Sunday, November 24, 2013

Birdseye Bald Loop Hike...

(Warning:  Photo intensive)

So Saturday I thought it would be a good thing to get in a hike before winter really shuts us me down.  And I learned several things on this hike, which is a good thing, despite how my body feels it has been hit by a bus today.

I started off the day thinking of 'trail names'.  Hikers often have a nickname other hikers know them by.  First, I started off with "Onion" because I had enough layers on that I could lose every hand in a game of poker and still have clothes on at the end of the evening.

Then we started the hike, I I quickly changed it to "Donkey Butt".  Not because of me being nasty to everyone, but rather that was my position in the hike, dragging along and bring up the rear.

After we hiked for days hours, I changed it to "Half-way Hudgins" because that is all I could do.  Luckily, the group I am hiking with are not 'competitive' hikers and are super, super fantastic and spare my feeling nicely.  "J" walked back with me and we had our own adventure on the way back, but that's later in the story.

My car temperature was reading 10 degrees when we started out, but there wasn't a wind blowing (for once), so it wasn't bad.  We traveled out of Helena and parked at a railroad crossing on a little road.
This was the view across the road from our parking spot. 

Lovely, isn't it.  The moon still visible over the 'hillside'.  Bright blue sky.  Dusting of snow on the ground.  IT LIES!  Because this was behind me and the start of the hike.

Lesson 1:  If you are standing at the bottom of the trail and have to step back and look up to see the top of the trail.....don't go there!  And yes, that is a person standing at the top of the hill by the center tree.

Lesson 2:  If you are standing at the top of the hill and you look down and see the top of the cap of a fellow hiker, you don't go there!

Lesson 3:  In between the ups and downs (even if you go down on your butt so you won't fall any more), there is this....

Lesson 4:  There are no "level" spots in Montana hiking, except maybe the parking lot were you left your car.

Lesson 5:  Go where no man has gone before.  Tons of all kinds of animal tracks in the snow.  A couple I could identify and others I couldn't, but now want to learn them.  One thing about a winter hike with the snow is that they show up easily.  Like I wanted to know what was under this....

It was perfectly domed, a baby igloo.  Unlike some of the other rocks I slipped and fell on. 

Lesson 6:  Sights of man are few and far between and lead you to believe it would be awhile before someone came along to drag your sorry ass out of there.

Yep, partner, I rode that fence line for miles and miles and then the horse died.

So after the great hiking group I was with waited for me to drag my donkey butt up the 'hill'....

(See they don't look like they are plotting my murder, do they?)

So while 'D' was planning another round of up and down, my body was saying....straight downhill is the railroad tracks and a road...down, down, down....

'J' valiantly offered to go with me (otherwise, I think they thought I would still be there) and off we went.  I guess now it's time to spoil the story and tell you that the others made it back to the car before we did.  But they didn't have a chance to collect the massive cockleburs on every part of their body, nor did they get to wave at the train engineers as the train went by.

And contrary to popular opinion, that is NOT the front of the train, but rather the back of the train.  Trains in this part of the country are LONG and have engines at the front and back.  (Although the idea did cross my mind at one point.)

So 'J' and I got to see the thicket along the creek we had to cross to get back to the train tracks.

Lesson 7:  Do you do it again?  You bet and for this reason right here....


  1. Anonymous10:30 AM

    Judy, I love your writings about this journey through space and time that we call "life". I truly enjoy hiking with you and I hope that your schedule allows you to join us more.
    Don ... or "D" in the story. :-)

  2. Anonymous10:10 PM

    These are gorgeous pix and the hike looks like great fun. I just joined the group online and hope I can do this hike sometime in the future. Thanks for sharing!
    Jodi S


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