My Journey

Much like the Big Snowy Mountains to the south, the Judith Mountains provided us with some forever views of the prairies.....

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.....and I would imagine that we may have seen the same mountain ranges that we saw from the ridgelines of the Big Snowy Mountains.....

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.....and more than likely we saw Canada looking to the north, and Wyoming looking to the south.....

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As we descended from the summit, my eyes scanned the mountain tops and the valleys below and I wondered what else there was that we needed to see here.....

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This massive outcropping you see just to the right of the summit of Judith Peak in the photo looked interesting.....I wondered if there might be a route to climb it.....

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Our camp was set on the western slopes of the mountain.....that provided us with some great sunsets.....

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I realized while camped here that it had been quite sometime since I'd actually seen a sunset.....but we are now weeks past the summer solstice and the sun is finally setting at a bit more agreeable time for me.....

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The days are noticeable shorter now.....

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.....as the sun pokes its head up a little later each morning as well. The following morning began as every morning begins.....

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.....and soon we are right back at it.....trying to see what we can see.....

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longhorn1

Observer
So right Jerry. I always wonder why I went 24 years after my youth to return, and that was to help my grandmother celebrate her 100th B'Day in 1984. She lived to almost 101. Then another 22 years to 2006, when we took the train. We have been returning every 2 years and I finding that is just not enough for my liking. I think 2021 will have a 4-6 week visit in store. Thinking Lewis & Clark Caverns, Kalispell, Flathead Lake, Whitefish, Glacier.

If you head south on 191, 4-6 miles north of Big Timber is a cut-off that will take you Half Moon Campground (free dispersed). Sits on Big Timber Creek, and near a trail head that will take you to Big Timber Falls. The trail continues up to 2 mountain lakes. This I believe is the only access on the East side of the Crazy's.
 

fisher205

Explorer
So right Jerry. I always wonder why I went 24 years after my youth to return, and that was to help my grandmother celebrate her 100th B'Day in 1984. She lived to almost 101. Then another 22 years to 2006, when we took the train. We have been returning every 2 years and I finding that is just not enough for my liking. I think 2021 will have a 4-6 week visit in store. Thinking Lewis & Clark Caverns, Kalispell, Flathead Lake, Whitefish, Glacier.

If you head south on 191, 4-6 miles north of Big Timber is a cut-off that will take you Half Moon Campground (free dispersed). Sits on Big Timber Creek, and near a trail head that will take you to Big Timber Falls. The trail continues up to 2 mountain lakes. This I believe is the only access on the East side of the Crazy's.
We spent a week at Half Moon Campground, just hiking and hanging out. I had been driving past the Crazy's for years and just decided it was time to go there. Other than some kids that came to party one night it was great and we plan on going back someday. Maybe we will check out the west side next time.
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

JD.....thanks.....

fisher205....hey, good to hear from you.....hope you are doing well and maybe getting in a little traveling.....



Collar Peak (6,128') was a short hike.....5 miles out and back with about 1,200 feet of elevation gain.....we started down a logging road hoping to make it a loop hike.....

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We turned back after seeing that the road led us to this mine shaft with a locked chain across the road.....this would not be our last visit to this mine shaft. As a matter of fact I got to know this particular mine shaft fairly well by the end of our stay.....but that comes at the end of my story in the Judith Mountains.....and I'm really only at the beginning right now.....

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There was really nothing remarkable about this hike.....and there really was nothing at all here that comes even close to the secrets of the Big Snowy Mountains.....

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The trail was mostly through a thick forest consisting of billions of tiny pine trees.....it was certainly peaceful here.....

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The views on the summit were quite nice.....much like the views from Judith Peak as both of these peaks can't be more than a few miles apart.....

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We encountered our first snake of the season.....unfortunately still no bear encounters.....

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We did some bushwhacking after summiting Collar Peak..... fortunately we found our way home.....

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Our second day in the Judith Mountains ended with an evening of pleasant skies.....much like the first.....

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On Day 3 in the Judith Mountains we decided to try to climb that huge rock outcropping that I mentioned in the first Judith Mountain post.....

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Now there was no trail whatsoever to this rock outcropping.....

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So it was total and complete bushwhacking through the forest......

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We climbed over massive rock formations without ever losing "sight of the prize".....

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Tanner continues to amaze me.....he always finds his way to the top.....

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Sometimes the route he chose.....was even too difficult for me and I've got the added advantage of two hands.....

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Twenty feet below the summit I had to call him down.....there was only one thin route to the peak of the massive outcropping and the slighest mistake would have been certain death.....

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I let that dog live the life of adventure and I rarely hold him back.....but on this massive rockcropping on this day I surely did.....I can't even imagine life without my best friend.....

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From here we continued upwards, and continued our bushwhacking upwards until we finally connected with the forest service road and from here we continued upwards until we summited Judith Peak for a second time.....

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Here we met a family of eight and after Tanner made it a point to say hey to everyone, we went on about our business.....

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As we descended the mountain we encountered that same family once again. The entire family was bent over looking for something and typically in Montana if you see this you think it's Huckleberry or Blueberry picking time.....

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It turns out that this family was hunting for Adobe Diamonds.....that was a first for me. I am told that right at this spot is only one of two places in the world where these crystals are formed.....

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If you're interested I'd suggest Google or maybe Foy will jump in.....

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I spent a good hour hunting with the family.....the above picture was my take.....all will be future gifts for the most beautiful girl in the world that I haven't seen in over a year.....

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Eventually the family headed on down the mountain.....and Tanner waited patiently for me.....I was a bit addicted I'd have to say.....and I've never been much of a rock hound.....it was fun.....

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Day 3 in the Judith Mountains was a good one.....I was liking it here.....

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Arjan

Paperwork Specialist
You made a wise & good call to stop Tanner from going higher. Accidents happen and you'd never forgive yourself.

Our try really hard to be always with us and don't see the danger.. So you have to do that for them.

Love the pictures !

Many thanks.
 
JD.....thanks for the link. The pictures there do Adobe Diamonds a bit more justice.....

Arjan.....we were back at the caves a few days ago and Tanner was off leash. The next thing I know he goes head first right into a cave and I had just talked with two women not 30 minutes before that said they wouldn't let their dogs in that cave since the entrance was too steep !

Dougnuts.....absolutely you can have the picture. I'm guessing that I could email you the original picture ? I'm fairly ignorant about these things.....



Not all of our hiking in the Judith Mountains was upwards.....we also did several hikes downwards.....into Maiden Canyon.....

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Maiden Canyon was much like the mountain summits of the Judith Mountains.....really nothing remarkable here.....

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We hiked through the canyon twice during our stay.....it was about 10 miles roundtrip to the far side of the canyon from our campsite.....

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We did an early morning hike through the canyon one day.....other than the Ravens and there were many, there were few sounds here.....maybe one or two cars passed by total in several hours of hiking along the road.....

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We also made a second summit of Collar Peak.....

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One evening I was sitting in the camper when a truck pulled up and I heard these words "welfare check ! you OK in there ?". I looked out my door and there sat the Gold Miners. Now I didn't know at that point in time that they were Gold Miners until they said "hey, we own the gold mine up the road.....come visit us." On the morning of the sixth day in the Judith Mountains we made a visit to the Gold Miners of Central Montana.....

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dwh.....you may be onto something there but what is really important here is that these guys actually thought that I might be dead. Unbeknownst to me, they had nicknamed me "Sleepy" (like Sleepy Joe Biden) cause they thought I never left the truck camper.....



So I had never been in a gold mine and really never had a desire to go into a gold mine in my life, but this particular invitation intrigued me so I accepted their offer.....

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These guys actually had two mines that they were in the process of mining.....one was a mine shaft and the other was an open pit.....

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The first one that I explored was by far the best.....now this mine shaft was covered and bolted shut and it appeared to be a huge big deal to access it but once inside, and we were headed down, I thought that it was well worth all his hard work.....

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It's funny when you think about the choices we make sometimes and how trusting we can be.....here I am crawling down into this mine shaft with two guys standing above me.....two guys that I'd just met.....

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But the reality was that these were great guys and I throughly enjoyed my day hanging out with them.....

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The entire time that I was down in that hole, they're telling me their story and telling me the entire process of removing their treasures.....life in the mines.....

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The second mine that they were excavating was still an open pit.....one day it too will expand into a mine shaft.....

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These guys told me that they'd been digging here since 2015 and still hadn't made a penny.....

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The guy with the hard hat is actually a retired corporate geologist and he told me that based on his findings & calculations to date, that they own millions of dollars of gold.....but it's still all in the ground.....

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Before I left they asked if I might be interested in investing & partnering.....well, the thing about money & me, I don't care about it all that much anymore. I guess our dreams are different, although I would say that we're all three adventurers at heart, just in a different way.....so I'll continue to wander.....and they'll continue to dig.....

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Recommended books for Overlanding

JD.....nope, no parting gifts.....



It seemed as though I began having regrets almost immediately since I had not explored those caves in the Big Snowy Mountains and those regrets continued to bug me during my entire stay in the Judith Mountains.....and so it was that we took a left hand turn when we reached the main highway.....and headed back south to the Big Snowy Mountains.....

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We hiked past Cascade Lake once again.....

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I had set these three goals for myself for this day:

1.) I wanted to see if it was possible to access the undiscovered cave.

2.) I wanted to find the cave that had the 70 foot rappel into a massive cavern.

3.) I wanted to explore Devils Chute Cave since I now knew that it was accessible.

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Retracing our past steps, we passed by Grand View Point one more time.....

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Continuing to climb higher, we eventually came to the stone cairn which marked the location of the undiscovered cave.....

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I looked at the entrance to this cave from every angle possible.....

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.....and finally determined that it was just impossible to access without a climbing rope and a partner.....

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From here we moved on to the previously visited Ice Caves to search for the nearby deep cavern with the 70 foot rappel.....

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It was right about here that I realized that I'd forgotten our water jug so as luck would have it we met two women that had camped on the ridgeline the night before and they had just filled water bottles with water from the ice cave and being the kind ladies that they were they gave Tanner & I a jug.....the water from that cave was ice cold and the flavor was oh so really good.....

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Tanner.....well, he was ready to head right back into that Ice Cave.....and so he did.....he loved it last time and he loved it this time too.....

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