July 17 – 18, 2010
I drove to the Salmo Loop Trailhead yesterday- it was 18 miles on good gravel roads off of Sullivan Lake Road. I got there around noon and started walking downhill to the South Fork of the Salmo River on Trail #506. After a chilly crossing I slowly climbed into Idaho and reached the saddle where it’s possible to scramble up to Snowy Top. I left my pack next to the trail and was glad for it because it was a super steep 1200 feet to the summit, but well worth it. i could see a long way north to Fisher Peak and beyond. The swath that divides the US and Canada was less than a mile away and it would have been possible to walk a ridge to it.
Back on the trail I walked another 1/2 mile to an old burn and set up for the night. I didn’t sleep so well- a deer kept pestering me during the night- and I slept in a bit in the morning. I had about 9 miles of trail to walk this morning to get back to the truck. Trail #535 takes you back to the trailhead and completes the loop. It was a pleasant walk and I saw a mule deer and was attacked by a killer grouse.
This was the first peak of the year for me- too much snow thwarted my first two attempts. The loop trail is about 20 miles long and Snowy Top is close to 7,500 feet tall, which makes it the tallest US peak in the area. I enjoyed great weather and only saw a little bit of old snow.