Bear Trap Canyon

  • June 06, 2017
  • Posted by Brandon Materna

On the first Monday in May we ventured into the Bear Trap Canyon Wilderness along the Madison range to maintain switchbacks and improve the Pot Trail. Each of us loaded our packs to the gills with camp gear, food, tools, and, some, even a change of clothes. On the pleasant four-mile hike into our backcountry camp, we saw signs that more than one predator found home in this neck of the woods, so we certainly felt the gravity of the bear hang with its mass of “smellys,” food and other items that might pique the interest of unwelcome critters.

Although we all pitched tents on slopes going one way or another, with a few of us needing to prop ourselves up against a tree stump as we slept (the doctor says it’s good for my posture), the crew always seemed well-rested and ready to put in a hard day’s work. We honed our craft in small teams posted at several switchbacks ascending across the creek from our camp, and we moved further into meadows, where we cut tread and stacked rock cairns for hikers.

Fittingly, on Hump Day we could finally notice Summer coming in. Aside from the sunshine and heat, the red cedar smelled sweeter and around every corner, lupine bloomed, honey bees buzzed, and even the mosquitoes joined the welcome party.

At the end of the hitch, as we stretched out with packs splayed around the rig, we were opened up to the possibilities and beauty of a Montana summer.


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