Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Holland Lake loop in the Bob

Lydia coming up to the Holland lookout.
When Leah suggested we do a long run with our friend Lydia, I immediately suggested the Holland Lake to Holland Lookout loop in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Fortunately, they were both excited about the idea, so after a huge breakfast at the River City Grill in Bonner, we rallied out to Holland Lake. We kept the pace bright but relaxed, and the run to upper Holland Lake was enjoyable and quick, and aside from a few huckleberry picking stops, the short push to Pendant pass was also quick. With a cool breeze in the air, we lost no time dropping down Pendant creek all they way to Pendant and Big Salmon Falls. This portion of the trail was muddy from the recent rain and heavy horse traffic, and we spent a lot of time walking around puddles.  
Distractions along the trail.
Lydia and Leah climbing to Pendant pass.
Rolling down Pendant creek.
From the falls, we managed to run by the Smokey Creek trail junction, but we realized our error quickly, and an easy backtrack had us back on route.  After a hard climb through wet brush to Smokey lakes, we continued up to Necklace lakes for a late lunch break. Refreshed, we made the final short push up to the Holland Lookout. The views from the top were unobstructed by clouds, and we took another full break to appreciate it all. We descended the Lookout trail, and the descent was smooth and easy. In fact, we all arrived at the car pleasantly tired, but far from worked after about 25 miles and something well north of 5,000 vertical feet of exploring in the Bob.
A questionable looking guy (Brian) in front of a beautiful mountain (Buck).
Montana had a bumper crop of beargrass this year.
Here, Leah climbs though it.
Newly weds celebrating at the Holland lookout.  Photo: Lydia
Team Storyberg was not able to keep up with Lydia on the long, smooth downhill back to the car.

Aside from the novelty of pushing deep into the Wilderness, I thought that the Pendant and Smokey Creek portions were the least enjoyable parts of the loop.  As long as one does not mind a shorter run, a Lower to Upper Holland to Sap[hire lakes to the Lookout would be a higher quality outing, I think. Also, Lydia is running really well right now. I certaintly wouldn't want to have her breathing down my neck on a downhill in the last few miles of a long race...

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