The Great Hike

You’re hungry?  Let me give you a slice of Montana summer.

Ch-paa-qn Peak Salish for Sleeping Woman Peak (Aptly named for her breastly appearance.)

Yesterday marked a milestone. I have always wanted to hike Sleeping Woman Peak with my children but due to the technical difficulty of the terrain the wait lasted 11 years before I felt they were physically capable of achieving the task.

Getting there: Not for wimpy cars. Nearly 10 miles on a Forest Service road with overgrown bushes and deep ruts that send heads into the car roof. I am the last one to tell people not to go for it, but these guys: I passed two SUVs on the way up, one with new car license plates. They never made it to the trailhead, nor should they have tried (in a new car!). I saw a little kid’s skinny arm hanging out the car window; way too young for this hike.

Once there:

No sign at the trailhead
No sign at the trailhead
Tailgate Picnic
Tailgate Picnic

See the car next to ours? We passed two young women on the hike, the only people we saw the entire day. I say- girls rock.

Total climb: Elevation: Starts at 5,698 feet. Ends at 7,994 feet. Distance: 2.8 miles one way.  On our way, a tree fell 50 feet from the trail- a horrifying noise.

A forest fire in the distance

The Hike: A consistent ascent amid forested trail until you reach the talus slope at the top. Many, many fallen trees to cross. Scant huckleberries due to elevation. (Which means no bears. But I had bear spray just in case.) Amazing pine tree smell.

To reach the peak you need all fours-scrambling up rocks and boulders. We used Sophie’s red shirt as a beacon on a rock cairn to find our route back down.

Approaching the peak
Approaching the peak
Talus slope with golden eagle in the sky
Panorama in Big Sky Country

The pride that comes with accomplishing a feat like this is immeasurable. As a mom, I feel this is the best gift I can give my daughters. All in a summer’s day.

Beautiful, strong girls
Beautiful, strong girls


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