My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sawtooth Lake Hike

My last weekend plans were very nebulous. Storms were predicted to start wildfires and I didn't want to be in those locations. So, after I figured that I wanted to see a ghost town, I looked for places to camp.  Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway was close to Bannack State Park so I looked for campsites there. I ended up staying both nights in the exact campsite at Grasshopper Campground because the smoke was so much worse further north. (Two different fires were creating smoke in that area, and it was also getting smoke from some of the Idaho fires.

My campsite - note the background of a mountain of boulders.

Trailhead for Sawtooth Trail

The trail makes an easy climb of only about 1000 feet from the trailhead to the lake, four miles away.   It crosses the creek that drains the lake twice, on bridges, as well as a little side creek.  The water music from the creek is mostly at least heard along the trail and there are places where the beautiful little creek can be seen.

A fire went through here in 2003.  Fireweed loves the open areas it left. 

This bridge looked very new - there was an old trail that made cross the creek itself

Just across the creek this juxtaposition of bright red and green caught my eye.  I was so glad I'd seen it because there was nothing there when I came by later.


As I climbed  the trail, all I could think was "there was a WHOLE lot of shaking going on. " The mountains visible on either side of the trail were just rubble, consisting of rocks smaller than my fist to boulders the size of small cabins.  Only the distant peaks still were solid rock, but they showed breakage.  I imagine this took place over millions of years but haven't found an easy answer to how the hills broke down. But volcanos, earthquakes, and glaciers have all been present in this area.

Trail View

Those shaken mountains

And finally some solid rock

These berries were glowing in the sunlight

If this mushroom had been just a little bigger, I'd been worried about an alien invasion

The water rushing past islets of moss-covered rocks was lovely

First view of Sawtooth Lake, formed by a glacier

Sawtooth Lake

The rocky mountain comes right to the water across the lake

Almost back