Friday, September 26, 2008

Fall Color

Last weekend Ken and I went up into the Beartooths for a late summer hike. We opted not to take the llamas because the area we wanted to visit sits in a section of the '88 burn and the downfall is prevalent. We have been to this particular lake several times and there is no trail that gets you there. It is a steep bushwack over varied terrain which makes it hard for even humans to navigate. The reasons for going to this spot are its solitude, its incredible beauty and its fat, hungry cutthroat trout.

The colors in the undergrowth were amazing. We are not used to seeing a lot of red in the fall trees here, but the huckleberries more than made up for it. The crop must have been especially good this year because we were still seeing the berries hanging off every bush. We were deep in grizzly bear territory and signs of the large bruins were everywhere. The picture to the left is of a bear scat that is much larger than the length of Ken's boot. You can see by its color and consistency that the griz are eating all the huckleberries they can stuff in their bellies before the snow flies.

One of the amazing things about the lake we went to is the presence of an ancient wikiup, probably a remnant of the Sheepeater Tribe. It is in much worse shape now than it was last time we visited. I think it has reached the point in its demise where it is deteriorating rapidly. I feel honored we have had the opportunity to see it over the years before it totally disappears.

The rain started just as we were finishing our dinner of fresh trout and rice and continued all
through the night. We were dry in our trusty two person tent, although it felt pretty close seeing as how we have been spoiled by having the llamas carry a bigger tent for most of the last decade. We got pretty wet on the trip out the next day but I was still glad we had gone.

A side note - After my last post Annmarie asked about Quatro's name. I'm afraid the answer is that I was lazy. Ken and I usually make a game of naming each new baby llama that comes along but since he wasn't home when Alexis had her newborn, I decided to name him for the order in which he arrived - the fourth baby of this year.

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