Tobacco Root Mountains day hikes

John Goering

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Joined
Sep 30, 2014
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429
Contrary to most of the west, it was a heavy snow year in Montana and accessibility issues remain. My wife and I have been doing day hikes in the Roots and we had no real expectations of actually getting to where we wanted to be. However, that changed on the last hike.

Our first trip to the Roots was an over-nighter to Sureshot Lakes (https://backcountrypost.com/threads/years-initial-foray-to-the-tobacco-root-mountains.7676/). The second was on the Curly Lake Trail where we were hoping to get at least to Westphal Parks.

We escaped Bozeman pretty early and missed most of the traffic. But our good luck ended with this:


We have encountered numerous cattle drives over the years but these jerks were the first to completely block the road and not allow vehicles to work their way though the herd. Several miles at 4 mph. Eventually they got to where they wanted at let that Chevy pickup and us proceed. If our border collies had been 5 years younger, I would have parted the waters.

FS Road 107 a couple miles below the old mining town of Mammoth. Granite Peak on the left, Middle Mountain on the right.


Several miles above Mammoth. The west side of Hollowtop Mountain.


FS 107 was blocked by snow about 1.5 miles from the end of the Jeep trail (and the start of the hiking trail to Sailor, Globe, and Brannan Lakes. We headed a short distance back to the Curly Lake Trailhead and hiked as far as we could. Looking south to the bowl above Lost Cabin Lake. None of those peaks have names.


Bismark Reservoir from the Curly Lake trail.


The trail was more or less snow free until were approached Westphal Parks which was as far as we expected to get. The last 1/4 mile was post holing all the way.


Westphal Parks was a bit of a swamp.


We had a very pleasant lunch and then headed down to Bismark Reservoir. Trailhead for Bismark Reservoir, Louise and Lost Cabin Lakes.


Bismark Reservoir. This was the intake for a wire wound wood pipe that feed a dynamo powering the Bismark Mine.


A couple of the Bismark adits from the Curly Lake trail.


Continued:
 
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John Goering

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Joined
Sep 30, 2014
Messages
429
Our third trip goal was the Nicholson Mine at the head of the South Boulder River. Anymore, when a nice day presents its self, we try to take advantage of it. Something about being retired. And week days are absolutely the best. So, in the spur of the moment when sunshine interrupted our very soggy spring, we threw the day packs in the Jeep and headed out for this one on FS Trail 7154.

We missed the actual mine by maybe a couple hundred yards, again just too much snow. But we did get above all the associated mine buildings, or what's left of them. Continuous snow line was right about 9000'.

On the way home, we took Carmichael Road as we did the last trip and passed through Pony via Johnson Road. This time, I took a few photos along that route, a bit scenic in its own right.

Granite Peak center, Little Granite Peak left, from near FS 7154.


Remains of buildings at the mill site where the drainage branches.


Mill.


View down drainage. Sort of an ore trailer built from a dump truck box on a very heavy duty frame in the meadow. I assume they were using a large Cat hooked to this because the gradient of the road to the mine probably exceeds 30% in a lot of places.


Looking up the main branch of the East Fork. Left to right: Little Granite, Granite, and Noble Peaks. A lot of good skiing to be had there----


One of the Nicholson cabins.


More debris.






Not sure if this was for bears or two legged critters.


Carmichael Road photos.












And a shot of the old mining town of Pony. Left to right, Horse Mountain, Mount Jefferson and Hollowtop Mountain.

Continued.
 
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John Goering

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Joined
Sep 30, 2014
Messages
429
The forth trip was again to the Nicholson, but we decided to approach it from the South Willow Creek side where most of the trail is a south aspect. This one was a success.

View up S. Willow from FS road 160. Granite Peak hiding in the clouds.


Remains of a miner's cabin off the mine road (closed to motorized use and has no FS trail number) to the Nicholson and several other mines.


Meadow below above cabin.


Random photo along the Nicholson road.


At the saddle between S. Willow and South Boulder River drainage looking into the latter.


Great zip line--until you got to the bottom. Part of the Nicholson tram line.


Nicholson remains.





Another view into the S. Boulder from the saddle.


Part of Little Granite Peak.


Scenery.




Mine Peak.
[


View down S. Willow towards Madison Range.


Hopefully, in the near future, we will actually be able to get to some of the lakes.
 
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