My name is Karenna and I am a summer intern for the Sierra Club in Bozeman. I am helping to plan and lead several outings throughout this summer and have already thoroughly enjoyed several hikes in the past several weeks.
The first hike I was able to co-lead was up West Pine in the Gallatin Range just east of Bozeman. Here the trail was bombarded with every color of wildflower imaginable. Some of which I knew the names of, and others I was clueless about and simply had to marvel at their beauty. The aroma of the lupine wildflowers was overpowering in the lower parts of the trail; it was so strong it was hard to believe that the smell was natural. The trail snaked its way upward along the mountain side, and then through trees burnt in a recent forest fire, where the ecosystem was slowly recovering and beginning to thrive again. The hike continued along a ridge line supplying spectacular views of the mountains on either side of us, as well as ample fields of wildflowers, which made the hills gleam with color. We slowly gained elevation throughout the hike, which made the lunchtime stop on top of the ridge line a beautiful location in a prairie of grass and flowers where we all enjoyed the view and the light breeze. A few other parties came by on their way along the trail saying happy hellos as they passed by. The way down had the same spectacular views as the way up, and we quickly trekked down the continual downhill slope which made a fast and pleasant walk down.
I also was able to co-lead another hike along the Shafthouse Ridge in the Northern Bridgers. Here we started on a well-maintained trail which made its way up the mountain, gaining vertical at a pleasant rate. We walked along the trail for over a mile, after which we ventured off-trail and headed up to the top of the ridge line. Here an old mineshaft lay abandoned and semi caved in; a remnant of mining days in the Bridgers, which only lasted a couple of years due to lack of success. However, the mines failure means the beauty of the area and the hike we walked was relatively preserved. As we continued along the ridge line we came to a point where we could see down to Frazier Lake, a great small alpine lake slightly hidden from the bustle of the Fairy Lake area. After admiring the lake for a moment we headed back down towards the cars, continuing our off trail adventure down the mountain. Back at the cars we all decided we had time to go enjoy our lunches up at Fairy Lake, a short drive slightly further up the road. Although very crowded with laughing children and happy families and friends, Fairy Lake supplied its normal wonderful views and we found a great patch of shade to enjoy our lunch in the afternoon heat.
Both of the two hikes, the one in the Gallatin’s and in the Bridger’s, that I have had the pleasure of helping lead are areas that continue to amaze me and show me new sights. I had never before done the two specific hikes in these areas, and was so happy to explore the new places. Both the Gallatin’s and the Bridger’s are incredible areas that are also still relatively well maintained and preserved. I believe this stewardship needs to continue and increase in order to explore, enjoy, and protect the nature of these places.
Karenna is the campaign’s 2015 summer intern. She is Bozeman born and raised, and just completed her first year at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. Karenna has a passion for whitewater kayaking in the summer, skiing in the winter, and an all around love for the outdoors.