31 August 2006
The View from "Mt Gibbons" - peak bagging
Fresh back from Sully basin/"Mt Gibbons." [The photo at left is the Mt G peak w/ RTD.]
I drove the Grizzly Trap Loop going in, got thoroughly shaken up. It's one of those roads where, after driving it, you want to be sure and get the wrenches out and tighten all the nuts & bolts on the truck. And the brush along the sides is tough on the paint.
Most of the hike in is along an old packer's trail at the base of "Mt ACM" scree. Bastardly ATVs seem to be pioneering a route into it. Highlight of the trip was walking up (60 feet) on cub playing with a whitebark pine cone. I yelled at and grabbed RolyTheDog, which spooked the little bear that then went crying to its mother. RTD was VERY excited. The sow -- quite small herself, perhaps 100 pounds -- was a little further back in the timber and I could just make her out. They took off one way, I guided RTD around them. Wish I'd kept quiet and grabbed the camera. But no, last thing I want is RTD chasing a terrified little bear.
Later, heard a bull elk thrashing a tree apart. The wind was wrong and he spooked before we could get a glimpse of him. Saw the tree and scraped up area. Must have been a big big bull. Tree ripped up to 8 feet high. RTD was very excited.
Made camp and napped, then hiked around a bit. Watched several goats way up on the ridge between Mts "G" & "ACM." No elk in sight, but the air stank of them, with lots of antler rubs. Also, some signs of bigger bears about.
In the photo below, you have a view of Mt G from camp.
Tuesday morning up early and headed up "Mt G." Easy scramble up the big nose across from (south of) camp. Very windy but sunny and warm enough. No goats in sight on the way up, but lots of sign -- including many many clumps of shed hair. On the summit, someone from Idaho had left a plastic thermos as a peak note jar. I replaced it with the glass jar w/ metal lid that I carried up. Something wrong, it seems, with plastic on a mountain top. Mr Idaho had come up from the Seemore side -- not an easy route. The views to Goat Peaks, Goat Flat, and the Georgetown Lake side were outstanding. Big Hole valley was smoky, and clouds w/ virga moving my way.
[Photo below is toward Seemore basin, with Goat Peaks at left top background.]
On the way down, RTD looked over to the "Mt ACM" connecting ridge, sat down, and whined. I looked and looked, finally saw what she was fussing about: a nannie and kid feeding along just below the top. Few things are cuter than a kid goat playing on the rocks. Except for, maybe, a cub bear rolling around with a pine cone.
Back to camp, a well deserved nap. Wakened to RTD playing peek-a-boo with a pine marten in a tree not 100 feet from my tarp. My they are quick. Oh well, time for a cup of hot tea. Then hiked over to the south side of basin to view the parks and larger lakes. Sure enough, spotted two decent (raghorns but 4 or 5 points) bull elk in a park just below largest lake. Just 100 yards or so away, sweet smell of elk filling the air, RTD was very excited. It rained a little on our stroll, but barely enough to wet the ground.
Finished reading Homer's Odyssey for about the 3rd time. Always a new detail: this time, the description of Odysseus' broach pin--a hound tearing a struggling deer fawn to pieces. Different times they was.
Up early the next day for the trek out. Jumped two bands of cows and calves down fairly low, in the meadows edging into lodgepole. Had another bunch cross in front of the truck on the jostling ride out. [Note to self: tighten the nuts & bolts.]
Well, tomorrow it's off to Boston w/ Emily, to get her started in college. I made her a little deer skin pouch of mementos: flicker feather, raspberry leaf, quartz crystal, elk ivory, tuft of goat fur, etc.