My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sentinel Mountain Hike

September 12, 2016

After I explored the Kidney Pond Campground, I checked out the trails leaving from it. After reading the descriptions, Sentinel Mountain Trail seemed to offer the most vistas, so I started up the half-mile access trail. This led partly around Kidney pond and had nice views of the lake and the mountains behind it. There were a few rock falls to climb through and some boardwalks over rocks and wet areas on mostly flat ground. But soon the trail started up, and, after I reached the Sentinel Mountain Trail, the climb got steeper and was more  often over boulder fields making for a difficult hike. The last mile was even steeper and harder to walk. I was glad I had my walking sticks with me to help boost myself up the taller rocks – many were over eighteen inches high.

Route of the trail

The trail look pretty easy at first

I loved these moss-covered boulders around a tiny pool 

The trail came close to Kidney pond, giving great views across it

Another view over the pond

The majority of the time, the trail was dark and rocky

I thought this was a cute caterpillar- until I noticed the black spines

This was where I had to step off a boardwalk without falling into water between rocks

This beautiful mushroom was only about an inch across

I've never seen these strange mushrooms before

And the trail goes on up and over boulders

Only one woman had passed me while I was stopped taking pictures. She was already coming back down when I was thinking I might not make it to the top. She assured me that the views were amazing, so I struggled on. Finally I got to the loop trail around the top of Sentinel Mountain and turned to the right.

And the boulders just get larger

An easier portion of the trail just before I reached the summit trail - just follow those maple leaves

Almost immediately, I was walking on slick rock and looking across ponds and woods to Mt. Katahdin. All this beauty was set off by the lovely clouds in the sky. The hard, dark trail over the huge rocks was forgotten as I walked easily in sunlight to views in three directions. I sat down and enjoyed a Roasted Jalapeno Almond Kind Bar, then walked on around the loop.

Closeup of Katahdin Mt.

View of Doubletop Mountain

View of Katahdin Mt. - Lily Pond is in the foreground 

The pointy mountain is south peak of Doubletop Mt.

Most of it was easy, but I did get to one place where the boulder was too high to step up and I couldn't crawl up the steep rock. But after I took off my backpack and laid it and my sticks up on top of the boulder, I was able to stand with my back against a nearby tree and "walk" to the top of the rock. This was only about a tenth of a mile before the end of the loop, so I was glad I didn't have to go all the way back around. And I got to enjoy the view over the last quarter of the circle. Just after this, I met three guys coming around the loop in the opposite rotation.  I thought they would pass me on the way down, but I saw no one, except for distant paddlers, on the way down.

The vignette felt like Christmas

Some of this slickrock was hard to climb up on

I still had to come back down for 2.8 miles – the total hike was 6.2 miles- but, thanks to my sticks, my knee didn't hurt much and I was energized from the view. All in all, it was a very good hike.