17-mile round trip day hike to Bass Lake - October 2019
Bitterroot Mountains - Western Montana - Northern Rockies
Bass Lake is a fabulous fall destination with beautiful views at the lake and along the way. But it's a longer day hike, and with daylight hours on the decline and more snow with avalanches inevitably coming, opportunities to get there this year with our early winter moving in were diminishing.
When a nice fall weather day broke through our cold, we hit the trail shortly after daybreak. As usual for this time of year, the morning started out frosty and it was a bit windy part of the time, but we were also able to enjoy some sunshine here and there.
Another awesome mountain adventure out here! :)
With less water flowing down the mountain this time of year, the falls are not as large as they are in late spring and early summer, but I still enjoy the cascading water. :)
I love our mountain streams and waterfalls, and so do the dippers.
But I think I will reserve dipping my feet in this icy cold water for summertime! ;)
Brrrr! The coldness coming off of the water feels like air conditioning.
It's definitely the wrong time of year for that! Back to the trail to keep moving.
A wonderful view to the south from what is known by locals as Pinball Wizard, an avalanche chute north of the trail that keeps this area along the way open to views. It's our turn-around-point in winter and early spring due to avalanche risk, but all is safe to continue to the lake on this trip. :)
More beautiful views as we traverse through the wonderful open meadows that are created by more avalanche chutes along the way.
The views are amazing here! Awesome place for a photography and snack break! :)
More views as we go through the rock field. I love the large bench and table rocks!
(If only I could take some of them home with me.)
Getting closer. We will go between these two mountain slopes to get to the lake which sits just beyond. The backdrop at the other end of the lake is now coming into view.
As we head through an opening between two ridges that close in together just before the lake, we look over to see that we are passing by what was once far off ahead of us. Almost there! :)
We arrive at our destination and continue hiking around the north side of the lake hoping to find more views and less wind than at the east end. And we did. :)
When we hiked into here last year, we didn't have time to hike around the lake, so this is our first time of going beyond the east end of the lake. Part of the hike around Bass Lake seemed kind of similar to hiking around Big Creek Lake. Both are very beautiful!
How long does it take to hike around a mountain lake?
That largely depends on how many pictures you take!! LOL! :)
Although still a little breezy, we chose a spot down by the lake to hang out for a bit and enjoy a little campfire along the rocky shore.
I love watching the sparkles dance on the water while I soak in a little sunshine!
This solitary goose was our only company at the lake.
Almost forgot to get a group photo. Took a quick snapshot as we were leaving the lake. Not the best of lighting here, but it will have to do for this time. Gotta get going. :)
One last look back at the lake as we are leaving. I can picture my son skiing on the slopes when there is more snow on them. As his mom, I always wish him to "be safe and have fun" when he heads out. As for us, it's now time to get back before dark. :)
Back on the trail again to retrace our earlier footsteps. We never came across anyone else coming in or going out, so we enjoyed having the trail and lake completely to ourselves for the day. I love the solitude of being in the mountains by ourselves! :)
Looking back down a portion of Bass Creek Canyon. A whole lot of awesomeness!
(We'll be hiking back through those trees shortly.)
Nature's bench with a view. Love it!! Tell me again why we need to go back? ;)
Okay... since we must get back, I'll try to take less pics and keep moving.
Gotta take a little time to hang out in the meadows on the way back, too.
Soooo peaceful and relaxing with beauty in every direction! :)
I took this photo of the aspens as we were almost back to Pinball Wizard, with about 5 miles left to go. From there I don't have any more pictures to share of this hike on our way back, as I've already taken plenty of photos of the lower portion in many of my shorter day hikes. So I'll end my post with one more photograph of the lake. :)
See you in another Out Here post. Enjoy! :)