Saturday, June 04, 2016

Mount Helena conquered

I had something to prove, and I did it! I woke up just before 05:00 on Saturday morning (I'm usually up at 5.00 am on a work day anyway, so no big deal). After getting dressed quickly, I was out of the door by 05:11. The sun was barely up over the horizon (we're less than three weeks from the summer solstice), and the temperature was a pleasant 49 °F (9 °C).

Hard work, reaching the summit of Mount Helena
An hour later, I had walked to the Adams St parking lot at the Mount Helena trailhead. I chose to go up the very steep Powerline Trail, and return down the 1906 Trail. Just after 8.00 am, I reached the summit. After a few minutes of taking in the scenery, taking photos, and texting some of my friends, I started the descent, past the Devil's Kitchen limestone formation, on the longer 1906 Trail, which turned out to be just as challenging as the Powerline Trail. Hard work, for sure!

I reached the trailhead again just before 9.30 am. The Montana Conservation Corps were doing some scheduled trail maintenance today. Thank you for that valuable work that you do!

A short rest, then it was time to head to the farmer's market downtown. At this point I was beginning to wish for a flying carpet or magical teleportation powers to take me home. A nice, fortifying breakfast (with a couple of scoops of ice cream - I'd earned it!) set me up nicely for the final leg, the 2.5 miles back to my apartment... uphill!

From 4,200 down to 4,100, then up to 5,468 feet elevation
By the time I got home, I was fit for nothing except sleeping for an hour. Checking my number of steps, I'd walked 10.1 miles today, with more than 22,400 steps! It felt like nine tenths of them were uphill, but I know that no more than half of them could have been (what goes up must come down, right?). However, I do know that my apartment is at 4,200 ft elevation, the Last Chance Gulch walking mall is at about 4,100 ft, and the summit of Mount Helena is at 5,468 feet.

Photos are available at

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