Mission Mountains Tribal Wilderness, MT
Saturday, September 2, 1995
After dropping Terbo's Landcruiser at the trail-end, we left from McDonald Lake (3,400') in the mid-afternoon. It's a moderate uphill hike and folows the lake for 1.5 miles. Had warm, calm and cloudless weather.
Found a great campsite in a large cedar grove along Post Creek just as it was beginning to get dark. Some of the trees were 18 feet or more in diameter.
We kidded about bears since the Grizzly Bear Conservation Zone was just across the creek. Jolly and I played a long game of chess by candlelight which I finally won.
Shortly after going to bed in our tents, three teenagers (2 boys and 1 girl) came into camp. They had been hiking all day &emdash; 17 miles in 12 hours &emdash; around a peak to the north of us.
They had daypacks and good boots, but their flashlight batteries were getting weak. It was totally dark out. Since our fire was still smoldering, I told them they could stay and use the fire if they wanted. The tall guy seemed to be in control while the other guy kept asking how much further to the lake. The girl never said a word.
They kept the fire going all night and left before we got up at 8:00. All night long, the dogs kept barking (at each other and at the teens) and waking us up.
Sunday, September 3, 1995
Along the way, Terbo told us about a book he had read. In it, an outfitter many years back took a pack string up this trail and lost two mules in the steep area.
We got to Moon Lake around noon and fished illegally for an hour. (None of us bothered to buy the required Tribal Fishing License.) I caught 5 rainbows up to 14" by stripping in an emerger. Jolly caught more than me by spin casting.
We also hiked past Long Lake and Frog Lakes. Fish were jumping in Frog Lake and people were camping nearby. The trail was wide, flat and easy through the lakes.
We reached Summit Lake (6,315') and found several other camping parties. We still got a good site and spent the rest of the afternoon staring at the high rock wall across the lake and fishing. I got one hit, no catches.
The fish were so far out, and the water was so clear that I accidentally went in up to my neck when I was wading out to a submerged rock.
Later in the evening, Terbo and Jolly played chess to a disputed stalemate. Great weather all day.
Monday, September 4, 1995
Jolly fished some more. He didn't get anything and wanted to hike back to Frog Lake to catch something. He had the fishing bug. None of us took him up on his offer.
As we were packing the dogs got ahold of Jolly's white cotton briefs. They tore it apart and we laughed at their antics. The funniest part was when Jolly walked back into camp just as they dogs were ripping it in two. He had no idea of what was so funny.
We left camp around 11:00 and had some trouble finding the trail. We bushwacked up steep, vegetated and bouldered ground for far too long. Even when we reached the trail, Redwood was having trouble getting over the rocks and logs.
To make matters worse, we ran out of water at Eagle Pass (7,300') and would find no more water for another three miles.
At the pass, we had really good views of Summit Lake and the Flathead Valley. The way down was steep and straight in sections but also included the never-ending switchbacks from hell.
Our feet were sore from the pounding and Jolly's knee was giving him trouble. Throughout the hike, we had great fun messing with Jolly's mind.
Finally got back to the car at 6:00. We did 6 or 7 miles that day and ended up back at 3,300 feet.