I’m trudging up the steep trail to Curly Lake, thinking – somewhat crabbily – about the Montana Hiking guide’s description of Curly Lake as “not unduly spectacular.” I haven’t been there, and right about now I’m wondering why we chose to backpack to a lake with such a lackluster recommendation. Really? And couldn’t someone add a few switchbacks to this trail?
Indeed, after about three miles we walk right by the lake and have to backtrack to find it.
It’s not spectacular, that’s true. But it’s a lovely peaceful spot in the Tobacco Root Mountains, and would be a great spot for a base camp to explore the surrounding country which is duly spectacular. And the trail did level out a bit and started switchbacking, and the wildflowers were most definitely spectacular: Lupine, Indian Paintbrush, Arnica, Harebells, and many more that I don’t know the names of.
We find a pretty little campsite and build a fire since it’s cold at 8800 feet. I’m glad for my down coat and warm gloves, and for my traditional post-hike reward of bourbon and Cheetos. (I, apparently, am not unduly classy.)
The next morning is cold as well, but it’s delightful sitting on the edge of the calm lake, sipping coffee and listening to the kinglets and sandpipers calling to each other in the morning sunshine.
You’re OK, Curly Lake. We all don’t need to be spectacular.