CPW '15- Wilderness Basin

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Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Messages
1,098
8/28-30/2015

I showed up in the office on the 28th and had a big question thrown my way: "Would you like to go on a fire starting next week?" I had just gotten my Red Card this year and it would be my first fire so with a little trepidation I gave an affirmative. Given the day of leaving as "Monday or Tuesday" I shortened my wilderness patrol plans to come out Sunday but still visit a place I've always wanted to visit: Wilderness Basin.

Newly hatched butterflies I headed out on the trail. I made it all the way to Lake Helen with thoughts of firefighting in my head before the prettiness forced it out. It was an uneventful patrol as I worked my way around Lakes Helen and Marian before calling it a night.

Lake Marian
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The next day I headed out for Wilderness Basin. Twas the perfect day for it as well as I rounded Mistymoon Lake and the base of Cloud Peak.
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Usually people get into the basin by following the drainage from Lake Solitude. Looking at the map, I thought I could scape along a bench and find myself halfway up the basin already.

Bomber Mountain from "Bench" Pond
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Lake Solitude below
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It turns out my bench ledged out and I had to scramble around in some awkward country to get into the basin. I guess there is a reason why people don't use that way. That said, I had fun, startled a herd of elk, and got cool views as I rounded the ridge and saw into the Basin.
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My route landed me right at the shores of Middle Cloud Peak Lake with Cloud, Woolsey and Blacktooth Peaks towering above. It was a neat spot.
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Measuring time I could only explore up the basin a little further before having to turn around. The lakes above MCP Lake were pretty cool, in all close to the canyon's walls and the like.
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Next time I visit the area I will have to camp out as opposed to using our base camp. Going further looked neat.

Heading back I decided to go down the basin instead of using the same ledgey mess I came in through. It gave me the perfect opportunity to check out the waterfall below MCP Lake.
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While MCP Lake was right above treeline, the lower drainage was a great mix of tree, lake and rock. It was gorgeous country.
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At one of the lower lakes I encountered a huge bull moose. I'm impressed the guy made it up into the basin and he was definitely enjoying the fruits of his labors with all the willows.
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It was amazing how the views up and down the drainage were all so grand. This area is definitely one of the most scenic around the CPW.
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Finally I hit the last of the wonders of this valley: the Waterfalls to Solitude, as I call them. A good coulple hundred feet of cascades down to official trail. Waterfalls aren't common in the CPW and especially not at this scale.
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And from there the hard part commensed, hiking up the trail back up to Mistymoon and camp back at Lake Helen. Like I said, I have to plan this adventure differently in the future.
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The next day involved a mellow patrol of the area and hiking out to discover I would be leaving early on Monday for Libby, Montana and the Goat Rock Fire Complex. Hence the wait and subsequently hazy report. I hope y'all enjoyed the pictures at least!

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605troutbum

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Messages
12
I have been up to middle cloud peak lake a couple of times and the best route that I have found going up there is starting at battle park and taking that trail to Solitude lake and then hiking up the big water fall that was in your last pictures. Going up that waterfall is a bit of a beast but its a great hike!
 

Artemus

I walk
.
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,381
Wow! You keep teasin' (well more than teasing) the Cloud Peak Wilderness to us Scott. Isn't this our newest designated Wilderness? How has the designation impacted it? I am going there. :twothumbs:
 

Curt

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2014
Messages
388
I meant to go to CPW earlier this year but it didn't work out and I can't see making it there sometime during the remainder of the year. But the more I look at your pictures the more I think I'm going to have to make it a priority to get there. Thank for the great trip report.
 

klank

one step at a time
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
77
Nice report and pics as usual Scott. Now put your hands up and give me your job!
I offered to be his porter a while back.. yet to receive invite. =D
 

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Messages
1,098
Wow! You keep teasin' (well more than teasing) the Cloud Peak Wilderness to us Scott. Isn't this our newest designated Wilderness? How has the designation impacted it? I am going there. :twothumbs:
Are you referring to the White Clouds as the "newly designated wilderness?" Because i would love to see if their visitation changes now. The Cloud Peak has been designated since 1984
 

Artemus

I walk
.
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,381
Are you referring to the White Clouds as the "newly designated wilderness?" Because i would love to see if their visitation changes now. The Cloud Peak has been designated since 1984
Silly me, I probably do have my clouds mixed up. I gotta start paying attention to what state they are talking about ;) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Clouds_Wilderness. I also would like to see the WHITE CLOUD wilderness visitation numbers AND habits data for trends. I'll go back to sleep now...
 

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