Saturday, October 1, 2016

Wandering in the kingdom of the larch

The temperature was 41 degrees as J's truck maneuvered along the bumpy road to the trailhead.  The mountain we were headed for was several thousand feet higher, so it was bound to be in the 30s up there.  But it was a dry fall day, and our days of hiking were numbered.  It could snow tomorrow.  We were committed.

My guidebook recommended this trail as a fall hike, and it soon became clear why.  After stepping over a large pile of bear scat, we ascended into an enchanted forest.

It's easy to overlook larch trees on a hillside until autumn.  Their needles are green like all the other conifers.  But in the fall they turn a glorious shade of yellow before their needles drop for the winter.  This makes the hillsides around here golden.

We passed above a chain of sparkling lakes.  Someday I want to camp here.

The wind bit through our layers.  We only spent a few moments at the high point above 8000 feet.  A lookout once stood here; now only metal bedframes remain.  It must have been an amazing place to work, watching gold spread across the hills.

It was cold, and we left the golden forest to its march towards winter.  I couldn't help looking back though, imagining life in a little cabin among the blazing trees.  I'll be back.


  1. Those photos, clicked on to enlarge, are amazing sweeps of mountains, golden trees (we call them tamaracks here). The image of the bedframes against the sky is haunting. Thanks for sharing your hike.

    1. I never thought of clicking on the photos to enlarge them--wow. Great views. Thanks, Lynn E and Lynn M

  2. Oh how pretty! When my son went to school in Missoula I used to visit him in mid-October when the larches were at peak. I need to find an excuse to visit him again now that he's back in MT.

    1. Yes you should! There weren't a lot of huckleberry bushes on this hike, but those have turned red now too.


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