Montana’s Beartooth Mountains – Installment 4   Leave a comment

I was awoken at Dewey Lake in the morning by my son Bode, asking me if he thought it would be okay to wake his friend Heron to go down to the lake and fish. I said it was, then got up myself and started breaking camp, packing away hammocks and sleeping bags, getting things organized for the day’s hike.

I walked up to the top of the knoll to see about my dad. He was sound asleep, and I left him alone. Today was going to be the push up to the “top of the world”, Fossil Lake, at 10,000 feet. Billed in the guidebook as the gem of this route, I was looking forward to seeing it, but worried about cold winds and high elevation.

Down to the lake shore I strolled ready to make coffee and oatmeal. It was a glorious morning with fish rising all around, and a little arctic tern was swimming just out of reach, picking away at the insects rising from the depths, wondering if we had anything to offer it.

Coffee was made, and oatmeal was eaten, though to the dismay of the boys who would have preferred bacon and eggs. I dunked my head in the lake to give my hair a wash, and then Wes came down to say hello. He ate and drank and dunked as well, and we cleaned up, packed up, and headed on our way, hoping for an enjoyable and rewarding day, ambling toward the headwaters of East Rosebud Creek.

We headed up the trail toward Fossil Lake, passing through incredible alpine meadows filled with flowers, spotting Pika and Marmots, and pushing our legs upward and onward. We made it to Fossil Lake by about 2pm, which was a welcome change to the previous two days’ hikes when we arrived after 7pm.

Adequate trees were located to hang our hammocks, the fishing rods came out, and we all enjoyed a relaxing afternoon on top of the world. I even took in a swim in crisp and refreshing water only feet from a snowfield. Fossil Lake is truly a crown jewel.

Below, some photos of our hike and a teaser of more Fossil Lake photos that I’ll post tomorrow. Enjoy!

 

Through the meadows along the East Rosebud Trail we go.

Through the meadows along the East Rosebud Trail we go.

 

Wes and Heron on the East Rosebud Trail above Dewey Lake

Wes and Heron on the East Rosebud Trail above Dewey Lake

 

Bode and Stephen admire the high alpine meadows on the East Rosebud Trail

Bode and Stephen admire the high alpine meadows on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Upward toward Fossil Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

Upward toward Fossil Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Up switchbacks and back down to cross a creek on the East Rosebud Trail

Up switchbacks and back down to cross a creek on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Incredible views along the East Rosebud Trail

Incredible views along the East Rosebud Trail

 

Heron clowns it up on the East Rosebud Trail

Heron clowns it up on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Tom on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

Tom on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

 

Wes on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

Wes on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

 

Stephen on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

Stephen on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

 

Bode on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

Bode on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

 

A broad beautiful meadow on the East Rosebud Trail

A broad beautiful meadow on the East Rosebud Trail

 

The snowfields get closer on the East Rosebud Trail

The snowfields get closer on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Amazing alpine wildflowers on the East Rosebud Trail

Amazing alpine wildflowers on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Bode and Wes resting along the East Rosebud Trail

Bode and Wes resting along the East Rosebud Trail

 

A long view up high on the East Rosebud Trail

A long view up high on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Heron and Stephen hike up to Fossil Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

Heron and Stephen hike up to Fossil Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Amazing alpine meadow blooms on the East Rosebud Trail

Amazing alpine meadow blooms on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Bode with the first Cutthroat Trout from Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Bode with the first Cutthroat Trout from Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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