Overview

A 3-day trek in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana. This area allows camping anywhere so we did a little off-trail exploring with map and compass, with Joe as our navigator. I'm backfilling this almost 5 years after the trip, which means I've forgotten the meaningless stuff (like exact mileage) and only remember the memorable.

Day 1

Scenic drive up to the trailhead. Start heading into the wild at ~8k ft elevation. It's immediately gorgeous. John unfortunately slips on the very first river crossing and gets one of his shoes soaked. So many mosquitoes, but they're not really biting (maybe because I'm rubbing 99.9% deet everywhere), and they don't take anything away from the trip. Set up camp next to a lake. We see some weird creature and Henry chases it up a tree. We think it might've been a wolverine. Some thunder in the middle of the night.

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Day 2

In the morning, Joe gets naked and does a little jig on a boulder. Classic. Hike off trail, up to about 11k ft elevation. Start seeing patches of snow on the ground. Hike past a series of little mountain lakes. Water looks like crystal. Stop once we reach a flat area, and set up camp in between two lakes. Spend some time collecting firewood and assembling neanderthal furniture out of rocks. Joe and I jump into lake, pretty darn cold but feels great. Joe brings fishing pole and catches a few fish. Henry and I take the pole to try our luck. I get a fish on the hook, reel it in, and then Henry and I are staring at each other realizing neither of us know what to do. "You take off the hook", "no you". I start trying to dehook, and realize the hook is really far down the fish's throat. Hands are slipping, I can't do it. Then fish starts flailing, we didn't know it was still alive. I take Henry's knife and start whacking fish's head with the handle to kill it. Traumatizing bludgeoning of fish. Deflated, we take fish to Joe for dehooking. He looks at us and says, "this fish is still alive", and then dehooks it in about half a second. Joe guts and cooks the fish, and we all nibble on it as bonus dinner. Little rainbow trout. We named him Fred and thanked him for his sacrifice.

Day 3

Start heading back to car. Joe doing good on the map and compass. Kinda hot and sticky day. Pass by lake, Joe gets naked and jumps into water off of boulder. Kinda sketchy jump but his naked butt made it. We later hid the video in the admin panel of our employer, where it would appear after a specific keystroke sequence. Stop for a beer and burgers on the way drive home.