Spanish Peaks 2016
A 3-1/2 day trip with Tara into the Spanish Peaks section of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness near Big Sky, Montana. I have spent many days of many work weeks staring at these mountains over the past few years, but this weekend, I finally got the opportunity to explore them the way I've always wanted to. Tara traveled from Missoula to meet me after work at the end of the week. We grabbed some dinner at the Lone Peak Brewery and immediately headed into Beehive Basin for our first night's camp. Three days later, we were back at the car, having experienced daily doses of infinity pool lakes, a couple mountain summits, interesting wildlife, and a good bit of silly weather. All in all, a very successful trip, even if it did test us a bit more than anticipated.
Day 1: Tara met me in Big Sky around 3:00. After some dinner and a quick stop for last minute provisions, we were on the Beehive Basin Trail around 5:30. A run in with a couple moose forced a slight detour away from the trail, but we made camp with plenty of time to enjoy some wine and watch the storms move in.
Day 2: After a night of mean rain and wind, and a not so welcoming morning, we decided to take it easy before breaking camp. We left around 10:00 and headed for a saddle at the head of the basin. After a quick trip to the summit of Pt 10602, we dropped down steep, loose talus into the fog at the head of the South Fork Spanish Creek Vallley. Around 3:00, now in the heart of the Spanish Peaks, someone turned off the fog machine and we were finally rewarded for our efforts. After a quick lunch, we navigated over to the trail below Summit Lake, popped over that saddle, and made our way up to our home at Chilled Lakes, a beautiful infinity pool with perfect reflecty views of Gallatin Peak.
Day 3: We had originally planned on a route over the southwest shoulder of Gallatin Peak, but another sleepless night, combined with incredible fishing at the lake told us we were better off enjoying another relaxing morning. We eventually found our way back to the trail and had a nice leisurely day, following it back past Summit Lake and into Bear Basin, where we made our next camp.
Day 4: A much bigger day than we anticipated. It began with an ascent of Gallatin Peak, the highest of the Spanish Peaks, a mountain that I've been staring at for years. The route is longer than it looks, involving a bit of up and down in both directions, but the reward is well worth the effort. Heading out brought the real surprise, though, as I neglected to notice the elevation gain and loss on the trail back from Bear Basin to the Beehive Basin Trailhead. We made it ok though, and the beer and chicken parm sandwiches at Milkie's proved to be especially tasty when we did finally make it back to town.