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Home » Adventures » Beartooth Wilderness » Enjoying the Woods

Day 5 — Relax and Enjoy

Our last full day in the mountains backpacking. Trips always seem to pass too quickly. We had nothing officially planned for this day though, and I had not heard of anyone else doing anything really neat either. Rev. Wierschke and Rev. Matthews were going to attempt to follow in our foot steps and climb to the top of Bald Knob. Since I did not feel like repeating the previous day’s adventures, I would instead just relax in the area around camp and enjoy myself. There was no reason to be constantly running around. As long as I was on vacation, I might as well take a break and just enjoy God’s creation.

Looking down on a small island in the mountains

Aerial view of my “relaxing” island

To properly relax though, I had to find a good location. I scouted a spot that was a small island in Bald Knob Lake. It was only about twenty-five yards out and the water did not seem that deep so I figured I could walk to it while keeping my clothes dry. I removed my boots and pulled my jeans above my knees in an attempt not to get wet. The water was cold against my bare feet, but actually felt refreshing. As I made my way across the lake, the water slowly crept up, approaching my still dry jeans. I had thought I could walk out there with only getting my skin wet, but I had misjudged the water’s depth by about two inches. The water eventually crested a couple of inches above the bottom of my jeans. Since they were all bunched up, the entire pant leg from my knee down got wet. So all my effort to keep my pants dry was for naught. I just laid out on a rock on the island though and waited for my pants to dry some while reading and enjoying weather and scenery around me. It only occurred to me after I was already on the island and wet that I should have worn a pair of shorts while wading through the lake. It was too late at that point and just exemplifies my book knowledge but often lack of common sense.

Fishing in a mountain lake

Brian and Mitchell fishing

After spending a bit on my island, I crossed back to the mainland (again getting my jeans wet) to see what other people were doing. Mitchell and Brian were fishing and doing pretty well. There were not any twenty pound giants to write home about, but they had caught a nice collection of small ones. I was not too much of a fisherman, so I let them be. I went back to the campsite and rested my legs some, gazing at the scenery surrounding me. For lunch we had some cheese, crackers, and beef log which we had been “refrigerated” in Bald Knob Lake.

After lunch I had enough sitting around, so I went exploring by myself. I continued down the trail which we had originally hiked in on. I passed several more lakes and medium sized hills. I hate to say it, but I think I was getting accustomed to the beautiful views, so I was a little numb to these new great views I was discovering. After a couple of miles I got tired of following the marked trail and headed up some of the hills, relying on my own sense of direction for guidance (bad idea).

Sky Lake

Sky Lake

I made my way up to the top of the nearest hill. I could see Sky Lake from this vantage point and more of the mountains and forests surrounding me. For the sheer sake of adventure and the challenge of it, I made my way back across a couple of the hills’ ridges, rather than walking through the easier terrain of the valleys. It was fun negotiating the tops of the hills and trying not to fall down the steep slopes beside me.

During this return trip across the ridges, I stumbled upon a couple of deer but scared them away. This was actually the first major wildlife I saw the entire trip. Drove all the way to Montana to see a couple of lousy deer. I kept still for a while, trying to spot them again, but they were long gone. I continued on for a little while and spotted another deer feeding on some grass. This one either did not see or was not afraid of me because it kept on eating. I approached the deer slowly and cautiously, wondering how close I could get. I was actually able to get close enough where I started worrying of the deer charging at me if I spooked it. Since I did not know a whole heck of a lot about deers or wanted to risk injury, I waited for a while to see if the deer would leave. It did not. I eventually got bored of waiting (in reality it was probably only a couple of minutes) and started making a little noise to try and drive it off. The deer again did not move, so I cautiously circled around the deer, hoping it would not see me and charge at me. I made it around the deer without incident and continued on my way.

A deer in the mountains

I passed another small lake after which I, surprisingly, stumbled back upon the trail. I was farther away from camp than I had expected, but I probably should have just been grateful that I was able to find the trail again using only my “sense of direction.” I had enough exploring for one day and it was getting near dinner time, so I just picked the trail back up and made my way back to camp.

Once Again at Camp

Cleaning the fish

Cleaning the fish

Arriving at camp, I found that Garrett and Jason had gone on their own expedition, while Rev. Wierschke and Rev. Mathews had returned from their trip to the top of Bald Knob. They had taken almost the same route to the top and back down the mountain that I had the day before. They also loved the views, but unfortunately the small white birds we spotted in the lake had disappeared so the Bird Watcher did not get to see them. Since we had a majority of people back at camp (Jason and Garrett were still MIA) we figured it was time for food again. Mitchell and Brian had caught about twenty fish, which we boiled in the same manner as the previous day. We also warmed some instant soups. Just about as dinner was finishing, Garrett and Jason arrived, allowing them the pleasure of eating a nice warm meal which they did not have to prepare.

With all the activities of the past couple days, I had managed to get a little sun on my neck. It did not really hurt, but was a little tender. Although not bothering me then, I hoped it would not become a problem when I had to wear my pack down the trail the next day.

A beautiful, colorful sunset over a mountain lake

As night fell upon us there was some lightning, but luckily no major rain. With the high fire danger, I was sure that many people wished it would have stormed though. I do not believe this lightning caused any new fires either. The sky was cloudy that night, which masked the beautiful blanket of stars behind it. The lack of stars also showed us the true impact of starlight. As I am sure you recall from what I wrote about the previous night *laugh*, we were able to see relatively well using only the light from stars. With all of the stars hidden behind the clouds though, it was a lot darker. We could barely see anything without a flashlight.

Our luck with the weather finally ran out as in the middle of evening devotions it began to sprinkle some rain. We hurried through devotions and took shelter in our tents. The rain, however, stayed light and was not a problem as we fell asleep only a couple minutes earlier than if there had been no rain.