Lolo Hot Springs Snowshoe Jan. 15, 2022

Participants: Steve Schombel, Julie Kahl While waiting for any “Maybe-s” to show up at the bar at Lolo Hot springs, Steve and I went over and cleared the snow off the “sitting-on logs” by the fire pit, it was starting to get sunny and we hoped they’d dry off. No one showed, it turned out that they all had made better plans for the day. So Steve and I set off, first goofing around and taking pictures by a purple snowmobile out in front of the snowmobile rental cabin. Then noticed behind the cabin a sleigh. Behind the Hot Springs building is the system of roads the snowmobiles use to get to Fish Cr. Rd., which need to go up and over a hill. We just kinda followed what seemed like the most used route, it climbs steadily. Shortly we saw a snowshoe track going off the road on what we presumed was the horse trail, and followed it up the hill. A deer had gone up the track not much before us. Maybe 50 feet/15.24m up the hill, there was the strong smell of sulphur, and what appeared to be more “warm spots” with little snow. Not much after that the trail turned and ran mostly level along the side of the hill, until it joined the snowmobile road again. We took to the road and followed it up towards its “pass” with the Granite Cr. drainage. Still below the road’s high spot we followed another road off to the side that brought us to an open ridge. Something or someone had made a track, now mostly covered, across the meadow and we followed it, then walked on top of the snow to get to the far edge and take pictures. I tried focusing on the high ridge on the west side of Granite Cr. to see if I could spot the 5-road, road junction up there where you can look down on the hot springs, but the sun was low in the sky over there and it was hard to discern anything. We dropped back down to the road and followed it to its high point, maybe 100 feet/30.48m above its junction with Fish Cr. Road. We went down to the road just say we did, and took photos, including seeing a high ridge back further up the Fish Cr. drainage part of Fish Cr. Rd (we were on the Granite Cr. part of the road), then we climbed back up. Just the other side of the high point two guys were working on a snowmobile. Older snowmobiles had fans to cool their engines, but newer sleds relay in contact with the snow and snow thrown up by the tracks, to cool the engine. In our current conditions with a packed crust on the snow and no new snow on top, they don’t get enough cooling and over heat. We followed another, less used, side road down, past some private property and Hot Springs infrastructure to come back into the area, from the west, by the road that runs past the far end of the Hotel buildings. All the infrastructure roads were glare ice and we kept our snowshoes on until we got back to the truck. It wasn’t very long, but now I no longer wonder about the roads behind the Hot Springs that connect with the snowmobile trails. And a pleasant afternoon over all.

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