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Monday, November 30, 2015

Staying Close to Home: Woody and Blue Mountains

Pudge looking over Missoula from Blue Mountain Trail.
Mission and Rattlesnake Mountains.
Since the snow started falling and the cold weather has settled in, my drive to bag high peaks has waned. This fall was a particularly long one for good weather and high country travel. But with weekly cyclocross and kickball on top of peak bagging, I was worn down come late October. November has been a much more relaxed month, at least outside of work, with weekends at home, and much less activity. Nonetheless, I've continued to get out to bag some low summits around Missoula. Last weekend was Woody Mountain, on a very enjoyable loop from Marshall Canyon. You can find the GPS track here. This weekend, I bagged Blue Mountain, from the first switchback beyond the 'motorcycle trail head' (or Hayes Point) up Blue Mountain Road. The hike to the summit from there is a local favorite for me, at eight miles RT with fantastic views of Missoula, the Rattlesnake, and the Mission Mountains. This is a perfect time of year to do it -- there's snow, but not so much that you need snow shoes -- but the road closes on December 1, so you'll have to bike up to the start from now until Spring.
Looking south from Woody Mountain
Looking west from Woody.
Pudge and Lolo Peak from Blue Mountain.
Pudge letting off steam on Blue Mountain, the Missions visible in the distance.
Blue Mountain, looking east, with the Bitterroot Valley on the right. 
Looking north, Missions in the distance.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Quick Trip to Bozeman: Baldy Mountain, Alex, and Norris Hot Springs

Looking north along the Bridger crest from the first Baldy 'summit'. The true summit is the third bump further along the ridge.
Last weekend I took a solo trip to Bozeman, stopping in Butte Friday night to see my Mom and to make an appearance for my uncle's 70th birthday. Then it was on to Bozeman on Saturday, where I met with a research colleague in the morning and then climbed Baldy Mountain while waiting for Alex's schedule to open up in the afternoon. Baldy is the furthest southern summit on the Bridger Ridge and the first peak north along the ridge from the M parking lot. Baldy has three false summits, coming from the south, before you reach the true summit (see the above photo). I had always thought that the first of these was Baldy - there's even a summit register there - but the high point is nearly a mile further on. The hike took me about 5 hours round trip, which was perfect. Once down, Alex and his girl friend Lindsay were ready to get together. We had dinner, and then after coffee and breakfast in the morning, followed by a quick trip out to Bob Ward's to see Alex's place of employment, I hit the road, taking a detour to Norris Hot Springs along the way.  
Looking east at the Crazies.

Looking southeast at the Absoroka.

Bozeman from the ridge.

Another shot of the Absoroka.

Taking the long way home so as to hit Norris Hot Springs.