Huckleberries on the Hike to the Chinese Wall, Montana

An interesting story about the huckleberries found during the 30+ miles hike to the Chinese Wall in Montana:

The Chinese Wall Well Worth the Trip

…The Chinese Wall is a limestone spine averaging about 1,000 feet tall and stretches unbroken for a dozen miles. The massive curtain of rock face marks the Continental Divide through the Bob Marshall Wilderness, home to several dramatic peaks and ridges on the eastern border of the Rocky Mountains in Montana. 

From the southern approach, the journey begins in the Benchmark area about 30 miles west of Augusta…

…The first leg of the trail gradually climbs through thick pines parallel to the South Fork of the Sun River. After a few miles, the trail begins descending, this time into a wide valley where the West Fork meets the South Fork. These are the first steps into a massive area burned years ago, time-stamped by the lush undergrowth and young pine trees standing 3 or 4 feet tall. I couldn’t find much information about the fire that left the tree population as thousands of charred, upright poles, but a U.S. Forest Service ranger at the trailhead said that was likely a large fire that occurred in 2003. ..

…The trail curves a little bit north as we approach Indian Point: a stream crossing where a Forest Service District Cabin is located with a horse corral adjacent to the structure. A little further up the road is a collection of campsites just inside the northern edge of that huge burn area. Juxtaposed below the burnt-black lodgepoles, the green forest floor seems to come alive with shrubs and huckleberry bushes. We camp a little ways down the trail from the huckleberries, in case of bears, which have shown no sign yet. People, however, are common sight on the trail….

Photo: TRIBUNE PHOTOS/SEABORN LARSON

…The next morning was set aside for huckleberry picking. We knew hiking in the afternoon would mean traveling under the worst heat of the day, but our feet weren’t quite ready to carry on. After securing perhaps more huckleberries than our fair share, we packed up camp and set off down the trail a little after noon…

…It’s unclear if it was the morning’s rest, the huckleberries or the possibility that our legs had finally acclimatized to the constant trekking, but the trip back took about four fewer hours than the hike into Indian Point. Passing through the burned area, we again caught sights of the rocky-tipped hills and striking ridges for which the Rocky Mountain Front is known for….

Read the full article published by the Great Falls Tribune

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