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Schweitzer Outback hike #401

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Schweitzer Outback hike #401



May 9, 2011…Schweitzer Outback…hike # 401

50% chance of rain today but as it turned out we got a beautiful blue sky and pretty clouds. The slight breeze cooled us off when the sun was beating down on us. Yes, we headed back up to Schweitzer yet again even though each time we go up there we say it will be the last for the season. This time we wanted to go down to the Outback, a small snack spot and watering hole at the very bottom of the North Bowl, below the six pak chair lift Stella. We’ve done this hike down many times in the past and it is always a hard slog getting back up. The snow didn’t seem too difficult to walk in today.

No sooner were we at the top of the cattrack and ready to head down the very steep ski run to the Outback, when my left heel blister thing started hurting me. I already had one band aid on but it was in a different spot. I finally had to stop and when I saw a rock to sit on, we did just that. I had to take everything off to get to the skin…snowshoe, over boot and snow boot…then put a band aid on the new spot. Going down the rest of the way was okay…going down pushes the foot forward.

 We ate lunch at the Outback while sitting on a lift seat…took pics. My camera died...I thought at first the batteries were dead but when I looked more carefully, I saw the memory was used up. HUH??? After being puzzled by this for a bit, I remembered that I left the memory card in my computer so the camera was running on internal memory, which is always quite small. Grrrr….. I borrowed Jim’s camera for a while and then we remembered that I could also use my new smart phone…which I did.

Finally we had to face the inevitable…the long hard hike back up the mountain. It was so hard…and took 2 hours, of slowly putting one foot in front the other…up and up to the Cloudwalker trail and then to the village. I didn’t think I would make it…I wore my heart monitor today and the highest it got was 145-153 bpm! I must be in pretty good shape!

Back on the main trail now, my heel was really bothering me but I just kept on…I couldn’t think of what to do to it anyway. Another band aid on top of the other? But I will have a new plan for next week, maybe hiking boots inside the over boots instead of the snow boots but the real problem stems from the alpaca socks which have worn out at the heels from rubbing and I put moleskin on the socks! Compensating by adjusting my gait also added to the problem.

We saw lots of animal tracks today on the way out…moose, carnivore and yes, our first bear track…and it was by far the largest one we have ever seen…possibly a grizzly. Took pictures. Heel really hurting now. I was lucky the blister didn’t break…later at home when I checked, it was just on the verge…loose fluid filled skin. It has happened to me in the past and the pain brings you to your knees. The second sore spot was well on its way as well. At home, those socks and another pair in the same condition got dumped in the trash.

Left home                         10:20    

Started up                        10:55  

Headed up steep              1:00

Got to truck                      4:25 

Total miles hiked               8½ miles

Total hiking time               5 hours, 20 minutes

Elevation gain                   3000’


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Author info

Betsy Fulling Betsy Fulling In 2002, after a bout with cancer and wanting her energy back, Betsy Fulling began hiking with her husband Jim. Regardless of the weather they go into the high country every week - in eight years, she has only missed five times.

Tagged as:

bear, hiking, Schweitzer, Cloudwalker, Outback, Stella, North Bowl, animal tracks

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