I have been excited to explore more in the Scapegoat and Bob Marshall wilderness complexes, so when a rare mid-week day opened up, I drove out to Copper creek with plans for a nice long traverse over Red Mountain, the highest point in the Scapegoat.
|Red mountain in sight from about halfway along the ridge.|
|Snowbank trail at sunrise.|
|Rolling up to Stonewall.|
From Stonewall, I began working along the seven mile ridgeline to Red Mountain. In this direction, the character of the ridge becomes more appealing for the duration of the traverse. The first hour plus was below treeline, and I walked a lot through beargrass, punchy snow, and downfall from recent fires. But it was never even quite bad enough to count as bushwacking, and I was soon on cleaner and faster terrain. I worked through countless short ups and downs for the next few hours, taking advantage of late season snow in many places to bypass slower rugged terrain on the ridge crest. Soon enough, I was at the saddle where the historic mining road intersects the divide. My stomach was a touch off, so I took a few minutes to eat some real food and regroup.
|More fun terrain along the traverse.|
|Snow made or quick travel.|
|Looking back from Red mountain.|
Thoughts: Great traverse. It was fun to do a completely non-technical outing and move fast(ish) all day. I would go back and do it again for sure. There are two shorter outings that would perhaps be even higher quality:
1) Park at the Copper creek gate, bike downhill about 7 miles to the Indian Meadows trailhead, run trails to the summit of Red, and returning to the car via the ~2-mile ridge traverse south and mining road extension of the main Copper creek road. This would be a more condensed and high quality loop.
2) A simple out and back ascent of Red mountain from the Copper creek gate via the main road and long south ridge would be an excellent moderate day hike.