Mission Mountains Wilderness,
Flathead National Forest, MT

Sunday, August 5, 1995

After arriving in Great Falls last night, Jim Getting, his co-worker John Rubins and his wife Jennifer, headed out to the Missions early in the morning with Redwood and I.

At the trailhead we were dissappointed to see so many cars. (I chose to go here instead of the overcrowded Jewel Basin.) Luckily, almost all of the people were at Glacier Lake, and many were on their way out.

We ate huckleberries here and there on the way up the trail. Stopped for a while along the trail to Heart Lake at a beautiful overlook of Glacker Lake.

Very warm and sunny today, lots of sweat. The Rubins kept up fine, John seemed to tire the easiest but he was carrying a lot of weight in his pack.

When we got to Crescent Lake, we thought we were at Heart Lake and pushed on. Just a little further, we found our campsite - room for two tents and a nice view of the lake.

Still pockets of snow here and there despite the forest floor being in full bloom. We fished the lake for a while but didn't catch or see anything.

A Forest Service ranger, Carrie Gunderson, inspired us to fish more by saying there were fish in the lake. We hiked two-thirds of the way around the lake through thick brush to find the elusive trout but had to turn back because the steep, bushy terrain blocked our way.

Back at camp Jennifer said she saw fish close to the camp. Jennifer had drawn and taken photos closer to camp.

Enjoyed a nice evening with our friends Jack Daniels and Maker's Mark. Jim and I stayed up later to see shooting stars, but saw lightning by the time we were ready for bed.

I dozed for a while and woke to hear sprinkles hitting the tent. I got up, Jim got up John, and we put the tent flies on. Good thing, because it rained hard twice that night.


Monday, August 6, 1995

Jim and I got up late to a nice morning and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. We took a hike to an overlook above camp and could see Heart and Crescent Lakes and down into the Swan Valley.

We decided to make this our base camp since the ranger told us a few parties were camped at Island and Turquoise Lakes.

We intended to day-hike to either Island Lake or the saddle overlooking McDonald Peak, but as we were gathering our gear we could see storm clouds breaking over the ridge and heading our way.

The view of the clouds coming in was amazing. They rolled down thick and swiftly, suddenly breaking apart and going different directions. The wind also got quite strong and the temperature dropped fast.

Within ten minutes we had put everything in the tents, including ourselves, and were being pelted with marble-sized hail. The hail lasted about a half hour. It piled up in big clumps around our tents and blanketed much of the ground.

After the hail, the rain came. Within a couple of hours, Jim and I noticed an inch of rain under the tent. Luckily the rain broke for a while a few times that evening which allowed us to get out of the tents and drain the puddles below our tents.

We also got to hike down to Crescent Lake and fish. Jim caught one little cutthroat and John had a few hits.

Since it was already late afternoon before we got a chance to pack up camp, we decided to stay the night and hope for better weather.

Jim and I cooked soup and chili in the tent and played a modified game of Gin. Probably modified most by whiskey.


Tuesday, August 7, 1995

More rain and strong wind on and off through the night. The idea of staying here another day wasn't much of an option. The weather looked like crap and our tents were pretty wet. Through all that rain, my tent never leaked.

We all got packed up fast and headed out early. It rained the whole hike down. Ate a lot more huckleberies going down to brighten the spirits.

We drove into Seeley Lake and had lunch and beers at the gas station-designed restaurant/bar.

I called Terbo and Chris to check out the weather. Since the weather was still poor but improving we drove further down the valley, all the way to the Blackfoot River and into blue skies where we stayed for a few more days.

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