Date: Sept 3-5, 2009
Destination: Lake Mary Montana (Beartooth-Absoraka Wilderness)
Who: Joachim and I
Details: Lake Mary is part of the Beartooth wilderness near Red Lodge Montana. This area reminds me Glacier National Park...incredibly beautiful but rugged country. Many alpine lakes, great fly fishing, and some tough/gorgeous backpacking! Lake Mary is a 10 mile round-trip hike...the first 4 miles are a gradual climb with the last mile gaining about 1200 feet.
I think I have said it earlier but the Beartooth-Absoraka Wilderness is definitely one of my favorite places on the planet. Thanks to my sweet wify I was able to get another chance this year to head back to Montana with a good friend, Joachim, for some backpacking. We were able to get direct flights on Allegiant Air (Mesa AZ to Billings MT...non-stop.) My brother Nate wasn't able to head out with us this time...but played taxi at the airport, bought us breakfast, and let me borrow his Thomas and Thomas fly rod/reel and fly's :) Yeah, I owe him!
Google Earth view of Lake Mary and Rock Creek Canyon...
Joachim and I made it to the West Fork of Rock Creek trail head around noon and geared up to head out. During the 10 mile drive in we saw the results of a large forest fire that had charred everything living and left and inch or 2 of ash.
Heading out...3 days in the Beartooths :)
Fishing pole, xtra gear...3 day pack at 25lbs! Now if I could just lose another 25lbs...that would cancel out the backpack all together!
One of the "roaring" waterfalls on Rock Creek. The guide book for this trip did tend to exaggerate the descriptions here...but I guess if it was in early spring this place would really be roaring.
Completed the first 4 miles...stopped to top off our camelbak's in prep for heading up to Lake Mary...1200 in a mile...not terrible but definitely a lung buster for those of us living near sea level. Altitude now here is about 8500 feet.
MSR Hyperflow Water Filter...filters about 3 liters a minute! Much faster than any of the other filters I have used...and we didn't get sick :)
1/2 way up the switch back's.
Made it to Lake Mary...camp is set up and we are getting ready to cook up some Mountain House Beef Strog...good stuff.
Dinner is done, camp is setup...time for fishing!
Day 2 - Climbed up a ridge near our camp, exploring around and looking for a good picture point for our lakes and campsite.
Not sure how this was our only picture of the rock cairn on the saddle near Lake Mary...sorry Joachim...but it is critical that the blog viewers see the before and after pictures :)
We had some time to kill and this little rock cairn was just not what it should have been. We decided to get back to our manly roots and make a big rock pile...lol...
If you look close on the saddle, you can see the cairn...cool.
Joachim's first trout "miss" on a fly rod! He did almost hook me though...guess I shouldn't film to close behind someone fly fishing :)
Joachim's first trout on a fly rod.
Day 3 - After breakfast, more fishing, and cleaning up...time to head out. What a great buddy...let me take 5 or 6 pictures with sunscreen on my nose and lip.
Catching a few more trout in Rock Creek on the way back to the trail head. Water was a bit nippy...but couldn't feel my feet after a few minutes anyway :)
Wait, wait...let me adjust my low riders before you take the picture :)
Well...that's it. Good friends, backpacking, fly fishing, rock piling...and no distractions! What's next???