Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 109 – Cicero, Northeast Cicero, Daisy & Kruger Peaks (12-13-14)

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.

Sunrise on 12-13-14.
Sunrise on 12-13-14.
Lupe hoping the early Carolina Dog gets the squirrel!
Lupe hoping the early Carolina Dog gets the squirrel!

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.

The tower and small building at the top of Cicero Peak.
The tower and small building at the top of Cicero Peak.

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!

Lupe on the highest rocks on Cicero Peak.
Lupe on the highest rocks on 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.

Lupe could see a long way S from Cicero Peak.
Lupe could see a long way S from Cicero Peak.

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.).

Lupe N of Cicero Peak. Photo looks S.
Lupe N of Cicero Peak. Photo looks S.
Lupe's next objective, Northeast Cicero Peak, is actually higher than Cicero Peak. Flynn Creek Road can be seen at the base of the mountain, especially toward the R. Photo looks NE.
Lupe’s next objective, Northeast Cicero Peak, is actually higher than Cicero Peak. Flynn Creek Road can be seen at the base of the mountain, especially toward the R. Photo looks NE.

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.

Lupe reaches the saddle ridge WNW of Northeast Cicero Peak. Photo looks ENE at another higher ridge that SPHP initially mistook for Daisy Peak.
Lupe reaches the saddle ridge WNW of Northeast Cicero Peak. Photo looks ENE at another higher ridge that SPHP initially mistook for Daisy Peak.
This photo shows High Point 5999 (on the Peakbagger.com topo maps), which SPHP initially mistook for Kruger Peak. Photo looks N from the saddle ridge WNW of Northeast Cicero Peak.
This photo shows High Point 5999 (on the Peakbagger.com topo maps), which SPHP initially mistook for Kruger Peak. Photo looks N from the saddle ridge WNW of Northeast Cicero Peak.

The saddle ridge WNW of Northeast Cicero Peak also provided a great view toward higher mountains to the N and NW.

Looking NNW from the saddle ridge WNW of Northeast Cicero Peak. Some of the highest peaks of the Black Hills are in view.
Looking NNW from the saddle ridge WNW of Northeast Cicero Peak. Some of the highest peaks of the Black Hills are in view.

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.

Lupe SW of the summit of Northeast Cicero Peak. Photo looks S toward Cicero Peak.
Lupe SW of the summit of Northeast Cicero Peak. Photo looks S toward 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.

"Cracked Molar" from the SW slopes of Northeast Cicero Peak.
“Cracked Molar” from the SW slopes of Northeast Cicero Peak.

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.

Lupe on the little rock ridge on top of Northeast Cicero Peak. The boulder that is the true summit, can be seen beyond Lupe near the trees. Photo looks ENE.
Lupe on the little rock ridge on top of Northeast Cicero Peak. The boulder that is the true summit, can be seen beyond Lupe near the trees. Photo looks ENE.
Looking W from Northeast Cicero Peak. SPHP still hasn't figured out what mountains those high peaks seen above Lupe's back on the far horizon are.
Looking W from Northeast Cicero Peak. SPHP still hasn’t figured out what mountains those high peaks seen above Lupe’s back on the far horizon are.
Lupe perches comfortably up on the boulder that is the true summit of Northeast Cicero Peak. Beyond Lupe on the L side of the photo is a half forested (L side), half barren (R side) hill, which was Lupe's next peakbagging goal, Daisy Peak. Mt. Coolidge is seen just L of the dead tree on the R side of this photo. Photo looks NE.
Lupe perches comfortably up on the boulder that is the true summit of Northeast Cicero Peak. Beyond Lupe on the L side of the photo is a half forested (L side), half barren (R side) hill, which was Lupe’s next peakbagging goal, Daisy Peak. Mt. Coolidge is seen just L of the dead tree on the R side of this photo. Photo looks NE.
Daisy Peak (L) and Mt. Coolidge (R) from NE Cicero Peak. Photo looks NE.
Daisy Peak (L) and Mt. Coolidge (R) from NE Cicero Peak. Photo looks NE.
Harney Peak (7,242 ft.) (L) is the highest point on the horizon as seen from Northeast Cicero Peak. Custer Mountain is the forested hill seen just below and slightly to the R of Harney Peak. Daisy Peak is on the R side of the photo. Photo looks N.
Harney Peak (7,242 ft.) (L) is the highest point on the horizon. Custer Mountain is the forested hill seen just below and slightly to the R of Harney Peak. Daisy Peak is on the R side of the photo. Photo looks N.

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.

Lupe takes a sunny break out of the wind NE of Northeast Cicero Peak while SPHP checks the maps.
Lupe takes a sunny break out of the wind NE of Northeast Cicero Peak while SPHP checks the maps.

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.

Lupe at the break spot near the SSE end of the barren ridge. Photo looks NW.
Lupe at the break spot near the SSE end of the barren ridge. Photo looks NW.

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.

Looking SSW back at Northeast Cicero Peak from partway down into the saddle over to High Point 5999. Part of the ridge Lupe and SPHP had followed coming down to the NE from Northeast Cicero Peak is seen toward the L.
Looking SSW back at Northeast Cicero Peak from partway down into the saddle over to High Point 5999. Part of the ridge Lupe and SPHP had followed coming down to the NE from Northeast Cicero Peak is seen toward the L.
Daisy Peak is easily identifiable on the L. Lupe went all the way down to the bottom of the valley seen here on her way to climb Daisy Peak. Mt. Coolidge is the highest point on the R. Photo looks NNE.
Daisy Peak is easily identifiable on the L. Lupe went all the way down to the bottom of the valley seen here on her way to climb Daisy Peak. Mt. Coolidge is the highest point on the R. Photo looks NNE.

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.

Lupe on Daisy Peak. Photo looks NE toward Mt. Coolidge.
Lupe on Daisy Peak. Photo looks NE toward Mt. Coolidge.
Mt. Coolidge from Daisy Peak.
Mt. Coolidge from Daisy Peak.
Northeast Cicero Peak from Daisy Peak. Photo looks SSW.
Northeast Cicero Peak from Daisy Peak. Photo looks SSW.

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.

From Daisy Peak, Lupe could finally see Kruger Peak. It is the next hill over, and about 110 feet lower than Daisy Peak. Harney Peak is the highest point on the horizon. Photo looks N.
From Daisy Peak, Lupe could finally see Kruger Peak. It is the next hill over, and about 110 feet lower than Daisy Peak. Harney Peak is the highest point on the horizon. Photo looks N.
Kruger Peak is the next mostly barren ridge dotted with small trees seen here to the N. The summit is in the larger trees toward the L side of this photo. Lupe was going over there next! Mt. Coolidge is seen on the R. Photo looks NNE from Daisy Peak.
Kruger Peak is the next mostly barren ridge dotted with small trees seen here to the N. The summit is in the larger trees toward the L side of this photo. Lupe was going over there next! Mt. Coolidge is seen on the R. Photo looks NNE from Daisy Peak.
Custer Mountain is the forested hill seen on the L beyond the big Glen Erin Creek valley. Photo looks NNW from the N end of Daisy Peak.
Custer Mountain is the forested hill seen on the L beyond the big Glen Erin Creek valley. Photo looks NNW from the N end of Daisy Peak.

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.

Lupe perched on the highest rocks at the W end of Kruger Peak. This may not have been the true summit. Pictured between the trees is some ground to the E that looks slightly higher.
Lupe perched on the highest rocks at the W end of Kruger Peak. This may not have been the true summit. Pictured between the trees is some ground to the E that looks slightly higher.

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.

Daisy Peak from near the true summit of Kruger Peak. Photo looks SSW.
Daisy Peak from near the true summit of Kruger Peak. Photo looks SSW.

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.

Lupe well down the E spine of Kruger Peak. Daisy Peak is seen on the R. Lupe traveled from here down into the valley below and over the saddle seen E (L) of Daisy Peak.
Lupe well down the E spine of Kruger Peak. Daisy Peak is seen on the R. Lupe traveled from here down into the valley below and over the saddle seen E (L) of Daisy Peak.

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.

Daisy Peak from the NE.
Daisy Peak from the NE.

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!

Lupe on her 4th birthday, 12-14-14.
Lupe on her 4th birthday, 12-14-14.

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Glacier National Park, Montana (8-17-12)

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.

Lake McDonald from the Sprague Creek campground.
Lake McDonald from the Sprague Creek campground.

Lake McDonald, Glacier NP, 8-17-15Once 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.

Lupe and Lanis along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.
Lupe and Lanis along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.
Looking WSW from Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Looking WSW from Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Heavens Peak (R) from Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Heavens Peak (8,987 ft.) (R) from Going-to-the-Sun Road.
SPHP believes the mountain toward the R may be Mount Cannon.
SPHP believes the mountain toward the R may be Mount Cannon (8,952 ft.).

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!

Lupe and Lanis arrive near the Many Glacier Hotel at Swiftcurrent Lake.
Lupe and Lanis arrive near the Many Glacier Hotel at Swiftcurrent Lake.
Many Glacier Hotel
Many Glacier Hotel

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.

Lupe at Swiftcurrent Lake. It was pretty sunny and hot out. The sensible Carolina Dog liked staying in the shade, while digesting a sizable portion of Lanis' and SPHP's hamburgers.
Lupe at Swiftcurrent Lake. It was pretty sunny and hot out. The sensible Carolina Dog liked staying in the shade, while digesting a sizable portion of Lanis’ and SPHP’s hamburgers.
Swiftcurrent Lake
Swiftcurrent Lake

Swiftcurrent Lake, Glacier NP, 8-17-15After 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.

Swiftcurrent Lake and the Many Glacier Hotel from the opposite side of the lake.
Swiftcurrent Lake and the Many Glacier Hotel from the opposite side of the lake.

Swiftcurrent Lake & Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier NP, 8-17-12Disappointment 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.

Duck Lake E of Glacier National Park on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Lupe never got all the way to the lake. The mountains in Glacier National Park are seen in the distance to the W.
Duck Lake E of Glacier National Park on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Lupe never got all the way to the lake. The mountains in Glacier National Park are seen in the distance to the W.

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.

SPHP hoped Lanis wasn't really going to stock up on Moose Poo! Even chocolate-covered Moose Poo didn't sound very appealing. On the other hand, you can't get Moose Poo just anywhere. Right now was Lanis' big Moose Poo opportunity!
SPHP hoped Lanis wasn’t really going to stock up on Moose Poo! Even chocolate-covered Moose Poo didn’t sound very appealing. On the other hand, you can’t get Moose Poo just anywhere. Right now was Lanis’ big Moose Poo opportunity!

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!

The boat tour dock at Saint Mary Lake.
The boat tour dock at Saint Mary Lake.

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!

Lupe on her first ever boat ride on Saint Mary Lake in Glacier National Park.
Lupe on her first ever boat ride on Saint Mary Lake in Glacier National Park.
Wild Goose Island in Saint Mary Lake.
Wild Goose Island in 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.

Clements Mountain and the Hidden Lake trail at Logan Pass. The trail leads to the L of Clements Mountain where there is a viewpoint overlooking Hidden Lake. Lanis didn't go that far.
Clements Mountain (8,760 ft.) and the Hidden Lake trail at Logan Pass. The trail leads to the L of Clements Mountain where there is a viewpoint overlooking Hidden Lake. Lanis didn’t go that far.
Logan Pass, Glacier National Park
Logan Pass, Glacier National Park
Mountains N of Logan Pass. Lupe wasn't allowed to set a single paw on a trail heading off in this direction.
Mountains N of Logan Pass. Lupe wasn’t allowed to set a single paw on a trail heading off in this direction.

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.

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2012 West Coast Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 110 – Samelius & Hardesty Peaks, Mount Warner (12-20-14)

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.

Lupe out on the rocky ledge at the 2nd high point on the way up Samelius Peak. Photo looks W.
Lupe out on the rocky ledge at the 2nd high point on the way up Samelius Peak. Photo looks W.

Lupe SW of summit of Samelias Peak, 12-20-14This 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 sits on top of the highest rock on Samelius Peak to claim her first peakbagging success of Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 110!
Lupe sits on top of the highest rock on Samelius Peak to claim her first peakbagging success of Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 110!
Looking NW from Samelius Peak.
Looking NW from Samelius Peak.
Looking SW toward Harney Peak (7,242 ft.) from Samelius Peak.
Looking SW toward Harney Peak (7,242 ft.) from Samelius Peak.

Harney Peak from Samelias PeakLupe’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 on the high point E of the little saddle on the way from Samelius Peak to Hardesty Peak.
Lupe on the high point E of the little saddle on the way from Samelius Peak to Hardesty Peak.
Looking NE toward Boulder Hill (L) and Silver Mountain (R).
Looking NE toward Boulder Hill (L) and Silver Mountain (R).

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.

Lupe surveys the situation from up on Hardesty Peak. Samelius Peak, where she had just been, is looming large on the L. Right behind her neck is Mount Warner.
Lupe surveys the situation from up on Hardesty Peak. Samelius Peak, where she had just been, is looming large on the L. Right behind her neck is Mount Warner.
Mt. Warner from Hardesty Peak. Photo looks N.
Mt. Warner from Hardesty Peak. Photo looks N.

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.

Looking NNW from Hardesty Peak between Samelius Peak (L) and Mount Warner (R).
Looking NNW from Hardesty Peak between Samelius Peak (L) and Mount Warner (R).

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.

Lupe on her way up Mount Warner. Here she is at a rock outcropping N of Centennial Trail No. 89. Photo looks NNE toward the Blue Wing arm of Sheridan Lake (a little piece of which is visible on the L) and Calumet Ridge.
Lupe on her way up Mount Warner. Here she is at a rock outcropping N of Centennial Trail No. 89. Photo looks NNE toward the Blue Wing arm of Sheridan Lake (a little piece of which is visible on the L) and Calumet Ridge.

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.

Lupe on Mount Warner, her third peakbagging success of the day! Lupe had been here before on prior Black Hills Expeditions. This was her 4th ascent of Mount Warner.
Lupe on Mount Warner, her third peakbagging success of the day! Lupe had been here before on prior Black Hills Expeditions. This was her 4th ascent of Mount Warner.

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.

Happy Lupe on Hardesty Peak.
Happy Lupe on Hardesty Peak.

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.

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

Gardner Lake & Beartooth Pass, Wyoming (8-14-12 & 8-15-12)

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.

Lupe explores the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River in the early morning light.
Lupe explores the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River in the early morning light.
A deer visited Lupe's camp.
A deer visited Lupe’s camp.
So did a spider.
So did a spider.
But Lupe was too busy watching squirrels to worry about deer and spiders.
But Lupe was too busy watching squirrels to worry about the deer and spider.

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.

The Honda Element and Lupe's tiny house along the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River.
The Honda Element and Lupe’s tiny house along the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River.
Lanis has breakfast along the river with Pilot and Index Peak in the distance. It was pretty hazy out all day long due to big forest fires in Idaho.
Lanis has breakfast along the river with Pilot (L) and Index (R) Peaks in the distance. It was pretty hazy out all day long due to big forest fires far away in Idaho.

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.

The directions outside the Top of the World Store weren't as helpful as Lanis had hoped.
The directions outside the Top of the World Store weren’t as helpful as Lanis had hoped.

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.

Open ground along the Beartooth Loop National Recreational Trail. Lupe ran all day!
Open ground along the Beartooth Loop National Recreational Trail. Lupe ran all day!
Gardner Lake in the Beartooths. Photo looks N along the W shore.
Gardner Lake in the Beartooths. Photo looks N along the W shore.
Mountains NW of Gardner Lake.
Mountains NW of Gardner Lake.

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.Wildflowers near Gardner Lake, Beartooths, WY 8-14-12Wildflowers near Gardner Lake, Beartooths, WY 8-14-12

Wildflowers at Gardner Lake.
Wildflowers at Gardner Lake.

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 and Lanis near a pond just downstream of Gardner Lake. Tibbs Butte is seen in the distance. Photo looks S.
Lupe and Lanis near a pond just downstream of Gardner Lake. Tibbs Butte is seen in the distance. Photo looks S.

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.

From the Beartooth Hwy overlook, Lupe surveys Gardner Lake, where she'd had such a good time running around the day before. Tibbs Butte is seen on the L.
From the Beartooth Hwy overlook, Lupe surveys Gardner Lake, where she’d had such a good time running around the day before. Tibbs Butte is seen on the L.

Gardner Lake from Hwy 212, Beartooths, WY 8-15-12

Lanis and Gardner Lake.
Lanis and Gardner Lake.

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.

Fog starts sweeping across the highway in places as Lupe approaches Beartooth Pass.
Fog starts sweeping across the highway in places as Lupe approaches Beartooth Pass.
Above the clouds at Beartooth Pass.
Above the clouds at Beartooth Pass.
The mountains had trapped a big bank of clouds N of Beartooth Pass. Photo looks NW.
The mountains had trapped a big bank of clouds N of the pass. Photo looks NW.

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.

The first thing Lupe discovered at the viewpoint, was that squirrels were using little holes built into the bottom of the rock retaining walls to come onto the walkways and beg for food from tourists. Lupe was keenly interested in the frequent sudden appearance, and subsequent disappearance of all these squirrels! She peered over the walls to see where all these squirrels were disappearing to.
The first thing Lupe discovered at the viewpoint, was that squirrels were using little holes built into the bottom of the rock retaining walls to come onto the walkways and beg for food from tourists. Lupe was keenly interested in the frequent sudden appearance, and subsequent disappearance of all these squirrels! She peered over the walls to see where all these squirrels were disappearing to.
Lanis at the viewpoint N of Beartooth Pass in Montana. Clearly not having as much fun as Lupe! Perhaps suffering from coffee deprivation?
Lanis at the viewpoint N of Beartooth Pass in Montana. Clearly not having as much fun as Lupe! Perhaps suffering from coffee deprivation?

Montana along the Beartooth Hwy, 8-15-12View along Beartooth Hwy, MT 8-15-12View along Beartooth Hwy, MT 8-15-12

Lupe thought this viewpoint along the Beartooth Hwy, was great fun! She wanted to stay and play Catch-A-Squirrel (the American Dingo version of Whack-A-Mole) all day!
Lupe thought this viewpoint along the Beartooth Hwy, was great fun! She wanted to stay and play Catch-A-Squirrel (the American Dingo version of Whack-A-Mole) all day!

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!

Lupe leaves the driving to Lanis on the way to Bozeman, MT.
Lupe leaves the driving to Lanis on the way to Bozeman, MT.

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2012 West Coast Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 112 – New Year’s Eve Peak (12-31-14)

Two years ago, on Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 41, Lupe and SPHP had climbed Peak 6046 for the first time on the last day of 2012.  Back then, SPHP had given the private name “New Year’s Eve Peak” to the mountain.  At the time, it had seemed like it might be fun to make a little tradition out of returning to New Year’s Eve Peak on the last day of each year.  Of course, outdoor traditions at the end of December would always be subject to the weather, but that was just going to have to be a given.  Some years, Lupe wouldn’t make it back.

Sure enough, Lupe didn’t make it back on the last day of 2013, but weather wasn’t the culprit.  On December 30th, Lupe’s “grandma” suffered a transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke), and wound up in the hospital.

Now it was the morning of December 31st, 2014.  The morning was bright and frosty, very frosty – it had gotten down to -10°F overnight, way too cold for one of Lupe’s Black Hills, SD Expeditions.  Maybe Lupe was going to have to skip New Year’s Eve Peak in 2014, too?  The forecast held out some hope, though – it was supposed to get up into the low 30’s °F.

The forecast was accurate!  Things started warming up rapidly.  When it reached 30°F a bit before noon, it was time for Lupe to head out!  At 12:22 PM (30°F), SPHP parked the G6 on USFS Road No. 710 just off Hwy 385, about 3.5 miles S of the Pactola Reservoir dam.  Lupe was happy to be out in the hills again!  Lupe and SPHP started off following USFS Road No. 710 going W.

The road gradually climbed up through a small forested valley.  After more than half a mile, No. 710 started turning S, as it emerged from the valley onto more level, open ground.  Soon No. 710 turned SE, so Lupe and SPHP left it going SW instead.  Lupe was now out in an area that had burned years ago in a forest fire.  Just to the S, there was a low hilly ridge with rock outcroppings.  Lupe headed for it, and was rewarded with panoramic views of the snowy landscape.

Lupe reaches a high spot along the low, open hilly ridge. There were some pretty nice panoramic views from this area which had burned in a forest fire years ago. Photo looks W.
Lupe reaches a high spot along the low, open hilly ridge. There were some pretty nice panoramic views from this area which had burned in a forest fire years ago. Photo looks W.
Looking SE now at Peak 5800 (L) from the low hilly ridge. It was kind of chilly up here in the WNW breeze.
Looking SE now at Peak 5800 (L) from the low hilly ridge. It was kind of chilly up here in the WNW breeze.

Lupe followed the ridge heading WNW to stay up on the high ground, continuing to climb as she went.  She skirted along to the S of High Point 5917, then angled W to go down into a saddle between High Point 5917 and the next ridge.  It turned out there were two saddles, the first one being larger and deeper than the second one.

Another view back to the SE from farther WNW.
Another view back to the SE from farther WNW.

Instead of climbing up to the next ridge (Pistol Point), at the bottom of the second, smaller saddle, Lupe and SPHP turned NW heading directly for New Year’s Eve Peak, which was now only 0.33 mile away.  This route took Lupe into a rather snowy forest, with at least 6″ of snow on the ground compared to only 3″ or 4″ back out on the open ground.

The deeper snow didn’t seem to bother Lupe at all.  She lost some elevation as she went NW, but eventually reached a road.  The road was snowy too, but headed WNW up toward New Year’s Eve Peak.  A short distance S of the summit, the road curved around to the ENE.  Lupe and SPHP left the road to climb directly up the S slope of New Year’s Eve Peak.

Looking SW from the snowy SE slope of New Year's Eve Peak not far from the summit. A narrow gap in the forest provides a glimpse of distant blue mountains.
Looking SW from the snowy SE slope of New Year’s Eve Peak not far from the summit. A narrow gap in the forest provides a glimpse of distant blue mountains.

As Lupe neared the summit, she circled around a bit to make the final approach from the ESE.  It was an easy climb.  Before long, Lupe was perched up on the very highest rocks on top of New Year’s Eve Peak.  Two years after first climbing the mountain, Lupe was back to say good-bye to yet another year!

Lupe at the summit of New Year's Eve Peak on the last day of 2014. Photo looks W.
Lupe at the summit of New Year’s Eve Peak on the last day of 2014. Photo looks W.
Lupe at the summit of New Year's Eve Peak. A small cairn is visible next to her. Photo looks NE.
Lupe at the summit of New Year’s Eve Peak. A small cairn is visible next to her. Photo looks NE.

After a couple of photos of Lupe at the summit, Lupe and SPHP took a little break.  SPHP shared a chocolate-covered granola bar with Lupe.  Lupe made it clear she would be perfectly happy to complete the entire task of consuming it all on her own, but SPHP didn’t need quite THAT much help.

The summit of New Year’s Eve Peak was fairly heavily forested, so there wasn’t much of a view in most directions.  There were a couple of small openings in the forest, though, that provided a look off into the distance.  The best view was toward a succession of snowy blue hills off to the W.  Lupe and SPHP found a spot to sit down, huddled together against the cool breeze, to admire the view for a little while.

On the final afternoon of 2014, Lupe and SPHP sat together for a little while admiring this view of snowy blue mountains to the W from New Year's Eve Peak.
On the final afternoon of 2014, Lupe and SPHP sat together for a little while admiring this view of snowy blue mountains to the W from New Year’s Eve Peak.

Lupe had a great 2014.  This was her 39th Black Hills, SD Expedition of the year, in June she’d been on a luxurious Dingo Vacation to the Kabekona Lake cabin in Minnesota, she’d had a wonderful Summer of 2015 Dingo Vacation to the Canadian Rockies and Beartooths, and she’d climbed Lonesome Mountain (11,399 ft.) in the Beartooths, the highest mountain she had ever been on.  Now, on a chilly, quiet afternoon, way up on shady, lonely New Year’s Eve Peak, 2014 was slipping away forever.

It was actually a pretty good way to end the year, but didn’t change the sad fact that 2014 was passing into history.  Lupe and SPHP would have liked to stay up on New Year’s Eve Peak until sunset, but sunset was still a couple of hours away.  It was chilly enough up at the summit now, and wouldn’t be any warmer by then.

When Lupe and SPHP finally started back down off New Year’s Eve Peak, Lupe took the same route back to the G6, with one exception.  Down in the forested draw just SSE of the summit, Lupe took a side road that went S out to a high rocky spot.  From this high rocky spot, there were some great open views from the NE around to the S and W.  SPHP later named the spot Pistol Point, for a large rock that looked like a pistol handle sticking up out of the ground.

Lupe on her way back to the G6 from New Year's Eve Peak. Here she is at Pistol Point. Photo looks ESE toward Peak 5800.
Lupe on her way back to the G6 from New Year’s Eve Peak. Here she is at Pistol Point. Photo looks ESE toward Peak 5800.
Looking NE at New Year's Eve Peak from Pistol Point.
Looking NE at New Year’s Eve Peak from Pistol Point.
The wavy ridge just L of center is Five Points (6,221 ft.). The high spot just to the R is privately named False North Point (6,130 ft.). Photo looks S from Pistol Point.
The wavy ridge just L of center is Five Points (6,221 ft.)  . The high spot just to the R is privately named False North Point (6,130 ft.). Photo looks S from Pistol Point.
Lupe sniffs around at Pistol Point. The "Pistol" is the oddly shaped rock at center, which to SPHP somewhat resembles the handle of a pistol thrust into the ground.
Lupe sniffs around at Pistol Point. The “Pistol” is the oddly shaped rock at center, which to SPHP somewhat resembles the handle of a pistol thrust into the ground.

It was 3:52 PM (24°F) by the time Lupe and SPHP made it back to the G6.  Lupe’s final Black Hills, SD Expedition of 2014 was over.  SPHP was glad that Lupe had made a trip to New Year’s Eve Peak a real tradition by returning to the mountain.

Back at home, 2014 stole away in the night.  2015 found SPHP snoozing with a tired, warm American Dingo.  Peacefully and comfortably, another big year for Lupe was just beginning.

The last long shadows of 2014 lengthen on USFS Road No. 710 near the end of the day. The only tracks in the snow were Lupe's and SPHP's.
The last long shadows of 2014 lengthen on USFS Road No. 710 near the end of the day. The only tracks in the snow were Lupe’s and SPHP’s.

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

 

Norris Geyser Basin & Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (8-13-12)

Day 6 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

Yellowstone National Park is big.  Even on just a very quick tour through the park, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP had only made it as far as the Lower Geyser Basin on the first day.  After the sun had set, Lanis drove to the town of West Yellowstone just outside the park for the night.  The next morning, Lupe returned to Yellowstone National Park to complete her tour.

The day before, Lupe had been very good about being willing to wait in or near the Honda Element, while Lanis and SPHP took turns exploring sights along short trails off the road.  She had been perhaps a bit tired from her prior fabulous long day in the Beartooth Mountains going to Beauty and Becker Lakes.  After a day of rest, though, SPHP wasn’t sure how much longer the active Carolina Dog was going to be happy with this arrangement.

The main attraction SPHP still wanted to see was the Norris Geyser Basin.  There could be other stops along the way for Lanis to get out and look around, but SPHP would have to skip taking a turn on the trails at some of those stops to save time.  Hopefully, there would still be time later in the day to exit Yellowstone National Park and it’s not-too-dog-friendly rules, so Lupe could get to a trail where she would be free to explore and run around.

The first stop was Gibbon Falls, an 84 foot high waterfall on the Gibbon River.  It was visible from right next to the highway, so Lupe got to see it.

Gibbon Falls.
Gibbon Falls.

There were a couple of other stops along the way prior to reaching the Norris Geyser Basin.  Lanis toured the Artist Paint Pots.  He returned to report that they were pretty similar in most respects to the Fountain Paint Pots at the Lower Geyser Basin.Yellowstone NP, WY 8-13-12Yellowstone NP, WY 8-13-12The Norris Geyser Basin is pretty big.  SPHP was disappointed to learn that a former highlight of the Norris Geyser Basin, the Echinus Geyser (privately known as the “Big P’tui”), rarely erupts now.  There were still plenty of pretty steaming hot springs and noisy steam vents to look at.  SPHP judged the tiny Minute Geyser, which was very active, the best display on this day.

Both SPHP and Lanis took turns staying with Lupe to allow the other to tour the Norris Geyser Basin.  Lupe had to content herself with squirrel and chipmunk watching from the parking lot.Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-13-12

Norris Geyser Basin.
Norris Geyser Basin.

Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-13-12Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-13-12Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-13-12Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-13-12Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-13-12SPHP had been to the Norris Geyser Basin before.  It had seemed considerably more active years ago.  However, it was now nearly mid-August.  The weather was hot and dry for Yellowstone.  The steam from all the vents, hot springs and geysers is always more impressive on cooler, higher humidity days when it hangs in the air longer and forms bigger clouds.

The last big stop in Yellowstone National Park was at Mammoth Hot Springs.  SPHP stayed with Lupe.  It was really hot and sunny by this time.  Lupe and SPHP amused themselves as best they could while waiting for Lanis to return.  It seemed like he was gone a long time, but eventually he did appear again.

Lanis had gotten so entranced with looking at Mammoth Hot Springs he had gone a long way down the stairs on the wooden trails.  He hadn’t realized how huge Mammoth Hot Springs was, or how much elevation he had lost until it was time to return.  Without any water with him, it had been a long, hot, slow climb back up to where the Element was parked.

Most of Mammoth Hot Springs was dry and dead looking at this time of year.  The hot springs were most colorful and beautiful where there was still water.  Interestingly, the water that surfaces at Mammoth Hot Springs comes underground along a fault line all the way from the Norris Geyser Basin.

Mammoth Hot Springs is the largest travertine terrace in the world.
Mammoth Hot Springs is the largest travertine terrace in the world.

Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-13-12Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-13-12Yellowstone National Park has the world’s largest collection of amazing geothermal features.  Lupe would have been glad to stay there longer, if she had been allowed out on the trails.  Park rules were against it, though, so it was time for Lupe to move on, content with the wonders she did have the good fortune to see.

Lupe, Lanis, and SPHP returned to the Beartooth Mountains E of Cooke City, MT.  There was still time for a hike on a trail Lupe could explore.  Before setting out on a trail to Kersey Lake, there was a quick rest stop at a campground.

The restroom there featured a rather sturdy looking lock.  It looked brand new.  It operated perfectly.  The odd thing about it was that the lock was on the outside of the restroom, a cause of considerable mirth to Lanis.  It would be so easy to lock someone in there!  Neither Lanis nor SPHP could fathom why there was a lock on the outside that only prevented anyone inside from getting out.

Umm, let me out, please?
Umm, let me out, please?  Someone NOT named Einstein did a beautiful job of installing a sturdy new lock on the wrong side of the door.

After nearly 2 days, Lupe finally got to go on a trail again.  The most interesting part of the trail to Kersey Lake was at almost the very start, where a bridge crossed the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone.  Before even crossing the bridge, there was a bench from which to observe a pleasant bend in the river, plus a little side spur off the main trail with a view of the river below after it went over a waterfall in a narrow gorge.

Lupe, Lanis, and SPHP followed the trail all the way to Kersey Lake, only to find that it didn’t go down to the shore.  It was hard to find anywhere, even off the trail, with much of a view of the lake.  Lupe didn’t care.  The trail went through the forest.  That meant squirrels!  The shrill bark of a very happy American Dingo echoed through the trees.

Kersey Lake from the SW.
Kersey Lake from the SW.
The Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone rushes into a narrow gorge. Photo taken from the bridge near the start of the trail to Kersey Lake.
The Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone rushes into a narrow gorge. Photo taken from the bridge near the start of the trail to Kersey Lake.

Related Posts:

Yellowstone Falls, Old Faithful Geyser & Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (8-12-12)

Beauty & Becker Lakes, Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming (8-11-12) – Lupe’s biggest adventure in the Beartooth Mountains on her 2012 Dingo Vacation.

Fizzle Lake, Beartooth Mountains, Montana (7-15-13) – Lupe returns to the Beartooths on her 2013 Dingo Vacation to explore the trail far beyond Kersey Lake on her search for Fossil Lake.

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2012 West Coast Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 114 – Thrall Mountain (1-10-15)

January 10, 2015, 10:32 AM, 32°F.  The first day since New Year’s Day 2015 that wasn’t too cold or windy.  SPHP parked the G6 at the Pactola Reservoir overlook next to Hwy 385 at the N end of the dam.  This time Lupe wasn’t fooling around.  She was going to climb Thrall Mountain (5,091 ft.)!

Back on New Year’s Day, SPHP had parked the G6 at the visitor center at the S end of the Pactola Reservoir dam.  From there, Lupe and SPHP had gone on a round about route on the way to Thrall Mountain.  Due to navigation errors made by SPHP, Lupe’s route had been so round about that she hadn’t even seen Thrall Mountain all day, much less climbed it, even though it was only a little over 2 miles away from Pactola Reservoir.

On the way back to the G6, though, Lupe and SPHP had scouted out a much more direct route to Thrall Mountain from Pactola.  Now Lupe was going to take that direct route back to a point only a mile or so from the mountain.  From there, Lupe would find and climb Thrall Mountain before doing anything else.  If there was additional time left for roaming around exploring, she could do it after claiming her peakbagging success.

Lupe returned to Pactola Reservoir on 1-10-15. This time she would start her trek toward Thrall Mountain from this viewpoint at the N end of the dam, instead of the visitor center at the S end.
Lupe returned to Pactola Reservoir on 1-10-15. This time she would start her trek toward Thrall Mountain from this viewpoint at the N end of the dam, instead of the visitor center at the S end.

Across Hwy 385 from the viewpoint at the N end of the dam, is a road that winds down below the dam to the Rapid Creek trailhead of Centennial Trail No. 89.  If it hadn’t been so icy and snow-packed, SPHP would have just driven down to the TH.  Instead, Lupe and SPHP went down the road on paw and foot.  Just before reaching the TH, the road crossed Rapid Creek.

Lupe poses on the railing of the bridge over Rapid Creek below Pactola Reservoir dam.
Lupe poses on the railing of the bridge over Rapid Creek below Pactola Reservoir dam.

From the Rapid Creek trailhead, Lupe and SPHP followed Centennial Trail No. 89 heading ESE through the big flat meadow below the dam.  Rapid Creek meanders through the meadow, and the trail had several nice footbridges crossing it.  Lupe and SPHP paused on each bridge to see if there were any trout down in the creek, but saw none.

It didn’t take long to reach the Tamarack Gulch trailhead at the SE end of the meadow.  Lupe and SPHP continued SE.  Centennial Trail No. 89 climbed a little hill, and reached USFS Road No. 772.1B, a road Lupe had been on back on New Year’s Day.  For a short distance, Centennial Trail No. 89 followed this road, but soon left it to continue S up a side road.  Lupe left Centennial Trail No. 89 staying on No. 772.1B, which turned E.

Lupe and SPHP were now retracing the route Lupe had scouted out before on New Year’s Day.  The snowy road made a long gradual climb up a valley.  When it reached a saddle, there was a junction with another road coming in from the N.  Lupe stayed on USFS Road No. 772.1B.  She followed it down into a snowy little valley where SPHP had taken her picture on Expedition No. 113, and on up to another higher saddle at the upper end of Powerhouse Gulch.

At the saddle was an intersection with another road.  SPHP hadn’t seen any marker the last time Lupe was here, but this time saw one identifying the side road as USFS Road No. 772.1C.  In a sunny spot where there was no snow, Lupe and SPHP took a brief break.  SPHP wanted to check the maps.

No. 772.1C was the right road to take.  It would lead Lupe out of the upper end of Powerhouse Gulch over a saddle, and down into a smaller valley SW of Thrall Mountain.  Lupe and SPHP set out on No. 772.1C.  It climbed NW, turned N and soon reached the saddle.  From the saddle, Lupe finally got to see Thrall Mountain, now less than a mile away to the NE.

No. 772.1C started down the N side of the saddle, passed under a power line, made a loop to the N, and then returned S to follow the power line E.  As the road drew near Thrall Mountain, it started gaining elevation again.  Lupe passed an unmarked minor road that headed off to the NW, but didn’t take it.  Near the road’s highest point along the power line, Lupe left No. 772.1C to start climbing toward Thrall Mountain from the SSW.

Lupe on USFS Road No. 772.1C SW of Thrall Mountain. The power line can be seen overhead. This snowy scene was pretty typical along the remote USFS roads Lupe traveled this day. Photo looks E.
Lupe on USFS Road No. 772.1C SW of Thrall Mountain. The power line can be seen overhead. This snowy scene was pretty typical along the remote USFS roads Lupe traveled this day. Photo looks E.

The climb grew progressively steeper.  Snowy boulder fields forced Lupe around to the SSE side of the mountain.  Lupe and SPHP had to climb up through a short section of boulders, but made it without mishap.  Lupe was now almost at the top of Thrall Mountain.  Just short of the summit, Lupe reached the E viewpoint, one of three good viewpoints on or near the summit of Thrall Mountain.

From the E viewpoint, Lupe and SPHP could see Turkey Ridge and Prehistoric Ridge to the NE.  To the E, Rapid City could be seen on the edge of the Black Hills.  Beyond the town, the yellow plains of western South Dakota stretched to the far horizon.  Lupe and SPHP also saw human tracks in the snow!  By not reaching Thrall Mountain on New Year’s Day, someone else had beaten Lupe to becoming the first one to climb Thrall Mountain in 2015.

The summit was just 10’s of feet away.  Lupe and SPHP strolled over to the summit to claim her Thrall Mountain peakbagging success!  Whoever beat Lupe to the summit in 2015 was no longer around.  Years ago, there had only been a very small cairn on top of Thrall Mountain.  Now the cairn is easily 4 feet high.  It is comprised of many small rocks.  SPHP wanted Lupe to pose for a couple of photos at the cairn.

Normally Lupe is very cooperative, but coming up the mountain, Lupe had heard gunfire to the S.  Gunshots continued to be heard occasionally from that direction.  Lupe hates even the faint sound of gunfire.  She stuck to SPHP like glue.  Finally, the worried Carolina Dog relaxed enough for a couple of quick photos.

Lupe reaches the summit cairn on Thrall Mountain to claim her peakbagging success. Someone else had already beat her to the top of the mountain in 2015, as evidenced by human tracks Lupe and SPHP saw in the snow.
Lupe reaches the summit cairn on Thrall Mountain to claim her peakbagging success. Someone else had already beat her to the top of the mountain in 2015, as evidenced by human tracks Lupe and SPHP saw in the snow.
This was actually Lupe's 2nd successful summit of Thrall Mountain. The first time she was here was way back on Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 38 on 12-8-12, over two years earlier.
This was actually Lupe’s 2nd successful summit of Thrall Mountain. The first time she was here was way back on Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 38 on 12-8-12, over two years earlier.

Lupe and SPHP left the summit to return to the Prehistoric Ridge viewpoint.  There were still gunshots going on to the S.  Lupe put her paw down.  She refused to leave SPHP’s side for another photo.  It was simply too dangerous!

Prehistoric Ridge (the largest line of limestone bluffs farthest away) and Turkey Ridge (a much smaller ridge of reddish stone just in front of the right side of Prehistoric Ridge) from Thrall Mountain. The ridge names are private names assigned by SPHP. Photo looks NE.
Prehistoric Ridge (the largest line of limestone bluffs farthest away) and Turkey Ridge (a much smaller ridge of reddish stone just in front of the right side of Prehistoric Ridge) from Thrall Mountain. The ridge names are private names assigned by SPHP. Photo looks NE.
Looking W at the Thrall Mountain summit from the Prehistoric Ridge (E) viewpoint.
Looking W at the Thrall Mountain summit from the Prehistoric Ridge (E) viewpoint.

Lupe and SPHP returned to the summit.  Lupe was very nervous due to the gunfire.  SPHP found a dry spot to sit down.  Lupe snuggled right up, looking for reassurance.  Together Lupe and SPHP stayed there for a while looking out at the view of Harney Peak (7,242 ft.) to the S.  SPHP chatted with Lupe and stroked her, while she gave SPHP a good licking.  SPHP ate an apple.

The best views to the S from Thrall Mountain are obtained just S of the summit.  SPHP took one photo looking SW at Peak 5800.  On a couple of prior occasions, (Expedition No. 77 on 2-16-13, and Expedition No. 80 on 3-23-14) Lupe and SPHP had gotten close enough to Peak 5800 to think about climbing it, but hadn’t actually done so.  Seeing Peak 5800 from Thrall Mountain, SPHP resolved that Lupe would climb it someday.  (Note:  Lupe did eventually climb Peak 5800 on Expedition No. 150 on New Year’s Day 2016!)

Peak 5800 from Thrall Mountain with a bit of telephoto lens assistance.
Peak 5800 from Thrall Mountain with a bit of telephoto lens assistance.

One of the best views from Thrall Mountain is from a rocky ledge located on a slightly lower ridge a short distance NW of the summit.  From the rocky ledge is a view to the NW toward nearby Johnson Siding, and the hills beyond all the way to Custer Peak (6,804 ft.).  Lupe was still a bit nervous, but she got up on the rocky ledge despite it all.

A still somewhat nervous American Dingo scans the NW horizon from the rocky ledge a short distance NW of the summit of Thrall Mountain.
A still somewhat nervous American Dingo scans the NW horizon from the rocky ledge a short distance NW of the summit of Thrall Mountain.
Lupe on the rocky ledge. Photo looks WNW.
Lupe on the rocky ledge. Photo looks WNW.

By now, Lupe and SPHP had visited all three of the best viewpoints on Thrall Mountain.  Lupe finally had her 2015 Thrall Mountain peakbagging success!  It was time to move on.

Lupe and SPHP went back down the mountain pretty much the same way they had come up.  While still near the top of the mountain, Lupe stepped on a cactus.  There was a brief intermission while SPHP pulled a few small cactus spines out of her paw.  Fortunately, she seemed none the worse for the wear.

Lupe returned to USFS Road No. 722.1B at the upper end of Powerhouse Gulch via No. 722.1C.  Lupe and SPHP could have just returned to the G6, but there were still at least a couple of extra hours of daylight left for exploring around, if Lupe wanted to.  She did!  Lupe and SPHP went SE a little way into Powerhouse Gulch to a side road that SPHP had by now figured out was USFS Road No. 722.1.  This was the road Lupe and SPHP should have taken on New Year’s Day to get from Gold Standard Gulch to Powerhouse Gulch.

Lupe and SPHP explored No. 722.1 heading SW.  Lupe passed by a junction with No. 722.1E, she reached a high ridge where she could look back at Thrall Mountain, she went on to Gold Standard Gulch and Centennial Trail No. 89 again.  Just roaming around exploring the back roads without any goal in mind was rather fun.  Of course, the sun eventually sank toward the SW horizon.  Time to start heading back to the G6.

The sun was down, but it was still somewhat light out when Lupe reached the G6 at 4:48 PM (27°F).  Black Hills, SD Expedition No. 114 to Thrall Mountain was over, but Lupe’s fun wasn’t!  Back at home, SPHP gave Lupe a big ham bone left over from a Christmas ham Guille had bought.  There was still plenty of good ham, fat and gristle attached to it.  Lupe’s eyes grew big as she gingerly accepted this treasure.

For several hours, Lupe gnawed energetically away on the precious ham bone.  She stripped it of every shred of ham, fat and gristle.  Her gnawing fangs reduced most of the ham bone itself to rubble.  She ate almost the entire bone.  During this time of Carolina Dog bliss, Lupe growled if SPHP got too close.  She still loved SPHP, but some things are just sacred, ya know!?

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

Yellowstone Falls, Old Faithful Geyser & Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (8-12-12)

Day 5 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

Yellowstone National Park was close to where Lupe was staying on the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River.  After a wonderful long day spent out in the Beartooth Mountains going to Beauty and Becker Lakes the day before, Lupe was going to get to tour Yellowstone, the first National Park in the whole world!

Lupe entered Yellowstone National Park at the NE entrance W of Cooke City, MT.  The highway followed Soda Butte Creek downstream to its confluence with the Lamar River.  As frequently happens in Yellowstone, suddenly there were vehicles stopped ahead on the highway.  The cause was soon clear.  A herd of buffalo was using the highway, too!

Buffalo approach along the highway unaware that the Honda Element is protected by a ferocious predator.
Buffalo approach along the highway unaware that the Honda Element is protected by a ferocious predator.

Lupe was astonished to see the herd of huge buffalo coming right for the Element.  This alarming situation demanded immediate action!  Lupe’s hackles rose up from her head to her tail.  She sprang to the defense of the Honda Element, as it became completely engulfed by the buffalo herd.  She leaped wildly from one window to the next barking like a Dingo possessed.

Lupe loves to bark at cows.  She may have thought the buffalo were cows.  If so, these cows weren’t acting right.  None of them ran away.  In fact, none of them seemed to pay the least bit of attention to the frenzied Carolina Dog just a few feet away as they ambled by the Element.Buffalo in Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Buffalo in Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Buffalo in Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Buffalo in Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Buffalo in Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Buffalo in Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Lupe was undeterred.  She gave it everything she had.  She bounded back and forth.  She scrunched herself up on the dashboard in front of the steering wheel, barking till she foamed at the mouth.  The only real result was that Lanis got battered by a wildly swinging Dingo tail.Buffalo in Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12The buffalo herd passed on by.  The proud American Dingo could finally rest.  Her barker was totally dry.  She needed a drink!  Who knew Yellowstone would be so exciting?  The place was just swarming with gigantic, dangerous wild beasts!

The proud American Dingo that chased away an entire herd of buffalo and saved Lanis, SPHP and the Honda Element rests satisfied with a job bravely performed.
The proud American Dingo that chased (well, ambled) away an entire herd of buffalo thereby saving Lanis, SPHP and the Honda Element rests satisfied with a job bravely performed.

Lanis turned S at the Tower-Roosevelt junction.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP soon stopped at Tower Falls.  Regulations in Yellowstone don’t allow dogs on any trails, or in the back country.  Unfortunately, that meant that Lupe wasn’t going to get to see all the glories of Yellowstone up close.  The entire time Lupe was in Yellowstone, Lanis and SPHP were going to have to take turns staying with Lupe while the other checked out Yellowstone’s scenic wonders.

SPHP stayed with Lupe, while Lanis checked out Tower Falls.

Tower Fall
Tower Falls

Tower Falls was nothing to sneeze at, but it wasn’t anything to compare to what was soon coming up a short drive to the S – Lower Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Looking down on Lower Yellowstone Falls from the N rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Looking down on Lower Yellowstone Falls from the N rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
The Yellowstone River just above Lower Yellowstone Falls rushes toward a clearly (final) class VI whitewater rafting experience! NOT recommended for ages 0-120.
The Yellowstone River just above Lower Yellowstone Falls rushes toward a clearly (final) class VI whitewater rafting experience! NOT recommended for ages 0-120.
Lower Yellowstone Falls plunges 308 feet into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Lower Yellowstone Falls plunges 308 feet into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Lower Yellowstone Falls, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Lower Yellowstone Falls, Yellowstone NP, WY

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
Don't let a disastrous failure of a poorly conceived and executed erosion control program turn your farm or ranch into this! (Unless you want to be able to sell tickets.)
Don’t let a disastrous failure of a poorly conceived and executed erosion control program turn your farm or ranch into this! (Unless you want to be able to sell tickets.)

An American Dingo wasn’t the only dangerous canine in Yellowstone National Park on this day.  Right beside the highway, not far from Lower Yellowstone Falls, a black wolf was non-chalantly sniffing around.  At least, it looked like a black wolf to Lupe, Lanis and SPHP.  If it was really someone’s lost Fifi, it sure was doing a convincing impression of a black wolf.

Black Wolf or Fifi in disguise?
Black Wolf or Fifi in disguise?

Black Wolf, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12

Say, there's an idea! Lupe wonders if she might be an even scarier stealth predator as a black Dingo? Think of the possibilities!
Say, there’s an idea! Lupe wonders if she might be an even scarier stealth predator as a black Dingo? Think of the possibilities!

From Yellowstone Falls, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP headed S toward Yellowstone Lake.  SPHP stayed with Lupe at several stops along the way, so Lanis could get a look at some geothermal features.  Lupe got to see the ones that were close to the highway and visible from parking areas.Sulphur Cauldron, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12There were warnings signs for those who thought ideas like whitewater rafting above Yellowstone Falls would be a great experience.  Despite the graphic depictions, a buffalo wasn’t too worried about it.Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Lupe got to visit Yellowstone Lake, a huge natural lake at 7,733 feet elevation.  Yellowstone Lake, which has a very interesting shape and would be great fun to explore, is the largest body of water above 7,000 feet in North America.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP waded out to some rocks near the shore for a good look.Lupe at Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12

Lupe & Lanis at Yellowstone Lake. Lupe tasted the lake. It seemed to be constructed entirely of water.
Lupe & Lanis at Yellowstone Lake. Lupe tasted the lake. It seemed to be constructed entirely of water.

No trip to Yellowstone is complete without stopping by Old Faithful geyser.  Lupe got to see it, too, from a distance.

Old Faithful doesn't disappoint.
Old Faithful doesn’t disappoint.

Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12

Old Faithful Inn. Despite being called an Inn, Lupe stayed Outt.
Old Faithful Inn. Despite being called an Inn, Lupe stayed Outt.

From Old Faithful, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP headed N toward some other geyser basins along the Firehole River.  Poor Lupe was kind of left out, since many of the geysers weren’t close enough to the parking lots or the highway where she could see them.  A few were, though.  Lupe did get to sniff around near the Element some, and she seemed happy enough with the situation.  Lanis and SPHP took turns staying with her.

Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Excelsior Geyser in the Midway Geyser Basin was a highlight of the geyser basin tour.  The Excelsior Geyser was once the largest geyser in the world, but its last known major eruptions occurred in the 1880’s.  Back then it spouted boiling water 300 feet into the air.  Now it is a large blue pool of water which boils up vigorously at frequent intervals, and then dies down again without really erupting.

The Excelsior Geyser in the Midway Geyser Basin is a steaming hot spring these days.
The Excelsior Geyser in the Midway Geyser Basin is a steaming hot spring these days.

Excelsior Hot Spring, Midway Geyser Basin, WY 8-12-12

Water near the boiling point flows at 4,050 gallons per minute from the Excelsior Geyser into the Firehole River.
Water near the boiling point flows at 4,050 gallons per minute from the Excelsior Geyser into the Firehole River.
Lupe didn't get to see the Excelsior Geyser, but she did see the hot water from it entering the Firehole River.
Lupe didn’t get to see the Excelsior Geyser, but she did see the hot water from it entering the Firehole River.

Near the Excelsior Geyser in the Midway Geyser Basin was another very impressive hot spring.  Grand Prismatic Spring is best viewed from above, from which vantage point it appears as a large steamy blue sun rimmed with greens and yellows.  Orange flames radiate outward wherever water overflows the pool’s edges.

The different colors are caused by different types of algae and organisms that thrive in different temperature bands.  It’s hard to get a good impression of the whole from the ground, since Grand Prismatic Spring is so large.

A fiery colored arm of the Grand Prismatic Spring.
A fiery colored arm of the Grand Prismatic Spring.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Midway Geyser Basin, WY 8-12-12Grand Prismatic Spring, Midway Geyser Basin, WY 8-12-12

Near the Firehole River, Lupe waits for the return of SPHP from the Midway Geyser Basin.
Near the Firehole River, Lupe waits for the return of SPHP from the Midway Geyser Basin.

The sun was getting low by the time Lanis and SPHP were done taking tours of the Midway Geyser Basin.  There were way more basins, trails and rare thermal features, even in just this little section of Yellowstone National Park, than could possibly be visited in a single day.

The last area Lupe, Lanis and SPHP visited before sunset was the Lower Geyser Basin.  Again, Lanis and SPHP took turns staying with Lupe while the other toured the walkways to see fantastic sights found few other places on earth.

The Fountain Paint Pots are steaming, moist mud. Where there is enough moisture, the mud gloops and blurps and bubbles continuously.
The Fountain Paint Pots are steaming, moist mud. Where there is enough moisture, the mud gloops and blurps and bubbles continuously.
Some pretty pools of water steam endlessly away, seldom or never erupting.
Some pretty pools of water steam endlessly away, seldom or never erupting.
Some vents don't have any pool of water at the surface. Steam just hisses out of the ground.
Some vents don’t have any pool of water at the surface. Steam just hisses out of the ground.

The Lower Geyser Basin featured some pretty active small geysers that erupted frequently.  The steaming, erupting, sulfuric waters against the setting sun made for a scene that might easily have been from another world.Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12

Why, there's an alien being here right now!
Why, there’s an alien being here right now!

Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Back at the parking lot, while Lupe waited, the sun sank behind dead trees cooked by a change in the flow of waters heated by the giant Yellowstone caldera.  The Yellowstone caldera is the site of a supervolcano which has erupted at intervals of roughly 650,000 years three times in the last 2 million years.  The last eruption was 640,000 years ago, so on a geological time scale, the next Yellowstone supervolcano eruption is coming due soon.

So someday, Yellowstone will be even more exciting that it is now.  Too exciting even for bold-spirited Carolina Dogs.Sunset at Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Lupe at the Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12Sunset at Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP, WY 8-12-12

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