Friday, November 20, 2020

Beartooth Backpacking

Another flash back to a summer backpacking trip. This one took place near the end of July and was with my good friend Julie. It was extra fun for me because it was my first trip into a whole new mountain range that I've never visited before, the Beartooths. Julie has packed there before with her sons, but we went to some areas that were new to both of us. Thanks to her for most of the photos of Burley and I together on this trip! 

Right out of the parking lot, we had a pretty good creek crossing. 

Then got to wander past a handful of pretty lakes. 

Up and down around rocks, little hills, and through mountains. 

I'm always amazed at the lush life that springs up near any little trickle of water, even when it's surrounded by nothing but solid rock. 

Eventually we made it to where we planed to spend the first night. And were started by a set of visitors I've never had while backpacking!

As we were setting up our tents, this little flock of mountain goats walked right up to us! Seemingly with no fear of us people or Burley. 

It was neat to watch them, especially the little fluffy babies, but those mamas have some really sharp looking horns when then walk up to within a few feet of you! Which they did. Repeatedly. Burley was very good about staying with me, but as they got closer and closer, eventually he would let out a woof, and they'd back up. Which was great because we were talking to them the whole time. Along the lines of "Hey there, you better back up. That's close enough ladies. We're people, you don't want to come closer. Hey! Stop it. Now you're getting a little scary." And so on. 

All through dinner and the lovely sunset, they came and went. Even after dark, as we laid on the rocks watching the stars and chatting, they returned a few more times. I was starting to wonder if they were going to tear into our tents once we went to bed? Or keep us up all night? I figured Burley would at least warn me (I'm generally a very sound sleeper) if they approached. But thankfully, after we each snuggled into our tents and sleeping bags, we slept all night without hearing a thing. 

And awoke to another lovely day! Shortly after we started walking, we crossed paths with a little group that had been camped on the far side of the lake from us the night before. Apparently the only reason we were not bothered all night long, is those goats walked around the lake and harassed them. Keeping most of their crew up much of the night. While I certainly didn't wish that on them, we were thankful that at least they left us alone. I have seen mountain goats on various trips over the years. Never before have I encountered such an aggressive little herd that liked to harass people though!

We went on to enjoy another day of walking through rocks, around and over mountains, and past lovely alpine lakes. The one thing that was less fun was the bugs. The trip was warm. By that I mean nights were not below freezing. All nights high in the mountains should always be below freezing if you ask me, and most summers they are. But this week there were no freezes, and the bugs, especially mosquitos, were prolific! 

Despite that, we enjoyed the day. And as always, Burley was really excited any time we got back to a nice snow field for him to slid around on. 

Most of this trip was off trail and I learned that when walking up a random hillside covered with boulders, Burley is really great at picking out the easiest route. Invariably, if I followed his choice, it would be great! 

Did I mention there was lots of boulders? And snow? I love walking around up above tree line!

Once again we reached the area where we planned to spend the night and found two mostly flat little spots to pitch our tents. Just before a pretty massive thunderstorm rolled in. We tried to pick a high ridge hoping a good breeze would help with the bugs, but there were still a lot of mosquitos. 

After enjoying the sunrise, we packed up once again and hit the trail. 

Traveling through more rocks, snow fields, and pretty little lakes. 

And then dropped a little elevation and walked through some wonderful fields of wildflowers!

With a beautiful waterfall as well. 

After more flowers, beauty, and bugs, we made it to our third campsite.

Just after getting our tents up, another big thunderstorm rolled in. Pouring and then hailing for a couple hours. But it still didn't get cold enough to shut down those mosquitos that were buzzing around waiting for us to exit the tent. Burley knows the tent is mosquito proof too, and while the only place they can get through his thick fur is right on his nose, he was anxious to get inside and curl up with me and out of their reach. 

Just before dark, the weather let up long enough to get out, snap some photos of the hail making the ground pretty white, go to the bathroom, and get back in our tents before yet another round of thunder storms. 

The following morning we headed back in the direction of the parking lot. Traveling through more wildflowers, crystal clear and cold mountain water; 

We got back on a trail, and the sun was hot enough to make me thankful for my sunbrella's shade. 

 Eventually getting back to here where we could see the parking lot on the far side of the lake. And not too long after, to the car it's self. A little bug bit, tired, having had a good time, and ready to head home. I'm very thankful for the time we got to spend together as it had been a few years since the two of us had been able to do a trip together and hope we'll be able to do another next year. And as always, I'm glad to have Burley as a backpacking buddy and now goat guard. 😃


  1. I enjoy your backpacking trips. Doris High

  2. Beautiful meadows! I didn't mow my backyard for three months last summer thinking it would turn into a meadow. It didn't. LOL!

  3. The Beartooth Mts are one of our favorite places to explore when we visit Wy. Because my husband is a paraplegic we attempt to explore as far off the main rds as far as our car husband being the driver with hand controls manages to maneuver around some mighty deep potholes. We drove up to an old mining camp which was fascinating! Your hiking trip was a real treat Ariel. Loved seeing sweet Burley lounging in the wild flowers!
    Absolutely beautiful scenery! Awesome to see areas impossible for us to reach. Thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experience. Please which trail head did you use? Thank you!!

  4. What a beautiful world you live in. Thank you for sharing it with us. You are indeed a lucky woman!

  5. Beautiful hiking trip! I love seeing Burley and I love that he was a goat guard. I can't imagine all the bugs though, who knew they were so bad up high like that?! The scenery was stunning, I loved all the views and lakes. The wildflowers were just beautiful. Thanks for sharing Ariel. Hugs, Brenda

  6. Thank you. There is nothing in this thread that could have not been put into a video as it does not come close to breaching any law

  7. I wonder if people fed those goats at some time and they changed their tune about humans?
    The mosquitoes would drive me right back home. Beautiful, though. And what a hike to enjoy with your friend and Burley. :)

  8. So exciting! Goats, storms, bugs and best of all, BURLEY!

  9. Awesome pictures, thanks for taking us along! :-)

  10. While working YP one summer, my gf and I hitched up to Red Lodge. Of course, we got dropped off at the peak right above Red Lodge at dusk, freezing cold, windblown, and snow coming down. Talk about desperate!! Finally a semi (against his company's rules, no doubt) took pity on us and hauled us down to town. Beautiful scenery all the way up above the timberline and seeing the Alpine lakes glittering in the distance until hidden in snow clouds. Scary, but one of the most bizarre 'hikes' she and I ever shared. Thanks for reminding me. I am also so glad you got to meet one of the mountain goat families, too. Terry

  11. I am still trying to figure out what are the Beartooth mountains and Absaroka mountains. It looks nice up there. I like riding my motorcycle on the Beartooth HWY
    I always wonder how much padding you need under the sleeping bag on the rocky ground.

  12. Burley makes the scenery even more beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Wow, super awesome pics and stories Ariel!! Thanks for posting. Haahh, glad those goats pestered the other campers 🥳 all night long. What kind of food did you bring on this 3-day overnight? I always wonder if fresh food is no option, just pasta or rice and some sauce?

    1. Ariel has done a video on the food she takes camping. I believe you'll find it here:

  14. Lovely trip, Ariel. Too bad about the mosquitoes but beautiful scenery. Thanks for sharing your trip and pics of Burley. Best to you.