About 5 miles SW of Lead in the northern Black Hills, SPHP found a spot to park the G6 (9:59 AM, 45°F). Lupe started Expedition No. 98 along the E side of USFS Road No. 194 a short distance N of Hwy 85. The skies were blue, the air was calm, and the cool morning air felt good. The forecast called for a high in the low 60’s °F (although at lower elevations) with an outside chance (20%) of rain.
Deer Mountain(6,652 ft.), site of a local downhill ski resort, was only 0.5 mile away. Lupe and SPHP followed No. 194 N gaining elevation, but soon left the road to turn NE and head up through the forest toward the summit. The climb was moderately steep, but not terribly long. The day had hardly started when Lupe and SPHP arrived on top of Deer Mountain.
Lupe and SPHP left Deer Mountain heading N back down to USFS Road No. 194. Terry Peak(7,064 ft.), site of another downhill ski resort just 2 miles N of Deer Mountain, was Lupe’s next peakbagging goal.
Lupe and SPHP followed No. 194 almost all the way up to the top of Terry Peak. It would have been possible to drive up, although the road did deteriorate some toward the end.
The top of Terry Peak is cluttered with assorted towers, metal buildings, and power lines. The ski facilities are a bit lower down toward the NE. An apparently abandoned lookout tower sits at the very summit. A huge observation deck with 2 different stairways up to it crowned the entire building.
The lookout tower’s appearance was suffering from a lack of maintenance, but there wasn’t anything wrong with the views from the platform on top!
Lupe and SPHP enjoyed 360° views from the huge observation deck. Lupe and SPHP lingered up there for a while, but the weather started to deteriorate. The skies had been mostly clear earlier in the morning, but now puffy white clouds were sailing by. Some of them were pretty big. Each cloud brought a cold wind with it. The sky started to darken. The clouds kept getting bigger and grayer.
Lupe wanted to get down out of the wind. SPHP finally agreed. Lupe and SPHP left the observation deck, and wandered over to the base of a tall tower to the N for a look at a couple of Lupe’s next peakbagging goals without towers in the way.
SPHP had originally planned for Lupe to head down the N slope of Terry Peak to Foley Mountain(6,640 ft.), but there appeared to be a lot of private property in the area. The weather continued to deteriorate, too. Maybe it was best not to get too far from the G6.
Lupe and SPHP returned to USFS Road No. 194, and followed it all the way back to the G6 (1:24 PM, 54°F). Along the way, Lupe was pelted a number of time with crusty, round snow granules. None of these snow showers lasted very long, and there was no accumulation. The snow granules all melted as they hit the ground.
SPHP had been gathering Lupe Treasures along No. 194. After depositing them in the trunk of the G6 for future recycling, Lupe and SPHP got in and headed NW on Hwy 85 to Nevada Gulch Road. SPHP drove all the way up to the Barefoot Resort, which had been visible from Terry Peak.
The Barefoot Resort seemed to be quite close to the top of Foley Mountain. SPHP found an empty parking lot behind a long, low building and parked the G6 (1:41 PM, 45°F). Almost as soon as Lupe and SPHP left the car, someone started shooting guns close by. Lupe bolted back into the safety of the G6. Fortunately, the gunfire didn’t last long. After a few minutes of silence, SPHP managed to persuade the doubtful Dingo to come back out.
The long building seemed to be abandoned. Although there was a nice big gravel parking lot behind it, when Lupe and SPHP went around to the front to get a look at Terry Peak, the yard was nothing but thistles and tall weeds. There was a pretty good close-up view of Terry Peak from the NNW, though.
Lupe and SPHP went back behind the building. A gravel road headed uphill going N out of the parking lot into the forest. After about 100 yards, the road ended near more buildings. There was still slightly higher ground to the N, so Lupe left the road and went on through the forest.
After about 5 minutes, Lupe reached a fairly big rock outcropping. This appeared to be the summit of Foley Mountain. Lupe and SPHP scrambled up easily enough. From up on top, it was clear that this rock formation was, indeed, the summit. A 3″ diameter capped pipe stuck up out of the ground at the very highest point. Lupe got up next to it to claim her 3rd peakbagging success of the day.
Since the top of Foley Mountain was all forested, there weren’t any clear views. There was little reason for Lupe and SPHP to linger. After peering between the trees as much as possible, it was time to go. Lupe scrambled back down off the rock formation. Within 10 minutes, she was back at the G6 (2:16 PM, 44°F).
By now the sky was overcast. A chill breeze blew. Lupe still had a 4th peakbagging goal, Bald Mountain(6,617 ft.). Bald Mountain was only a mile to the E, but Wharf Resources had gold mining operations between Bald Mountain and Foley Mountain. SPHP would have to drive to a better access point. Along the way, Lupe and SPHP stopped at a pullout along Nevada Gulch Road with a good view of Bald Mountain.
SPHP had to drive quite a distance down Nevada Gulch Road to find a decent place to park the G6. Lupe and SPHP started back up Nevada Gulch Road on paw and foot. It wasn’t too far to a side road with a sign for Lost Miner’s Lodge. After a short trek along this side road, Lupe turned N climbing up the forested S slope of Bald Mountain. Lupe crossed a couple more roads along the way, but they appeared to be seldom, if ever, used.
The drive down Nevada Gulch Road had lost a lot of elevation. Lupe had to gain over 850 feet to reach the summit of Bald Mountain. As Lupe neared the top of the mountain, the terrain started to level out. Meanwhile, snow showers started in again. This time they were heavier and lasted longer than the ones after Lupe left Terry Peak. There still wasn’t any accumulation, however.
Finally, Lupe reached the top of Bald Mountain. It really hadn’t been a bad climb. Although traffic could be heard from down on Nevada Gulch Road, Bald Mountain still seemed much wilder than anywhere else Lupe had been this day. Quite a few trees on the summit had fallen over, killed by mountain pine bark beetles. Consequently, it was possible to get a bit of a view in some directions.
The summit area on Bald Mountain was large and flat. It was hard to tell where the exact highest point might be. Lupe found a pipe sticking up out of the ground. Just like on Foley Mountain, the pipe seemed to be at about the highest point around.
The views from Bald Mountain weren’t the greatest. Too many trees were still standing. Pretty soon, it was time to leave. Lupe and SPHP started back down the S slope again.
The snow showers held off while Lupe was up on top of Bald Mountain, but shortly after she started back down, the snow started in again. This time the snow showers persisted much longer. The ground started to turn white.
As Lupe lost elevation, though, the snow turned to rain. Lupe was cold and soaking wet by the time she got back to the G6 (4:33 PM, 39°F). SPHP turned on the heater full blast, and put a jacket over Lupe to help her warm up.
The burrs in Lupe’s tail must have been bugging her. As SPHP drove to Lead, Lupe started tearing burrs out of her fur with her teeth. SPHP found a place to park in Lead, and commenced to help Lupe get rid of the pesky burrs. Lupe had a few hundred burrs in her fur, so it took quite a while. By the time de-burring operations were over, the windows of the G6 were all fogged up. De-fogging operations began.
It was still raining. Lupe and SPHP stopped by a Subway in Lead. After sharing a sandwich, despite the conditions, Lupe and SPHP made a quick trip up one more mountain. It was cold, windy and snowing hard when Lupe left the G6 at 5:45 PM (32°F). The mountaintop wasn’t far away, but by the time Lupe reached it, blizzard conditions had set in.
Snow was piling up fast. The wind absolutely howled. Fog and developing darkness made it hard to see, especially while being pelted by the driven snow. Lupe flattened her soft ears and posed for one last peakbagging photo. Lupe and SPHP were both freezing. A mad dash back to the G6 ensued (6:16 PM, 32°F).
Well, Loopster, that was quite a day! Five peaks climbed! Think we will call this one the Northern Hills Day of Deterioration!
Days 40 & 41 of Lupe’s Summer of 2016 Dingo Vacation to the Canadian Rockies, Yukon & Alaska
Night, Unknown Hour, Pre-dawn on Day 40 – Cold out, but at least Lupe wasn’t going to get snowed in at the Canadian Rockies. Last evening’s rain had stopped. Stars glittered in the black night sky. Back to sleep, if possible, no telling how many hours away dawn was. Lupe wasn’t going anywhere until then, not with the G6’s burnt out R headlight.
Day 40, 6:55 AM, 33°F – Whatever happened to that bright morning sunshine SPHP had expected? The clouds were back. In places there was fog along Icefields Parkway Hwy 93. It hadn’t snowed down here, but mountains visible between the clouds were sporting a dusting of new snow. The mood was more like the onset of winter than a day in early September.
Sadly, Lupe was leaving. Her Summer of 2016 Dingo Vacation to the Canadian Rockies, Yukon & Alaska was all but over. She would have a couple more adventures on the way home, but they wouldn’t take long.
The miles flew by as Lupe watched the scenery from the comfort of the G6. She saw the grandeur of the towering Canadian Rockies. She passed by many a turn leading to fabulous adventures she’d had earlier on this Dingo Vacation or back in 2013 or 2014. As Lupe left the glorious mountains, the sky started to clear and the sun came out.
Lupe wasn’t the least bit sad. As far as she was concerned, the adventure was still on. In fact, it was getting even better! Ahead of her were more than 1,000 miles of farm and ranchlands. That meant one thing to the Carolina Dog – an abundance of cows, horses, haystacks, suspicious barns and outbuildings to bark at while leaping from window to window in the G6! Yes, it was going to be an exciting, busy, exhausting day!
And so it was. Barking at cows and horses from the G6 is a sport Looper never tires of, nor loses interest in. The unsuspecting cows and horses don’t have to do anything more than exist in order to egg her on. Seldom are they even aware of her brief, shrill, distant presence. Doesn’t matter a whit. Loop barks all the harder. The whole experience provides her with a sense of purpose, accomplishment and joy.
The only way to calm the energetic din, is to drive into a town or up into the mountains. Even the mountains can be noisy, but rarely are there enough deer and squirrels present as substitutes to make the experience at all comparable to the pleasures to be had in cattle country.
SPHP was granted a break while driving through Calgary, and another later on in Great Falls, Montana. In Great Falls, SPHP stopped to pick up fried chicken, potato wedges and Almond Joys. For a while SE of Great Falls, the potato wedges and Almond Joys kept Lupe distracted. By the time SPHP stopped at the Al Buck Memorial Park along Highway 89 N of the Little Belt Range, Lupe was too stuffed to share the fried chicken.
Day 40, 7:00 PM, 47°F – Lupe arrived at King’s Hill Pass on Hwy 89 in the Little Belt Mountains of W Central Montana very satisfied with how her day had gone. The excitement of being in cattle country was temporarily over up here, but the sun would be above the horizon for a little while longer. The American Dingo was still bursting with energy and eager for some exercise climbing King’s Hill(8,008 ft.).
From the pass, Lupe went SW through the forest until she reached USFS Road No. 487, which she followed for 0.75 mile going S along the W face of King’s Hill. By the time No. 487 turned E, she was almost up to the S end of the huge, nearly level summit area. Lupe went N along the wide summit ridge, as the last feeble rays of sunlight faded.
Lupe traveled NNW across the open ground until she reached the survey benchmark at the true summit near the N end of the mountain. Although the sun was still above the horizon, clouds filtered the remaining sunlight to the point where it was hard to tell it was even present. It certainly did nothing to cut the chill from the W wind sweeping over King’s Hill.
Off to the NNE, Lupe could see Big Baldy Mountain(9,177 ft.), the highest point in the Little Belt Range. Big Baldy already had snow on top!
Up in the cold wind, late in the day after being cooped up in the G6 so long, the American Dingo started getting ideas. Oh, no! SPHP recognized that look.
Suddenly Lupe vanished. In her place appeared the wild, ferocious were-puppy. Without hesitation the were-puppy attacked SPHP!
After a few minutes of struggle, during which the were-puppy lunged and leaped at SPHP with snapping jaws, SPHP managed to fend off the were-puppy. Lupe returned looking as innocent as she could be.
So, I take you adventuring not only to the Canadian Rockies, but way up to the Yukon and even Alaska, and this is what I get?
Why, whatever do you mean, SPHP? Are you feeling well?
Sly dog! Well, the wind was cold, and Lupe had made it to the top of King’s Hill. The sun really would be down behind Porphyry Peak(8,192 ft.) soon. No sense in sticking around waiting for the were-puppy to return. Lupe and SPHP started S toward the road leading back down to the G6.
Shots rang out. Gunfire! Hunters? The same American Dingo which had presented itself as the bold, ferocious, wild and invincible were-puppy only minutes ago, now pleaded with SPHP for reassurance and assistance.
Help! Help! Hide me! Save me! Hold me! Pet me! Love me! Carry me! All of the above me!
Sheesh, such drama! Come on Looper, you’ll be fine. Just stick close by. No harm will come to you.
As promised, Lupe returned safely to the G6, though shaken by her narrow escape (8:19 PM). She leaped into the G6 immediately. SPHP fed her Alpo and Taste of the Wild before putting her blankie over her. Soon the were-puppy was snoring peacefully. Outside, stars shone brilliantly accompanied by a half moon.
Day 41, First Light, 6:13 AM, 41°F – Lupe woke to the sound of rain and wind gusts. A small storm was blowing through. So much for any thought of climbing Porphyry Peak this morning. SPHP had hatched a different plan already, anyway. Look out cows, horses and haystacks, Lupe is on her way!
Lupe left the Little Belt Range behind. S of White Sulphur Springs near the junction of Hwys 12 & 89, Lupe & SPHP got out of the G6 to take a look at the dramatic sky remaining in the aftermath of the storm front.
Cows, horses, haystacks! Lupe had her fun. Ahh, this was the life! Another great day!
E of Lovell, Wyoming, Highway Alt 14 wound steeply up into the last big mountain range of Lupe’s Summer of 2016 Dingo Vacation. Lupe was back in the Bighorns for the first time since she’d climbed Cloud Peak(13,167 ft.) back in July. Her final peakbagging adventures of this Dingo Vacation would occur here.
A little after noon, on this cool breezy day, Lupe set out from the Bald Mountain campground for Bald Mountain(10,042 ft.) (12:09 PM, 56°F).
The mostly bare, rounded mountain was an easy climb. The only real obstacle was the SW wind, which blew harder and harder as Lupe gained elevation. Carolina Dogs are not great fans of wind, but Loopster persevered. There was nothing along the way to protect her from the wind, but on the other hand, the views were tremendous!
Lupe reached the survey benchmark at the true summit. The wind was worst here. She didn’t like it, but the Carolina Dog stayed long enough for photos. Lupe had been here before. Twice in 2012, once in 2013. More than 3 years had gone by since her last ascent.
Well, this was it. Lupe had done it. She had reached the summit of Bald Mountain. Only one task remained – to go find the place of names, and make the necessary repairs. Lupe’s name has been immmortalized in stone on Bald Mountain since July 11, 2013.
It had been more than 3 years since Lupe and SPHP were here last, but the place of names was found with relatively little difficulty. Lupe waited in the wind for an hour, while SPHP fixed things up. Finally, it was done.And that was that. There was nothing left to do. Enough of this wind! Lupe and SPHP began the easy trek back to the G6 with a grand view of Medicine Mountain ahead.
The wind was still blowing when Lupe reached the G6 at the Bald Mountain campground (3:13 PM, 53°F), but not as strongly as up on the mountain. She stayed in the area for more than an hour before heading E again on Highway Alt 14A toward Burgess Junction.
Later in the day, E of the magnificent Bighorn Range, Lupe resumed her happy duty watching for cows and horses to bark at along I90. She kept it up as long as there was light to see by. Yes, this really was the life, all these splendid days adventuring on and off the long road to the Canadian Rockies, Yukon & Alaska and back, every minute spent with sweet Lupe!
After an adventure spanning 9,126 miles, 41 days & 40 nights, Lupe returned to her home in the Black Hills of South Dakota at 10:50 PM on 9-8-2016. She had gone thousands of miles farther than she had ever been before, seen countless magnificent sights, and had wonderful adventures all the way up to the Yukon and far into Alaska.
In the Brooks Range of northern Alaska, Lupe went her last mile N reaching the confluence of the Dietrich River and a stream NW of Dillon Mountain. From there she saw a mountain, farther N yet, privately designated the Mountain of the Midnight Sun. Whether Lupe ever sees the Mountain of the Midnight Sun and adventures in Alaska again is, at this moment, part of the unknown, uncertain future.
So long as Lupe is alive and well, hope remains that some day the Dingo of the Midnight Sun will return to roam and play once more beneath the pale blue Arctic sky.
The Owl & The Pussycat
The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money, wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love, what a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are, what a beautiful Pussy you are.”
Pussy said to the Owl “You elegant fowl, how charmingly sweet you sing. O let usbe married, too long we have tarried; but what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away for a year and a day, to the land where the Bong-tree grows, and there in a wood, a Piggy-wig stood, with a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose. With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day by the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon.
Lupe and SPHP hit the road before dawn. Lupe was on her way to explore the Bear Lodge Mountains, a remote part of the Black Hills in NE Wyoming separate from the main body of the Black Hills in South Dakota. The sun was up by the time the eager American Dingo reached the Wyoming border.
Lupe had 3 peakbagging goals for the day. SPHP had high hopes for the first one, due to it’s intriguing name – Vision Peak(4,812 ft.). Those hopes seemed likely to be justified when SPHP parked the G6 off USFS Road No. 830 about 1.5 miles N of Hwy 24 (8:18 AM, 67°F). Lupe was already high up on a ridge with a view to the S.
The day was unseasonably warm, but with a fairly stiff WSW breeze. Lupe headed W on USFS Road No. 887.1, a little used side road closed to motor vehicles. The road climbed a bit, then crossed over to the N side of the ridge, where Lupe was out of the wind. No. 887.1 then wound around a little below the long ridgeline heading generally W, while slowly losing elevation.
No. 887.1 wound around for more than a mile. Lupe didn’t find any squirrels, but whitetail deer were abundant. The road never returned to the ridgeline, although Lupe and SPHP made one foray up onto the ridge before returning to the road again. To the N, Lupe had views of another high ridge beyond Lucky Gulch.
Lupe was making great progress, when suddenly USFS Road No. 887.1 simply ended W of High Point 4805. Fortunately, Lupe was already almost to the saddle over to Vision Peak. A short bushwhack through the forest brought Lupe to the E end of the saddle.
Lupe crossed the saddle and began climbing. She encountered a couple of minor rock outcroppings along the way, but the climb was neither long nor difficult. Soon she reached the top of Vision Peak(4,812 ft.).
Since Vision Peak is positioned way out at the far W end of a long, fairly narrow ridge, SPHP had been hoping for great wide open views, especially toward the W. Lupe did find quite a nice view to the S right at the true summit, but most of the summit ridge was too heavily forested to see much. Somewhat disappointingly, Vision Peak seemed to be a BYOV (Bring Your Own Vision) mountain.
Lupe and SPHP lingered on Vision Peak for a little while, taking a break and enjoying the best view, which was to the S. The wind was out of the SSW about 20 mph, but wasn’t bad at ground level. The forest provided quite effective protection, although the wind was certainly heard in the treetops.
On the way back to the G6, instead of taking the road, Lupe and SPHP climbed up onto the long ridge after crossing the saddle E of Vision Peak. There were more impressive rock outcroppings along this climb up onto the ridge, than there had been climbing Vision Peak.
Although it was a bit out of the way, Lupe visited High Point 4805. On the way there, she caught a glimpse of a high, partly barren hill off to the NW. That was probably her next peakbagging goal, Bald Mountain(4,800 ft.)!
The trek along USFS Road No. 887.1 to get close to Vision Peak had been pleasant and easy, but the return trip along the top of the ridge was more fun. Distant views to both the N and S occasionally presented themselves, and deer were plentiful. Lupe even found a couple of squirrels along the way, which she greeted with her usual enormous enthusiasm.
Even though Vision Peak itself had turned out to be somewhat of an anti-climax, the whole excursion had been a pleasant success (10:55 AM, 70°F).
Lupe’s next peakbagging goal was Bald Mountain(4,800 ft.). Getting to Bald Mountain was supposed to be another relatively easy tromp through the woods over some high ground with little net elevation change. SPHP drove farther N on USFS Road No. 830 for a couple of miles looking for a closer starting point, ultimately parking at the start of USFS Road No. 830.4C (11:08 AM, 70°F).
Like No. 887.1, No. 830.4C was gated off and closed to motor vehicles, so it hadn’t seen much recent use either. Lupe and SPHP set off following it WSW through the forest. At first, everything seemed fine. Lupe was having a great romp in the woods, and there were deer everywhere. Gradually, however, the road turned more to the SW, then SSW, as it became fainter and fainter. Lupe did not come to any of the side roads SPHP was expecting to find.
Eventually No. 830.4C faded away completely. Lupe was in the middle of the forest. It looked like there was blue sky between the trees off to the W, so maybe there was a viewpoint over there. Lupe and SPHP headed W. Yes, there was a view. What SPHP presumed was Bald Mountain was in sight off to the W. However, there was a big canyon between Lupe and Bald Mountain. Something was wrong. Time to consult the maps.
The exciting conclusion was that No. 830.4C must not have been the best place to start for Bald Mountain. The big intervening canyon between Lupe and Bald Mountain was almost certainly Reservoir Gulch. Lupe was too far S. She would have to backtrack and go around the upper end of Reservoir Gulch.
It was farther than SPHP expected. Lupe went up and down, crossing many ravines feeding into Reservoir Gulch as she now headed back to the NE. Finally, a road appeared dead ahead. When Lupe reached it, SPHP saw that less than 100 feet off to the SE, this road intersected a bigger road. Oh, brother! Lupe was all the way back to USFS Road No. 830.
The G6 was nowhere in sight. Lupe was farther N along No. 830 than where it had been left. A sign at the side road showed that Lupe had reached USFS Road No. 881.1. Another sign showed that it led to Planting Spring. Time for another map check.
OK, this was it! No. 881.1 was definitely the right road to take. Lupe didn’t need to go all the way to Planting Spring, but in less than a mile Lupe should reach another road going SW toward Bald Mountain. After a short rest break, Lupe and SPHP set off again.
No. 881.1 was a much better road than No. 830.4C had been. Even so, Lupe soon came to a gate across the road closing No. 881.1 to motor vehicle traffic, too. Apparently all these minor roads were closed to motor vehicles.
No. 881.1 went up and down little hills on its way W. After about a mile or so, Lupe did come to a side road that turned S (L) in a sunny meadow. This side road was marked No. 881.1A. Lupe followed it, and soon it did turn SW.
After 0.25 mile or so, Lupe came to a marker for USFS Road No. 881.1C. A faint track went off to the WNW (R). Lupe stayed to the L on the better road. In another 0.25 mile, No. 881.1A reached some cliffs. Lupe was now on the N side of Reservoir Gulch. From the cliffs, Lupe could see Vision Peak off to the SE.
Lupe had only another 0.5 mile to go to reach Bald Mountain. She came to a variety of scenic points along the way. She passed by some groves of scrub oaks sporting orangey brown leaves.
USFS Road No. 881.1A did not go quite all the way to Bald Mountain. It played out about 0.25 mile from the summit. A few hundred feet farther W was a small ridge topped with scattered large boulders. It was possible to get a distant view to the W from one of the boulders.
Lupe went S following the boulders. When the small ridge ended, Lupe continued on through the forest. She eventually wound up back along the N edge of Reservoir Gulch again. Here she had an even better view of Vision Peak to the SE. She was getting quite close to her Bald Mountain objective, too.
Lupe reached the top of Bald Mountain(4,800 ft.). The summit area was a huge triangular field of tall grass, several hundred feet long on each side. Forest ringed much of the N and NW edges of the field, and around the S tip, but elsewhere there were great unobstructed views. This was more like it! Bald Mountain should have been named Vision Peak!
Lupe and SPHP took a stroll around the summit field before settling down for a break. Lupe had water and Taste of the Wild. SPHP had an apple. The big view toward Devils Tower and Missouri Buttes was simply marvelous. It might have been even a little more marvelous if the weather wasn’t deteriorating.
What had been a 20 mph SSW breeze earlier in the day, had built up to a 35 mph gusty SW wind. Big clouds were moving in from the SW. The clouds sprinkled light rain for a few minutes, but the rain shower didn’t amount to much. Lupe didn’t care for that wind, though! She preferred curling up behind SPHP to facing directly into the wind to see the view.
With Lupe’s second peakbagging success of the day secured, it was time to return to the G6. Away from the SW edge of Bald Mountain, the wind was hardly noticeable. As big clouds sailed across the sky overhead, Lupe roamed the forest. She saw lots of deer. The occasional squirrel kept her entertained.
Near Bald Mountain, she passed by the orange and brown groves of scrub oak again. Farther along, were the yellow aspens.
The return trip was simply a retracement of Lupe’s route to Bald Mountain all the way back to USFS Road No. 830. From there, Lupe had to follow No. 830 going S until she found the G6 again, still parked at the start of USFS Road No. 830.4C (2:47 PM, 66°F).
Most of the big clouds were gone now. The sun was out again. A little over three hours remained before sunset. Lupe had one more peakbagging goal left for the day. About 6 or 7 miles farther N on No. 830, the old USFS map showed a side road leading close to Stoney Point(4,480 ft.). SPHP drove N looking for it.
A wooden rail fence curved away from USFS Road No. 830 where SPHP found the side road Lupe needed to follow toward Stoney Point. A pickup truck and travel trailer were parked near the start of the side road, which was unmarked by any road number or name. A big black horse with a large white spot on his forehead stood right in the middle of the side road. “Spot” seemed to be the campsite’s only occupant at the moment.
SPHP parked the G6 on the W side of No. 830, away from the camp (3:22 PM, 64°F). Lupe and SPHP then cut through a field on the S side of the rail fence away from “Spot”. SPHP hoped to keep Lupe from playing a game of “See Spot run! Run, Spot, run!” Spot was quite curious about what was going on, and watched Lupe nervously. Although Lupe loves barking at horses from the G6, she paid Spot no mind. She reached the side road well beyond where Spot had effectively blocked it.
On the side road, Lupe soon arrived at a fence and gate. Ahh, yes! This minor dirt road, like all the others, was also closed to motor vehicles from here on. A pickup truck with Ohio license plates was parked nearby. Lupe and SPHP continued following the side road. Stoney Point was still 2.5 miles to the NE.
Before long, Lupe came to a place where there was a grassy hill on the N side of the road. Up on the hill were a couple of interesting large boulders. Lupe and SPHP headed for the boulders. Lupe leaped up on the biggest one for a photo and a look around.
With nothing else of note in the area, Lupe and SPHP continued on, taking a shortcut over the small grassy hill. More boulders came into view as Lupe reached the crest of the hill. As Lupe passed by the first big one, she discovered someone sitting with his back to the boulder only a couple of feet away. A hunter!
Lupe’s sudden appearance right next to him seemed to startle the hunter for a moment. When he saw SPHP, he waved, and SPHP waved back. Lupe and SPHP went on. From up on the hill, the hunter had a great view of the large field to the E. Lupe and SPHP crossed the field, reached the road again, and eventually disappeared from his range of view as the road returned to the forest.
Hearing gunfire on Lupe’s expeditions, isn’t that uncommon. Usually any gunfire is distant and from people doing target practice, but occasionally there are hunters about, especially this time of year. However, Lupe has seldom actually seen hunters in the field. Lupe and SPHP rarely see anyone on her Black Hills expeditions, except near major roads. Lupe had never come right up on a hunter in the field like this before!
The road went close to the edge of a canyon. There was a big view to the SE. On the far horizon, Lupe could see the Black Hills back in South Dakota.
The road left the edge of the canyon curving first N, then NW, as it continued through the forest. However, the road soon left the forest as it turned N again. Up ahead was a another grassy hill with some big boulders near the top. Wearing bright orange, another hunter was stationed up there!
Lupe stuck to the road. The hunter and SPHP waved as the American Dingo passed on by. When Lupe reached the top of the hill, the road turned NE crossing a huge level field. This treeless plain was exposed and windy. Not as windy as Bald Mountain had been, but a 20 mph SW wind swept across the field. At the far end of the field were some low rocks near a few pine trees. When she got there, Lupe sought out a place sheltered from the wind.
SPHP checked the maps. Stoney Point had to be close by. It was just a small hill to the ENE beyond this elevated windswept plain. Lupe could be there in 15 minutes. Lupe was disappointed to learn she had to leave her cozy windbreak to press on.
A short distance E of Lupe’s rocky windbreak, Stoney Point(4,480 ft.) came into view. Stoney Point was just a barren hill with a few boulders, bushes and trees scattered over it. The views would be good from there, though.
Lupe headed for the biggest rocks on the NW slope of Stoney Point as she approached. The wind was blowing hard when she jumped up on them.
From the big rocks, it was only a short stroll up to the summit of Stoney Point. There were huge distant views from the NW to the ESE. Lupe could see a very long way out across low pine-covered ridges and high prairie. Despite the wind, Lupe and SPHP hung around a while checking out the views.
SPHP had noticed a post with a red top up on Stoney Point when Lupe first arrived, but hadn’t though much of it. SPHP was surprised when Lupe found a survey benchmark a few feet away. The old USFS map hadn’t shown a benchmark, but here it was! A closer look at the topo map from Peakbagger.com did show the benchmark.
When the time came to leave Stoney Point, SPHP started heading W down the hill on the way back to the huge field. A minute later, SPHP realized Lupe wasn’t coming. She was still back up near the summit of Stoney Point. SPHP called her, but she still didn’t come. She was standing stiffly in place.
Lupe looked like she did earlier in the year when she had encounters with cactus. SPHP hadn’t noticed any cactus, but maybe she had stepped on one somewhere up on Stoney Point?
SPHP returned to Lupe. She let SPHP inspect all her paws. No cactus spines anywhere – nothing was wrong that SPHP could see. Still, something must have happened. Maybe she stepped on something sharp, and thought it was a cactus?
In any case, Lupe wouldn’t budge. SPHP carried her as far as the big rocks on the NW slope of Stoney Point. She was willing to pose for a couple more photos from the rocks.
For some reason, being up on the rocks helped Lupe’s confidence. Presumably she discovered her paws didn’t really hurt as she moved around. All on her own, off she went, now leading SPHP on the way back to the G6. When she reached the E end of the huge field, she paused for one more look back at Stoney Point.
The second hunter was still in position when Lupe went by again. Once again, the hunter and SPHP waved. Returning to the forest, Lupe found a squirrel to bark at. She had a great time, but a little later, as she was approaching the area where she had startled the first hunter, he came down the hill toward SPHP. Oh, boy. Maybe he had heard Lupe barking, and was unhappy thinking she had driven away whatever he might be hunting?
Nope. The hunter was just friendly. He was really a very nice guy, and simply wanted to meet Lupe and chat with SPHP. His name was Joe Eberz. He was from Ohio, and was way out here in NE Wyoming hunting elk. Had Lupe seen the rest of his party? Yes, but only half of it. Turned out there was a third hunter Lupe and SPHP hadn’t noticed somewhere out there.
Joe hadn’t seen any elk in Wyoming yet, and neither had Lupe or SPHP today. Plenty of deer around, but none of Lupe’s “giant deers”. Joe and his party still had several more days to hunt. Maybe they would find elk before they had to return to Ohio.
Joe and SPHP had a pleasant conversation. Joe said Lupe really had startled him when she made her first sudden appearance. SPHP had been amazed to see Joe sitting behind the big rock, too! Joe petted Lupe, and had his picture taken with her.
Day 3 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.
Lupe was somersaulting again against the door of her “tiny house”. She still hadn’t figured out that she couldn’t go through the tent door when it was zipped shut, but it had only been her second night ever in a tent. A squirrel was chattering away in a tree outside. Lupe wanted to go bark at it, but it was very early. Lanis was still asleep in the Honda Element, after his gear got soaked in a sudden downpour the previous evening.
Lanis isn’t much of a morning person. SPHP figured he would sleep for several more hours. This was an opportunity for Lupe to return to Bald Mountain(10,042 ft.). Lupe, Lanis and SPHP had climbed Bald Mountain the evening before, only to be almost immediately chased off of it by a brief intense rain shower. It wasn’t going to rain now, though. Lupe and SPHP left the squirrel and the campground in peace, and climbed Bald Mountain again.
After searching around on top of the mountain, SPHP had almost given up. Then, suddenly, there they were. Lupe had found the names that had been up there for a quarter century or more now. The names were just made out of loose rocks, but they were still easily recognizable. SPHP spent a little time repairing them.
SPHP wanted to add Lupe’s name to the mountain, but so much time had been lost looking around, it was probably best to get back down to the campground before Lanis awoke to find himself alone. It would take too much time to search around for some rocks to use. So Lupe and SPHP went down Bald Mountain enjoying the panoramic views, sunshine and fresh air.
SPHP needn’t have worried. Lanis was still sound asleep when Lupe returned. After having been responsible for getting Lanis’ gear wet the night before, SPHP wasn’t eager to further aggravate him by waking him up. Lupe and SPHP stayed busy in camp. Lanis eventually came to on his own. He was in a better mood than when he’d gone to sleep in the Element.
It was time for Lupe to leave the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming and head farther W. The sun was much higher now. Lanis and SPHP dried things out while Lupe sniffed around. Pretty soon things were dry enough to pack them back in the Honda Element, and Lupe, Lanis and SPHP were underway.
Lanis drove W out of the Bighorns on steep, windy Hwy 14A. The route continued through Lovell, Powell and Cody, WY. From Cody, Lupe went N on Hwy 120 to Hwy 296, the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway. The Chief Joseph Scenic Byway lived up to its name. The road wound high up over a lofty pass. At a pullout on the W side of the pass, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP got out for a look.
The view was most impressive, but there was a chilly wind. It looked rather stormy on the W side of the pass. Lupe hadn’t been at the pullout long when a cold rain began to fall. American Dingoes do have the good sense to come in out of the rain. Lanis and SPHP quickly joined Lupe in the Honda Element. Lupe’s journey continued down the winding highway on the W side of the pass.
The rain eventually stopped, but it was still pretty cloudy out. The St. Joseph Scenic Byway led to the Beartooth Hwy (No. 212). The Beartooth Highway goes NE over spectacular Beartooth Pass on its way to Red Lodge, MT, but Lupe wasn’t going that way yet. Instead Lupe, Lanis and SPHP headed W on the Beartooth Highway toward Cooke City, MT.
Lanis and SPHP were looking for a campsite along the way. There were some campgrounds, but SPHP was picky and found nothing that looked quite right before reaching Cooke City, MT. Along the way, Montana became the 3rd U.S. Lupe state!
Cooke City, MT is basically a one street tourist town strategically situated 5 miles from the NE entrance to Yellowstone National Park. After looking around town just a little bit, it was time to get more serious about finding a campsite. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP headed back E on the Beartooth Hwy. This time Lanis was driving slower to allow for a more complete reconnaissance of the possibilities.
Not long after entering Wyoming again, Lanis and SPHP saw a turn to a little parking lot just N of the highway. A pickup truck with a camper was parked there close to a bend in a very beautiful river just 200 feet from the highway. It looked like a great dispersed camping site. Lanis pulled in off the highway. Everyone piled out of the Element to check things out.
Unknown to Lupe, Lanis and SPHP at the time, the river was the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone. This gorgeous site would become home base for the entire time Lupe spent in the Beartooths on her 2012 Dingo Vacation. The bend in the river offered a terrific view of the dramatic spire of Pilot Peak(11,699 ft.) and its neighbor Index Peak(11,240 ft.) to the NW. Just downstream of the bend, was a small waterfall or rapid with a nice pool of clear, cold water below it.
The reconnaissance downstream quickly met with the approval of Lupe, Lanis and SPHP. A walk upstream through a wooded area to a field next to the river followed. After being cooped up in the Honda Element a good part of the day, Lupe was so stirred up by the wild river and glorious surroundings, she got a crazed look in her eye. She pranced and growled and demonstrated just how ferociously prepared American Dingoes are for life in the wilderness.
Returning to the bend in the river, SPHP had a chat with the other campers there, who already occupied the best site right next to the river. They told SPHP about a waterfall worth seeing just a mile or two to the E. The falls were up a short trail on the N side of the Beartooth Hwy. Why not check that out, too? Lupe, Lanis and SPHP hopped back in the Element to go find the waterfall.
As promised, a short, but steep hike up a trail led to a roaring torrent on Crazy Creek. The stream was strewn with logs. The falls were large, but this wasn’t really a classic straight down over an edge type of waterfall. It was too steep to be just rapids either. A better name is Crazy Creek Cascade. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP followed the trail all the way up to the top of the falls.
Lupe, Lanis and SPHP played around on the rocks next to Crazy Creek just above the cascade until it started getting dark. Time to head back to the Element, and the great campsite on the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone.
When Lupe returned, the sky was still overcast. In fact, the clouds were darker and denser than before. It looked like it would almost certainly rain overnight. It didn’t seem to make any sense to set up the tent, which would surely leak if it rained hard enough. Tonight, Lanis was going to have company in the Element. Outside the rain began.
Day 2 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.
Lupe was doing somersaults. A squirrel was chattering away in a tree somewhere outside Lupe’s “tiny house”. Lupe was desperate to go bark at it. She was hurling herself repeatedly against the screen door of the tent, not realizing it was zipped shut. She couldn’t get out. The crazy Carolina Dog was going paws over head, and doing a complete somersault each time she charged the fabric. The whole tent shook. SPHP and Lanis woke up.
Lanis, SPHP and Lupe were camped at Shell Creek in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. It was morning, and clearly time to get up to relieve the American Dingo’s anxiety. After breakfast, Lanis, Lupe and SPHP took a short walk along Shell Creek. Returning from the walk, it was time to leave Shell Creek campground. Someone else had reservations for Site No. 11 tonight.
Where to next? Shell Falls was relatively close by farther down Shell Canyon. About a mile upstream of Shell Falls, there were also some smaller waterfalls just off Hwy 14 where Lupe could go wading. Lupe went to visit both Shell Falls, and the smaller falls.
After visiting Shell Falls and the other smaller waterfalls in Shell Canyon, there was a debate over what to do next. Should Lupe return to Shell Creek campground to see if another site had opened up?
In the end, Lupe wound up going to Burgess Junction instead. Lanis went into the store and bought ice cream bars again, just like he’d done the previous day at Spotted Horse. Lupe liked this new ice cream bar tradition. She sacrificed any concerns over her own health, to help make sure SPHP didn’t get fat.
Lupe, Lanis and SPHP headed W on Hwy 14A. There were two more waterfalls that would be worth seeing. One was Bucking Mule Falls. The other was Porcupine Falls. Both were miles N of the highway along gravel roads, but they were in the same general area. Since SPHP had seen Bucking Mule Falls once before, Porcupine Falls was chosen as Lupe’s destination.
The trail to Porcupine Falls wasn’t very long, but it was steep. Shortly after leaving the trailhead, it went steeply downhill most of the way. Porcupine Falls poured through a narrow gap in a rock wall into a big pool below. It was very pretty and dramatic looking gushing out between the high cliffs.
After seeing Porcupine Falls, and spending some time sniffing around the edges of the big pool below it, Lupe led everyone back up the trail to the Honda Element. Now that the trail was going steeply uphill, it didn’t seem nearly so short as before.
Once everyone was back at the Element, the consensus was that it was time to eat and secure a campsite. Bucking Mule Falls would have to wait for another day. Lupe went back to Hwy 14A. At the Bald Mountain campground, once again, Site 11 was the best one available. Lanis and SPHP pitched the tent and made dinner. After dinner, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP started climbing Bald Mountain. It was a really easy climb up a long grassy slope SE of the campground.
When Lupe was about halfway up Bald Mountain(10,042 ft.), it started becoming apparent that a rainstorm was coming. A line of showers that had been quite some distance away to the W was moving in. By the time Lupe was near the top, rain showers were all around to the S, W & N. Now and then, there was some lightning off in these directions, too.
Within just a few minutes of when Lupe, Lanis and SPHP reached the top of Bald Mountain, the storm hit. A chill wind blew fiercely, and there was a cold stinging rain. The downpour was much harder than expected. With absolutely no cover on Bald Mountain, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP all got soaking wet. The storm wasn’t a big one, though, and would soon pass. SPHP expected to be able to just tough it out.
Suddenly there was a flash of lightning relatively close by, followed by the roar of thunder. There’s no toughing out lightning. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP all hastily abandoned the summit of Bald Mountain. Fifteen minutes later, the storm had blown on by. There was still light rain, but nothing of consequence. The rain had dampened everyone’s spirits, though. Lupe, Lanis and SPHP continued on down back to the campground.
After setting up Lupe’s “tiny house”, SPHP had thrown everything needed for the night into the tent. Unfortunately, SPHP had not put the rain cover on the tent. Most things were now damp. Lanis’ sleeping bag was just plain soaking wet. Lanis was not amused. Lupe and SPHP spent the night in the tent. Fortunately, there were still some dry blankets in the Honda Element. Lanis spent the night in the Element huddled under them, running the heater now and then to keep warm.Shell Falls is located 14 miles E of Greybull, WY in Shell Canyon. A parking lot and visitor center are right next to the N side of the highway. Shell Falls is a quick scenic stop for travelers on their way W to Yellowstone National Park.
Porcupine Falls and Bucking Mule Falls are located N of Hwy 14A (E of Lovell, WY) toward the W side of the Bighorn Mountain Range. Gravel roads lead to the trailheads. The 0.5 mile hike to Porcupine Falls leads to a large pool at the base of the falls. The trail to Bucking Mule Falls leads 1.5 miles to a scenic overlook from which the falls can be viewed from a distance.
Directions to Porcupine Falls and Bucking Mule Falls: E of Bald Mountain campground, there are two roads going N from Hwy 14A. (The first road is just E of the turn to Bald Mountain campground, the second is 2 miles farther E.) Both roads lead in just a few miles to an intersection with Devil’s Canyon Road. Take Devil’s Canyon Road W 4 miles to the Porcupine Falls trailhead, or 7 miles to the Bucking Mule Falls trailhead.
Advisory: Online information on the Bucking Mule Falls National Recreation Trail indicates that the trail to the scenic overlook of the falls is part of a much longer 15 mile trail. Continuing on beyond the viewpoint, the trail drops steeply 2,000 feet in 2 miles into Devil’s Canyon. One online trip report dating from July, 2013 said there were 5 miles of trail down in Devil’s Canyon choked with dead trees. In some places the trees had fallen 3 and 4 deep across the trail. Lupe recommends checking for current information on the trail’s condition before continuing beyond the overlook.
Lupe returned to Bald Mountain on the first day of her 2013 Dingo Vacation to the Beartooths and Canadian Rockies. Click the red link to view Lupe’s post about her return visit.
Early on the gorgeous summer morning of July 10, 2013, Lupe and SPHP set out on their 2nd Annual Great Dingo Vacation. Unlike 2012, this time they were alone. Once on the road, SPHP could hardly remember ever feeling so free. Although SPHP had told everyone that Lupe was headed for the Beartooths and Canadian Rockies, the truth was that Lupe and SPHP could have gone anywhere and done anything in the next 3 or 4 weeks and no one would have been the wiser.
SPHP turned off the cell phone shortly after leaving town. It and the radio would not be turned on again until dingo vacation was over. SPHP had the windows on the G6 partly down so Lupe could sniff the wonderful cool morning air. Lupe was riding shotgun and kept a close eye out for cows to bark at. It was plenty noisy in the G6 with the frantic dingo sounding off every 30 seconds. There were big beautiful clouds over the Black Hills, but the clouds were smaller by the time Lupe was crossing into Wyoming on I-90.
The plan for the first day was to head to the glorious Bighorn Mountains in N central Wyoming. There was plenty of time to get there. In 2012, when Lanis had been along, SPHP had wanted to see some new territory and had Lanis turn N on Hwy 14/16 at Gillette, WY to go see Spotted Horse. There had proven to be just one little store there, but there was a spotted horse! SPHP thought it would be fun for Lupe to go see it again this year.
Lupe and SPHP took the northern route into the Bighorns on Hwy 14A through Ranchester and Dayton up to Burgess Junction. Near Burgess Junction, SPHP turned N on a gravel road for a couple of miles. The road led to the North Tongue River and SPHP parked the G6 near it. A huge gorgeous field of wildflowers stretched unbroken upstream. Young Lupe, only 2.5 years old, had arrived at the Elysian Fields of Puppy Happiness!
Lupe & SPHP roamed upstream. Lupe sometimes got into the crystal clear North Tongue River to cool off and drink. Colorful butterflies flitted through the air, dragonflies zoomed around, and bees buzzed among the infinity of blossoms. Lupe raced, bounded and sniffed her way through the Elysian Fields of Puppy Happiness.
SPHP wandered up onto a nearby small ridge and followed it to a forested hill. Lupe and SPHP climbed up onto the rocks from where there was a view of the surrounding open fields, forests and mountains. Black and brown cows grazed near the river below. The scene was typical of the beauty of the Bighorns. It was great to be alive and free!
The afternoon wore on. Sadly Lupe’s time in the Elysian Fields of Puppy Happiness drew to an end. SPHP headed the G6 W on Hwy 14A from Burgess Junction. Just E of Bald Mountain near the W end of the Bighorns, SPHP turned the G6 onto a side road. The only clouds were far on the western horizon. Very fortunately, the weather was going to be clear this evening.
Despite not really being very well equipped for it, SPHP managed to lug 2 sleeping bags, and a pillow or two up to the summit of Bald Mountain(10,042 ft.). From there, Lupe and SPHP continued on along the gently rounded ridge to the slightly lower SW part of the mountain.
There Lupe & SPHP spent the evening with a sweeping view from the E around to the S and W. Lupe and SPHP searched the mountain. SPHP almost despaired of finding them, and then suddenly stumbled upon the names. Very happily, SPHP fixed them.
After the sun went down, SPHP persuaded Lupe to lay down in a sleeping bag for a little while. That wouldn’t last. The stars came out and the universe was on display. Far below and away on the prairies to the S and W, gradually the distant lights of little Wyoming towns started to shine too. A sliver of a moon was about to set in the W.
There was no tent. Lupe was going to spend the night under the stars. Her amazement and excitement eventually proved uncontainable. She slept well for a few hours and then SPHP awoke to suddenly realize she was gone. Lupe hadn’t gone far though, SPHP soon heard the tinkle of the little tag on her collar as she ran around beneath the stars. Lupe could not be persuaded to lay down again. SPHP tried to sleep.
For hours, SPHP dozed fitfully, while listening every few minutes for the tinkle of the little tag on Lupe’s collar. Lupe raced back and forth in the darkness sniffing at top speed the open ground on top of Bald Mountain. She returned to check in with SPHP every 10 or 15 minutes.
Lupe and SPHP were at nearly 10,000 feet. The Milky Way blazed spectacularly above as the rest of the universe sped away as it has been doing for billions of years. The silence and solitude of being totally alone on a high mountain were primal and magnificent. Sometime in the wee hours of the night, Lupe was finally willing to lay down on her sleeping bag and SPHP passed out.
A chilly breeze was blowing in the morning. The fuzzy white heads at the tops of the stems on some kind of plant that covered the area were waving in the breeze, somewhat like dandelions whose seeds didn’t fly away. The effect was beautiful. SPHP looked for the place of names again and found it. SPHP added Lupe’s name to the collection. Then Lupe and SPHP returned to the summit of Bald Mountain, an easy stroll up a gentle rise to the east.
After a pause at the top of Bald Mountain to absorb the glory of the scene spreading out in every direction, Lupe & SPHP headed down to the G6, a tiny red dot below.