Not very far from our campsite was the trailhead for the Jimmy Ridge trail. No details as to where it went. The only way was to hike it and find out. It wasn’t long before it started climbing steeply.
For most of the way I was hiking through thick forest with an understory of these.
If you don’t recognize them, they are wild Montana huckleberries. They are delicious. I was hiking, picking, and eating my way up the mountain.
Now, humans aren’t the only thing that loves huckleberries. They are a favorite of bears, both Black and Grizzly I’m told. That being said, these are the things I had with me. Hiking stick, water, and bear spray.
Not far up the trail I ran into a local couple picking berries, and after talking with them a few minutes, he asked where I was from. When I told him, he said; “well you’re smarter than most dudes we see out here, you’re smart enough to carry bear spray”. When I jokingly asked him where his was, he pulled back his vest to expose his 44 Magnum in a shoulder holster. He said he was more familiar with it than a spray can.
Anyway, it wasn’t long before I had gained quite a bit of altitude.
The trail just continued up and up, through mostly lodgepole pine interspersed with larger trees which I didn’t recognize. There were many old dead sentinels still standing such as this one.
Some even had blazes where the trail was marked out years ago. I find myself wondering about what individual picked out this route to the top of a mountain, and why.
Though the tree looked to have been dead for years, it still stood as a testament to the hard work of some forgotten soul.
I never did get to the end of the trail. After hiking alone for a couple of hours I reached a rather dense area with lots of berries and other brush. I had been whooping and singing out loud (yeah, for those that know me, go ahead and laugh) as you’re supposed to do in bear country, but I suddenly had a really uncomfortable feeling. I gave the area a good look and then decided it was time to turn around. Back down the mountain I went.
I did manage to fill my water bottles with these along the way, though. Huckleberry pancakes for breakfast, for sure.
Thanks for looking………jc.