Got together with a coworker Saturday for a long patrol in the Crazy Mountains. I mapped out a 22 mile loop that hit several of the more popular fishing lakes; but we had one hitch- we needed to find a route to traverse two miles off trail to hook up w/ the another trail to complete the loop. Adding to the hitch is that I've tried a couple times and have been turned back each time staring down at a rock cliff. I figured a new set of eyes might finally unlock a route through.
We got a nice early start and started for Cottonwood Lake. The first couple of miles are very gentle and serve as a great warmup for things to come. Soon enough the trail takes a steep turn and the work begins, on the bright side the views get better with the elevation.
We made it to Cottonwood Lake in good time and had just under 6 miles under our belts. We checked a few anglers at the lake (a couple just waking up :))
We started up the steep rock slope heading for the upper ridge line, leaving Cottonwood Lake behind.
When we got close to the ridge we were forced into some rock climbing, not exactly what we were hoping for. Worse, when we looked over the edge it was a sheer drop off. We traversed the ridge both directions and finally spied a complicated, but seemingly doable route down.
On the divide between Cottonwood Ck and the South Fork of Sweetgrass Ck
Part way down our route looking at Glacier Lake below, we encountered a group of Mountain Goat nannies and kids-usually your looking up at them, not this time :)
Two miles (and two hours!!!) later we finally joined up with the trail, looking down the SF of Sweetgrass Ck
We made it to Moose Lake and took a long deserved lunch, we're about 14 miles in now
the climb out of Moose Lake is pretty tough, ~ 900' in a mile
looking down at Moose Lake
our next stop was Campfire Lake, where we checked almost a dozen anglers
we checked one guy who had caught a hog Cutthroat
we had one more tough climb out of Campfire to the divide w/ Trespass Ck, looking down on Campfire Lake
13 hours later we finally made back to the truck, not too worse for the wear :)