Participants: Steve Schombel, David and Julie Kahl
Though this trip was slated for Lolo Pass, with a winter storm coming in, Lolo Pass didn’t look very inviting, snowing with 40-50 MPH/65-80km winds. We opted instead to take our skis and snowshoes to Lubrecht, to see what we would find. There was a little more snow there, than in town, but not much, and with a warm day it was turning into wet corn snow. Where vehicles had driven or people had skied it was packed, but we opted to hike instead of getting our gear out. The roads back to the cabins that we first walk on were a little slick, glad we had taken our ski poles. We didn’t get lost and found our way to the most westerly trail to the dam -the “C” ski trail. It’s on the trace of an old road so it had only been skied, tracks were crusty and icy. But only for a short distance as we ended back on a road with packed tire tracks to walk in. It was a quiet day, we saw no other recreationists the entire day. I had hoped there would be some action down at Jones’ Pond, behind the dam, ducks or something. Nope it was frozen over, but I did notice that on the side of the pond on the other side of the dam, that with the show on it, I could see the traces of the “shorelines” formed by the various depths of the pond. Like the old Lake Missoula shorelines on MT Sentinel only in miniature. Going up the hill on the other side of the dam, just below a dirt and rock slope we encountered the tracks of a big kitty, that had come down the bank and got dirt on its paws, then walked down the road. A little further on I wanted to go off the road to see if I could get some views and shot a few photos. Continuing on the road to the next few trail junctions, Steve wanted to go to the warming hut on the far side of Jones’ Pond. We sat in the hut and ate our lunch, and when I went to take some pictures, realized my camera was missing. Steve had brought his own vehicle and he decided to keep going while David and I back tracked to find my camera. He would later say that he got back to his car before it started seriously snowing, but the trip back to town was tense. As David and I started to back track there was a couple of strong wind gusts with some snow, though not enough to cover our tracks, but we could hear stronger gusts of wind in the taller trees above us. We found my camera, back where I had last used it, to take the scenic photos off the road. Now we decided to go back the warming hut way, but instead of deviating to the hut stayed on the “C” trail all the way out to where it meets the “D” and “E” trails. It was snowing in earnest now, wind gusts broken up by the trees. Sometimes small flakes, sometimes large flakes. Back on the C-E trunk trail -actually a road, there was the tread tracks of a vehicle that was almost as wide as the road, to walk in. I thought I heard a vehicle and coming around a bend there was a large pickup truck parked to one side, with a maintenance guy loading in ponderosa logs that had been stacked at the edge of the road, to clear them before grooming started on Dec. 1st. Back at our truck, we were pretty wet, almost 2 inches of snow had fallen by then, and the drive home was in 4-wheel drive because of snow and slush on the road. I was sure glad we had not chosen to go further afield then Lubrecht today.