A free mid-week day materialized in late July, and I was able to check out an entirely new-to-me corner of the Scapegoat. With time and intellectual energy pointed toward domestic pursuits, I pretty much just rolled out of bed earlyish, grabbed my running stuff and a map, and just went for it, hoping for the best.
Thoughts: I think this is a fun loop, but it is a little too scrappy and the peaks are not commanding enough for it to quite rise to the status of must-do. Still, a great day and fun to explore a new wild corner of the Bob close to town. I think running the shuttle is simplest, but a bike or car shuttle to the Bear creek trailhead to eliminate the weird return around Cooper lake.
|The route, and a fence from the road. Echo, Iron, Unnamed, and Mineral hill from right to left.|
It was a fun day, and I was cruising up the well graded Dry fork trail less than two hours after leaving the house. After an hour plus of movement, I emerged on the northwestern flank of Daly peak and began the overland journey. It was interesting, if not a bit slow, to climb along the edge of an old wildfire and see the remnants of what looked like a fairly expansive hand suppression effort. Before too long I was above the fire, and a consistent push put me on top of Daly peak a little over two hours into the day. Racing the heat, I kept moving all day, stopping only to refill water, fill my hat with snow to keep cool, and occasionally snap photos. The traverse to Iron and Echo had more krumholtz schwacking than ideal, but it wasn't too bad clad in bushwacking socks.
|Echo from Iron mountain. The going became less scrappy as the day progressed.|
|Unnamed and Mineral hill from Iron mountain.|
From Echo, the going became more clean and elegant, and I enjoyed moving easily over the uncomplicated terrain. From an unnamed summit just south of Windy pass, I dropped over a thousand vertical of steep grass and scree to the pass. I ended up following the system trail North out of Windy pass for a few minutes before starting the climb to Mineral Hill A good solid push up the south ridge put me on the final summit, roughly 7k of climbing into the day, still feeling pretty good. The return to the car was surprisingly quick and pleasant. I was able to stock up on snowmelt water, and a few stops at water crossings to manage heat allowed for a comfortable exit on a very hot day. The trail was surprisingly runable and enjoyable, especially near Windy pass. The Bob is ecologically complex, and it was interesting to drop from the sub alpine to the valley through old burns, spruce, larch, lodgepole, ponderosa and aspen stands. This being the first longer outing since a minor foot injury, I took it easy, and everything felt great all the way to the car. About 7 hours car to car at a moderate, steady effort.
|On Mineral Hill, ready to head home.|
|Looking back at the traverse.|
|Nice trail running on the way out.|