A Hike to the Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness
Part 2 - The Chinese Wall
Part 3 - Larch Hill to Headquarters Pass
Part 1 - Benchmark to Prairie Reef
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Saturday September 26: The morning dawned clear and cold. There was frost on the tent and down in the valley Prairie Reef cast a shadow that blocked the sun until quite late. I didn't wait for it to reach me before I packed up an headed out.
My third day was marked by the passage of tributaries to the West fork of the Sun River. Ahorn Creek, Indian, Black Bear, No Name, Grizzly, Red Butte and Pine Creek. Finally I crossed the West Fork of the Sun, left it behind and ascended the valley of Burnt Creek heading for Cliff Mountain and the Chinese Wall. I had to gain 1,600 feet before reaching where I intended to camp.
The trail made three crossing of the West Fork of the Sun River. I was amazed to find this new hikers bridge at the first crossing. The water there was deep and I would have had to wade if it were not for the bridge. The remaining two crossings were shallow and plenty of stepping stones made for a dry event.
|I reached camp early enough to set up, have dinner and take a walk to the pass before dark. The Chinese wall was in shade but it was still magnificent and seemed to stretch on forever.
I watched a big bull elk bugle down in the valley of Moose Creek. Every time he let loose several other elk up and down the valley would also bugle. They kept this up all night and well into the next day.
|The sun began to set providing some colorful views. From near Cliff Mountain I could see back to the lookout on Prairie Reef.|
|The sky lit up at sunset and I hoped the Wall would do the same the following morning. As the sun went down it began to get cool quickly so I headed back to my camp.|
|Sunday September 28
I awoke early trying to catch nice early light on the Chinese Wall from the saddle. A nice light provided drama on the section south of Cliff Mountain.
|The sky overhead was clear but there were just enough clouds over the plains to block the early sun. This only made for a flat light on the north section of the Chinese Wall. I finally gave up, returned to camp, packed up and headed down the trail along the base of the Chinese Wall.|
|Since the sky overhead was clear the sun eventually got above the clouds out to the east and illuminated Cliff Mountain.|
|As I descended into the area below the Chinese Wall at the head of the Moose Creek drainage the Wall became more impressive. Great boulders, probably broken off from the Wall long ago were scattered about.|
|I soon reached the very head of Moose Creek which begins in a nifty little pond at the base of huge cliffs. Since I was short of water I stopped there to fill up and take photographs. Seems like every way I pointed the camera there was something neat to see.|
|The Chinese Wall reflected in the still waters of the pond at the head of Moose Creek.|
|After an hour or so I proceeded on. Every bend in the trail brought new and interesting vistas. The Chinese Wall is so huge that it is difficult to capture its grandeur in a single photograph. Here the wall towers over the alpine forest north of Moose Creek.|
|The divide between Moose Creek and Rock Creek offered a view of Larch Hill Pass where I planned to camp that night. It was far in the distance and I wondered if I would get there before dark. Photography continued to be good and I didn't make great time along the trail at first. But as the sun moved westward a shadow was cast on the Chinese Wall and my photo shoot ended.
This photo is looking back toward Salt and Cliff Mountains.
|I ascended to Larch Hill Pass then followed a trail around the north side of Larch Hill. I camped high on the mountain hoping for another chance at sunrise photos of the Chinese Wall the following morning.
Part 3 - Larch Hill to Headquarters Pass.