Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sippin' lemon yellow booze, ol' leadbelly sings the blues.
All dressed up on wedding day, keep on trippin' anyway.

Let's see. Hmmm. Checklist for today:
- Get up. check
- Let dogs out. check
- Feed dogs. check
- Feed cats. check
- Make coffee. check
- Kiss wife. check
- Climb 9839 feet up to summit of Sacajawea Peak in Bridger Range. check

It was a fantastic hike.

A li'l info, from
"Sacajawea Peak is the highest point in the Bridger Range. The range runs mostly in a north - south direction between Bozeman and Livingston and is separated from the Gallatin Range to the south by Bozeman Pass. Bozeman Pass is a narrow pass that lies between the two aforementioned cities. Sacajawea Peak is a prominent peak visible to the northeast from Bozeman.

The native American Sacajawea lead the Lewis and Clark Expedition through Bozeman Pass and some have suggested the pass should have been named after her instead of John Bozeman."

There it is, to the left of the saddle.

Another angle:

It was warm and sunny. The sky looked fake, as it does nearly every day. I was alone, and I set a pretty good pace. The trail climbed steadily from the trailhead to the summit, around 2000 feet, give or take.

The trail starts in a primeval looking forest, and I half-expected Gollum to come looking for Precious. Soon, the climbing, the pace and the sun had me sweating. But smiling.

The trail rises out of the woods into a big cirque. The top of the cirque is the saddle. To the left, or South, is Sacajawea, and to the right, or North is Hardscrabble Peak. The cirque is a very steep bowl. I am going to try to get back there with a snowboard next spring. It would be a ripping run, reminiscent of the Back Bowls at Vail.

These jagged rock formations rise out of the cirque, looking like the spine of some ancient dinosaur.

There was still snow up there.

These pictures do not do the view justice, because you cannot get a sense of the scale. This is a view back down the cirque. In the distance, you can see the Crazy Mountains.

Once you get to the top of the saddle, you have to scramble up the peak. This is the trail. For a minute, it felt like Scotland.

There was a little cairn at the summit.

The most stunning view was to the South. It was hazy, so the picture isn't that great, but the Bridgers just fold over on themselves, and there is range after range; ridge after ridge.

I promised Will a view of Bozeman and Belgrade.
This is Belgrade, with the Gallatin Range and the Madison Range in the background. The dark green line of trees you see snaking through the valley is the Gallatin River, which formed this valley. Water is powerful, huh?

Bozeman is behind the green ridge, tucked up in the higher, Southern end of the Gallatin River Valley. The white dot is the arena at Montana State University.


The scramble down was pretty steep, and I had to resort to ski-like jump turns in the talus and scree to get through a couple parts. But I am here, and happy.
A li'l somethin' for the ladies:

In memory of Holly (Sommer) Fitzpatrick, who passed away today at age 30, after a courageous five year battle with cancer.

My thoughts, tears and prayers are with her family and her husband, Brian.

Our time here is short. Remember what is important. Take time to remember what you hold dear, and cherish it.

Don't lose all your energy to the daily grind. If you have a dream, go after it, and enjoy every moment along the way. Don't half-ass it, and don't waste any time, because you never know when your number is going to be called.

Live nobly.

And, by all means, dance like there's nobody watching.