High Mountain Trails and Dusty Roads

ttora4runner

Expedition Leader
Finally getting around to posting a trip report from vacation at the end August that lasted about a week and a half and somewhere in the neighborhood of 3300 miles between Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Washington.

Grand Teton National Park - Alaska Basin and Table Mountain.

Back in 2019 I had originally planned to hike both of these areas but due to hiking Kings Peak in Utah over one day my feet had taken a beating so I couldn't make it that trip. This time around they were at the start of my trip.

Alaska Basin










I'd be hiking along the base of those mountain on my way back down.
















 

ttora4runner

Expedition Leader
Table Mountain

I was actually a bit irritated at the start of the trail by someone smoking a cigar while hiking in the dry gasses and later on the way back down when I passed the individual again still smoking and final said something.

Table mountain is right in background.










Backside of Tetons from Table Mountain


View of Table Mountain from the campground I was staying at.


Coming back down from Table Mountain I stopped along side of the creek that runs along the trail to cool off my feet and take a needed break - the water was cool but felt great. I want to head back at sometime and do some more hiking on this side of the Tetons.
 

ttora4runner

Expedition Leader
After the Tetons I had planned to drive the upper half of Morrison Jeep trail and camp somewhere along the way but due to road construction on the end of the trail I decided best to go down one of the side and find a campsite. Morrison Jeep trail just has to wait for another time.





I had thought about staying here but decided not to.


View from the campsite I found.






The next day I head off to Darby, Montana to do some mountain biking on the Coyote Coulee trail but not before stop at a pull off in Yellowstone for some breakfast and watch the bison.








View from Coyota Coulee trail - this trail isn't difficult but due to drive in the morning this trail kicked my rear.
 

ttora4runner

Expedition Leader
After a night in an actual bed and a hot shower the following day I was off to drive the Nez Pierce trail/Magruder Corridor an area I've wanted to check for sometime and deserves a return trip.

Smokey photo at the start of the trail.






I opted out of hitting up the lookout since it was still early in the morning and smoke in the area was bugging my eyes and obscuring the views.


























You can see the fire off in the background.


End of the trail.
 

ttora4runner

Expedition Leader






After completing the trail I had originally planned on finding a campsite at the start of the Lolo Motorway then to head back over to Missoula the following day but I opted to head to Spokane, Wa for an unplanned additional night at a hotel, I was beat and didn't want to deal with the heat.

The day I spent at Spokane I restocked a few supplies, did laundry and hit up another mountain bike which again wasn't overly difficult but still kicked up rear.
 

ttora4runner

Expedition Leader
After two nights in Spokane I was off to Winthrop, Washington. The plan was to mountain bike Cutthroat Pass that day before heading to the KOA for the night (I didn't feel like trying to find a remote site but after driving Slate Peak I wish I had). Before I headed out on this trip I did some research to make sure I could bike this section of trail since it connects with the Pacific Crest trail but due to some sign at the trail head I was confused if I really could or not so I opted to hike it instead. Lol and before I passed two bikers heading down the trail as I went up. Oh, well.















Cutthroat Pass was probably my favorite trail on this whole as I had a big grin on my face the entire time and has know got me wanting to do the Pacific Crest trail.

Next up was a side trip up to lookout on Slate Peak and view of the surrounding - again another area I want to head back to now.












After taking in the views it was back down to Winthrop and the KOA for the night.
 

ttora4runner

Expedition Leader
After a view crowded night at the local KOA (I was surprised to see it full with all the COVID-19 restrictions in place) the next stop of the list was another mountain bike trail outside of town - Buck Mountain loop, this was the longest trail that I've ridden on this trip and one of the more isolated it felt. I did better on this trail than the last two.







When I started this trail there was just two of us at the trail head but once done the trail head parking lot had filled up. After a bite to eat and a change of clothes I was off into the Cascade National Park to my campground for the night. The last time I was in this area was about 20+ years ago and I was very happy to return.

The campground was full but was very quite unlike the KOA from the previous night.

First trail on the list was 4th of July Pass.








Views like this put a smile on face and the desire to someday hike that (despite my poor photos).














That afternoon I hit up another trail just across the way from where I was camping at then to one of the rest stops in the area.




 

ttora4runner

Expedition Leader
The last day I had planned on hiking up to the lookout on Sourdough Mountain but got stopped by Yogi bear(s) and I opted to return down the mountain find another trail to hike.






Yogi bear - there was another one just out of frame to left and a little bit closer to me.


I was the first one on the trail this morning and figured it be best to turn around, I probably could've waited a bit longer for the next couple of sets of hikers to come up but didn't want to chance it. Ended up finding my way over to visitor center on this side of the park, reported the bear sighting to one of the rangers and hiked around the trail system in the area before heading back to camp.

The final stage of the trip was going to be another couple of nights at the KOA near Olympic National Park and to try to head up the NW corner of Washington but due to NW corner being on a Indian reservation and that trail being closed due to COVID-19 and in my typical manner of over doing things I was beat and just wanted to head home to my own bed. Now that didn't stop me from being somewhat tempted into making a quick stop into my old stomping in the Big Horn mountains outside of Sheridan Wyoming on my way back.

*my photos are never that great and my story telling is lacking but I enjoyed the trip (that's what matters) and I hope it helps to get people out to explore those areas*
 

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