Spring Journey – Hiking with Cousin Bill – May 2017 (16)

 

Tuesday May 16th – Although there are winter storm warnings for western Montana, it looks like a good day for hiking. We meet Bill and Sally and their big German Shepherds at the village of Glen before following them out to rugged BLM land that reminds me of the buttes of lower Sun River valley where I lived as my kids were growing up.

My cousin Bill, whom I hadn’t seen for 50 years (we are all grown up now,) and his wife, Sally
Heading out to BLM land to go hiking with Bill and Sally

The road gets a bit rough and when we stop, we discover that our 5-gallon water jug has tipped and broken, spilling five gallons of water in the back of the Suburban. Not a good thing, but we park on a slope and let as much run out as possible.

Here’s where the road ends
Ready to head up

 Then Clifford and I follow Bill and Sally up a draw and around to the backside of a large mesa, eventually climbing all the way to the top.

We follow Bill up the draw
We will be hiking around to the backside of the mesa before beginning the climb to the summit

A massive and impressive rock wall comes into view
We pause at the base of the rock wall
Bill, Clifford, and Sally at the base of the rock wall
Here’s where the real climb starts, staircase courtesy of Mother Nature

It is a bit strenuous, particularly on my knees, but the views are quite spectacular.

Scenic view from the top of the mesa
The dots just left of center at the end of the road are our vehicles
Clouds over the mountains become denser

We can see the clouds on the mountain across the valley becoming dense and dark, the harbinger of the storm to come. We make good time going back down, not wanting to get caught in the rain on the rocky slopes and draws. Between ticks and rattlesnakes, we have to be on the alert the whole time, but it is a good hike.

The rocks on the mesa are quite interesting — so  rough and lichen-covered
Pink paintbrush on the slope
We were at the top of this mesa and this is only the base of the backside – there is still the Mother Nature staircase to descend, which will take us back to the draw and down to the vehicles
Bill reaches the rock wall and begins the descent down the rock staircase

Back at the vehicles, we follow Bill and Sally to their place in Dillon, where they show us their pretty flower-filled yard, rock collections, and car restoration projects, followed by a very tasty meal of steak, rice, and the best corn-on-the-cob I’ve ever had.

Back at camp, as we nap, tired out from the hike, it begins to rain, and the rain becomes heavier as the evening progresses. Looks like the winter storm that was forecast is moving in.

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