Forum Index > Trip Reports > First time in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness
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mtn_wanderer
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Joined: 17 Jul 2019
Posts: 46 | TRs | Pics
Location: Pinehurst, ID
mtn_wanderer
Mountain Wanderer
PostTue Nov 01, 2022 6:23 am 
It was our 24th Fall campout! We were taking our first trip in to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and would be going in for 8 days. I specifically chose a route that was shorter in the hopes that we might have an easier trip this year. It turns out that hiking around 10,000 feet is just taxing and it made the hiking here tough for us. We started out at the Island Lake trailhead. We had our pack of dogs with us and sometimes with leashes tangling and dogs pulling, it can be a real chore just to make it away from the trailhead. Once we were able to leave the people & the cars behind it was smooth sailing! With heavy packs and hours of travel already under our belt just to get to the trailhead, we only made it past Night Lake for the first night. The next morning as we were pulling out of camp, we saw a bear swimming across Night Lake. Everyone thought that it was a Grizzly, but I wasn't sure. It looked to be a young bear, and I couldn't make out the hump clearly. Either way, it was an exciting start to the day! We made our way over towards Beartooth Butte, and I couldn't help but notice how the hiking felt like you were on the top of a pass... the whole time. Miles of it! Rolling terrain and an easy trail, we were past Beauty Lake and on our way over to Native Lake in no time. We spent our 2nd night at Native Lake. Day 3 had us moving down towards Granite Lake. This lake is huge! The trail took us across some rolling meadows to start, complete with Griz tracks & scat. We were on alert for bears! Once we dropped into the trees it wasn't long before we arrived at Granite Lake. We searched along the shore and found an excellent campsite a few hundred yards down. We stayed at Granite lake for 2 nights. An excellent place to spend some time and even the fishing was good! On day 5 we started our climb back to the top. We made our way around Granite Lake and hiked the length of it. For the first 4 days it was perfect weather, barely a cloud in the sky. This morning started us out in the rain and it continued all day. We were trying to get to Elaine Lake, and the climb up the head wall is really steep! I did find a little patch of raspberries so it was a small consulation. With 5 people in our group and 4 of them using hammocks, we needed a decent campsite with some trees. I walked over mile at Elaine Lake looking for something that would work. In the end we had to push on. We were exhausted at this point and were not happy about it. To make matters worse to get around Elaine Lake, you go around the back of the lake and there is a massive boulder field that you need to cross to get by. With the rain and slick rocks and packs throwing our balance off, we were lucky to get through there without anyone getting hurt. We continued to trudge our way along until we hit Green Lake. We took the first thing we could find there, and it wasn't much. We cleared out a few dead trees and carved a spot out for us. We set out from Green Lake the next morning just looking for a decent camp. We still had an extra day to spend somewhere and we just wanted it to be in a good spot. This day of hiking might've been the toughest yet. It was so beautiful though! Rolling hills with some small climbs, but around every corner seemed to be some new magical scene. As we pushed on we passed a number of lakes and ponds. The further we went though, the less we wanted to venture off and look for campsites. In the end we pushed all of the way back to Native Lake. We knew that there was a great spot there and it would give us a zero there for our final full day. On our hike out of Native Lake, we'd have to hike up the small pass on the back of Beartooth Butte, and then make our way down to Beartooth Lake where we had our cars waiting. On the first day of the trip we saw some warning signs saying that there was an elk carcass on the trail that we were trying to take to get out and that there were 2 grizzles feeding on it. The sign said that travel on that trail was not recommended. We had debated what we were going to do the whole trip and when we got to the trail junction we decided that we were going to risk it, and take the direct route to our cars which would take us down the trail with the bears. By the time we hiked this trail, it had been about 2 weeks since the report was made. I was on point on the hike through there and it was probably the most tense hike I've ever done. Around every corner and over every hill, I expected to run into a bear. In the end we didn't see any bears and it was a nice hike down to finish out our trip. Can't wait to get back to the Beartooths! Thanks for watching!

Tom, Nancyann, runup, Get Out and Go, reststep
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Jonny V
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Joined: 20 Jul 2009
Posts: 61 | TRs | Pics
Location: Lake Stevens
Jonny V
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PostWed Nov 02, 2022 12:43 pm 
Sounds like a great trip! Native Lake is beautiful. I was going to do a week long backpack there last year but ended up doing a week a day hikes instead. Thought you might enjoy my trip reports from that week. Here’s a link to the first part on my website. https://www.jonnewmark.com/trip-reports/us9c3bjk7sqkldhhrbmnecr9c1kif4

There's time to conceive in and time to expire though the time twixt the two tells the tale that transpires - "Time Waits For No One", Ambrosia
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mtn_wanderer
Mountain Wanderer



Joined: 17 Jul 2019
Posts: 46 | TRs | Pics
Location: Pinehurst, ID
mtn_wanderer
Mountain Wanderer
PostThu Nov 03, 2022 10:12 am 
Absolutely! I'll check them out

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Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 2043 | TRs | Pics
Location: Grand Junction
Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors
PostSun Nov 13, 2022 3:28 pm 
Thats my second home away from home. Excellent choice!

The Pacific coast to the Great Plains = my playground!!! SummitPost Profile See my website at: http://www.lemkeclimbs.com
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BigBrunyon
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Joined: 19 Mar 2015
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Location: the fitness gyms!!
BigBrunyon
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PostSun Nov 13, 2022 10:43 pm 
Dense bear areas known to be in several of these oforementioned locales

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mtn_wanderer
Mountain Wanderer



Joined: 17 Jul 2019
Posts: 46 | TRs | Pics
Location: Pinehurst, ID
mtn_wanderer
Mountain Wanderer
PostMon Nov 14, 2022 11:51 am 
Can confirm!

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