Here’s a lesson: if you suggest a weekend backpack, and remember a beautiful spot that you visited years ago, and you want to impress your tough hiking friends with this swell hike, it might be a good idea to actually check out a map before you go. And not because of the danger of getting lost, or because the hike might end up being way harder than you remembered; my tough friends would love nothing more than more adventure than we expected. Nope…you need to check the map to make sure that the hike is actually longer than a mile. When you arrive at your destination a half hour after you’ve started – even if it is a gorgeous spot to camp – you are setting yourself up for a weekend of ribbing. I mean, I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to take you longer to load up your packs than it does to get to camp.
But this really is a stupendous spot. It’s a lovely cirque in the Branham Peaks area of the Tobacco Roots. I’d remembered the stunning scenery, but not the fact that the trailhead is at 8,800 feet, which means you can get to the rocky ridge without too much effort. I clearly remembered thinking that the cirque would be a grand spot to camp; I just forgot exactly where it was.
But all was fine in the end. We set up camp and then headed up the ridge for a glorious fall afternoon of exploring. By evening I was redeemed. After all, it hardly seems like a heinous mistake to suggest camping in a gorgeous spot that’s easy to get to but still far from noise and people, does it?