Monthly Archives: July 2015

Coal Ridge Lookout Hike

Last Saturday, July 18, 2015 was the Coal Ridge Lookout Hike. We set this up as part of the Montana Wilderness Association’s “Wilderness Walks” program, with North Fork Trails providing the hike leaders. The route follows Flathead National Forest Trail 2 from the trailhead on Moran Basin Road until it intersects Trail 14 on top of Coal Ridge. The remains of the old Coal Ridge lookout are a short distance east along the ridge-top. The round trip distance is about 6.8 miles (11 km).

Trouble is, it was a damp, cool, foggy morning and no one but Randy and I showed up — wimps. So, we did the hike anyway. About three hours later, we were on the ridge-top, enjoying the sunshine and a nice view. Our missing hikers were still down there in the dank fog.

View from Coal Ridge - fog in the valleys

View from Coal Ridge – fog in the valleys

We had a pleasant time at the site of the old fire lookout. We had a leisurely lunch, tried to identify some of the peaks in Glacier Park and surveyed the surrounding territory with a view toward future visits.

Coal Ridge - packing up after lunch

Coal Ridge – packing up after lunch

Coal Ridge - remains of old lookout

Coal Ridge – remains of old lookout

On the way up, we took note of a stretch of ripe huckleberries. On the way back, we stopped for some berry picking. Randy anticipated adding his to pancakes. Mine ended up on ice cream.

Trail 2 - huckleberries

Trail 2 – huckleberries

Altogether, a very pleasant day. Any expedition that ends with huckleberries is a success.

North Fork Inter Local meeting tomorrow!

The summer North Fork Inter Local Agreement meeting will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, July 15 at Sondreson Hall. Start time is 1:00 p.m. The meeting is preceded by a potluck lunch from noon to 1:00 p.m., with the North Fork Trails Association providing the burgers and brats. Please bring a side dish.

And don’t forget the annual Firewise Day meeting in the morning, starting at 9:30 a.m.

The Inter Local Agreement provides for face-to-face contact with representatives of agencies whose policies and actions affect the North Fork. Interlocal Agreement meetings are held in the winter (in town) and summer (at Sondreson Hall). This is always a very interesting meeting, with reports from a range of government agencies and local organizations and often some quite vigorous discussion.

Trail 2 is clear

As mentioned in a previous post, we got Trail 2 mostly cut out on July 2. Yesterday (July 6, 2015) a group of us went in with a chain saw and finished up a few of the balkier items, especially a big old spruce blocking travel at the 2.5 mile (4 km) point.

Barring additional blow-downs, the trail is clear.

Bill is happy now

Bill is happy now

Randy, Sue and Greg look pleased, too

Randy, Sue and Greg look pleased, too

Trail 2 mostly cleared

Randy Kenyon and Bill Walker spent a few hours yesterday (July 2, 2015) almost clearing the first 2.5 miles of Trail 2.They’re leading a hike up this trail in just over two weeks, so a little maintenance was in order.

Trail 2, the Moran Creek Trail, runs about 3 miles (4.8 km) from a trailhead on Moran Basin Road (road 5241) to the top of Coal Ridge. It is the most popular route for visiting the old lookout sites along the spine of Coal Ridge.

There was a modest number of blow-downs across the trail, some minor and some requiring a bit of work.

That wasn't too bad

That wasn’t too bad

A few required a lot of work, especially a big, old spruce that fell down across the trail at a long, shallow angle

This is going to take a while!

This is going to take a while!



Randy feeling victorious

Randy feeling victorious

Downed spruce were by far the biggest nuisance.

Another fine mess we've gotten ourselves into

Another fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into

Not quite out of the way yet

Not quite out of the way yet

Unfortunately, we had to leave one monster as a (cough) step-over until we can get back up there with a chain saw. We’ll clear up this little detail in a few days.

This one needs a chain saw

This one needs a chain saw