and then turned W heading back into the forest. She soon crossed USFS Road No. 366 at the saddle marking the high point on the road. Lupe and SPHP continued W of No. 366, climbing two forested ridges separated by a snowy little valley that drained to the N.
From the second ridge, Lupe saw another larger valley to the W. There was some open ground down there and a road. Lupe and SPHP headed down into the valley, but as Lupe neared the road, a Jeep came along and parked in the open part of the valley a bit to the S. A man with a rifle got out of the Jeep. SPHP realized he intended to do some target practice.
Lupe has never liked gunfire, and she wasn’t going to like this. SPHP hurried NW to reach the road and start heading N. When the man opened fire, Lupe was greatly alarmed. She instantly started begging SPHP to stop and hide. It was all SPHP could do to persuade her to keep going. Fortunately, it wasn’t far to a jeep trail that left the main road to climb NW up a little side valley. Lupe relaxed a little, as the sound of gunfire became less distinct and more intermittent.
The jeep trail split after about 0.25 mile. Lupe and SPHP took the branch that curved W. It started climbing more quickly as it bent around to the S. Lupe arrived up on a little ridge, where SPHP thought there might be some views, but all that could be seen were nearby low forested hills. Lupe was now up on the E slopes of Calumet Ridge, still about 400 feet below and 0.5 mile SE of the summit.
Very conveniently, Lupe found another jeep trail nearby that went NW. This jeep trail was icy, and gained elevation at a steady moderately steep pace. Lupe and SPHP soon reached the top of the ridge at a broad, flat saddle area S of the summit. The jeep trail continued on down the other side of Calumet Ridge.
Lupe and SPHP turned N. Lupe found the summit of Calumet Ridge at a rock outcropping in a shady forested area. She perched up on the highest boulder to claim her Calumet Ridge peakbagging success!
There really weren’t any views from the forested summit, but a little exploring around revealed that there was a good viewpoint not too far to the E. From there, Lupe enjoyed a wide open view off to the N and E. She could see Boulder Hill and Silver Mountain, and far beyond them out onto the plains of western South Dakota.
There was another viewpoint, too. This one was at some big rocks a very short distance NW of the summit. From here, there was a narrow view to the NW toward Sheridan Lake and the central Black Hills.
Lupe and SPHP took a little break at the summit. That meant Taste of the Wild for Lupe, and an apple for SPHP. Now what? SPHP checked the maps. The highest parts of Calumet Ridge extend for about 0.5 mile running NNW/SSE. Lupe was near the N end where the 5,601 ft. summit was shown. However, the topo map also showed a very small area enclosed by a 5,600 ft. contour toward the middle of the S end of the ridge.
Well, Lupe had better check that S summit out, too! It was so close in elevation to the N summit, that it was even possible it might actually be a bit higher. In any case, to be certain Lupe had really visited the true summit, she needed to visit the S one, too. Lupe and SPHP headed S, and started following a dirt road that winds partway along the ridge.
S of the saddle where Lupe had first reached the ridgeline, the dirt road brought Lupe to a big open pit toward the E side of the ridge. Lupe sniffed around exploring the pit. Although the Black Hills are full of old dig sites from the gold rush days in the late 1800’s, this pit was too large and too new to date back anywhere close to that long ago. SPHP could discern no particular reason why the pit was here, but there it was.
The dirt road eventually disappeared as Lupe and SPHP continued SSE along the ridge. Lupe arrived at a high spot on the W side of the ridge where there was a rock outcropping with a clear view toward Mount Warner(5,889 ft.) to the SW. Lupe could see Harney Peak(7,242 ft.), too.
Someone had left a white metal chair up here, positioned to take advantage of the view. Sadly, Lupe also noticed an old dilapidated couch fallen down below the viewpoint. It must have served the same purpose once upon a time. People and their trash! Although they like to claim everything is sacred – in practice, nothing really is.
It wasn’t much farther to the S summit. The S summit was comprised of a large rock formation, surrounded by cliffs on most sides. However, at the N end from which Lupe approached, it was only 12-15 feet up to the top, and it wasn’t quite a cliff. It looked possible to scramble up, without too much difficulty, using rocks and trees for support.
The short scramble up to the top of the S summit was scarier than the photo shows. You sure wouldn’t want to have small children attempt it. However, between the rocks and trees, there were plenty of good handholds and footholds. There must have been adequate pawholds, too. Lupe and SPHP were soon up on the S summit of Calumet Ridge.
The summit area was the size of a modest room in a house. There were trees and grass growing up there, and enough room to walk around a bit. The best views were off to the SE toward Silver Mountain, and the SW toward Mount Warner.
Since the N and S summits of Calumet Ridge weren’t in view from one another due to the forest, it wasn’t possible to form any firm opinion on which might actually be higher. In any case, Lupe had visited both.
Lupe and SPHP returned NNW to the broad saddle area where Lupe had first reached the ridgeline. Instead of going SE back down the way she had come up, Lupe took the jeep trail down the W side of the mountain. The road started off heading W, but soon made a sharp turn back to the SE. Someone was using a chainsaw in the forest a little way below the road. He didn’t see Lupe go by when she passed his truck parked in the middle of the road, but she saw him.
The road dropped rather steeply along much of its length. Lupe and SPHP soon arrived down in a valley just W of a saddle area S of Calumet Ridge. SPHP briefly considered having Lupe go on to make an attempt at climbing Samelius(5,856 ft.) and Hardesty(5,562 ft.) Peaks, located close to each other more than 2 miles to the SW. Lupe could probably climb both of them before sunset, but then there would be a long trek back to the G6 in the dark. Samelius and Hardesty would have to wait for another day.
Lupe turned E and went over the saddle. Almost immediately, she started hearing gunfire again. It was distant, but still made her nervous. She made persistent efforts to persuade SPHP to stop and hide. SPHP stopped to pet and console her. SPHP assured Lupe she wasn’t going to get shot, if she stayed close. Lupe wasn’t entirely convinced. She stuck to SPHP like glue, but still campaigned for taking shelter. SPHP had to stop several times to boost her spirits.
The area E of the saddle was a maze of little roads among low, mostly forested hills. To stay as far as possible from the gunfire, Lupe and SPHP wandered in a generally SE direction, sometimes on the roads, and sometimes just in the forest. Lupe came to a field where traffic noise from Hwy 16 could be heard not that far off to the S. Part of the field extended up into a little valley to the NE. Lupe and SPHP went that way, re-entering the forest at the end of the field.
Lupe reached USFS Road No. 366 again, a little S of the saddle where she had crossed it going W earlier in the day. This time she crossed it heading E. Although she hadn’t gone on to climb Samelius and Hardesty Peaks, she now headed for Silver Mountain. This would be Lupe’s 2nd ascent of Silver Mountain in just a few weeks. Lupe and SPHP hoped to see a dramatic sunset up there.
Lupe arrived at the top of Silver Mountain about half an hour before sunset. With the forest completely burned off the top of Silver Mountain, Lupe and SPHP enjoyed 360° views. Lupe wasn’t actually too interested in the views. Target practice was still going on off to the NW toward Calumet Ridge. She huddled under SPHP’s jacket, which made her feel safer.
Together Lupe and SPHP watched the sunset, but it never really developed much color. Once it became clear that the show was over, Lupe and SPHP started down the steep N slope of Silver Mountain.
There was a lot of dead timber on the N slope, and despite two days of very warm weather, there was still some snow, too. It was slow going coming down the mountain. Target practice continued off to the W until it was so dark stars were starting to come out.
By the time Lupe reached a road down below, twilight had faded to darkness. The road was icy and slick. SPHP didn’t recognize the place and turned the wrong direction. After about 10 minutes, SPHP realized the error and turned around. The road led Lupe all the way back to the G6. Lupe arrived at 5:31 PM. It was still a crazy 57°F out!
Lupe had a mostly fun day going to Calumet Ridge. There was too much target practice going on in the area to the E of Calumet Ridge, though. It had basically gone on all day long. Lupe and SPHP both agree that more remote locations are more to their liking.
As for Cicero, Samelius and Hardesty Peaks, which Lupe never made it to this day – Lupe did go on to climb all three and more before the end of 2014. But those Lupe adventures are the subjects of other posts.
Day 11 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.
When Lupe set out on her 2012 Dingo Vacation, SPHP had hoped she might make it as far as the west coast to see the Pacific Ocean. It hadn’t been certain, though. An alternate plan had been to just go as far as Glacier National Park in Montana. Lupe woke up on Day 11 of her 2012 Dingo Vacation at the Sprague Creek campground along Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, having arrived the previous day.
The prior day’s events had changed everything, however. SPHP had finally realized that U.S. National Parks are not dog friendly. Glacier National Park was full of great trails to spectacular mountains, lakes, streams, and even a few remaining glaciers, but regulations prohibited Lupe from going on any of the trails. Dogs weren’t permitted, even on a leash.
So, Lupe was going to leave. Before she did, she was going to see the Trail of the Cedars nature trail. The evening before, a ranger up at Logan Pass had told SPHP that the Trail of the Cedars nature trail was the only trail in Glacier National Park where dogs were allowed.
Except they weren’t. When Lupe, Lanis and SPHP arrived at the start of the Trail of the Cedars, there were no pets signs – just like everywhere else. The ranger had been wrong. Lupe wasn’t even allowed here. Nearby, on the opposite side of Going-to-the-Sun Road, there was an observation deck with a view of McDonald Creek. The rushing creek was very clear and pretty. The observation deck was as far as Lupe got to explore in Glacier National Park.
And that was it for Lupe in Glacier National Park. Since she couldn’t do much of anything here, it was time to start heading farther W! Due to the park regulations, it was settled – Lupe was going to see the Pacific Ocean!
Lupe, Lanis and SPHP were soon heading W out of Glacier National Park. In Kalispell, Lanis stopped at a gas station. SPHP gassed up the Element. Lanis spent a frantic 20 minutes looking for his cell phone, only to discover that SPHP had been sitting on it. Next was a stop (one of many on Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation) at the local McDonald’s. From the Dollar Menu, Lanis got a giant soft drink, Lupe got a chocolate sundae, and SPHP got a caramel sundae.
As usual, SPHP spoon fed Lupe her chocolate sundae, as Lanis drove W out of Kalispell on Hwy 2. Lupe always had to devour them rather quickly, since the chocolate sundaes tended to melt fast in the summer heat. Fortunately, Lupe was consistently willing to apply herself to the task at paw. The sundaes never really had a chance.
Once both sundaes were gone, SPHP checked the road atlas. In the Cabinet Mountains of NW Montana, there was a lake shown S of the town of Libby. The lake was back in the Kootenai National Forest along a gravel loop road W of Hwy 2. The lake wasn’t a very big one, but it still looked like it might be interesting. There was a campground shown, too. Maybe Lupe could have some fun there?
Six miles in on the gravel loop road, there was a side road going to the Lake Creek campground. A mile off the main loop, the side road ended at a rather nice level campground with a big open area. There was no lake, but there was a stream. This was the rather confusingly named Lake Creek. Lake Creek looked like it sometimes had a lot of water in it. There was some water in it now, too, but most of the creek bed was dry.
Lupe, Lanis and SPHP had lunch at the Lake Creek campground, and did a little exploring along Lake Creek. Even though there wasn’t any lake, this campground was pretty nice. It felt quiet and remote. Only two spots were taken. For a little while, Lanis and SPHP debated whether or not to skip looking for the lake and just stay here. Lupe was busy sniffing around. She seemed happy enough at Lake Creek.
In the end, Lanis and SPHP decided to move on and continue looking for the lake. By now, signs had revealed that the lake Lupe was looking for was Howard Lake. The main loop road went on and on. A black bear ran across the road, and quickly disappeared into the forest again. It was an exciting moment! This was the first bear Lupe had seen on her 2012 Dingo Vacation, despite all the warning signs about bears back in the Beartooths, Yellowstone and Glacier.
After some confusion and needless backtracking, Lanis and SPHP finally found Howard Lake. By now it was late enough to camp, so a site was selected. Lupe’s tiny house was set up again. Howard Lake was only 33 acres in size. It seemed to be a favorite of the locals. It was a fishing lake, and there were a number of small boats with people fishing in them.
Although only one picture still survives from Lupe’s time at Howard Lake, she did have a number of adventures there. She cooled off swimming and wading at the small beach. She went with Lanis and SPHP following a wide trail (which apparently used to be the old road) through a tall cedar forest on the W side of the lake. Lupe was thrilled to find that the cedar forest was full of squirrels.
Later, while Lanis spent some time resting in Lupe’s tiny house after all the driving he’d been doing, Lupe and SPHP went and explored part way along a mysterious trail that climbed into the forest W of the lake. A sign said this was Great Northern Mountain Trail No. 117, but neither Lupe nor SPHP knew where it went.
The trail gained elevation, and then leveled out. Up here there were quite a few dead trees in the forest. Some had fallen across the trail. Lupe and SPHP worked their way around them. Some higher mountains came into view to the N. The trail turned and went into a dense part of the forest. By now, the sun was starting to get low. The cedar forest became darker, denser and progressively more mysterious. Lupe and SPHP met no one.
Finally, Great Northern Mountain Trail No. 117 came to a junction. There was a sign, but nothing on the sign meant anything to SPHP. Lupe and SPHP took the left branch of the trail for a little way, but it was going to be dark soon. SPHP hadn’t brought a flashlight. It was time for Lupe to turn back. On the return trip, she had fun barking at squirrels. By the time Lupe arrived back at Howard Lake, it was already pretty dark.
As soon as Lupe reached the campground, a big German Shepherd spotted her. Lupe snarled at him and fled. The German Shepherd gave chase. Lupe raced in circles between the trees, frequently zig-zagging and doubling back desperate to escape. She is very fast for her size, but the German Shepherd was young, huge, and had much longer legs. Lupe was too agile for the German Shepherd to catch her, but he was keeping up a hot pursuit, and frequently getting very close.
SPHP called to Lupe. She came running. SPHP picked her up and carried her to the safety of the Honda Element. When the German Shepherd finally realized the game was over, it went away. Lupe could come out of the Element again. Lanis and SPHP were cooking beef stew. Carolina Dogs love beef stew!
Lupe was up before dawn. SPHP hadn’t gotten up early enough for Expedition No. 108 to take Lupe to Cicero Peak(6,166 ft.), and wasn’t going to make the same mistake again. The sun had yet to make an appearance, but sunrise was coming as Lupe and SPHP headed out in the G6.
By the time Lupe and SPHP turned onto USFS Road No. 338, the sun was well up above the horizon. SPHP soon regretted turning onto No. 338. A high clearance vehicle wouldn’t have had any problem, but the G6 just wasn’t built to take this kind of abuse.
The narrow road wasn’t steep, but it was littered with rocks large enough to worry about getting a hole torn in the bottom of the G6’s oil pan. Some of the rocks were loose, but many were firmly attached to the mountain. No. 338 wound an excruciatingly long 1.5 miles up to a little parking lot near the top of Cicero Peak.
The G6’s oil pan survived, but the bumpy ride couldn’t have done the alignment, suspension system or tires any good. SPHP was by now firmly resolved that this was the G6’s one and only trip up Cicero Peak. Never again! At least there hadn’t been any traffic on the narrow road. There had been only one possible place to turn around other than the little parking lot near the top.
Lupe, of course, was unconcerned. She was eager to get out, and get going. It was 8:43 AM (45°F), when she hopped out of the G6. The first order of business, of course, was to go the very short remaining distance (30 feet of elevation) up to the summit. In just a few minutes, Lupe was there sniffing around a little building near the base of a tower at the top.
It turned out there were a few rocks W of the tower that were a little bit higher than where the tower sat. Lupe went over and stood on them to claim her first peakbagging success of the day. Not much of an accomplishment, really. The G6 had done all the real work. Still, Lupe was here, up at the top of Cicero Peak!
Although the top of Cicero Peak was pretty heavily forested, there were places not far below the summit where there were some pretty nice views. From the little parking lot, Lupe could see off to the E. S of the summit was a great open view to the S. Except for a few peaks far to the W, Cicero Peak is the last peak this high this far S in the Black Hills. Lupe could see a long way, clear into Nebraska.
USFS Road No. 338 was a lousy road to the top for the G6, but it made a great hiking trail. After taking a shortcut down through the forest W of the summit, Lupe and SPHP followed No. 338 most of the way back down the mountain.
Near the only possible vehicle turnaround point along No. 338, Lupe and SPHP left the road to climb a grassy slope. There were good views from here both back S toward Cicero Peak, and NE toward Lupe’s next peakbagging objective, Northeast Cicero Peak(6,240 ft.).
From the grassy slope, Lupe headed directly toward Northeast Cicero Peak. She went down the grassy slope, crossed USFS Road No. 338, and cut through a field dotted here and there with pines. She entered the forest again shortly before reaching USFS Road No. 336 (Flynn Creek Road).
After crossing Flynn Creek Road at the bottom of the valley, Lupe started climbing NNW along a ridgeline. After a while, it was became apparent that this ridge was not going to be a very direct route up Northeast Cicero Peak. Lupe left the ridge, going down into the upper end of a draw. The draw was forested lower down, but mostly open territory at the upper end where Lupe entered it. Lupe found a trail to follow NNE up the other side of the draw. She ultimately arrived up on a saddle ridge running ESE/WNW.
Lupe was now WNW of Northeast Cicero Peak. From the saddle ridge, another higher ridge was visible to the ENE. Most of that ridge was barren. It looked like it had been ravaged by a forest fire at some point in the past. Was that barren ridge Daisy Peak(5,948 ft.), Lupe’s 3rd peakbagging objective of the day? It seemed to be too close, but the ridge led N to a forested hill, which might well be Kruger Peak(5,838 ft.), Lupe’s 4th peakbagging goal of the day.
The saddle ridge WNW of Northeast Cicero Peak also provided a great view toward higher mountains to the N and NW.
After taking in the views from the saddle area, it was time for Lupe to continue on up Northeast Cicero Peak. From Cicero Peak, SPHP had noticed a large grassy area that extended high up onto the SW part of the mountain. It couldn’t be too far away from where Lupe was now. Lupe and SPHP set off heading SE to look for it.
After crossing a level open area, Lupe had to climb steeply up through a thick forest of young trees where there was snow on the ground. Lupe emerged above the forest not far from the open area SPHP had seen from a distance. A short trek to the SW brought Lupe to it. There was a great view to the S of Cicero Peak.
Back at Cicero Peak, SPHP had also caught a glimpse through the trees of an interesting little hill to the W capped by a rock that looked very much like a broken tooth. SPHP had dubbed it “Cracked Molar”. From where Lupe was now, SW of the summit of Northeast Cicero Peak, there was a clear view of Cracked Molar.
From the SW viewpoint, a 10 minute trek took Lupe up to the summit of Northeast Cicero Peak. The summit area was pretty broad and flat. Most of it was grassy, open ground. There was a little ridge of rocks just a few feet high, and several large boulders sitting around. There were great views in every direction, except to the S and SE where trees were in the way.
Looking N from Northeast Cicero Peak, SPHP really began to doubt that the high barren ridge and forested high point Lupe had seen from the saddle ridge down WNW of Northeast Cicero Peak were really Daisy and Kruger Peaks. They were just too close and easy to reach. On the other hand, if they weren’t Daisy and Kruger Peaks, where were they? Nothing else really stood out.
SPHP pondered the point as Lupe headed NE following a ridge down off Northeast Cicero Peak. The going was kind of slow. Rocks, dead timber, and scattered patches of snow were hidden in the grass. About halfway down to the next ridge (the one mistaken for Daisy Peak), SPHP stopped to check the maps. Lupe curled up near some rocks to enjoy the sunshine and get out of the breeze sweeping W across the ridgeline.
A look at the maps left no doubt. There was no way the high barren ridge Lupe was approaching was Daisy Peak, nor was the forested hill beyond it Kruger Peak. They had to be farther N, but another look in that direction left SPHP uncertain exactly which hills Lupe needed to head for. For a couple of minutes, SPHP considered just having Lupe turn around and return to the G6.
Nah! Lupe wasn’t going to turn around. The area was scenic and interesting. SPHP would figure out where Daisy and Kruger Peaks were eventually. It was an adventure, in any case, and Lupe was having fun. Onward!
The open ridge was a great place to be. There were views in every direction. Even well below the summit of Northeast Cicero Peak, Lupe was still quite high compared to much of the immediately surrounding terrain. There continued to be numerous rocks in the grass, though, and lots of fallen timber, too. To avoid tripping, SPHP had to stand still to look around.
Lupe reached the SSE end of the barren ridge. Lupe and SPHP headed for a small rocky prominence toward the NE. Time for a break. SPHP ate an apple, studied maps, and looked around trying to figure out where Daisy Peak was. Lupe had some Taste of the Wild.
OK. SPHP had it figured out. Daisy Peak was in sight off to the N. It had to be that hill well N beyond the forested hill SPHP had originally mistaken for Kruger Peak (actually High Point 5999). Kruger Peak wasn’t in view, but it was lower and probably hidden behind Daisy Peak. Now that it had been properly identified, from now on Daisy Peak was going to be easy to recognize. It was a rounded hill forested on the W side, and barren on the E side.
Daisy Peak was still quite a long way off. Time to get moving. Lupe and SPHP set off following the barren ridge NNW along the E side. Lupe eventually worked her way up to the highest point on the ridge. She continued NNW along the ridgeline from there.
The highest part of the barren ridge came to an end. Lupe and SPHP went W down a rocky slope toward a saddle leading up to High Point 5999. Partway down into the saddle, where the terrain became less rocky and not as steep, Lupe and SPHP paused. There were good views back S toward Northeast Cicero Peak, and N toward Daisy Peak.
SPHP could see that if Lupe continued following the spine of the saddle area up to High Point 5999, Lupe was going to have a long trek over a lot of rough ground. She would eventually have to lose elevation anyway, to get to Daisy Peak. Instead of climbing High Point 5999, Lupe and SPHP left the saddle area going N down into a big valley.
At first the route down was steep, rocky and full of dead timber. Gradually the going got easier. As Lupe approached a small forest in the valley, she came to a road. The road had been abandoned years ago. Trees were growing on it, but it made a great trail.
At the far N end of the valley, Lupe reached an intersection with another road going E/W. A marker showed that Lupe had been on USFS Road No. 337.1B. She had just reached USFS Road No. 337.1A, although there was no marker saying so. Lupe turned W (L) following No. 337.1A past a hill (High Point 5706) just to the N.
By the time Lupe was SW of High Point 5706, she was back in the forest. Here No. 337.1A turned SW, but Daisy Peak was still off to the N beyond High Point No. 5706. Lupe and SPHP left the road, and started climbing up the SW slope of High Point 5706. The terrain grew increasingly steep, and it became easier to just travel N along the slope.
Lupe and SPHP made it around High Point 5706 to the saddle that led up to Daisy Peak. Lupe went right on up the S slope to arrive at the summit. The true summit of Daisy Peak was out in the open near the S end of the summit ridge. There were good views from this grassy area in every direction except to the W and NW. Mt. Coolidge(6,023 ft.) was notable off to the NE.
Looking N from Daisy Peak, Lupe could finally see Kruger Peak. It wasn’t far off at all now, less than 0.5 mile. After a short rest break, Lupe headed N along the Daisy Peak summit ridge. Most of the ridge was forested, but at the very N end there was a great view of the big Glen Erin Creek valley and Custer Mountain(6,089 ft.) beyond it.
To get to Kruger Peak, Lupe and SPHP started directly down the N slope of Daisy Peak. The going was slow, since the slope was fairly steep, snowy, and yet again there was a considerable amount of dead timber laying around. Lupe came across an old road down in the saddle area between Daisy and Kruger Peaks, but didn’t follow it. Instead, she just continued right on up to a high rocky point at the W end of the Kruger Peak summit.
The rocks at the W end of Kruger Peak may not have been the true summit. There was an area a short distance E through the forest that was probably a little higher. Lupe went over there, too, to make certain she had reached the very top of the mountain. There were some rocks at the E high point, but they weren’t as impressive as those to the W.
By climbing Kruger Peak, Lupe had completed her 4th and final peakbagging goal of the day. She wasn’t going to go any farther N beyond Kruger Peak. The G6 was now 4 miles to the SSW as the crow flies. The E high point (and probable true summit) of Kruger Peak seemed like a good place to stop and take a break.
There was another reason to stop, too. Coming up Kruger Peak, Lupe had started hearing gunfire from down in the Glen Erin Creek valley to the W. It made her nervous, and she had been begging SPHP to stop and hide. So SPHP stopped and covered Lupe with a jacket so she would feel better. Lupe was happy and felt safe curled up under the jacket. SPHP ate an apple, checked the maps again, and took in the panoramic views to the E.
Lupe liked hiding under the jacket on Kruger Peak, but soon it was time to go. As SPHP led her down the E spine of the mountain, Lupe kept trying to persuade SPHP to stop again. Those big soft Carolina Dog ears could still hear gunfire far off to the W. The sun was starting to get low, though, and it was a long winding way back to the G6. Lupe and SPHP had to press on.
After losing quite a bit of elevation, Lupe and SPHP left the E spine of Kruger Peak. Lupe headed S down into a valley where she saw lots of deer. She headed for a saddle E of Daisy Peak. On the other side of the saddle, the land was forested and lost elevation again. Lupe had found a trail leading up to the saddle on the N side, and it continued down into the forest on the S side.
The trail eventually led to USFS Road No. 337.1A. Lupe turned WSW (R) on it. She passed the junction with No. 337.1B, which she had come down earlier before climbing Daisy Peak. Lupe and SPHP just stayed on No. 337.1A all the way until it reached the main road, USFS Road No. 337. Although the sun was down by now, there were still a few active squirrels in the trees along the way, so Lupe had some exciting times barking as twilight closed in.
Just prior to reaching No. 337, Lupe came to half a dozen bearded men standing around a pickup truck. These were the first people Lupe and SPHP had seen since leaving the G6. The men were drinking beer, and for some reason, putting little branches of spruce trees in the empty beer bottles so they stuck out as if they were Christmas trees.
The men said they were from Custer. They weren’t hunters, just out drinking and talking in the woods having a good time. They were quite friendly. They treated Lupe kindly and offered SPHP a beer, which was politely declined. SPHP chatted with them for a few minutes. They seemed truly surprised to find out where Lupe had been.
Somewhere along USFS Road No. 337, Lupe got something stuck in her right ear. She kept shaking her head and scratching. SPHP tried to help her, but even with a flashlight couldn’t see anything in her ear. SPHP scratched it for her, which she enjoyed, but it didn’t really help. Lupe kept scratching it herself whenever SPHP stopped for more than a moment. Her ear bothered her off and on the rest of the day.
No. 337 led to No. 336 (Flynn Creek Road). No. 336 led to No. 338, the rocky road up to Cicero Peak. It was pitch dark by the time Lupe and SPHP reached No. 338. A red light could be seen up on the tower on Cicero Peak. As Lupe and SPHP made the trek up the mountain, SPHP threw 100 – 200 large loose rocks off to the side of the road, hoping to make the trip back down less traumatic for the poor, abused G6.
Before leaving Cicero Peak, Lupe and SPHP went all the way back up to the very highest rocks on the mountain, so Lupe could claim a 2nd ascent. At 6:06 PM (48°F), Lupe jumped into the G6 for the ride home. Despite SPHP’s rock clearing efforts, it still took 25 minutes to carefully drive the 1.5 miles back down the mountain, but the G6 emerged unscathed.
Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 109 was over. It was the last expedition for SPHP and the 3 year old Carolina Dog. Tomorrow was Lupe’s 4th birthday. Lupe’s last day being 3 years old had been quite a day!
Days 9 & 10 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.
On the morning of 8-16-12, Lupe woke up not in Lanis’ Honda Element or in her “tiny house” (tent), but on a comfy soft bed in a motel in Bozeman, MT. Ahhh! This was the life American Dingoes were meant to live! Lupe was clearly enjoying motel life.
Of course, the soft life lasted only until Lanis woke up. Then it was time to get back to the other life American Dingoes were meant to live – exploring and adventuring in the big, wide world! For Lupe, it was going to be a pretty passive day of exploring from a pile of blankets and pillows in the back of the Element, though. Day 9 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation was spent traveling.
From Bozeman, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went to Helena, and then on to Flathead Lake and Kalispell. By evening, Lupe’s tiny house was set up at Whitefish State Park in Whitefish, MT. The state park was quite a popular place. There were lots of other campers around. It was a pretty spot, but felt more like being in a small community than a wilderness experience.
Whitefish State Park featured a scenic lake where people were boating. The lake even had a small dog beach where Lupe could sniff around and wade in the water. Whitefish State Park had another interesting feature. It was situated right next to the railroad tracks. Trains rumbled by regularly during the night, each event causing Lupe some excitement, and SPHP some trouble trying to keep her from rousing the neighbors.
The next morning, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP left Whitefish State Park, and headed for Glacier National Park. To be certain to have a place to stay for the night, Lupe’s tiny house got set up almost right away at the Sprague Creek Campground on the E shore of Lake McDonald.
Once the tent was set up, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP drove E on the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. Lanis parked the Element at one of the higher viewpoint turnouts for a chance to take some photos.
The intention was to stop up at Logan Pass to explore some trails, but when Lupe got there, the parking lots were completely full. Lanis had to continue driving E beyond the pass. Down at Saint Mary Lake, SPHP had Lanis stop to check out the prices on the boat tours.
It was $23.75 per person for the standard 1.5 hour boat tour on Saint Mary Lake, but the last tour of the day at 6:30 PM was a shorter 1.0 hour tour for only $16.00. Best of all, Lupe could ride along for free! Lupe had never been on a boat before in her entire life. Instantly, the plan became for Lupe to return at 6:30 PM for a spectacularly beautiful introduction to getting her sea legs!
There was still a lot time left in the day before then, though. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went on to the Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake. Lots of beautiful trails into the backcountry leave from the Swiftcurrent Lake area. Lanis and SPHP were looking forward to doing some exploring with Lupe!
Before hitting any of the trails, it was time for lunch. Lanis went in to the Many Glacier Hotel to buy a couple of box lunches containing hamburgers and French fries. Lupe got to share, too, of course. American Dingoes love hamburgers! They will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today! Lupe, Lanis and SPHP ate the lunches down by dazzling Swiftcurrent Lake.
After lunch, which didn’t take long with a Carolina Dog helping, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP drove around to the opposite side of Swiftcurrent Lake. The plan was to spend the afternoon exploring the trail up to Iceberg Lake with Lupe.
Disappointment awaited Lupe at the trailhead, though. Park regulations prohibited dogs (even American Dingoes) from going on any trails into the backcountry. Even on a leash, Lupe couldn’t go to Iceberg Lake, or pretty much anywhere else in Glacier National Park. It was just like Yellowstone National Park!
The light finally dawned on SPHP. It was going to be the same at every U.S. National Park! Dogs weren’t going to be welcome at any of them. Regulations were going to prevent Lupe from really experiencing or fully enjoying any of the National Parks that SPHP had planned to take her to on her Dingo Vacation. All she would be able to do would be sit in the Honda Element, or be on a leash in parking lots and campgrounds.
There was nothing that could be done about it, either. It was a major blow. Glacier National Park is full of trails that look so promising on the maps. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP had been looking forward to exploring some of them. Now it seemed the only alternative was to avoid U. S. National Parks. It wouldn’t be fair or safe to leave Lupe stuck alone in the Element while Lanis and SPHP spent long hours away in the mountains.
Well, at least Lupe could still get her first ever boat ride on Saint Mary Lake in Glacier National Park. There was still time to kill before then, though. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP drove E out of Glacier National Park intending to take a look at Duck Lake on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The road to Duck Lake proved to be dusty and full of rocks. Lanis very reasonably wanted to avoid subjecting the Element to it. Lupe got close enough to see Duck Lake from a distance, but that was about it.
After Lupe’s rather pointless glimpse of Duck Lake, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went to the little community of St. Mary at a highway junction just E of the Glacier National Park Entrance. Lupe and SPHP stayed in the Element, while Lanis went in to kill a little time checking out the merchandise in an upscale tourist shop.
At least it was a very nice looking building, but apparently even upscale tourist shops aren’t above selling such delicacies as Moose Poo. Naturally, Lanis was intrigued even before entering the shop.
Lanis eventually returned with a humongous soft drink, but Moose Poo-less. There was still some time to go before the 6:30 PM Saint Mary Lake boat tour. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went over to the lake, anyway. SPHP bought the boat tour tickets. Lupe and SPHP then went on a little stroll along the lake shore. Finally, it was Saint Mary Lake tour time!
There were quite a few people on the tour, but the boat wasn’t entirely full. Once underway, Lupe wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself. Cruising on a lake was something she had never experienced before. She liked it, but seemed to want to get out there and explore the lake, perhaps without the aid of a boat. She threatened to leap overboard on several occasions. SPHP had to keep Lupe on the leash and hang on to her.
It was great time relaxing on the beautiful lake listening to the tour guide, who was also the captain of the ship. The views were magnificent, the people friendly, and price was quite reasonable. Lupe and SPHP highly recommend the evening cruise on Saint Mary Lake!
It was only 7:30 PM and still light out, when Lupe returned from the boat tour having earned her sea legs. Lupe, Lanis, and SPHP returned to Logan Pass. The visitor center was closed. Most of the crowds were gone. There were plenty of places to park now, even though a large section of the parking lot was cordoned off for people who were setting up telescopes to view the expected Perseid Meteor shower after dark.
SPHP stayed with Lupe at the parking lot while Lanis took a stroll along the Hidden Lake trail. After a little while, SPHP noticed a trail across Going-to-the-Sun Road that didn’t have the usual no pets sign. Lupe and SPHP started crossing the road to take a look at the view from over there, and see if the trail looked promising. Instantly, a ranger came running over to make certain Lupe wasn’t going to set a single paw on the trail.
SPHP asked the ranger if there were any trails at all in Glacier National Park where dogs could go? The ranger said the only exception to the no pets policy was the Trail of the Cedars nature trail. Dogs could go there, but it was miles away close to Avalanche Creek. (Not true, as it turned out the next day! Sadly, there were no pets signs there, too.)
Lanis returned. SPHP was disappointed to learn he hadn’t gone far enough to get to the Hidden Lake viewpoint, but Lanis was happy with what he’d seen. He did have some photos of the Logan Pass area.
As the sun set behind the mountains, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP returned to the Sprague Creek campground at Lake McDonald for the night. Glacier National Park was gorgeous, and Lupe did have a good time on her first boat ride ever on Saint Mary Lake. However, since Lupe couldn’t explore the trails in the park, it was clear Lupe’s stay was going to be short. SPHP resolved to at least take Lupe to the Trail of the Cedars nature trail the next morning.
At 9:38 AM (38°F), SPHP parked the G6 at the Samelius Trailhead of Centennial Trail No. 89 near Hwy 16, about 3 miles W of the Keystone “Y”. The skies were overcast, but no precipitation and a forecast high of 50°F on nearly the shortest day of the year had brought Lupe and SPHP out to do a little peakbagging.
Lupe’s first two peakbagging goals, Samelius Peak(5,856 ft.) and Hardesty Peak(5,562 ft.) were both less than a mile from the trailhead, although Lupe’s proposed route might take her a little farther than that to reach Hardesty Peak. Lupe set out heading N on Centennial Trail No. 89 up a mostly forested little valley.
The trail gained elevation at an easy pace at first, but became a little steeper as it went on. About 0.5 mile from the trailhead, Lupe reached a saddle area NNW of Samelius Peak. It was time to leave the trail, and start up the mountain.
Lupe and SPHP had been up on Mount Warner(5,889 ft.), less than a mile to the N, before on several occasions. Having seen Samelius Peak from Mount Warner, SPHP was expecting Lupe might encounter some pretty steep climbs up boulder fields near the top of Samelius Peak, since the mountain had looked pretty rocky. The climb really wasn’t bad at all, though. Lupe encountered some deadfall timber, some rock outcroppings, and snow that made it slick in some places, but even SPHP was able to maneuver around most of the obstacles without much difficulty.
On the way up, Lupe came to two high points. The first one was just a rocky spot in the forest. Lupe only had to lose a little elevation to resume her climb up the NNW slope of the mountain. At the second high point, an exposed rocky ledge jutted out toward the W. The ledge seemed quite high, and offered some pretty good views. Lupe and SPHP went out on the ledge for a look around.
This ledge provided the most open panoramic views from anywhere Lupe went on Samelius Peak, and wasn’t too far below the summit. When Lupe arrived at the summit, there were enough trees around to partially obstruct the views in most directions. The summit area wasn’t terribly large, but Lupe found several spots to pose for photos.
Lupe’s next peakbagging goal was Hardesty Peak, but where was it? It was supposed to be just 0.5 mile to the SE, but SPHP didn’t see it. Time to check the maps again. Of course, Hardesty Peak was there all along. SPHP had assumed the two mountains were about the same elevation, but Hardesty Peak at only 5,562 ft. was actually almost 300 ft. lower than Samelius Peak. That puny hill to the SE that could only be seen from the E end of the Samelius Peak summit area was it!
Lupe and SPHP left Samelius Peak heading down on the NE side of a ridge that led SE toward Hardesty Peak. At first the going was rather steep, then it became rather rocky. After Lupe had lost a fair amount of elevation, a long line of large boulders appeared ahead. The area to the NE of the boulders dropped off very steeply. However, there was a little saddle area at the start of the line of boulders where Lupe could cross over to the SW side of the ridge.
Lupe and SPHP headed for the little saddle. It took SPHP a little while to get there due to the rockiness of the area. Once there, Lupe and SPHP went to investigate a nearby high point just to the E of the little saddle. There was a nice view of Boulder Hill(5,331 ft.) and Silver Mountain(5,405 ft.) off to the NE.
Lupe still needed to lose more elevation to reach the saddle between Samelius and Hardesty Peaks. She left the high point E of the little saddle heading SSE down the mountain. This area was thinly forested, quite steep, and covered with pine needles and a fair amount of loose rock. Lupe had a great time sniffing around this way and that. Rocks slid down the slopes as SPHP came down. SPHP threw many of them back up, so they were higher than before.
It was kind of slow going, but it wasn’t hard to find a way down. Near the bottom of the slope, there was a boulder field to be traversed, and beyond the boulder field was an area that was a jumble of deadfall timber. SPHP picked a way through it all, while Lupe continued exploring the forest. It turned out that Lupe and SPHP had come down a bit S of the saddle area. Lupe had to turn N and regain about 40 feet of elevation to get to the saddle.
From the saddle, the climb up Hardesty Peak was similar to Lupe’s climb up Samelius Peak, except that she didn’t have to gain nearly as much elevation. Lupe soon reached the summit of Hardesty Peak. She paused to take a look around from the rocks at the very top.
The summit area on Hardesty Peak is a fairly long E/W trending ridge. The forested ridge is wide enough to walk along easily. It was easy to see there wasn’t any higher ground to the W of where Lupe had come up, but the forest hid the rest of the ridge to the E. Lupe and SPHP wanted to make certain she had reached the actual true summit, so Lupe went E exploring the ridge.
Lupe and SPHP went far enough E to verify that Lupe had reached the true summit back where the summit photos were taken. She had. Near the E end of the ridge, Lupe found a rather nice view looking NNW between Samelius Peak and Mount Warner. Some higher hills could be seen in the distance. There was even a faint glimpse of Custer Peak(6,804 ft.) beyond the high hills.
Lupe and SPHP left Hardesty Peak near the E end of the summit ridge, heading back down toward the saddle over to Samelius Peak. From the saddle, SPHP tried to lead Lupe N looking for Centennial Trail No. 89. Lupe crossed a couple of small ridges, but the terrain kept forcing Lupe farther E until she reached the bottom of a gulch.
Lupe turned NW to go up the little valley on its E side. Lupe and SPHP had been in this area several times before, but going down the valley. Things just looked different going up it. SPHP kept expecting Lupe would find Centennial Trail No. 89 at any time, but she kept going without coming across it. SPHP stopped to check the maps again. They provided no further clues. It couldn’t be too much farther.
Before long, Lupe came to a road heading ESE. Lupe and SPHP followed it. SPHP thought maybe Centennial Trail No. 89 was still higher up the side of the mountain, but within just a few minutes, the road led past a rocky little hillside that SPHP remembered from Lupe’s prior expeditions. The road was Centennial Trail No. 89. That was good news!
Centennial Trail No. 89 wound around the SE end of Mount Warner, leaving the road and becoming a single track trail along the way. It turned NW going up a small valley to a saddle. Instead of going over the saddle, the trail started a climb up the mountain to the S, switchbacking a little bit on the way up. Eventually the trail turned W, and passed to the S of a rock outcropping where SPHP remembered there was a view to the N. Lupe and SPHP went to the edge of the rock formation to take a look.
From the rock outcropping, Lupe could see part of Sheridan Lake and Calumet Ridge(5,601 ft.) off to the NNE. From here, it wasn’t too much farther along Centennial Trail No. 89 up to the top of Mount Warner. On the way, Lupe started hearing gunfire coming from way off somewhere in the direction of Calumet Ridge. By the time Lupe reached the top of Mount Warner, she was one nervous Carolina Dog.
SPHP wanted to get a photo of Lupe up on the highest rocks on Mount Warner, but Lupe really just wanted to be close to SPHP. The gunfire was just too unnerving. Half a dozen times SPHP persuaded her to get up on the highest rocks, but each time SPHP backed off to take the photo, Lupe would hear more gunfire within a few seconds and jump down to follow SPHP.
Finally, it worked. A brief lull in someone’s target practice restored the American Dingo’s confidence. Lupe stayed up there for her summit photo on Mount Warner. Good doggie! After one quick photo, SPHP didn’t make her stay up there any longer. She was glad it was over with, and jumped down as soon as SPHP said it was OK.
There was still some time left in the day. Originally, SPHP had thought maybe Lupe should do some exploring toward Calumet Ridge, but with all the gunfire in that direction, that just wasn’t going to work. Instead, Lupe and SPHP left Mount Warner continuing NW on Centennial Trail No. 89.
The trail gradually lost elevation following a ridgeline, but eventually turned to start heading down the NE side of the ridge on its way down to Sheridan Lake. Instead of going that way, Lupe and SPHP left the trail and started down the SW side of the ridge. It was steep, but not as steep as going down Samelius Peak had been.
Lupe lost a lot of elevation. Finally things started leveling out. Somewhere along the way, she crossed Joe Dollar Gulch. Lupe came to a maze of little roads in the forest. She followed them S or SW. SPHP led her onto roads heading SE a time or two when the opportunity presented itself. SPHP was hoping to find a road going up a little gulch just S of Joe Dollar Gulch, but it didn’t happen.
Lupe and SPHP had a nice time just wandering the back roads. Lupe trotted ahead, leaving the road here and there to investigate interesting smells in the forest. Lupe crossed a saddle shown just to the E of High Point 5157 on the Peakbagger.com topo maps. During the last part of her journey, the sound of traffic on Hwy 16 wasn’t far off to the S. When SPHP saw the little tunnel that Centennial Trail No. 89 passes through under Hwy 16, SPHP knew Lupe was almost back to the Samelius trailhead.
The sun was down and the light was fading, when Lupe reached the trailhead again. There was a bunch of trash around. SPHP spent a little time picking it up while Lupe sniffed around. At 4:38 PM (37°F), when Lupe and SPHP finally got into the G6 to head home, it was practically dark out. Climbing Samelius and Hardesty Peaks had been fun. The big loop up to Mount Warner and beyond, and then down and around to the SW was a nice bonus.
Tomorrow would be the shortest day of the year. Christmas was almost here. Nearing home, Lupe and SPHP admired the cheerful, colorful Christmas lights. 2014 was fast drawing to a close, but Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 110 wouldn’t be Lupe’s last of 2014. SPHP was glad. When you’re lucky enough to have a Carolina Dog, you just don’t want the good times to ever end.
Note: SPHP isn’t certain of the correct spelling for Samelius Peak. The sign at the trailhead on Centennial Trail No. 89 says Samelius, as do SPHP’s old USFS maps. The Peakbagger.com maps and records show it as Samelias Peak.
Days 7 & 8 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.
The sky was just starting to get light. Lupe and SPHP were up and out of Lupe’s “tiny house” (tent) to greet the day before Lanis woke up. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP were camped on the beautiful Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River. Lupe sat on SPHP’s lap wrapped in a blanket for a long time, watching the sunlight start shining on Pilot(11,699 ft.) and Index(11,240 ft.)Peaks beyond the bend in the river.
After a while, Lupe felt like sniffing around in the forest. After two days in Yellowstone National Park, where she wasn’t free to do much more than ride in Lanis’ Honda Element, Lupe was just happy to be free again. While SPHP made breakfast, Lupe roamed a little downstream exploring the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone.
Eventually Lanis woke up. Lanis & SPHP discussed plans for the day. If Lupe was going to get all the way to the west coast, it was probably time for her to start making her way farther W pretty soon. However, since Lupe’s recent trip to Beauty and Becker Lakes had been so gorgeous, SPHP suggested spending one more day in the Beartooths before moving on. Lupe would get a lot of exercise, which would make her happier riding in the Element the following day. Lanis agreed.
After breakfast, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP hopped in the Element and headed E on the Beartooth Hwy No. 212. Lanis stopped at the Top of the World store. SPHP ran in to buy a couple of topo maps. Meanwhile, Lanis checked out the directions outside.
After consulting SPHP’s new topo maps, it was decided to check out part of the Beartooth Loop National Recreational Trail. There was a trailhead just a few miles E along Hwy 212 near Long Lake. Soon Lupe, Lanis and SPHP were setting out on the trail. Lupe was very happy! There was a lot of open ground with sweeping vistas where she could run and run. She was full of energy!
The trail went past several lakes. Hauser Lake came first. Quite a bit farther on, down in a valley, Lupe reached Losekamp Lake. From Losekamp Lake, Lupe followed a spur trail that wound E up onto a ridge N of Tibbs Butte. Up on the ridge, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP turned N to reach Gardner Lake – Lupe’s ultimate destination.
The trek to Gardner Lake wasn’t as spectacularly beautiful as Lupe’s trip to Beauty and Becker Lakes a few days earlier. There weren’t as many lakes and streams, the mountains didn’t seem quite as close or high, the forests were sparser and more distant, and there weren’t as many wildflowers.
On the other hand, there was much more open grassland where Lupe could race along with her nose to the ground sniffing at top speed. At some points, there were some pretty grand sweeping vistas. Best of all, there was absolutely no one else around. And at Gardner Lake, Lanis did manage to find some pretty nice wildflowers near the shore.
Except for a long exploration of the forested ridge NE of Losekamp Lake, where Lanis and SPHP split up for a while, Lupe’s return trip from Gardner Lake just retraced her path from earlier in the day. By the time Lupe was back at the Honda Element again, there was no question that she’d gotten enough exercise. She had run all day long. It had been a wonderful day to be a Carolina Dog wild and free in the Beartooths!
Lupe, Lanis and SPHP returned to the campsite on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River for another night in Lupe’s tiny house. During her last evening on the beautiful river, the American Dingo slept very soundly.
The next morning, it was time to leave the Beartooths and start heading farther W. After breakfast, Lanis and SPHP broke camp and packed up Lupe’s tiny house. When everything was ready, Lupe jumped up into the Honda Element ready for whatever adventure might be next.
Lanis drove the Element E on Beartooth Hwy No. 212 again, just like the day before. This time, Lupe was going to go over 10,947 foot Beartooth Pass, the highest point she had ever been to yet! She was then going to cross the border into Montana for the very first time, making Montana the 3rd Lupe state!
Just a few miles before reaching Beartooth Pass, Hwy 212 was up on top of barren mountains overlooking Gardner Lake, where Lupe had been just the day before. Naturally, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP wanted to stop and take a look at Gardner Lake from above.
Fog started sweeping over the ridge ahead as Lupe neared Beartooth Pass. Up at the pass, the tops of the mountains were mostly clear, but the giant valleys and canyons to the N were full of clouds. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP stopped for 20 or 30 minutes to look around, but it didn’t take long to get the idea what a bank of fog looked like. Soon Lupe was on her way again.
The border with Montana was just a few miles from Beartooth Pass, where the highway was still at a great height in the mountains. Amazingly, there was a speed limit 70 mph sign up there!
Lanis especially found this highly amusing. It was obviously some kind of Darwinian Introduction to Montana/Wyoming Intelligence Test (DIMWIT) to see if tourists were smart enough to survive in Montana. For what lay ahead was not a nice straight, smooth highway, but miles of 20 mph, 15 mph, and even 10 mph hairpin curves snaking tortuously along the brink of tremendous precipices.
Partway down the giant descent, there was a little parking lot at a viewpoint. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP stopped to check it out.
With all the clouds trapped on the N side of the Beartooth Mountains, it wasn’t surprising that it was raining by the time Lupe reached Red Lodge, Montana. Lupe spent the afternoon snoozing comfortably in the Element while Lanis drove on to Bozeman.
In Bozeman, for the 1st time on her big 2012 Dingo Vacation, Lupe got to stay in the lap of luxury at a motel near I-90. She was very curious about it all, but was on her very best behavior. Dingoes are very adaptable to a wide range of conditions. Rest assured, Lupe took a dose of soft living completely in stride!