Backpacking Trip — “The Beaten Path”
Day 1 – Clark’s Fork Trailhead to just beyond Fox Lake
Clean, showered, ready to begin our 10-day backpacking adventure in Montana’s wonderful Beartooth Mountains.
On our first night, we camped at the far side of a stream bordering the trail in a tufty meadow. A cliff face to the
east was dramatic to look at but kept the sun from reaching our tentsite until late the next morning. After dinner
that evening, a light rain misted, but we were well protected in our rain gear. Robin was less than thrilled about
the dampness, but we both enjoyed the patter of gentle rain on our tent that night—one of our favorite sounds.
Day 2 – Fox Lake to Bald Knob Lake
After some heavy uphill slogging, we got a gift—an unexpected swimming hole by a waterfall along the side of the
trail. This turned out to be a highlight of the trip, one of those idyllic moments in time that crystallize into what you
recall as “perfection.” All three of us went swimming in the chilly waters. The sun shone bright, we were all alone
in the wilderness, and we reveled in the feel of the cold water as we plunged in and swam around. The river water
sluiced over the smooth rocks in places, eddied in deep crystal pools in others. It was our perfect swimming hole.
We camped at Bald Knob Lake, about a half-mile above Ouzel Lake. The lake wound about in such a way that it
almost seemed like two lakes. We camped in between the “two” lakes, with a view to both, but with our campsite
centered on the smaller.
Day 3 – Bald Knob Lake to Fossil Lake
The epitome of the “happy camper.” This was Alan’s first backpacking excursion into the wilderness.
The hike to Fossil Lake was a 2.5-mile jaunt above treeline and through fellfields, over ground about as
level as the Beartooths ever get.
Day 3 – Bald Knob Lake to Fossil Lake (continued)
Our first campsite at Fossil Lake. Just as we arrived,