Sunday, October 7, 2018

My Hiking Journal: Entry 15


"Ten Lakes: lake-filled alpine scenery in one of the last roadless areas in the Whitefish Range."  
Hiking Montana, Bill Schneider and Russ Schneider


Could you resist that description?  No, neither could we. So, back on July 17, 2017, I joined Man with Hat for this 12-mile round trip hike, and I must say, it exceeded our expectations.


Ten Lakes Scenic Area encompasses 15,700 acres.  Located along the northeastern edge of the Kootenai Forest with the Canadian border as one of its boundaries, the Ten Lakes area is dominated by a high ridge of the Whitefish Mountains.  As we drove to the trailhead, my phone alternated between US and Canada cell phone service (until I lost service altogether).  Yep, that's when you know you're close to the border!

The trail climbed steeply at first.  At 2.5 miles, the trail flattened out past Wolverine Lakes Basin.  Near the two lakes, a cabin nestled near a stream.  A sign in the window informed us that the cabin is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Hmmm... good to know!

But if the cabin is occupied, you might have your choice of several serene camping sites with fire circles, cheek to jowl with the edge of Wolverine Lake.

Man with Hat quickly set about fishing, as four 10-inch cut-throat trout swam right up into the shallows - what a tease!  (He caught one, but I was not quick enough to get a shot.)

Past Wolverine Lakes, we picked up the Highline Trail on the ridge between the Ten Lakes basin on the north and the Wolverine Flats to the south.  The views are expansive in all directions, with glimpses of the ice-clad Bugaboos far into Canada.
Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, white bark pine

We followed the Highline across the slopes of Green Mountain into the Bluebird Lake Basin.  Alpine glaciers shaped much of the present rugged scenery.  As the glaciers grew they carved deep scallops, or cirques, and high, rim-rocked basins sheltering the many lakes of the area.  Other alpine lakes - such as Wolverine and Bluebird - are often bordered on one side by subalpine vegetation and on the other by a headwall or rook harboring old snowdrifts.  
Squirrel, gray jays, ruffed grouse were some of the animals along the trail; only
captured the squirrel in my photos

Six miles into our hike, at Bluebird Lake, we met a group of the Montana Conservation Corp.  These young people dug into their lunches with relish while taking a well-deserved break from repairing ditches and trimming bushes along the trail.  This lake also has camping sites with fire circles, all with front-row seats to the lake and its soaring cliffs.

Abundant glacier lilies, western pasqueflower, paintbrush, bead lily, foam flower, bear grass

From Bluebird, it's a steady descent back to the trailhead.  A lengthy section of the trail is overgrown with alder and other shoulder-high shrubbery, which is always concerning in bear country.  Could a black bear or a grizzly be lurking?  This day, we encountered no Ursus; maybe our constant shouting warned them off.  Between the near-bushwhacking and the anxiety about the bears, I must admit this was not a trail segment I would like to repeat.


Man with Hat inches across a downed tree








Soon enough, the torrents of Wolverine Creek reached our ears, signaling an end to our hike.  Except … no bridge over the creek!  But never fear, a little creativity and courage usually carries the day.

Linking to:

All Seasons



Our World Tuesday Graphic

38 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful and scenic area and the lakes are so pretty!

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  2. Gorgeous! That's quite a hike.

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  3. I must say the description fits this spectacular country perfectly. Gosh you and your husband must be very fit! I wouldn't mind a stay in that cute little log cabin with that pretty outlook. As always you have captivated me with your gorgeous photos and fabulous narrative.

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  4. ...gorgeous! Would never made any headway in this area, I'd be stopping every few feet to take pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Pristine and beautiful are the words that come to mind.

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  6. great place indeed. But your headline made me think og my hometown. No pountains but I have 10 lakes withing biking range :)

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  7. Hi Angie. I am filled with admiration for your hikes - distance and bravery in the face of wild bears around. Sadly my old legs and knees won't carry me so far but I read with so much interest and wonder at your photos. 16,000 acres is some area to go at.

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  8. You explored such an amazing area filled with nature's beauty.

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  9. Oh, gosh. That looks too adventurous for us! Hubby's back issues would preclude it. We're used to the bears here. But that river crossing. sigh.

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  10. Wolverine Lake is magnificent and your series of photos are wonderful!

    Happy Day to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores

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  11. Oh I loved this virtual hike ...incredibly beautiful country. Wonderful to get into back country and the mountains and lake photos are magnificent. The bushwhacking/bear country part was a little scary, and also crossing that makeshift bridge. We’ve done that a couple of times in the past and it wasn’t fun.

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  12. Another wonderful and beautiful hike! Lovely photos. By now I am sure you are enjoying the changing trees. Our city is full of color. It seems to be coming on fast this year. I love any excuse to be outside. Enjoy! Kit

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  13. Very lovely photos of the beautiful scenary"

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  14. What a fantastic day out, your photos are stunning, it would be a lot unerving wondering if you would come across a bear!! That river crossing looked a bit scary too. A beautiful place.

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  15. Awesome scenery. What a fantastic hike.

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  16. That really is breathtaking! I love to fish but haven't in a few years. We were just talking about that! I'm sure the fish were fun to catch in this cold water! Thanks for sharing your hike!

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  17. 12 miles in one day, wowza! Even in my younger fitter days I opted to camp overnight if one way was more than 3 miles. Your hike reminded me of the bunch of lakes in the Desolation Wilderness in the Sierras. I loved backpacking there often once upon a time. I'm glad I have those memories and blogging friends like yourself who share their adventures in the wilderness. :-)

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  18. Beautiful pics. I love Montana and have visited several town there. We stayed in Whitefish at a B&B and thought that area was beautiful.

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  19. So much beautiful hiking country. Glad to know there are conservation groups helping to maintain it. I would hate to think that one day these places might not exist because of environmental devastation and man's greed and corruption. There's only been one hike with my kids in Utah several years ago where I was literally afraid, not because of bears, but because we were in the middle of nowhere, no one else was out there and we were hiking in a canyon with craggy crevices and rocky ledges ... all I could think was what the hell are we doing? What if something happens and no one finds us. :/ Obviously we did just fine but I was very happy to get back to the hotel. :)

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  20. What a beautiful day you spent. The scenery is spectacular. So glad you didn't run into any bears. I'm a bit wary in bear country, too, and tend to make a lot of noise to warn them off. We were hiking yesterday and our phones picked up the US signals across the strait.
    I'd love to spend some time in that little cabin by the water. Idyllic!

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  21. Montana is a beautiful part of the country.

    Worth a Thousand Words

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  22. That is really beautiful - there's nothing like unspoiled mountain wilderness.

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  23. Beautiful country. Our forests are green but so lush it is hard to hike through them unless there is an established trail. - Margy

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  24. You put out the effort and you enjoyed the rewards of it. That is one beautiful hike for sure. I'll have to look back and see what I've missed on your blog recently. Finally have a break from unpacking boxes and I'm trying to catch up with all my favorite blogs. Happy October to you!

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  25. I am so glad I found your blog through the link up because I love hiking too, and seeing where people are going. Beautiful scenery.

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  26. What a beautiful landscape ! you made me discover another piece of our world !!

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  27. What an adventure you had!! The bears worry me. I spent 3 days in Yellowstone Park hiking with my sister who is a seasonal park ranger. We carried bear spray everywhere.
    Even it is not foolproof. She told me about one fatality, not on the park where the bear, who killed someone who deployed their bear spray, his fur was saturated with the spray when they trapped it.

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  28. wonderful scenic with colorful wild flowers.

    Happy Friday

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  29. What a fantastic hike through the beautiful landscape. Beautiful photos, Angie. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

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  30. A super hike! Wow, 12 miles, good for you and Man with Hat. That's truly an adventure, and the scenery is incredible. So different from my neck of the woods, but getting out into the backcountry has some of the same rewards regardless of whether you're in mountains, deserts or forests!

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  31. What a beautiful place! Love your collages!

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  32. Now I know you are much younger than I am (found out after reading how old your in-law is on your next post) so I don't feel so bad that I can't hike as many miles as you do, Angie....lol!
    This looked like a fabulous hike. Please buy bear spray and carry it for your next wilderness hike. It can help save your life if you come in contact with a grizzly bear or mountain lion. We only see black bears in Colorado--hunters killed the last grizzly many years ago. I learned that black bears like to climb trees so I always scan the trees when I hike--do grizzlies climb trees too?

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  33. You must enjoy such a feeling of peace when you are on a hike...Away from the news and breathing clean air and out in nature...heaven...Michelle

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