The Bitterroots: Brian Lake

By McKayla  
First things first: our hiking book had said it was seven miles to the lake and there would be four difficult creek crossings.  We think it was more like eleven miles to the lake and the difficult creek crossings were across a raging river (we went in early June).   Well… The fourth crossing could have been considered a creek, but it was knee deep and ice cold.  My husband, Nate, even had to carry my dog across the river the first two times before she worked up the nerve to do it herself.

 
Reminder: always unbuckle your pack waist and chest straps when crossing rivers.
 
Nonetheless it was worth it when we arrived to the gorgeous mountain lake we had all to ourselves. 

We started our hike on a Friday when I got off work.  Nate picked me up then we had a Walmart stop and a stop at Bob Wards, a short drive to Victor, and we were on trail at about 7:15 p.m.  As I mensioned: we thought it was only 7 miles total so the plan was to hike 3 or 4 miles Friday, then get to the lake Saturday, set up camp, and maybe summit Skypilot weightless if we felt good.  

The first step went according to plan.  We found a great spot to pitch camp right at about 9:30 so we had just enough sunlight to set up and eat dinner.  

Since we had about 7 or 8 miles to go on Saturday, quite a bit of elevation to go up, and about 25 fallen trees to cross we were rather tired by the time we got to the lake. Also, it turned out to be covered in snow so going the extra distance up Skypilot was not in the Stars this trip.  Instead I strung up out backcountry hammock and we had a beautiful evening napping, reading, cooking and stargazing.

  
A man was coming down from Skypilot. He was wearing good boots and carrying an ice axe.  He said it was amazing up there. We’ll have to make it there another time.

He was the only person we saw the whole day.

Sunday we woke up. Hiked 10 or 11 miles out and drove home.

Notes: Food this trip consisted of instant oatmeal and instant coffee for breakfast, trail mix and granola bars for lunch, and a box of rice and beans for dinner.  We hang everything scented at night. 

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