Angela Jamison is a native Montanan and she grew up in beautiful Bozeman. I'm the mother of two girls and write a blog about our life here and taking in the simple pleasures of family and food.
There’s an old song by Blues Traveler…”The Mountains Win Again” that sums up how I feel about the Bridger Mountains here in our our great valley. They tend to beat me over and over. They are in no way giant, dangerous peaks to summit but I am somewhat fascinated by them. Maybe because they are right in our face here in Bozeman. I see them out and about on runs, while driving in the car, from my front porch. I gaze at the distinct peaks. Maybe it’s because every year 250 people make the decision to take on the range with the 20-mile Bridger Run. Part of me thinks that would be the coolest thing to have on my bucket list. As an avid hiker in the area it seems like something one should do. On the other hand, I really like my toe nails and don’t know that I have what it takes for all that. I have different ideas for the Bridgers…hiking to the top of each of the named peaks. And, this is where currently the mountains keep winning.
Hiking to Sacajawea Peak years ago gave me the first taste of wanting to stand atop each of them. As the highest peak in the range and probably the most popular for hiking it was an obvious place to start. Later that year I crossed Hardscrabble off the list. Again..pretty simple because the trails for these two are so well used…totally beat the mountains on these. But wait. Shouldn’t get too cocky. Next time up to Sacajawea we had to turn around at the saddle because of a wicked storm coming in. Hmmm, things were starting to turn.
The next year (because I have young kids it’s only about once or twice a summer I get to attempt a harder hike without the family) I wanted to go for Saddle Peak. My husband and I thought we’d try from the Bridger Bowl side. There’s not a ton of information on trails that lead to many of the peaks in the middle of the range. This is good and bad. Good…the trails are less popular and you are more likely to get solitude on your hike. Bad…it’s easy to go the wrong way. In our case, the way we went did not work. After hiking for a couple hours we looked up and realized we were actually further away from Saddle Peak than when we began which is very hard to do when you are hiking up. Mountain wins.
We didn’t get a second attempt at Saddle until the next year…this time heading up from Middle Cottonwood Creek. There were times the trail became less obvious towards the top and I thought we were again going to be defeated. Second time around, however, brings a renewed determination and we scrambled our way to the top and felt success. Second time was a charm.
This year I had Baldy on my list. Having worked our way from the north end peaks towards the middle I wanted to try from the south. Knowing if I have eventually done the entire Bridger Run trail in chunks maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll think about entering the race. After reading a few things online I found there to be some controversy as to what was the true summit of Mt Baldy. I figured there was no way to really know unless we gave it a try so we headed up from the M Trailhead. Four and half miles up, thinking we were just about to the peak we saw the true summit in all its bald glory a couple miles ahead of us. Again, we had begun a hike to a peak only to know we would not be reaching it. Sadly we were running out of daylight and weren’t equipped to get to the peak and make it down in the dark. With heavy hearts we turned around. The mountain wins again.
BUT, I can cross the false summit of Mt. Baldy off my list.
It’s not over. I will cross Baldy, Bridger and Naya Nuki off my list in the next couple of years. I will leave Ross Peak for the rock climbers. Maybe one day I will do the Bridger Ridge in its entirety. The mountains may win and that is okay. They have my respect and deserve to win every time. I just feel fortunate to get to play in them once in awhile.