Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stuart Peak

I feel blessed to live in Missoula Montana, where just a short car ride away is an awesome trail head. On Saturday morning Amy, Kim, and I left the Rattlesnake trail head for Stuart peak at 10 am. A bit late for a backpacking trip if you ask me, but it was nice to get some extra sleep and have a leisurely breakfast. I was carrying 4 liters of water and my pack weight was a total of 37 pounds. I'd guess that at the height of our hike in, the temp was around 82 degrees with a slight breeze that felt oh so good. We had all done a little searching for the length of the trip, and had found that is was around 10.5 miles to the peak. The sign at the trail head said that it was only 8 miles. I'm pretty sure our research is correct but who knows.

We set up camp at the first spot we found; about 3+ miles from the summit, right in the middle of a huckleberry patch and just a short walk away from a little trickle of a creek. The weather was perfect for just hanging out and picking berries. We laughed and told stories, and talked about our hopes for the future and the adventures we all want to go on. As the sun set and the stars came out, we gazed out into the distance at the lights of Missoula. The calm and quiet of the wilderness at night was rejuvenating and something that I must get out into more frequently.

Sunday morning we awoke to a light rain that lasted for about an hour. We attempted to make huckleberry pancakes in a nonstick pan (not recommended) and settled for eating trail mix and carrots. We left camp just after 11 am for the summit, and arrived 2 hours later, just after 1 pm. We enjoyed lunch an just hung out for an hour. We could see for miles, all the way south to Lolo, and the Mission Mountains to the north.

We took our time making it down the mountain, all of us sore and tired. By the time we reached the car at 6:30pm, we were anxious for Bridge pizza and cold beer. My feet couldn't take me any farther.

Two days later, my quads and especially my calves are extremely tight. My knee, however, is doing just fine.

Which peak around Western Montana should I conquer next?

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