Frozen Lake to Heart Lake, Beartooth Mountains (7-14-13)

Lupe started this hike in the Beartooth Mountains of NW Wyoming from a trailhead located just to the SE of Long Lake and Beartooth Highway No. 212.  This may well be the trailhead for the Beartooth Loop National Recreational Trail, but Lupe didn’t follow that trail.  Instead she crossed to the N of Hwy 212 where her wanderings among many beautiful high country lakes took place.  The trailhead is about 3 miles E of the Top of the World Store & Motel or 2 miles E of the Island Lake Campground.

For a topo map of the area, click this link to Lonesome Mountain on Peakbagger.com and scroll the topo map to the SE.

After the splendid, but long, trek to Two Bits Lake on 7-12-13, Lupe and SPHP had arrived back at camp on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River after midnight.  SPHP had been simply too tired to get out of the G6 and set things up in the tent, so Lupe and SPHP had spent the night in the G6 once again.

Sorry SPHP, you can forget about any hikes today. I'm snoozing in! 7-13-15.
Sorry SPHP, you can forget about any hikes today. I’m snoozing in!  Let me know when the beef stew is ready.  In fact, just bring it here.  Breakfast in bed sounds good.  7-13-13.

It had been a tough night.  SPHP woke to the sound of Lupe licking her sore paws in the darkness, and then had trouble getting back to sleep.  SPHP’s feet were cold, wet, and still in the hiking boots SPHP hadn’t even bothered to remove.  (Both a miserable situation and a very bad idea!)  Eventually sleep returned.  Later a gorgeous morning arrived.

Pilot Peak (L) and Index Peak (R) from Lupe's tiny house on the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River 7-13-13.
Pilot Peak (L) and Index Peak (R) from Lupe’s “tiny house” on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River 7-13-13.
Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River close to camp.
Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River close to camp.

SPHP finally got up somewhere around 8 AM.  The sun was already up and shining on the beautiful river.  SPHP cooked some beef stew for Lupe.  Lupe was so, well, dog-tired that she hadn’t even gotten out of the G6.  SPHP had to feed the beef stew to her.  She really did enjoy it though, once she got going on it.  She ate most of the can.  SPHP polished off the rest.

Pilot & Index Peaks (L to R) from camp.
Pilot (11,699 ft.) & Index (11,240 ft.) Peaks (L to R) from camp.

After 3 days of non-stop activity, SPHP decided this 4th day of Lupe’s 2013 Dingo Vacation would have to be a rest day in camp to recuperate.  SPHP cleaned and organized.  Lupe snoozed fitfully in the G6.  Later on, she wanted to get in the “tiny house” (tent), where she snoozed some more.  SPHP joined her in the tent to snack, look at maps, and take a siesta.  About mid-afternoon there was a trip to Cooke City, MT to charge up the camera battery.  The evening was spent pleasantly at camp, and a much more comfortable night was spent in Lupe’s “tiny house”.

After the big rest day, 7-14-13 was destined to be an action day!  SPHP had decided Lupe should go explore around some of the alpine lakes NE of Island Lake.  Lupe set off about 10:05 AM under beautiful blue skies.  The temperature was an ideal 60°F.  Lupe liked the open ground and ran about sniffing happily.  She crossed Beartooth Hwy No. 212 and made for the N end of Long Lake.

Everything was great until Lupe and SPHP reached a creek coming in from the E down to the N end of Long Lake.  It wasn’t very large and took only a couple of stepping stones to cross it.  However, the first stone SPHP stepped on proved slippery.  SPHP got instantly dumped in the creek.  Sopping wet from the waist down, (sitting in a creek does that to you) SPHP was unharmed.  SPHP scrambled out of the creek and marched on soggily.  The sun would eventually dry SPHP off.

SPHP decided to head for Frozen Lake instead of Lower Sheepherder Lake.  Lupe and SPHP climbed a good bit and were starting to get some good views, when SPHP discovered the next tragedy – SPHP had forgotten to bring the camera.  After a brief debate, SPHP decided not to go all the way back to the G6 to get it.  Lupe continued on up towards Frozen Lake a bit longer when SPHP discovered another problem.  SPHP had lost the tall blue water bottle out of the backpack falling in the creek.

The water bottle was a loss SPHP could not afford.  Running out of water would make for a horrible day.  So back down to the creek Lupe and SPHP went, losing hundreds of feet of precious elevation gain.  When Lupe got back to the creek, SPHP spotted the tall blue water bottle floating in it maybe 15 feet downstream of where SPHP had fallen in. SPHP nearly fell in again trying to reach it to get it out.  After SPHP retrieved the tall blue water bottle, SPHP decided Lupe may as well go all the rest of the way back to the G6 and get the camera, too.

So around 11:30 AM, Lupe and SPHP once again set out from the G6 for Frozen Lake. Arriving back at the creek at the N end of Long Lake, footing once again proved tricky for SPHP.  SPHP narrowly escaped another dunking.  Lupe must have wondered what was going on.  Although she likes to wade in streams, ordinarily SPHP doesn’t splash around like this.  SPHP decided to christen this small stream “Dump Me Creek”.

This time, Lupe and SPHP managed to get all the way up to the S shore of Frozen Lake without further surprises.  Three men were along the W shore.  They must have hiked down from Hwy 212, which was just a short distance E of Frozen Lake, but considerably above it.   From Frozen Lake, Lupe and SPHP climbed and headed NW, avoiding the three men who had by now moved to the N end of Frozen Lake.  They were the only people Lupe and SPHP saw until getting back close to Hwy 212 at the end of the day.

Frozen Lake in the Beartooth Mountains. Photo looks N.
Frozen Lake in the Beartooth Mountains. Photo looks N.

All of this day’s explorations were spent just wandering.  There were no trails.  SPHP navigated by topo map.  There were so many little lakes around, at times it was a bit confusing.  Lupe visited Lower Sheepherder Lake, Upper Sheepherder Lake, Snyder Lake, Z Lake, Lake Promise, Heart Lake and saw quite a few smaller lakes not named on the map.

Unnamed Lakes S of Lower Sheepherder Lake. Photo taken from between Frozen Lake and Lower Sheepherder Lake. Photo looks SSW.
Unnamed Lakes S of Lower Sheepherder Lake. Photo taken from between Frozen Lake and Lower Sheepherder Lake. Photo looks SSW.
Lupe SE of Upper Sheepherder Lake in the Beartooth Mountains.
Lupe SE of Upper Sheepherder Lake in the Beartooth Mountains.
Upper Sheepherder Lake. Photo looks NW.
Upper Sheepherder Lake. Photo looks NW.
Z Lake. Photo looks SW.
Z Lake. Photo looks SW.
Ack, it's National Mosquito Day! Let's get going!
Ack, it’s National Mosquito Day! Let’s get going!
Snow on ridge NW of Lake Promise.
Snow on ridge NW of Lake Promise.
More snow on ridge NW of Lake Promise.
More snow on ridge NW of Lake Promise.
Lake Promise from the NNW.
Lake Promise from the NNW.
Lupe at the overlook above Lake Promise.
Lupe at the overlook above Lake Promise.

The prettiest lake was a small unnamed lake above and NE of Heart Lake.  This lake was tucked in a corner of the bare higher ridge to the N and E.  There was a fair amount of snow still around there.  Lupe’s highest elevation reached was around 10,600 feet in the vicinity of Lake Promise and the little snowy lake, where Lupe and SPHP climbed considerably above both lakes.  That area was well above tree line, and Lupe and SPHP’s favorite part of the journey.

High country NW of Lake Promise on the way to the pretty unnamed lake NE of Heart Lake.
High country NW of Lake Promise on the way to the pretty unnamed lake NE of Heart Lake.
Between Lake Promise and Heart Lake in the Beartooth Mountains. Photo looks WSW.
Between Lake Promise and Heart Lake in the Beartooth Mountains. Photo looks WSW.
Lupe approaching the pretty little lake NE of Heart Lake. Photo looks NW.
Lupe approaching the pretty little lake NE of Heart Lake. Photo looks NW.
Unnamed Lake NE of Heart Lake, Beartooth Mountains, 7-14-14
Lupe on the snow coming towards the camera. Lupe loves snow!

Unnamed lake NE of Heart Lake, Beartooth Mountains 7-14-14

SPHP's favorite photo of the pretty little unnamed lake NE of Heart Lake in the Beartooth Mountains 7-14-14
Pretty unnamed lake NE of Heart Lake in the Beartooth Mountains 7-14-13

SPHP had hoped Lupe would get to go to Snow Lake and Wall Lake, both farther NW toward Becker Lake, but too much time had been lost by SPHP getting dumped in Dump Me Creek and losing the water bottle, compounded by forgetting the camera.  Lupe did scramble clear around the N & W sides of Heart Lake over the debris of a collapsed mountainside, before following the outlet stream S down a steep canyon.

Heart Lake from the NE.
Heart Lake from the NE.
The view S before descending from Heart Lake.
The view S before descending from Heart Lake.

Despite the self-inflicted problems early on with Dump Me Creek and the camera, the most vexing problem Lupe and SPHP faced this day was the endless horde of mosquitoes encountered.  The mosquitoes weren’t a problem until after Lupe left Frozen Lake and approached the Sheepherder Lakes.  Lupe escaped them to some degree above Lake Promise and Heart Lake, but elsewhere they forced Lupe and SPHP to stay continually on the move to avoid falling prey to them.  SPHP designated July 14th as National Mosquito Day.  Both Lupe and SPHP sincerely hoped the festivities would be completely over and done with by the next day.

Toward the end of the day, Lupe and SPHP headed back down to the G6 tramping through the forest E of Night Lake, Island Lake and Little Bear Lake to arrive at Hwy 212 just E of Little Bear Lake.  Lupe then followed Hwy 212 E back to the G6.  It was 8:28 PM when she arrived.  The sun was still up, but in the process of setting.  On the way W back to camp, SPHP stopped at a turnout.  There Lupe and SPHP watched the golden glow of the sunset fading away just to the N of Pilot and Index Peaks.

Pilot Peak (L) and Index Peak (R) at sunset, Beartooth Mountains, WY 7-14-14
Pilot Peak (L) and Index Peak (R) at sunset, Beartooth Mountains, WY 7-14-13

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2013 Beartooths & Canadian Rockies Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

The Journey to Two Bits Lake, Beartooth Mountains (7-12-13)

Lupe and SPHP first came to explore the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains of NW Wyoming and S Montana in August, 2012 on Lupe’s first ever big summer Dingo Vacation.  Lanis had been along then, too.  Lupe and SPHP were completely enthralled with these beautiful mountains full of alpine lakes, streams and forests, and eager to return in 2013.

This glorious long day hike starts at Island Lake (elevation 9,518 ft.) in NW Wyoming and gains less than 1,000 ft., with a high point of around 10,360 ft. on a ridge reached N of Jasper Lake shortly before arriving at Two Bits Lake.  Lupe and SPHP found no discernable trail the last part of the hike beyond Jasper Lake.  The hike passes just E of Lonesome Mountain, the highest peak Lupe has ever climbed to date (6-23-15), although she didn’t climb it until 2014, about a year after making the hike that is the subject of this post.

Clicking on this blue Lonesome Mountain link will take you to the Peakbagger.com page for Lonesome Mountain which features a topographic map of this area.  Clicking on this red Lonesome Mountain link will take you to Lupe’s blog post on climbing Lonesome Mountain in 2014. 

The Island Lake trailhead is near the Island Lake campground on the N side of Beartooth Highway No. 212 in NW Wyoming.  (Both use the same access road off the highway.)  The Island Lake campground is approximately 2 miles E of the Top of the World Store & Motel or roughly 15-20 miles E of Hwy 212’s junction with the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Hwy 296.  Lanis & SPHP purchased topographic maps of the area at the Top of the World Store in 2012.

Lupe woke up early on the 3rd day of her 2013 Dingo Vacation to the Beartooths and Canadian Rockies.  She and SPHP had spent the night in the G6 due to rain, after having claimed their favorite camping spot on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River the day before.  It was early, but already light out.  The sky was mostly cloudy, but it was no longer raining or even threatening to rain.  Lupe and SPHP got out of the G6 eager to greet the new day in the Beartooths.

Set up on the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone, July 2013
Set up on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone, July 11, 2013

Swarms of mosquitoes were eager to greet Lupe and SPHP, too.  Lupe and SPHP beat a hasty retreat back into the G6.  Lupe snoozed another 30 minutes while SPHP made journal entries.  Eventually a squirrel woke Lupe up and she just had to get out to bark at it.  She buried the only “Minties” bone SPHP has ever given her under a tree near the tent.  SPHP resolved to retrieve it after checking out the maps for a place to go exploring.

Back in August, 2012, Lupe, SPHP and Lanis had taken a fabulous hike from the Island Lake trailhead to Beauty Lake and then doubling back to a side trail to Becker Lake.  SPHP decided exploring the area above tree line beyond Becker Lake would be great fun for Lupe.  By 10:00 AM, Lupe was setting out on the trail from Island Lake.  Lupe passed by lakes she had first seen with Lanis in 2012 including Island Lake, Night Lake and Flake Lake.  Lupe was making great progress along the trail, partly because mosquitoes became a big problem anytime SPHP stopped for even a few moments.

SPHP was watching for a side trail angling to the right that led to Mutt & Jeff Lakes and then went on to Becker Lake and beyond, and yet somehow missed it.  When the trail started to curve to the left and rapidly lose elevation, SPHP remembered it was about to descend to Beauty Lake.  SPHP realized Lupe had gone too far.  Lupe and SPHP turned around and went back in search of the side trail to Becker Lake and beyond, and this time found it.  Upon reaching Mutt & Jeff Lakes, SPHP knew for certain Lupe was headed in the right direction.

Mutt & Jeff Lakes are very close together.  The trail goes between the two lakes, crossing a broad connecting stream.  There is no bridge, but there are quite a few rocks in the stream and stranded bits of grassy or bushy land.  SPHP managed to hop across from rock to rock without getting non-waterproof boots too wet.  Lupe had no problem leaping from one rock to the next, or just wading through enjoying the cold, clear water.

Once across the stream, the trail turns NE and crosses a boulder field that extends right down to the NW shore of Jeff Lake.  Past Jeff Lake, the trail heads N up a small headwall and then along the E side of a shallow pond (more boulders here) in a saddle.

Jeff Lake in the Beartooth Mountains. The trail crosses the boulders at the base of the hill (L) and then goes up around the right side of the hill.
Jeff Lake in the Beartooth Mountains. The trail crosses the boulders at the base of the hill (L) and then goes up around the right side of the hill.  Mutt Lake is just to the left of this photo.  (Not pictured.)
Mutt Lake.
Mutt Lake.

Soon after passing the saddle, a portion of the S end of Becker Lake came into view.  Lupe followed the trail N through the woods well above the E shore of Becker Lake.  Towards the N end of Becker Lake, the trail was out in the open and closer to the lake.

There were just scattered groups of trees around as Lupe and SPHP left Wyoming N of Becker Lake and entered Montana on the way to Albino Lake.  The trail stayed on the E side of the stream coming down from Albino Lake to Becker Lake.  The last few trees were at Albino Lake (10,000 feet elevation), which is situated just E of Lonesome Mountain.  Lupe loved the open ground of the high country, although without trees there was the drawback of no more squirrels to bark at.

Part of the S end of Becker Lake.
Part of the S end of Becker Lake.
Lupe near the trail E of Becker Lake.
Lupe near the trail E of Becker Lake.  Photo looks N.
Looking S from the trail on the E side of Becker Lake.
Looking S from the trail on the E side of Becker Lake.
The stream coming down from Albino Lake on its way to Becker Lake. Photo looks N.
The stream coming down from Albino Lake on its way to Becker Lake. Photo looks N.
Lonesome Mountain (L) lies just W of Albino Lake. This photo is taken looking NW from the trail near the stream flowing out of Albino Lake.
Lonesome Mountain (11,399 ft.) (L) lies just W of Albino Lake. This photo is taken looking NW from the trail near the stream flowing out of Albino Lake.
Albino Lake and Lonesome Mountain. Photo looks WNW.
Albino Lake and Lonesome Mountain. Photo looks WNW.
Looking S back at Becker Lake from a hill S of Albino Lake.
Looking S back at Becker Lake from a hill S of Albino Lake.
Albino Lake from the hill to the S.
Albino Lake from the hill to the S.  Lonesome Mountain at left side of photo.
Lupe happy in the Beartooth Mountains S of Albino Lake 7-12-13
Happy Lupe in the Beartooth Mountains S of Albino Lake 7-12-13
Lupe on the hill S of Albino Lake. Photo looks N.
Lupe on the hill S of Albino Lake.  From here Lupe went around the left (W) side of the lake and climbed over the ridge shown on the far side of the lake at the low point seen at left center.   Photo looks N.

At the SE end of Albino Lake, Lupe crossed over the outlet stream (easy rock hopping) to the W.  Lupe and SPHP went up on a hill just S of Albino Lake for a look back towards Becker Lake.  Then Lupe followed the trail NW above the W shore of Albino Lake up to the next big saddle ridge ahead.  From the saddle was Lupe’s first view of Jasper Lake.  The area around Jasper Lake was completely devoid of forest.  Rock, heather, scattered patches of snow and sky was all there was.  Gorgeous high mountain terrain was everywhere.

Jasper Lake in the Beartooth Mountains.
Jasper Lake in the Beartooth Mountains.  Photo looks N.
Jasper Lake
W side of Jasper Lake.  Photo looks N.
The NW end of Golden Lake visible from the ridge S of Jasper Lake. Photo looks WSW.
The NE end of Golden Lake visible from the ridge S of Jasper Lake. Photo looks WSW.

Lupe and SPHP were not alone, however.  Soon after reaching the saddle with a view of Jasper Lake, a troop of backpackers came traipsing up the trail from the NW.  Lupe ran over to greet them, but they soon passed on by.  The rest of the afternoon, Lupe and SPHP saw no one.  After a break enjoying the view of Jasper Lake, Lupe and SPHP continued NW on the trail, which went down to the outlet stream from Jasper Lake near the SW corner of the lake.  This stream had a lot of flow in it.

Lupe greeted these backpackers, some of the very few people Lupe saw this day. Golden Lake in background.
Lupe greeted these backpackers, some of the very few people Lupe saw this day. Golden Lake in background.

SPHP didn’t want to get wet feet, so Lupe and SPHP followed the S shore of the stream down all the way to Golden Lake, which wasn’t far off to the WSW.  There was no place to cross and stay dry anywhere along the way.  There was nothing to be done, except take the plunge.  SPHP and Lupe forded the stream at the delta where it enters Golden Lake.   Now on the N side of the stream, Lupe and SPHP headed back up towards the W shore of Jasper Lake.  Nearing the lake again, Lupe turned N heading for a ridge.

Stream flowing down from Jasper Lake.
Stream flowing down from Jasper Lake.
Lupe near Golden Lake. Photo looks SW.
Lupe near Golden Lake. Photo looks SW.  Lonesome Mountain is on the left.
SPHP's boots got soaked crossing this stream where it enters Golden Lake. Lonesome Mountain on left. Photo looks SW.
SPHP’s boots got soaked crossing this stream where it enters Golden Lake. Lonesome Mountain on left. Photo looks SW.

Lupe and SPHP gained the top of the ridge NNW of Jasper Lake at a broad shallow saddle.  The saddle area and beyond consisted of rolling terrain strewn with a mix of boulder fields, grassy areas and small shallow lakes.  Crossing this ridge, Lupe reached her highest elevation of the day at somewhere between 10,360 and 10,400 feet.  Beyond the ridge was Two Bits Lake.  Lupe spotted a snow drift and ran down to cool off in it not far from the lake.

Looking back at Lonesome Mountain from the N on the way to the ridge NNW of Jasper Lake.
Looking back at Lonesome Mountain from the N on the way to the ridge NNW of Jasper Lake.
Looking back to the SE at Jasper Lake.
Looking back to the SE at Jasper Lake.  The ridge Lupe came over from Albino Lake is on the right side of the photo.
Largest of the unnamed lakes in the saddle area NNW of Jasper Lake.
Largest of the unnamed lakes in the saddle area NNW of Jasper Lake.
Lupe on her snowbank near Two Bits Lake. Photo looks NNW.
Lupe on her snowbank near Two Bits Lake. Photo looks NNW.

Just S of Two Bits Lake, Lupe and SPHP stopped for a break.  Lupe chowed down on some Taste of the Wild.  SPHP celebrated success with a Coke.  After the break, Lupe and SPHP explored among the rocks above the S shore of Two Bits Lake.

Consulting the topo maps, SPHP really wanted to climb another ridge NW of Two Bits Lake and then turn N to find High Pass with the ultimate goal of reaching Sky Pilot Lake.  However, the day was wearing on and it was a long way back to the G6.  It was too late in the day to try it.  If Lupe was ever going to reach Sky Pilot Lake, she would have to come back to Island Lake and start all over again earlier in the day.

Two Bits Lake, Beartooth Mountains 7-12-13. Photo looks NNW.
Two Bits Lake, Beartooth Mountains 7-12-13. Photo looks NNW.
Lupe takes a break SSE of Two Bits Lake.
Lupe takes a break SSE of Two Bits Lake.
Lupe S of Two Bits Lake
Lupe S of Two Bits Lake
W side of Two Bits Lake. Photo looks N.
W side of Two Bits Lake. Photo looks N.

After suitable time spent admiring pretty Two Bits Lake, Lupe and SPHP followed a rock ridge SW from the lake.  Just to the NW was the outlet stream from Two Bits Lake running down to Triskele Lake.  When Lupe reached Triskele Lake it was time to turn back.  Lupe headed back up to the saddle area on the ridge NNW of Jasper Lake.  The view of Lonesome Mountain and Jasper Lake was just awesome.  Lupe saw a bald eagle fly over Jasper Lake heading E.

SPHP thought about climbing this ridge to look for High Pass and Sky Pilot Lake, but it was too late in the day to be advisable. Photo looks NW and shows SW corner of Two Bits Lake.
SPHP thought about climbing this ridge to look for High Pass and Sky Pilot Lake, but it was too late in the day to be advisable. Photo looks NW and shows SW corner of Two Bits Lake.
Looking SW down the stream from Two Bits Lake on its way to Triskele Lake.
Looking SW down the stream from Two Bits Lake on its way to Triskele Lake.
Triskele Lake in the Beartooth Mountains from the NE.
Triskele Lake in the Beartooth Mountains from the NE.
SPHP's favorite photo of Lupe and Lonesome Mountain. Photo was taken looking S from NNW of Jasper Lake. Lonesome Mountain is much more impressive from this angle than from along the trail to the E or S.
SPHP’s favorite photo of Lupe and Lonesome Mountain. Photo was taken looking S from NNW of Jasper Lake. Lonesome Mountain is much more impressive from this angle than from along the trail to the E or S of the mountain.  A portion of Golden Lake is seen at center right.

SPHP wanted to go around the E side of Jasper Lake to avoid having to ford the big outlet stream again.  On the NE side of Jasper Lake, Lupe found a big feather near a little stream.  Perhaps it was from the bald eagle?  That was pretty cool!  There were lots of streams coming into Jasper Lake from the E, but since they were smaller, SPHP managed to stay mostly dry getting across them.   Eventually Lupe and SPHP reached the ridge to the S of Jasper Lake and found the trail again.

The eagle feather is seen just to the left of Lupe. Photo taken NE of Jasper Lake.
The eagle feather is seen just to the left of Lupe. Photo taken NE of Jasper Lake.
Lonesome Mountain across Jasper Lake from near the eagle feather.
Lonesome Mountain across Jasper Lake from “Eagle Feather Creek”.
Jasper Lake & Lonesome Mountain, 7-12-13
Jasper Lake & Lonesome Mountain, 7-12-13
A last look back N at Jasper Lake.
A last look back N at Jasper Lake.

The rest of the evening was spent retracing the trail back to the G6.  Lupe and SPHP had seen very few people all day, but on the way back SPHP did stop to talk to a fisherman on the W side of Albino Lake.  He was catching mostly 8-12″ cutthroat trout, but said he had caught a couple of 18-20″ cutthroats up at Golden and Jasper Lakes.  The fisherman was from Pennsylvania.  He claimed to have seen a white wolf.

Lupe reached the G6 again at 11:28 PM.  Lupe had been sniffing and exploring for 13.5 glorious hours!  By now, though, both Lupe and SPHP were about totally played out.  The weary dingo hopped into the G6 and curled up for a snooze.  SPHP drove back to the campsite at the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River.   Arriving well after midnight, SPHP was just too tired to set things up in the tent.  SPHP covered Lupe with a blanket.  Another night was spent in the G6.  The next morning, a bleary-eyed dingo was still curled up, happily snuggled in the blanket.

Carolina Dog catches 40 winks. More adventuring lies ahead!
Carolina Dog catches 40 winks. More adventuring lies ahead!

Although Lupe did not get as far as Sky Pilot Lake this time, 3 days later she returned and did find it.  Click on this Sky Pilot Lake link to see her post on that adventure!

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2013 Beartooths & Canadian Rockies Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

Camped on the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River (7-11-13)

Lupe’s 2013 Dingo Vacation was off to a great start!  On her first day (7-10-13) she had been to the Elysian Fields of Puppy Happiness and spent the night on Bald Mountain in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming.

It had been quite a memorable evening for Lupe sleeping under the stars on Bald Mountain.   “Sleeping” is used loosely here.  At first there was some sleeping going on, but a few hours into the night, SPHP woke up suddenly to the sound of Lupe sprinting away to the W in the darkness.  She was after something, but what it might have been SPHP had no clue.  Before long she came back without being called.

Lupe just E of Bald Mountain, Bighorn Mountains, WY
Lupe just E of Bald Mountain (10,042 ft.), Bighorn Mountains, WY on 7-10-11.  The summit is kind of faded out on the left.

SPHP managed to get Lupe in her blankie and sleeping bag again, but from then on Lupe and SPHP slept fitfully.  SPHP awoke many times to hear Lupe wandering off into the night sniffing around.  Sometimes she was gone for 5 minutes or a bit more, but she always came back.  Still, SPHP spent long stretches awake, peering and listening into the darkness for the tinkling sound of the tag on Lupe’s collar.

The Milky Way above was magnificent.  Three shooting stars streaked across the night sky.  A breeze started up and blew all night.  Initially it seemed to be from the E, but as the night wore on, it blew harder and more from the S.

But I'm not sleepy!!!!
But I’m not sleepy!!!!

Sometimes Lupe came around to just sit next to SPHP out of her sleeping bag.  She wanted to be petted while she stared into the blackness listening and watching.  SPHP always did pet her.  Often SPHP managed to persuade Lupe to get back into her sleeping bag and under her blankie again.  That would last for a little while and then she would be off running and sniffing again.  It was the first time Lupe and SPHP ever slept together without a tent under the stars in the wild.  Lupe was just too stimulated and excited to sleep much.

Lupe and SPHP got up when the sun was just getting up.  It was gorgeous out except for the strong S breeze.   SPHP added Lupe’s name to the place of names.  Then Lupe and SPHP went back to the summit of Bald Mountain again before heading down to the G6.  Lupe had a great time racing around through the yellow, purple, and white flowers and what SPHP called “pom pom” plants waving in the breeze.Lupe on Bald Mountain 7-11-13By 8:30 AM SPHP had everything packed up.  Lupe and SPHP headed W down spectacular Hwy 14A out of the Bighorns.  Lupe barked frantically at cows and horses across western Wyoming.   Lupe’s route went through Lovell, Powell and Cody, WY.  She rode in air-conditioned comfort since it was hot outside – almost 90°F.

From Cody, SPHP took Hwy 120 N to the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Hwy 296.  When Lupe reached the Beartooth Hwy No. 212, SPHP made a beeline for Lupe and SPHP’s favorite camping site on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River.  Lupe and SPHP had discovered this prime spot on Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation with Lanis.

View from the big pullout on the W side of the pass on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway in NW Wyoming.
View from the big pullout on the W side of the pass on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway in NW Wyoming.
View of Pilot (L) and Index (R) Peaks from Lupe's favorite camping spot on the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River
View of Pilot (11,699 ft.) (L) and Index (11,240 ft.) (R) Peaks from Lupe’s favorite camping spot on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River

Lupe and SPHP were in luck!  Arriving at 1 PM, the favorite camping site was open.  SPHP had the tent set up within 30 minutes.  As it later turned out, not a moment too soon.  After setting up the tent, SPHP was ready to take Lupe for an afternoon outing.  Nothing really long, just for a few hours.  SPHP chose a nearby trail up Pilot Creek.

As Lupe and SPHP got out of the G6 at the Pilot Creek trailhead, some people in a big white pickup truck pulling a trailer loaded with ATV’s drove up.  They asked if Lupe and SPHP were tenting across the road.  SPHP said yes, and they said they were from Cody, WY.  Lupe and SPHP were in their favorite spot to camp.  (You know you are in a good spot when the locals think it is the best one, too!)  They asked if it would bother Lupe and SPHP, if they camped nearby.  Lupe and SPHP had no problem with that.  It’s still a free country.  They didn’t need Lupe and SPHP’s permission, although it was considerate of them to ask.

Lupe claims her favorite camping site on the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone.
Lupe claims her favorite camping site on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone.
Set up on the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone, July 2013
Set up on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone, July 11, 2013

Lupe and SPHP started up the Pilot Creek trail.  At first Pilot Creek was visible below, but the trail climbed steadily so fast Lupe was soon far above the creek.  Before long there were views of the snow-capped Beartooth Mountains to the N.  The trail went uphill so long SPHP decided they should have named it Pilot Peak trail, as the trail seemed destined to climb it.  (That SPHP, what a whiner and exaggerator!  No wonder Lupe has to call her blog The (MOSTLY) True Adventures of Lupe!)

Just about the time SPHP was considering giving up and turning around, the trail leveled out and started a more gentle up and down, so Lupe stuck with it. Lupe and SPHP were in a big valley up on the W side hundreds of feet above the creek.  There was a big mountain a few miles away with a large snow bank on it, and the trail headed for that.

Lupe and SPHP had covered about 1/2 the distance to the big mountain and arrived at a small open hill on the left side of the trail.  Except for one big dead old tree, it was open ground.  Lupe and SPHP climbed the little hill to gain, for the first time, an unobstructed view of the mountain with the big snow bank.  Pilot Creek was now closer than before, not as far below Lupe and SPHP as it had been.  A side creek with good flow was cascading very steeply into Pilot Creek from the E.  It originated from a high rocky ridge with some snow still present way up near the top.

Unfortunately SPHP had forgotten the camera.  Lupe and SPHP had gone a few miles along Pilot Creek trail.  The sky was clouding up like it was going to rain.  With no camera and rain coming, it was time to turn around.  The trip back to the trailhead was pleasant and very easy, since it was nearly all level or downhill.  Lupe had a good time barking at chipmunks.  SPHP enjoyed the view of the Beartooths, which were now directly ahead instead of behind.  It was a great welcome back to the Beartooths.  Lupe and SPHP met absolutely no one on the trail the entire time.

Back at the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River, there was no sign of the people from Cody.  They must decided they weren’t going to be happy camped next to Lupe and SPHP.  SPHP arranged all of the padding, blankets, and sleeping bags in the tent, then started making beef stew on the propane stove.  Before the beef stew was even ready, it started raining lightly.  Lupe and SPHP devoured the beef stew as soon as it was done.  It was starting to rain harder.

Lupe on the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone. Tent is set up just to the right of this photo. (Not pictured.)
Lupe on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone. Tent is set up just to the right of this photo. (Not pictured.)

Since the tent leaks (everything does in SPHP’s experience!), SPHP took all of the gear out of the tent and rearranged it back in the G6.  Rain meant a night in the G6.  Lupe was very tired from running around half the previous night on Bald Mountain.  SPHP was pretty weary too.  Soon both were passed out.  At least Lupe and SPHP had claimed their favorite spot on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River for the duration of Lupe’s stay in the Beartooths!

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2013 Beartooths & Canadian Rockies Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

Book Review: Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide by Ernie Lakusta

In early May, 2015, SPHP’s spouse presented SPHP with the book Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide by Ernie Lakusta as a gift.  This 160 page book was published in 2004 by Altitude Publishing Canada Ltd., The Canadian Rockies, 1500 Railway Avenue, Canmore, Alberta T1W 1P6.  ISBN  1-55153-636-6 (pbk.)

Lupe and SPHP spent much of Lupe’s 2013 & 2014 summer Dingo Vacations in the spectacular Canadian Rockies.  So SPHP was excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the region when SPHP received the Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide by Ernie Lakusta as a gift.

SPHP wasn’t exactly sure what the book was going to be about, but it turns out the title accurately describes it as a history explorer.  This is not a book for anyone looking for hiking/backpacking trails or mountaineering information for planning new excursions into the Canadian wilderness.  It is a book for anyone interested in the history of the exploration of the Banff and Lake Louise areas.

The Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide starts with some of what little is known about early settlement of the region by prehistoric peoples, but mainly deals with the history of exploration by those of European descent starting with the Palliser Expedition led by Captain John Palliser in 1858.  The book features many black and white photos of explorers, climbers, guides, politicians, and businessmen important during the frontier days and early development of the area.

The book’s chapters are organized mainly by geographical regions in and around Banff and Lake Louise.  There are maps showing the locations of many mountain peaks, rivers, lakes and glaciers.  In addition to the historical black and white photos, which focus mainly on individuals, there are many color photographs.  The color photographs mostly feature various mountain peaks, but also include waterfalls, lakes, rivers, glaciers, wildlife and other points of interest.  Within each region’s chapter, each of the most prominent mountains has a write-up of its own giving the summit elevation and anywhere from a paragraph to a page of historical information about the peak.

At the end of the book are a chronology, references, and an index.  The references list many sources of more detailed information which might be of interest to the reader.

SPHP enjoyed reading the many stories in Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide about the historical personalities and their connections to the mountains.  (SPHP was a little disappointed that Bill Peyto was not mentioned.)  SPHP especially enjoyed the color photographs and write ups on mountains Lupe and SPHP have seen during Lupe’s two trips to the Canadian Rockies.  Although the book contains no information on specific trails for present day exploring, SPHP did get some ideas on new places Lupe might want to check out the next time she and SPHP get back to the Canadian Rockies.

Overall, the Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide is an excellent concise introduction to the general history of the early exploration and settlement of the Canadian Rockies.  Reading it and seeing all the beautiful mountain photographs made SPHP eager to return to the Canadian Rockies with Lupe.  This book is a great souvenir of the Canadian Rockies, but if you want to get out and explore them you will need more detailed information from other sources.  The Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide can, however, give you ideas on where you might like to go.

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Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 136 – Cascade Falls (7-12-15)

Cascade Falls isn’t really much of a waterfall.  Instead, it is a short series of pools and rapids on Cascade Creek.  The small upstream pools are very clear and clean with swiftly flowing waters.  They are no more than 3 or 4 feet deep.  Just downstream of the small pools, Cascade Creek pours over a large fan-shaped mineral deposit 5 or 6 feet high into a big deep (over your head!) blue-green swimming hole.  There are more large pools farther downstream, but unlike the clear upstream pools, they tend to be mucky.  Very few tourists ever visit this remote location, but Cascade Falls is often busy with locals cooling off on hot summer days.

On 7-9-15, Xochitl flew in from Chicago.  Lupe and SPHP picked her up at the Rapid City regional airport.  She was in town for just a few days to visit friends and family.  Her plans included spending July 11th at her class reunion at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and celebrating her birthday on July 12th with family and friends at Cascade Falls.

On 7-10-15, Xochitl and SPHP went for a hike from Sylvan Lake up to Little Devil’s Tower (6,960 ft.).  This should have been Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 136 for Lupe, but sadly Lupe didn’t get to go.  She had to stay home due to injuries sustained on Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 135 on 6-27-15.  FrankenPuppy was a very dejected Dingo when SPHP told her she couldn’t come with.  She had gotten all worked up when SPHP had started packing up the backpack.  It really didn’t feel right at all to leave Lupe to mope on the floor, but it had to be done.

Cone-On the Luparian didn't get to go to Little Devil's Tower on 7-10-15. She had to stay home to continue healing up.
Cone-On the Luparian didn’t get to go to Little Devil’s Tower on 7-10-15. She had to stay home to continue healing up.
Xochitl at Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park on 7-10-15.
Mysterious Ms. X at Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park on 7-10-15.

P1060462P1060463P1060464The trek to Little Devil’s Tower proved to be a bit more than Xochitl had been expecting (like twice as much) and the round trip on the trail took more like 4+ hours than the 2 hours she had allotted, but she made it.  (SPHP’s fault for always being overly ambitious.)  Xochitl went to her class reunion on the 11th.

Thistle along the trail to Little Devil's Tower
Thistle along the trail to Little Devil’s Tower
Xochitl near Cathedral Spires on the way to Little Devil's Tower.
Xochitl near Cathedral Spires (6,840 ft.) on the way to Little Devil’s Tower.
Xochitl on Little Devil's Tower. Cathedral Spires in the background.
Xochitl on Little Devil’s Tower. Cathedral Spires in the background.
Marmot along the trail.
Marmot along the trail.

The 12th was Xochitl’s birthday and the last full day she was going to be in the Black Hills.  Since Lupe was soon going to get her staples and stitches out anyway on the 14th (which was days later than required by the veterinarians), SPHP decided Lupe may as well come with.  There wasn’t going to be any long trek where Lupe might re-injure herself, just some wading and swimming.  Lupe was ecstatic to be going anywhere!  Once in the G6, SPHP allowed Guille to take Lupe’s head cone off too, and it stayed off for the rest of the outing.  Loopster couldn’t believe her good luck – she was finally free of that torture device!

SPHP was somewhat reluctant to classify Lupe’s trip to Cascade Falls as one of her official Black Hills, SD Expeditions.  All her other expeditions have involved hikes through the mountains.  However, it wasn’t Lupe’s fault she got injured on Expedition No. 135.  SPHP decided to relent and consider this mere outing an official expedition.  Time to cut the wounded Carolina Dog a little slack!  So worthy of the title or not, Cascade Falls officially became Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 136 for Lupe.

Lupe arrived at Cascade Falls around 11:30 AM.  It was a hot, sunny day in the low 90’s – way too hot for a typical hiking expedition, but perfect for a day at Cascade.  Xochitl, Guille, Erik, Ana, Steve & SPHP were all there with Lupe, plus a ton of strangers enjoying the falls too.  There was a picnic with elk burgers, cherries, chips, lemonade, etc.  Lupe just stuck to her Taste of the Wild – even turning down perfectly good elk burgers for it!

Lupe in Cascade Creek. She liked walking (or running) along the shallow lip of the pool.
Lupe in Cascade Creek. She liked walking (or running) along the shallow lip of the pool.

After the picnic, Erik & Ana weren’t into swimming or even wading and left long before the rest of the gang did.  Lupe, SPHP and the rest of the gang made lots of treks back and forth from the picnic table down to the creek during the afternoon.  Lupe had been to Cascade Falls before, but never to spend the day in the creek.  She was having a good time, but sometimes seemed to be wondering what she was supposed to do or what was going to happen next.

Lupe and Guille at Cascade.
Lupe and Guille at Cascade.
Xochitl, Guille & Steve with Lupe at Cascade.
Xochitl, Guille & Steve with Lupe at Cascade.
Xochitl & Lupe at Cascade on Xochi's birthday.
Xochitl & Lupe at Cascade on Xochi’s birthday.

Lupe at Cascade 7-12-15Lupe at Cascade 7-12-15Many strangers were very kind to Lupe.  Some asked about her wound.  Others wanted to pet her.  Lupe enjoyed wading in the creek.  She really didn’t want to swim though.  She doesn’t like water over her head.  Those dingo paws want to be on terra firma.  She seemed genuinely concerned about Xochitl, Steve & SPHP whenever they swam in the big deep blue-green pool.  That dingo wasn’t about to leap in to rescue any of them, though, unless they showed more signs of distress.  American Dingoes aren’t fools, you know!

Lupe claims an island.
Lupe claims an island above the big pool.
Lupe in Cascade Creek 7-12-15
Lupe near her island.
Cascade Falls is just out of the Black Hills. Here Lupe is near the edge of the picnic ground. Cascade Creek is down in the trees. This photo looks WNW towards the surrounding countryside. It's very unusual for it to be so green approaching mid-July!
Cascade Falls is just out of the Black Hills. Here Lupe is near the edge of the picnic ground. Cascade Creek is down in the trees. This photo looks WNW towards the surrounding countryside. It’s very unusual for it to be so green approaching mid-July!

For Lupe, it was a most puzzling expedition.  SPHP had never just hung out in the water before.  And having all these people around was very strange, too.  On the other hand, she loved the attention from everyone and seemed to enjoy being cool and partly wet.  She was determined not to get completely wet, though.  It was funny to watch her immediately leap out of the deep water whenever she stepped into a pool where it got up to her chest.

I'm not so sure about this!
I’m not so sure about this!
Lupe asks Xochi if she is OK down there in the big pool. Is it really safe?
Lupe asks Xochi if she is OK down there in the big pool. Is it really safe?
You got yourself in there - you can just get yourself out!
You got yourself in there – you can just get yourself out!
Cascade Falls - the big swimming hole.
Cascade Falls – the big swimming hole.

A little after 5:30 PM, it was time to leave Cascade Falls.  Lupe was sleepy after all the activity and had a relaxing ride home in the G6.  Back home, Xochitl became head chef for her own birthday dinner of curry chicken sweet potatoes.  Steve, Erik & SPHP assisted to some degree.  Although dinner turned out to be quite yummy, Lupe held out for cake and ice cream when it was all over.

Xochitl's birthday!
Happy birthday Xochi!
Cake created by Pillsbury and SPHP!
Cake created by Pillsbury and SPHP!
Xochitl says good-bye to Cone-On the Luparian the morning of 7-13-15 before flying back to Chicago.
Xochitl says good-bye to Cone-On the Luparian the morning of 7-13-15 before flying back to Chicago.

Cascade Falls is easy to find.  It is about 10 miles S of Hot Springs, SD on the W side of Hwy 71 (a mile N of the Cheyenne River) at the very S end of the Black Hills of South Dakota.  On flat grassland overlooking the creek is a gravel parking lot, a few covered picnic tables, and a restroom.  No water or other services are available.  There are no fees or permits required.  There is no lifeguard – just a delightful old-fashioned swim/wade at your own risk creek and swimming hole!

Cascade Creek originates just 2 or 3 miles upstream at a series of warm water springs (67°F).  There is another picnic ground called Cascade Springs 2 miles closer to Hot Springs than Cascade Falls.  That picnic ground is more shaded by trees and the creek flows through it, but there is no swimming hole there.  Other attractions near Cascade Falls include the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Evans Plunge and the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, SD, and Wind Cave National Park N of Hot Springs.

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s Black Hills Expeditions Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

Hesse Mountain, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming (8-6-14)

It seemed like a very long night.  SPHP kept waking up expecting it to be dawn, but it wasn’t.  Finally dawn came.  The sky was about 50% clear with some haze – a promising start to the day.  Lupe and SPHP were on USFS Road No. 28 at Merle Creek in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming.

Disappointingly, by the time breakfast was done, the sky was completely overcast.  SPHP drove Lupe over to USFS Road No. 29 off Hwy 16 near Hesse Mountain (10,385 ft.) and Hazelton Pyramid (10,534 ft.).  Both peaks were socked in the fog with the darkest clouds around.

Hesse Mountain (L) and Hazelton Pyramid (R). This shot was taken after Lupe had climbed Hesse Mountain from near Road No. 29 and Hwy 16.
Hesse Mountain (L) and Hazelton Pyramid (R). This shot was taken from near Road No. 29 and Hwy 16 after Lupe had climbed Hesse Mountain.

Hope sprang from a patch of blue sky to the W.  SPHP decided Lupe should try Hesse even in the clouds.  If the fog lifted, Lupe would go on to Hazelton Pyramid.  If not, Hesse Mountain would be Lupe’s last peakbagging success of her grand summer of 2014 Dingo Vacation to the Canadian Rockies and Beartooths.  SPHP took USFS Road No. 444 to Munkres Pass and parked the G6.  Lupe left for Hesse Mountain at 8:20 AM.  It was 48°F and calm.  Hesse Mountain was still in the fog.

Hesse Mountain
Hesse Mountain in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming.  The high point near the center is the true summit, though it is a very close contest with the high point on the left.

There was no trail, but Hesse Mountain is only about 1.25 miles SE of Munkres Pass as the crow flies.  Lupe and SPHP climbed through the forest.  Eventually Lupe reached tree line.  Fog was now swirling around the mountain.  At times Lupe and SPHP could see the summit or in other directions.  Visibility was good enough to guide Lupe to the top.  The area above tree line was dominated by boulder fields interspersed with some grassy areas which became increasingly scarce as Lupe gained elevation.

Lupe nearing the summit of Hesse Mountain.
Lupe nearing the summit of Hesse Mountain.
Looking back towards the N high point (not the true summit) on Hesse Mountain.
Looking back towards the NE high point (not the true summit, but almost as high) on Hesse Mountain.
Near the summit of Hesse Mountain.
Near the summit of Hesse Mountain.

Lupe reached the summit of Hesse Mountain and found a cairn there.  On the other side of the mountain was a steep drop.  Soon fog moved in and completely shut off all views.

Reluctantly, SPHP decided this was it.  There was no sense in having Lupe try to go on to Hazelton Pyramid, which was seldom even in view with all the fog.  With no trails, if the fog moved in and stayed, it would be easy to get turned around and lost.  It didn’t seem that likely, but on the other hand, the Beartooths to the W where Lupe had just come from had been overcast and drippy for several days.  The weather in the Bighorns usually comes from that direction.

Success! Lupe at the Hesse Mountain summit 8-6-14.
Success! Lupe at the Hesse Mountain summit 8-6-14.

Lupe seemed perfectly happy with her ascent of Hesse Mountain.  SPHP was happy with it, too.  At least Lupe had gotten to the summit of Hesse, even if Hazelton Pyramid had to be left for another day on another dingo vacation.  On the way back down, the fog continued to swirl around and come and go.  At times, the views were pretty good.  Five or ten minutes later, the clouds would close in again.  It felt kind of mystical.  Views came and went in unpredictable directions.

The lower NW high point on Hesse Mountain.
The lower NW high point on Hesse Mountain.
Rocks near Hesse Mountain summit.
Rocks near Hesse Mountain summit.
Looking N towards Hwy 16 from Hesse Mountain.
Looking N towards Hwy 16 from Hesse Mountain.

Lupe reached the G6 again at 12:22 PM.  It was a pleasant 65°F, still overcast, calm and almost foggy.  Lupe and SPHP had lunch near the stone pillar at Munkres Pass before heading out.

SPHP hatched another peakbagging plan for Lupe.  Even though she was about to leave the Bighorn Mountains, she might still go up to Warren Peaks (6,650 ft.) or climb Inyan Kara (6,360 ft.) in the Black Hills of Wyoming on the way home.  It didn’t happen.  At a gas station convenience store in Buffalo, WY there was news on the TV about severe storms and flooding in the Black Hills.

Lupe and SPHP just cruised E on I-90 back to the Black Hills of South Dakota and home.  The 74th annual Black Hills Motorcycle Classic was going on in Sturgis, SD.  It was kind of fun to be packed in with huge numbers of motorcyclists flocking to the area.  There were still big clouds around, but the storms seemed to be over in the Black Hills by the time Lupe reached them.

Shortly before 6:00 PM, Lupe arrived home.  Her great summer of 2014 Dingo Vacation all the way to the Canadian Rockies and back was over.  Lupe had been gone 23 days, 22 nights and traveled 3,288 miles in the G6.  Dingoes are very practical.  They don’t dwell on the past or statistics much.  If Lupe was sad that it was all over, she didn’t show it.  As soon as she got home, Lupe happily ran next door to Dog Heaven to hit up the neighbors for a treat.

Hesse Mountain in the Bighorns was Lupe's last peakbagging success of her summer of 2014 Dingo Vacation.
Hesse Mountain in the Bighorns was Lupe’s last peakbagging success of her summer of 2014 Dingo Vacation.

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2014 Canadian Rockies & Beartooths Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

High Park Lookout & Sheep Mountain, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming (8-5-14)

SPHP woke up in the G6 about 7:30 AM on the morning of 8-4-14.  Lupe and SPHP were parked near their favorite camping spot on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River in the Beartooth Mountains.  The previous day Lupe and SPHP had spent a wonderful long day climbing Lonesome Mountain, the highest mountain Lupe has ever climbed so far.  The sky was overcast, but not too dark.  SPHP had hopes of pitching the tent next to the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone, and spending a lazy recovery day there with Lupe while plotting new adventures in the Beartooths.

It was not to be.  Although by 11:30 AM SPHP was able to claim Lupe’s favorite camping site, it started to rain.  The rain lasted for several hours and then quit.  The skies remained heavily overcast.  The tent didn’t get set up.  The mosquitoes were bad.  The skies never cleared.  Everything outside was sopping wet.  No ray of sun appeared.  Lupe and SPHP spent most of the day in the G6 resting up and waiting for the weather to break.  It looked like it could start raining again at any moment.  Another night was spent in the G6.

On 8-5-14, SPHP woke up at 6:45 AM.  52°F and still heavily overcast, almost foggy.  Lupe was well rested again by now.  There wasn’t going to be any keeping the lively dingo satisfied with another day in the G6.  SPHP’s plans for more Lupe adventures in the Beartooths had to be scrapped.  It was time to move on.  Lupe and SPHP headed for Cody, WY via the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Hwy 296 and then Hwy 120.  Lupe’s 2014 Dingo Vacation to the Canadian Rockies & Beartooth Mountains was rapidly drawing to a close.

It wasn’t over yet, though.  The fog and clouds were hanging over the mountains to the W, but Lupe and SPHP drove out into the sunshine even before reaching the pass on Hwy 296.  SPHP still had a few adventures in mind for Lupe.  After  fueling up in Cody, just to see something new Lupe and SPHP continued SE on Hwy 120 through Meeteetse all the way to Thermopolis.  Lupe was happy just to be moving again with the opportunity to bark at cows and horses along the way.  Neither SPHP nor Lupe had ever taken this route before, so it was all new and interesting.

Most of the way from Cody to Thermopolis was like much of Wyoming – sagebrush, dry high plains with ridges and buttes all around and higher mountains in the distance.  Very Old West looking and largely unspoiled.  Meeteetse is in the Greybull River valley where there were some green trees, green irrigated fields, and a little more going on.  Meeteetse itself is less than 400 population.  Thermopolis was considerably larger, around 3,000 population.  It is named after natural hot springs in the area.  After days spent outdoors, SPHP was pretty grimy.  SPHP was looking forward to the hot springs as a great relaxing way to get cleaned up.

Lupe at the Stegosaurus roaming the grounds at the Thermopolis hot springs.
Lupe roaming the grounds at the Thermopolis hot springs with a Stegosaurus.  American Dingoes are natural born leaders.

Fortunately the day hadn’t heated up much yet, with temperatures still around a comfortable 70°F.  SPHP left Lupe in the G6 parked in the shade with the windows partially down.  She set about entertaining herself by watching squirrels in the trees.  SPHP spent a pleasant hour and a half in the pools or on the waterslide at the State Bath House, and returned much revived to the by-now bored dingo in the G6.  Nothing promotes an appreciation of cleanliness like long days spent outdoors.

It was time to head for the Bighorn Mountains!  The drive on Hwy 16/20 from Thermopolis to Worland was flat and dull with little to commend it, but heading E from Worland to Ten Sleep on Hwy 16 was another matter.  The scenery was wild, remote and dramatic.  At Ten Sleep, SPHP noticed that Dirty Sally’s was still open, but didn’t stop.  E of Ten Sleep, Hwy 16 started up beautiful Ten Sleep canyon into the Bighorns.

A little over a mile past the lodge on Meadowlark Lake, SPHP turned S on FS road No. 429.  SPHP parked the G6 just off No. 429 close to the highway.  Lupe was certainly ready to get out and stretch her legs again.  No. 429 is a gravel road that leads about a mile up through mostly open meadows to a forest near High Park Lookout (9,477 ft.).  There is a small parking lot at the edge of the forest.  A 15 minute hiking trail winds up through the forest to the old lookout tower.  The now unmanned lookout tower is closed to the public due to a broken support beam.

Lupe along road No. 429 on her way to High Park Lookout in the Bighorn Mountains. No. 429 is accessed via Hwy 16 a little over a mile SE of Meadowlark Lake.
Lupe along road No. 429 on her way to High Park Lookout in the Bighorn Mountains. No. 429 is accessed via Hwy 16 a little over a mile SE of Meadowlark Lake.

Lupe and SPHP followed No. 429 and then the hiking trail to the High Park Lookout summit.  From some rocks near the lookout tower the best views were toward Meadowlark Lake to the NW and the higher mountains to the NNE.  On the way back down to the G6, Lupe followed the trail to the little parking lot, but did not follow No. 429 again.

Instead, Lupe and SPHP took a shortcut through the beautiful high country meadows and a small forest.  That got Lupe more into the spirit of things than just following the road.  She started sniffing and exploring around more enthusiastically.

Lupe at the High Park Lookout in the Bighorn Mountains. Photo looks N.
Lupe at the High Park Lookout in the Bighorn Mountains. Photo looks N.
At look back up at High Park Lookout. Lupe was already on her way back to the G6. Photo looks S.
At look back up at High Park Lookout. Lupe was already on her way back to the G6. Photo looks S.

From High Park Lookout, Lupe and SPHP had seen lots of clouds around.  To the N where the Cloud Peak Wilderness is, all the high country was lost in dark clouds and fog.  Any thoughts SPHP had of taking Lupe to Cloud Peak were dashed.

There were fewer clouds to the S though, and SPHP started thinking about climbing Hazelton Pyramid as a substitute.  Consulting the maps, SPHP found it might be possible to hike three 10,000+ foot peaks easily enough in a day – Hesse Mountain (10,382 ft.), Hazelton Pyramid (10,534 ft.), and Hazelton Peak (10,264 ft.).  SPHP decided Lupe would try it the next day.

Lupe and SPHP headed E on Hwy 16 over Powder River Pass.  About a mile E of Powder River Pass, SPHP turned S on gravel road No. 29 and about 1/8 mile later onto USFS Road No. 448.  Half a mile later Lupe arrived at Munkres Pass.  Hesse Mountain and Hazelton Pyramid had been visible from No. 29 and looked like easy climbs.  SPHP was satisfied that Munkres Pass was a good starting point for Hesse Mountain the next day.

Lupe and SPHP left Munkres Pass to find water and a place to park for the night.  Water was found at Lost Cabin campground, and SPHP was fortunate to find a dispersed camping spot along gravel road No. 28 just after it crossed Merle Creek.

The G6 at the dispersed camping site on Merle Creek.
The G6 at the dispersed camping site on Merle Creek.

Lupe was quite happy with Merle Creek, a rushing little stream where she was able to drink and lay down to get cooled off.  She soon found squirrels to bark at in the surrounding forest, always a major dingo benefit.  SPHP checked the map and saw that only another 1.5 miles from Merle Creek, road No. 28 ended at the Sheep Mountain (9,610 ft.) lookout tower.  Leaving the G6 at Merle Creek to claim the spot, Lupe and SPHP set out along No. 28 to go see the views from Sheep Mountain.

The lookout tower at the top of Sheep Mountain.
The lookout tower at the top of Sheep Mountain.

There wasn’t much to see.  By the time Lupe and SPHP reached the top of Sheep Mountain, there was fog in every direction.  Dark clouds and thunder were to the E, but were moving farther away out onto the prairie beyond the Bighorns.   No one else was around.  Lupe and SPHP got up on the platform around the top of the lookout tower.  SPHP took a few photos.

The area immediately around the tower was not yet in the fog, but it was close by on all sides.  Less than 10 minutes after Lupe left, the Sheep Mountain Lookout Tower itself disappeared in the fog.  On the way back, instead of following the road, Lupe and SPHP headed down the SW slope of Sheep Mountain going almost directly back to the G6 through a big opening in the forest.

A happy American Dingo arrives at the Sheep Mountain lookout tower to see what there is to see.
A happy American Dingo arrives at the Sheep Mountain lookout tower to see what there is to see.
Normally the views would be great from Sheep Mountain. When Lupe was there, not so much.
Normally the views would be great from Sheep Mountain. When Lupe was there, not so much.
Lupe on the Sheep Mountain lookout tower.
Look, SPHP!  The view is almost as good with my eyes closed!

Despite the fog, the trek up Sheep Mountain had still been a pleasant excursion.  Once back at the G6, Lupe had some Alpo and entertained herself barking at squirrels.  Dusk came on.  The squirrels called it a day and disappeared.  Without the squirrels around, Lupe realized she was kind of tired too.  She wanted to get in the G6.  There she curled up for the night on her throne of blankets and pillows.  SPHP stayed up sitting on a big stone next to Merle Creek until it was too dark to write.

Lupe in Merle Creek, Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, 8-5-14
Lupe in Merle Creek, Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, 8-5-14

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2014 Canadian Rockies & Beartooths Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

Lonesome Mountain in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana (8-3-14)

The highest peak Lupe has ever climbed to date is Lonesome Mountain (11,399 ft.) in the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains.  Lupe and SPHP first saw Lonesome Mountain on a day hike with Lanis on Lupe’s first ever big Dingo Vacation in the summer of 2012.  Lupe and SPHP returned to the area for two more treks, one to Two Bits Lake and another to Sky Pilot Lake during Lupe’s 2013 summer Dingo Vacation.  There are other higher ridges and peaks around, but Lonesome Mountain stands separate and alone in all its glory.  SPHP always thought it looked potentially climbable from the S by an adventurous little Carolina Dog.

This long day hike starts at the Island Lake Trailhead near the Island Lake campground on the N side of the Beartooth Highway No. 212 in NW Wyoming.  The Island Lake campground is approximately 2 miles E of the Top of the World Store & Motel or roughly 15 miles E of Hwy 212’s junction with the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Hwy 296.  The hike starts at Island Lake (elevation 9,518 ft.) and gains less than 500 ft. all the way to Albino Lake (elevation 10,000 ft.) at the foot of Lonesome Mountain.  Then the real work begins.

Lupe and SPHP left the Little Belt mountains of Montana on the morning of August 2, 2014, after climbing King’s Hill.  The plan was to head for the Beartooth Mountains in NW Wyoming and southern Montana.  Lupe took Hwy 89 down to White Sulphur Springs and eventually all the way S to I-90.  This was a very pretty scenic drive through big rounded mountains of the Little Belt range, soon followed by high rolling prairie and wide river valleys.  It all looked very Old West and mostly still unspoiled.

SPHP stopped at a city park along the N bank of the Yellowstone River after getting food and gas in Columbus, MT.  Lupe drank out of the Yellowstone River and cooled off in it.  She also managed to find something very stinky to roll in to hide her scent.  SPHP objected to her proudly worn new scent.  Lupe had to get back in the river again to wash it off.  From Columbus, Lupe took Hwy 78 to Red Lodge, MT and then Hwy 212 up and over fabulous Beartooth Pass (elevation 10,947′).

Lupe and SPHP arrived at their favorite camping spot on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River by mid-afternoon, but the site SPHP wanted wasn’t available.  Lupe and SPHP hung around enjoying the beauty of the location while waiting to see if the site would open up.  After a few hours, it did!  SPHP ran for the G6, turned the key – and nothing happened.  The battery was dead!  It started to rain.  The windows were open and couldn’t be closed.  An error message on the G6 said “Service Traction”.  This helpful message went unmentioned in the owner’s manual.

Eventually two people appeared and were kind enough to give the G6 a jump.  Lupe and SPHP headed for Cody, WY over the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway in rain, lightning, thunder and hail.  A double rainbow cheerily appeared on the E side of the pass.  It was late on Saturday evening when Lupe reached Cody.  SPHP found a Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart was a great place to be since it had almost anything Lupe or SPHP might desire, was open all night, and a new battery for the G6 could be had there in the morning.  After getting a sandwich at the Subway in Wal-Mart (plus 3 free cookies they were about to throw away because it was closing time), SPHP tried the G6.  It fired right up!  Maybe the battery wasn’t really bad.

The night was spent in the G6 in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  SPHP dreamed wild and vivid dreams, but Lupe slept soundly.  Or maybe she always has wild and vivid dreams.  Sometimes she twitches.  It was already very late, after 8 AM, by the time SPHP regained consciousness on Sunday morning.  The G6 started right up again!  Nevertheless, SPHP talked to a gentleman in the Wal-Mart automotive center.  They couldn’t diagnose or fix complicated problems, but they could install a new battery.  The gentleman suggested waiting until Monday to take the G6 to a repair shop.

SPHP had a better idea.  Why not drive all the way back to the Beartooths and make the most of the day?  The secret was to park the G6 so it would be easy to get another jump if the battery pooped out again.  Lupe was going to climb Lonesome Mountain!  It was 10:13 AM, clear, calm and a perfect 61°F when Lupe and SPHP left the quirky G6 at the Island Lake trailhead in the Beartooths.  The mosquitoes were bad and SPHP was slathered with unhealthy DEET.

Lots of people were around on the trail, which headed N on the W side of Island Lake.  A guy from Michigan said it was supposed to rain at 3 PM.  This was concerning.  There were already some clouds on the western horizon.  One lady reported having seen a grizzly bear and two cubs just 10 minutes before Lupe and SPHP came along.  Lupe wasn’t even past Island Lake yet.  The fishermen SPHP talked to were all having good success catching fish – mostly cutthroat trout.

Lonesome Mountain from near Becker Lake.
Lonesome Mountain from near Becker Lake.  Lupe climbed up near the left side.

The trail passed through gorgeous territory.  This may be the best hike Lupe and SPHP have ever been on outside of the Canadian Rockies.  There were beautiful wildflowers everywhere.  The mountain scenery was impressive.  Lupe and SPHP passed a succession of splendid alpine lakes – Island Lake, Night Lake, Flake Lake, Mutt & Jeff Lakes, and Becker Lake.  There was only one trail intersection to watch for, which was a right turn 2.5 miles from the start (at the S end of Island Lake) onto the trail that goes between Mutt & Jeff Lakes.  The only bad thing was the mosquitoes.  Lupe really couldn’t stop anywhere for more than a few minutes before they came swarming in.

N of Becker Lake, Lupe and SPHP left Wyoming and entered Montana.  There was no sign.  At the S end of Albino Lake at 10,000 feet it was time to leave the trail.  Lonesome Mountain loomed high above Albino Lake just to the W.  Lupe and SPHP turned SW and headed for the big ridge that projects SSE from Lonesome Mountain.  Once up on the ridge, Lupe discovered lots of hidden ponds and deep snow banks.  Lupe and SPHP turned NNW and headed for the summit of Lonesome Mountain scrambling up and down over big granite ridges.

Albino Lake from the SW near where Lupe left the trail. This shot was actually taken in the evening when Lupe returned to the trail.
Albino Lake from the SW near where Lupe left the trail. This shot was actually taken in the evening when Lupe returned to the trail.
Eventually the climb turned into just a scramble over huge boulder fields all the rest of the way to the top of Lonesome Mountain.  Lupe is an excellent scrambler and could have been at the top of the mountain long before SPHP got there.  The weather started deteriorating all around as Lupe and SPHP scrambled ever higher on the mountain.  SPHP’s progress over the big boulders was painfully slow.  Lupe was always appearing nearby looking like a true explorer surveying the world from the heights of various boulders. 

As SPHP finally got close to the top of Lonesome Mountain, the rumble of thunder could be heard in the distance.  A big rainstorm was in progress some miles to the S.  Fortunately, SPHP did not see any cloud to ground lightning.  Lupe and SPHP finally reached the top of Lonesome Mountain.  The view was spectacular.  Lupe and SPHP could see lots of lakes and mountains that SPHP hadn’t ever seen before except on maps.

Lupe on Lonesome Mountain 8-3-14
Lupe on Lonesome Mountain 8-3-14
Looking S from Lonesome Mountain. Island Lake is the most distant larger lake toward the center. Part of Becker Lake is seen much closer on the left. Beauty Lake is on the right.
Looking S from Lonesome Mountain. Island Lake is the largest distant lake toward the center.  Night Sky Lake is right next to Island Lake but closer and smaller.  Part of Becker Lake is seen much closer on the left. Beauty Lake is the largest and most distant lake on the right.
Beartooth Butte from Lonesome Mountain. The long skinny lake is Lonesome Lake.
Beartooth Butte from Lonesome Mountain. The long skinny lake is Lonesome Lake.
The view to the NNE of Lonesome Mountain. A portion of Jasper Lake is seen at the lower left.
The view to the NNE of Lonesome Mountain. A portion of Jasper Lake is seen at the lower left.

A woman on the trail between Albino and Becker Lakes had told SPHP she tried to climb Lonesome Mountain earlier this day, but ran out of time.  She told SPHP that the summit in view was a false summit.  Lupe and SPHP had climbed the false summit.  Quite a distance to the NW, SPHP could see another summit separated from where Lupe was by a big drop-off and then a saddle consisting of another boulder field.  It all looked very possible to get over to the true summit easily enough, but it was late in the day already and would have taken at least an hour to get over there.

The NW high point of Lonesome Mountain is seen in the distance and may be nominally higher than the high point Lupe climbed.
The NW high point of Lonesome Mountain is seen in the distance and may be nominally higher than the high point Lupe climbed.

In a way it really didn’t matter – the true summit looked to be at essentially the same elevation as the false summit.  A check of SPHP’s maps showed both summits within the same elevation contours.  The difference in height between the two summits can only be a matter of 0-20 feet.  (Later on SPHP found out that on Peakbagger.com the false summit at 10,399′ which Lupe did climb is listed as the high point on the mountain, although a 10,400′ contour is shown to the NW.  SPHP’s Alpine Quadrangle of the Absaroka-Beartooth mountains shows a height of 10,409′ to the NW.)

Lupe on Lonesome Mountain 8-3-14
Lupe on Lonesome Mountain 8-3-14

Lupe and SPHP would have loved to stay up on the summit (false or not) of Lonesome Mountain to enjoy the views while figuring out which lake below was which.  However, although current conditions were just cool with a light breeze, Lonesome Mountain was now surrounded by threatening weather.

To the S there was a big storm going on.  Dark clouds hung just over the huge ridge to the NE.  Back at Island Lake where Lupe had come from, SPHP could see it was raining hard.  Off to the W an ominous line of dark clouds and showers was approaching.  A cloudburst was going on to the SW.  SPHP was pretty certain rain was going to hit within 30 minutes.  Rain wouldn’t be too bothersome, and even hail might be avoidable under the shelter of a big boulder, but lightning would be potentially deadly.

Looking NW toward the possible true summit of Lonesome Mountain. Some maps indicate it might be 10,409 feet, whereas the summit Lupe climbed may be only 10,399 feet. Close enough for Dingo play!
Looking NW toward the possible true summit of Lonesome Mountain. Some maps indicate it might be 10,409 feet, whereas the summit Lupe climbed may be only 10,399 feet. Close enough for Dingo play, especially with stormy weather around!

SPHP snapped  a few quick photos and told Lupe it was time to get down off Lonesome Mountain ASAP.  So began the scramble down.  It took quite a long time, but not as long as going up.  SPHP thought about going down by Lonesome Lake, which could be seen clearly to the SW.  Lupe and SPHP have never been there before.  That whole area looked full of lakes easy to reach.  It would have been fun to explore there, but a look at the map showed it would be a longer hike back to the G6.  SPHP knew Lupe was going to be late enough getting back to the G6 as it was.

About 20 minutes after Lupe started down, it did start to rain, but it never rained hard.  Lupe and SPHP only got sprinkled on, and even that only lasted maybe 20 minutes.  Eventually the skies to the W cleared.  The storm to the S still rumbled.  There was some cloud to ground lightning, but it was far away.  It became apparent Lupe and SPHP were not going to get caught in any significant storm.

It took Lupe and SPHP a long time to work their way back down to Albino Lake.  The were-puppy liked to attack SPHP on the big snow banks that had to be traversed, but SPHP was now in too much of a hurry to play the were-puppy game.  On one snow bank SPHP suddenly noticed a dark pink, almost red color on Lupe’s white vest and paws.

Lupe wanted to play the were-puppy game on the snow banks on Lonesome Mountain.
Lupe wanted to play the were-puppy game on the snow banks on Lonesome Mountain.

Initially SPHP thought maybe Lupe was injured and bleeding from some mishap in the boulder fields, but upon examination it proved to be just some of the pink coloration that is common on the old snow banks here.  Lupe certainly acted like she felt not only fine, but terrific!  Once down out of all the super rocky stuff up on the ridge, Lupe took off running great distances at top speed racing here and there over the heather.  She had an absolutely wonderful time.

Nope, not blood. Just pink stuff from the snow on the puppy.
Nope, not blood. Just pink stuff from the snow on the puppy.

Lupe and SPHP rejoined the trail at Albino Lake.  They went long distances on the trail without seeing anyone.  The last sunlight to shine on Lupe was at Becker Lake.  Other day hikers had already returned to the trailhead.  Backpackers had already reached their camping destinations.  Lupe and SPHP met just a very few people, but otherwise the trail was empty.  It grew so dark it was hard to see the trail, but SPHP didn’t use the flashlight until the final major stream crossing at the outlet from Island Lake.  The campground was totally dark and quiet.

Lupe arrived at the G6 at 10:09 PM.  It was 44 degrees F.  SPHP fed Lupe some Taste of the Wild and Alpo.  She was tired.  SPHP was tired too.  Thankfully, the G6 started up.  SPHP drove in the darkness back to Lupe’s favorite spot on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River for another night in the G6.  At nearly 12 hours, this hike proved to be Lupe’s last really long day hike of her 2014 Dingo Vacation to the Canadian Rockies & Beartooth Mountains.  Climbing Lonesome Mountain had been a wonderful time.  Lupe agreed it sure beat spending the day cooped up in the G6 in the Wal-Mart parking lot!

Beartooth Butte from Lonesome Mountain 8-3-14
Beartooth Butte (10,514 ft.) from Lonesome Mountain 8-3-14

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2014 Canadian Rockies & Beartooths Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

Porphyry Peak (8-1-14) & King’s Hill (8-2-14), Montana

Lupe did her Pretty Puppy Parade one last time up and down both sides of Banff Avenue on the evening of July 31, 2014.  The Pretty Puppy Parade is really just an evening stroll on a leash through the crowds of tourists in beautiful downtown Banff, Canada.  Lupe often draws the attention of some people in the crowd, and gets to sniff with other doggies too.  During Lupe’s 2013 and 2014 visits to the Canadian Rockies, the Banff Pretty Puppy Parade has grown to be an evening tradition.

Sometimes SPHP feels kind of bad about the Pretty Puppy Parade.  Lupe often wants to go into the various interesting and exciting stores and restaurants that have their doors open to the street.  Lupe looks happily and expectantly at the open doorways and back at SPHP.  Clearly she is expecting and hoping SPHP is really going to take her shopping or dining out!  Of course, SPHP always has to disappoint her and tell Lupe she can’t go inside.  It’s a hard thing to do to the beloved dingo when she has such a big excited grin and believes you can make all good things happen for her.

The next morning was August 1st.  Lupe and SPHP woke up at 6 AM still in Banff.  It was time to leave.  Lupe’s annual Canadian National Parks Pass, which SPHP had purchased in July, 2013, had expired at midnight.  Lupe and SPHP immediately left Banff National Park heading E on Hwy 1 towards Calgary.  After messing up the route through Calgary, SPHP finally got the G6 heading S on Hwy 2.  It was a beautiful day and everything was fine.  Naturally, SPHP had to change something.

Desiring a less busy highway, SPHP turned E at High River on Hwy 23.  For 10 or 12 miles, things were still fine.  Then the left front tire on the G6 suddenly deflated.  Totally flat in seconds.  SPHP was changing the tire when a friendly Canadian in a big pickup truck stopped and offered to help.  The little toy spare tire that came with the G6 was soon on and the friendly Canadian left.

The G6 didn’t like the little toy spare tire.  The low traction light came on and the G6 didn’t drive well at all.  SPHP stopped for a look.  The little toy spare tire hadn’t been used or aired up in years.  It was also nearly flat.  Not a good thing.  However, nearly flat was not the same as totally flat.  SPHP got back in the G6.  For some inexplicable reason it now drove better.  The low traction light did not come on again.  With the flashers on, SPHP drove on the paved shoulder at speeds between 40 and 45 mph.

Lupe and SPHP eventually made it to the little town of Vulcan, Canada on Hwy 24.  Fountain Tire was the only tire store in all of Vulcan.  They had only one tire that would fit the G6 in stock.  Someone had ordered it and then decided against purchasing it.  Maybe it was the $260.00+ price Fountain Tire wanted for it.  SPHP could have bought at least 2 tires for the G6 for that price back home in the U.S.  Faced with such an outrageous price, SPHP immediately summoned all negotiating skills.  “I’ll take it.” said SPHP.  Fountain Tire threw in a free tire rotation and Lupe was soon on her way again.

By 7:30 PM, Lupe was back in the states at King’s Hill Pass in the Little Belt Mountains of Montana where Lupe had spent the first night of this vacation on July 15th.  Back then everything had been wet and lush.  Now things were still green, but everything was dry.  The temperature was thankfully only 66 °F.  Earlier in Great Falls, the G6 was registering 96 °F.  Lupe and SPHP went up to the top of Porphyry Peak (8,192 ft.) again.  This time Lupe even climbed up the ranger tower as far as she could go, although the top platform couldn’t be reached since the hatch was locked.

Lupe on top of King's Hill in the Little Belt Mountains of Montana on the morning of 8-2-14. Porphyry Peak where the Showdown Montana ski resort is located is seen in the distance.
Lupe on top of King’s Hill in the Little Belt Mountains of Montana on the morning of 8-2-14. Porphyry Peak where the Showdown Montana ski resort is located is seen in the distance.

From Porphyry Peak, SPHP studied King’s Hill (8,008 ft.) to the E just across Hwy 89.  SPHP concluded there were at least two ways to get up there without much trouble.  The next morning, August 2nd, Lupe and SPHP followed a road around the S end of King’s Hill on up to the top.  It was a beautiful morning.  Even though Lupe had left the wonderful Canadian Rockies behind, there was still fun ahead.  Dingo Vacation 2015 wasn’t over yet.

Lupe on King's Hill, Montana 8-2-14. Photo is looking S.
Lupe on King’s Hill, Montana 8-2-14. Photo is looking S.

Lupe and SPHP took a shortcut down the N slope of King’s Hill under a big power line.  Then they hopped in the G6 and took off for Beartooth Pass and the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River.  New dingo adventures lay ahead!

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2014 Canadian Rockies & Beartooths Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

Athabasca Falls & Miette Hot Springs, Jasper National Park, Canada (7-30-14)

The Athabasca River originates at the Columbia Glacier, part of the Columbia Icefield in the Canadian Rockies.  By the time the Athabasca reaches Athabasca Falls 30 km S of Jasper on the W side of the Icefields Parkway Hwy 93, it is already a large river.  The Athabasca flows NE out of the Canadian Rockies to Athabasca Lake.  Eventually the waters of the Athabasca reach Great Slave Lake and become part of the Mackenzie River system which flows NW into the Arctic Ocean.  Athabasca Falls is 24 meters in height and a major tourist attraction.  Parking lots and viewpoints can be accessed from Hwy 93A.

Lupe and SPHP woke up at 6:17 AM on July 30, 2014 to see sunrise on Mount Athabasca (11,453 ft.).  It was already an incredibly warm 47 °F out.  SPHP first heard and then saw a big chunk of ice and snow falling off the side of Snow Dome (11,483 ft.) as dawn was breaking.  The night had been clear and filled with amazing stars.  Yesterday Lupe had been on wonderful hikes in the area to Parker Ridge and Wilcox Pass.  It was time to press on to the N.

Mount Athabasca at dawn 7-30-14
Mount Athabasca at dawn 7-30-14

SPHP stopped at Sunwapta Falls to let Lupe see the falls again (she had been here in 2013) and stretch her legs on the trail for a little while.  From Sunwapta Falls, Lupe and SPHP continued N to SPHP’s favorite picnic area in Jasper National Park.  This picnic area is just off the W side of Icefields Parkway Hwy No. 93 perhaps 8 to 10 km S of Athabasca Falls.  For some reason it is unmarked and easy to pass by, but it is located in a forested area right next to the E bank of the mighty Athabasca River.

Sunwapta Falls. The Sunwapta River starts at the Athabasca Glacier and is a tributary of the Athabasca River.
Sunwapta Falls. The Sunwapta River starts at the Athabasca Glacier and is a tributary of the Athabasca River.

Lupe entertained herself playing with a tennis ball and barking at squirrels.  SPHP had breakfast and watched the river roll on by.  It was going to be a very hot day for the Canadian Rockies and the Athabasca was running high.  SPHP dawdled with little chores at the picnic ground for a while.  No one else was around.  The shade of the forest was pleasant and the view of high mountains to the W of the river was inspiring.

Looking downstream along the Athabasca river from SPHP's favorite picnic ground in Jasper National Park.
Looking downstream along the Athabasca river from SPHP’s favorite picnic ground in Jasper National Park.
Looking W across the Athabasca River from the picnic grounds.
Looking W across the Athabasca River from the picnic grounds.

It was just a 10 minute drive to Athabasca Falls from the picnic area.  The place was packed with tourists.  Lupe and SPHP had to wait for their turn at many of the lookout points.  The falls were amazing, though.  The huge flow of water thundered into the solid rock channel beneath the falls.   Trapped in the narrow channel it churned and frothed before flowing out into a wide open area a short distance downstream.  Below the falls and the narrow channel, whitewater rafters were heading out for a trip downriver.

Athabasca Falls 7-30-14
Athabasca Falls 7-30-14
Lupe at Athabasca Falls
Lupe at Athabasca Falls
The narrow channel below Athabasca Falls.
The narrow channel below Athabasca Falls.
Rafters set out below Athabasca Falls. The river has been this gray, silt laden color every time Lupe has seen it.
Rafters set out below Athabasca Falls. The river has been this gray, silt laden color every time Lupe has seen it.
Athabasca Falls is 24 meters high and rated Class V. Class V = Don't even think about it!
Athabasca Falls is 24 meters high and rated Class V. Class V = Don’t even think about it!
Just above Athabasca Falls.
Just above Athabasca Falls.

Lupe and SPHP spent about 45 minutes at Athabasca Falls before continuing on to Jasper.  It was 85 °F a little after noon when Lupe arrived.  Jasper was packed with tourists.  SPHP took Lupe window shopping, all done on the shady side of the street.  Lupe met and sniffed with many other doggies, so she wasn’t bored.  By 1:30 PM it was 91 °F.  SPHP took Lupe to a crowded beach at Pyramid Lake.  Lupe did get to cool off in the water, but SPHP didn’t want to stay with the mob very long.  SPHP bought ice cream.  It melted very quickly.  Lupe and SPHP had to consume all they could at once.

The heat sapped SPHP’s energy and all desire to go on any trails.  Lupe wasn’t feeling any more ambitious than SPHP.  She lay panting on a hot blanket in her fur coat in the G6.  At 2:45 PM, SPHP decided to leave Jasper, turn on the AC for Lupe, and head NNE on Hwy 16.  Lupe loved the AC and soon perked up.  The temperature outside peaked at 94 °F.  SPHP didn’t think it ever got that hot way up here, but it did.  SPHP envisioned all the beautiful glaciers completely melting away.  It wasn’t a happy thought.

44 km east of Jasper, SPHP turned S on the road to Miette Hot Springs.  Another 17 km along a forested mountain road and Lupe arrived at the resort.  Hot springs ordinarily wouldn’t have sounded good on a hot day like this one, but SPHP knew from past experience that Miette Hot Springs also has a couple of cool or even cold water pools.  SPHP was looking forward to the cool water, but Lupe couldn’t be abandoned in the hot G6.  It was going to be a long wait before things cooled down enough to leave Lupe alone for even a little while.

Lupe was very interested in the herd of mountain sheep that roamed the grounds.  Although there were signs everywhere saying not to feed them, there was a picnic area where the mountain sheep were obviously very used to dining.  They came right up to people and demanded an invitation to the picnic.  They didn’t get anything from Lupe, who barked at the mountain sheep furiously whenever they got close.  The mountain sheep were not used to such rude behavior and gave Lupe a wide berth.

SPHP figured it was best to separate Lupe from the mountain sheep.  Lupe and SPHP headed down a road to a stream away from the picnic area.  The stream was cold and clear.  Lupe eagerly lapped up the cold water.  SPHP repeatedly dangled both feet in the water until they were so cold the bones ached.  Lupe and SPHP stayed next to the stream for hours.  Bees buzzed.  Butterflies flitted around.  SPHP got situated as comfortably as possible among the boulders along the stream bank, which wasn’t all that easy.  Lupe curled up nearby.  She dozed with her head resting on SPHP’s hand.

The sun shone like a demon in the cloudless sky, but finally disappeared behind a high ridge to the SW.  Things cooled off a bit.  It was after 7:00 PM by the time it was cool enough to leave Lupe in the G6.  She had water and was happy watching the mountain sheep.  SPHP went and enjoyed Miette Hot Springs for an hour and a half.  The cool pool was delightful.  The cold pool soon made the hotter ones seem desirable.  SPHP cycled back and forth between all the pools.

At 8:30 PM Lupe was glad to see SPHP returning to the G6.  Watching mountain sheep has its limits when you can’t get at them for a fresh mutton dinner.  For SPHP, Miette Hot Springs was a refreshing and wonderful time.  Too bad Lupe couldn’t come to the pools, too, but SPHP would make it up to her.  On the way back to Jasper, SPHP felt great and optimistic.  It was a beautiful drive.  Lupe rode in air conditioned comfort again, just happy to be with SPHP.  Dingoes make the best friends!

Athabasca Falls 7-30-14
Athabasca Falls 7-30-14

There are three hot springs that Lupe and SPHP have been to in the Canadian Rockies: Miette Hot Springs NE of Jasper, Banff Upper Hot Springs in Banff, and Radium Hot Springs in Kootenay National Park.  SPHP considers all of them very affordable and great bargains.  While all are nice facilities, Miette Hot Springs is SPHP’s clear favorite of the three.

Lupe had previously visited Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls on July 28, 2013 during her 2013 Dingo Vacation.  Click the red link to see her post about that trip to these amazing, powerful waterfalls!

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