Sunday, February 20, 2011

Montana Mountain Mood

View of Montana wilderness from summit of Granite Peak
(Click on photo to open large size view.)
Granite Peak, at 12,799 feet elevation, is the highest mountain summit in Montana. It lies just north of the Wyoming-Montana stateline, in the Beartooth Mountain Range, within the 943 thousand acres of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area.  It is slightly northeast of the northeastern corner of Yellowstone National Park.  The hike to the summit is recommended for expert climbers only, as the very last leg is quite hazardous with a great deal of exposure. 
The photo above, with a mountain goat, appears on the U.S. Forest Service web page for Granite Peak

I've not climbed a mountain, but I did drive the Beartooth Scenic Highway, which goes over the Beartooth Pass at 11,000 feet!  I tried to jog up there, but no matter how deep of a breath I took, my lungs felt empty.  That is pretty thin air!  This is the highway drive that the late Charles Kuralt of CBS "Sunday Morning" and "On the Road" once described as "the most beautiful drive in America."  

"Mountains make the heart beat faster and fill the soul with awe."  --Charles Kuralt

The Beartooth highway links Red Lodge, Montana, with Cooke City, Montana, and is usually only open to car traffic between mid-May and mid-October.  Snowmobiles traverse the highway over the pass to Cooke City in the winter.  That little town is quite the place to visit too.  I recall meeting the Postmaster, a young woman who more or less "volunteered" for the job.  That is perhaps a story for another time.


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1 comment:

Sharkbytes said...

Love those views- although the west seems so barren to me.

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