Spirits are high as we drive off to our first backcountry section in the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness. As we jam to Mumford and Sons the students start discussing what they are most excited to experience in the weeks to come. Around lunch time, we stop to fill up on gas at a gas station with animal heads on the walls- definitely a Montana experience! We eat cold cut sandwiches with guacamole and hummus on a grassy field nearby and then continue our drive. We arrive at Lower Seymour Lake, a campsite among a thin pine tree forest. After dinner we pack for our backcountry section, enjoy the campfire, and then settle into bed.
As the sun rises, we drive to the trailhead and head out on our first adventure! About 20 minutes into the hike, Page and Celeste are curious about how much longer is left. They were great sports on a long day, and were elated when we reached the beautiful, scenic campsite of Upper Seymour Lake. We were all thankful that Will set such a steady pace because we made excellent time reaching our first destination. Allston and Brett enjoyed a quick and chilly dip in the lake before we had our first backcountry dinner- quesadillas! After another campfire circle, everybody hit their sleeping bags early in preparation for another challenging hike.
We got a 6am start for our second day as we knew it would be a challenging one. We passed Page Lake and decided to stop for lunch at Flower Lake- a beautiful place for a midday break. As we hiked over not one but two mountain passes, we were all thankful to have Gigi motivating the group to reach the second summit. It was a beautiful sight at the top of the second pass, with mountains reaching the sky in all directions. Aubree was thankful for both the beautiful view and also a chance to lay back and relax for a few moments. With Jackson keeping morale high, the group reached our second campsite with plenty of time to relax before another backcountry dinner.
We woke up a bit later on the third day, and made our way over various rolling hills, and one rather steep mountain pass. Gates kept the conversation going as we enjoyed another day of beautiful mountain scenes with creeks dancing among them. Our campsite for this night was next to the beautiful Warren Lake. We watched the sunset on the mountains behind the lake, and ate cous cous by the campfire. Alex made very interesting contributions to the campfire discussions tonight.
Our fourth day was quite a bit lighter than the last three, and we were able to sleep a little later before heading to our final campsite for this backcountry section. Mandy was super helpful, as always, with getting everything ready for the day’s hike, and we made excellent time reaching our destination. One of the leaders decided to sleep outside this last night, and was very thankful to have Nico, also known as the gear extraordinaire, who always had helpful things stuffed in his pack, such as a tarp for sleeping under.
The final backpacking day was a rather short one, as we reached the trailhead around noon. All felt very accomplished with the impressive length they hiked in the last few days, and cannot wait for what is to come with Whitewater Rafting.