K7VK's blog

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Idaho - Nick Wynn Mountain 17Jun2017

Summit: 
W7I/IC-276

This old Forest Service Lookout site has only a crumpled outhouse, concrete anchor blocks and a few pieces of rusted metal remaining.  Young trees have grown up and have limited somewhat the view of the surrounding landscape.  It is a short, but steep hike very typical of the ‘ridge access trails’ climbing out of the Selway River.  Along the trail though are many old ponderosa pine with large rectangles of missing bark on their boles where the historic Nez Perce people peeled back the bark centuries ago to remove the underlayer of sweet cambium, the growing part of a tree (see photo below). Peoples footprints have been on this area for thousands of years.

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Idaho - Indian Ridge 15Jun2017

Summit: 
W7I/IC-264

Indian Ridge is accessed by trail beginning on the Selway River near Indian Creek Campground. This US Forest Service primitive campground is famous from the humous outdoor book INDIAN CREEK CHRONICLES where the author, college student Pete Fromm spent a winter watching over an Idaho Fish and Game artificial salmon rearing channel. The well- marked summit trail climbs through towering centuries-old ponderosa pine open-forest and some recent fire snag forests.

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Montana – University Mountain 28Dec2016

Summit: 
W7M/LM-145

University Mountain with an adjoining lower non-SOTA summit, Mount Sentinel overlooks the city of Missoula.  Access is by three main routes, a road (closed to motor vehicles) or two trails.  It is a communication site for several Agency repeaters and a popular summit in summer and winter for hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers.  The subordinate summit to the west is a launch site for hang gliders.  Visitors can be expected on any of your SOTA activations here.

 

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Montana – Bare Cone Lookout 13Oct2016

Summit: 
W7M/RC-110

Bare Cone Lookout is a popular motorized destination, motorcycle, quad 4-wheeler and auto, on the Bitterroot National Forest. Visitors travel here to visit an active US Forest Service Lookout and to experience the outstanding vistas of managed forest, wild forest landscapes and the rugged southern end of the Selway Bitterroot Mountains. A trail passes near the summit. The trail is on the historic southern route of the Nez Perce people, access to hunting bison on the vast Montana plains to the east.

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Montana – Castle Rock 12Oct2016

Summit: 
W7M/RC-112

Castle Rock is a popular hike from Nez Perce Pass on the Bitterroot National Forest. It can also be accessed from a trailhead near Bare Cone Lookout to the east. Both routes are about the same distance and terrain. The last 200 feet is a scramble to the summit over loose rock and bedrock from either a notch in the cliffs on the west side or more open loose rock routes on the east side. Most folks will be using both hands and feet on this one. Summit views are tremendous to the north where you’ll be looking into the rugged southern mountains of the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness Area.

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Montana – Comet Mountain 28Sept2016

Summit: 
W7M/BE-032

This is an easily accessible summit in the southern end of the East Pioneer Mountains. Getting there follows the Wise River/Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway. This truly scenic route is much like driving through Yellowstone National Park’s mountains and lodgepole pine forests, and meadows, but absent the geysers, mud pots, and bison. The mountains are closer and more rugged and cattle instead of bison are scattered in summer throughout the forest and meadows. There are many well maintained campgrounds along the route.

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Montana - Summit 8004 11Sept2016

Summit: 
W7M/GA-084

This ridgeline hike follows a user trampled trail to Morrell Mountain, W7M/GA-068 and then becomes mostly an open rolling ridgeline to the unnamed summit, 8004. Along the entire route are excellent views of the Seeley Lake valley and the Mission Mountains, Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wilderness Areas.The trailhead is in a saddle just below a closed gate access to Morrell Lookout.

Trail miles: 1.0 plus off trail ridgeline hike of 2.0 miles one way. Elevation gain: ~600’ Terrain: open rock and rolling ridge. Map: Lolo National Forest, Seeley Lake Ranger District

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Montana – Morrell Mountain 10Sept2016

Summit: 
W7M/GA-068

Morrell Mountain at 8161’ is a short ridgeline hike, less than a mile, with excellent views of the Seeley Lake valley and the Mission Mountains, Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wilderness Areas. The trailhead is in the saddle/road switchback just below a closed-gate access to Morrell Lookout which is not the SOTA summit.

Trail miles: nearly 1. Elevation gain: `500’ Map: Lolo National Forest, Seeley Lake Ranger District

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Idaho - Skookum Butte 8Aug2016

Summit: 
W7I/IC-175

Skookum Butte is an old US Forest Service lookout at 7215’ on the Idaho/Montana border. The summit and lookout rests on massive granite boulders. Not having enough room at the lookout to secure our long wire antenna, K7PX Steve secured one end of the End Feed Long Wire to the top boulder, pitched the other end over the cliff and operated the antenna from below as a sloper. The lookout offers a fine view of the northeast end of the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.

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Montana - Mineral Hill - Scapegoat Wilderness 4Aug2016

Summit: 
W7M/GA-163

Mineral Hill is scenic 8383’ open rock and high elevation tundra appearing summit on the boundary of the Scapegoat Wilderness. Normal scrambling/trail gear including bear spray is recommended. There are two main trail routes to access Mineral Hill. One from the west fords the North Fork Blackfoot River and the other from the south jumps across small streams.

Trail Miles: 8 Miles one way.  Elevation Gain: 3700’.  Difficulty: Good climbing trail, Challenging river crossing, Short easy 0.25 mile scramble to the summit.    Map:  US Forest Service, Seeley Lake Ranger District