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Friday, July 25, 2008

T Lake Beartooth Mountain Day Hike

Joe and I have committed to getting into the mountains once a week while the Beartooth Highway is fully open. We have been delayed quite a bit this year by the weather. Such a late spring and so much snow still remaining! This was our first drive to the top for 2008.

Spectacular - as always. Pictures just don't do it justice since the view is panoramic. If you look carefully - in the center of the picture above, you can see a road. That is the bumpy gravel road leading to the Glacier Lake trailhead - where we went on our last hike. It is possible to catch a good view of Glacier lake from the top of the pass.

Today, our trail began at Beartooth Lake, which is right next to the highway. The regular trail was sure to be submerged in a raging river / swamp so we opted to bushwhack through the forest and meadow on the opposite side of the lake. This area was also swampy, and swarming with mosquitoes. But the wildflowers were incredible!

I've been trying to identify this flower using my flower book, which is challenging. Apparently wildflowers hybridize and have different features in different locations. I am guessing this might be a Bog Rein Orchid. Joe on the trail with Beartooth Lake behind him.

Lupine were everywhere.

We sat on a rock with this incredible view to eat our lunch. That's Claw Lake below with Horseshoe Lake to the left. The mountain in the background is Lonesome Peak.

Snow is still melting everywhere and so there is a lot of water flowing everywhere. Lonesome Lake feeds into T Lake, which discharges into Horseshoe which discharges to Claw. All of these lakes are named for their shape. Yes, T Lake is shaped like a T, etc.We headed back down the trail at about 4, and all was well until the final mile of bushwhacking along the swampy edge of Beartooth Lake. The mosquitoes were out in force - swarming around us, and the going was slow on account of the terrain.

A final shot of Beartooth Lake as we returned to our car.

I don't think I have ever been happier to get to the end of a hike. Hot, sweaty, tired, and itchy. My feet were killing me, I had a headache, and indigestion. But the scenery and solitude was worth it all for sure - we probably went 7 miles and never saw another human being.

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