Rattlesnake Wilderness Area
Saturday, July 2, 1994
This was also Redwood's first trip with me. I've only had him since Wednesday. I was a bit concerned he'd run off when not on the leash, but he followed us and led us nicely.
The trail up from Grant Creek starts between two landowners at a place called "Ravine Lane." The trail is a relentless climb practically straight up the hillside.
Along the way we met one other hiker and saw a nice four-point buck in velvet right along the trail.
We hiked the trail to Stuart Peak and looked down at Twin Lakes. From this height, we could see the Pintlars and the Seeley Swan mountains.
Because it was so windy, we went lower to McKinley Lake. Nevertheless, it was still very windy and cold. Neither of us brought as much clothing as we'd have liked.
We probably hiked seven miles today.
Sunday, July 3, 1994
We decided to go a little lower after it started snowing.
We decended to Carter Lake, but there wasn't much room for camping. Near the lake an older couple and their horses occupied shack called Snowshoe Camp.
We went up a little farther to Worden Lake and camped there. Not many miles today, probably two or three.
The weather got a little better and I fished for quite a while. I caught about eight and kept three 12 to 14 inchers. Most all were cutthroats and a few rainbows.
With one of the trout from McKinley Lake, I cut the trout in half and poached them over lemon, parsley and bay leaves. It was absolutley delicious and tender. Next, I'll add a little pepper to perfect the recipe.
We saw several other groups of hikers around the lakes as it was a holiday weekend.
Monday, July 4, 1994
In general, the trout rose to just about any large fly. It seemed the bigger the better since few natural flies landed on the water. The real flies that did land were quickly eaten.
The trout would hide under submerged stumps and wait for a fly to land overhead. Through the crystal clear water, I could see the trout swim right at my fly.
Other hikers said Big Lake had tons of trout surfacing. Maybe next time we'll head there.
From Worden Lake we headed directly up to the trail that led to Mosquito Peak. (Yes, we saw lots of mosquitoes.)
On the way up, we saw about a half dozen bighorn sheep descending to the lake we just left. Too bad we weren't closer.
The view on top of the ridge was beautiful with sunny skies. The trail back to the car was okay hiking and all downhill, but about 10 miles long.
On the way, we hiked through a burned-out area that probably started from a campfire next to Grant Creek. This fire damage is the main reason people in the houses below don't like hikers accessing the area.
Back in Missoula, we headed to the Rhino for a couple of beers. As I drove home, I stopped just below the Continental Divide for an hour of sleep. Rolled into Great Falls around 3:00 a.m.