As I alluded to previously, last weekend we took Friday off and headed east to Montana. The main reason for the visit was the wedding reception for my best friend from Reno and his new wife. She is originally from the Bitterroot Valley, so what better excuse to get out, visit, and do some hiking and camping in a new area.
The drive from Seattle to our destination was about 8 hours, with Spokane the logical midpoint. We stopped to stretch our legs and grab brunch at the delicious Madeleine’s Cafe by Riverfront Park before continuing onward.
After the reception ended we spent the night nearby at the Blodgett Campground outside Hamilton the first night, heading out early the next morning to backpack up into the mountains.
The trail follows Blodgett Creek up the valley and ends at Blodgett Lake. We planned to go swimming at some point on the hike, but after feeling how cold the water was in the river we thought better of it.
As we needed to hike out and drive back to Seattle on Sunday we decided to not go the entire 12 miles to the lake. Instead we went hiked about 6 miles in, set up a hammock and relaxed for a while, then turned around and did 3 more miles back down the trail to make the next morning easier.
That night we stayed by a beaver pond and footbridge over the creek, basking in the glory of the rocky peaks and stars all around us.
Just as the sun was setting I realised a giant natural arch had been hiding above us, but had to wait for morning to take an adequate picture.
All these exposed rock faces are a huge draw for rock climbers. In fact it was a work friend who climbs that suggested this valley for us to explore, and the campground host told us a tonne of people visit this location specifically for the sport. It’s easy to see why…
I’d been wanting to go hiking in a more exposed location for a while, similar to the Sierra Peaks I talked about last year, so this was exactly what I was hoping to find. The landscape was amazing, especially when reflected in the many pools in the creek.
Hiking out in the morning made for some great pictures as the soft light created a number of neat shadows. It streamed over the peaks, filtered through the greenery, and danced around inside my lenses. It was a great weekend, and I can’t wait to go explore more of the wild expanses of Montana!
Photos taken 20-22 June, 2014 with a Nikon D7100