[Cdt-l] Mustang Fire Complex Forest Closure - Pyramid Peak-Lost Trail ID/MT

Gary Swing homelessontherange at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 23 11:17:32 CDT 2012

When I went through the area walking southbound, the CDT was posted as closed just after Anderson Mountain, and northbound at Big Hole Pass. The signs near Anderson Mountain were much more prominent than the signs at Big Hole Pass. The posting indicated that the closure was from July, and threatened a $5,000 day fine and possible jail time for any unauthorized people caught in the area. There was no detour route posted, but there was a copy of a forest map posted. It showed two other trail options that I could see. One supposedly went south from the closure point, but I couldn't see any evidence of a trail at that point. The other trail went south from the summit of Anderson Mountain. I "found" the start of that "trail," but quickly lost it. It had some old candle-in-the-wind blazes, but they were faint, and there was no actual trail anymore. It looked like nobody had used it in decades. I don't use a GPS and ended up doing a very rough bushwack until I
 found some forest roads leading down to route 93. I spent the night camping in thick smoke. I'm asthmatic, and I woke up in the middle of the night from a dream in which I was suffocating and saying: "I'm gonna die here. I'm gonna die here." 

In the morning I walked the roads into Gibbonsville, Idaho, which was on pre-evacuation alert. Firefighters were trying to defend the town against a much larger, rapidly advancing fire. The smoke there was really thick, with a "purple" air quality warning. I tried to hitch a ride south on 93 for an hour and a half, but nobody stopped to pick me up, so I gave up and decided to walk another forest road back to Big Hole Pass and got back on the AT. Gibbonsville was subsequently evacuated.

Gary Swing

--- On Tue, 9/11/12, Pete E. Michelinie <michelinie at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Pete E. Michelinie <michelinie at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Cdt-l] Mustang Fire Complex Forest Closure - Pyramid Peak-Lost Trail ID/MT
To: "Warren, Greg -FS" <gwarren at fs.fed.us>
Cc: "cdt-l at backcountry.net" <cdt-l at backcountry.net>
Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 11:14 AM

Greetings from Anaconda, MT

I just finished walking around this closure with a heads up from Gary Swing, the last southbounder (section hiker) that I will probably see.  He said the closure was just south of Lost Trail / Chief Joseph Pass, and when he got to it the only option was to bushwhack down towards the fire and into Gibbonsville, which has since been evacuated I believe...

So for my re-route: about 60 miles north from Leadore at Goldstone Pass I walked the Ley purple path down the 4x4 road where it connects with a much more heavily used gravel road about 5 miles down.  From there it's about 15 miles north / northeast to Jackson, MT.  There you can soak in the hot spring for $6 and camp in the back yard of Rose's Canteena if you promise to eat breakfast there the next morning (which was excellent, filling and cheap!).  From Jackson it's an 18 mile walk north on the highway to Wisdom, MT.  I camped in the American Legion Memorial Park, where there were no signs telling me not to.  It's just a 1/4 mile up towards Chief Joseph Pass on Hwy-43.  Then it's another 18 mile walk on a gravel road to Mussigbrod Lake.  You walk up Lower North Fork Rd for 9 miles then turn left on a road just 1/4 mile after you pass Upper North Fork Road.  Don't take Upper North Fork Road though, you don't want that one.  From Mussigbrod Lake
 it's a nicely maintained 4 mile trail to reconnect back with the CDT.  I navigated using compass bearings off of a free Montana travel map!  My only wish was that I had more detail of the gravel roads.  I think I could have shortened the walk a little by cutting through some pasture and powerlines.  Those gravel road lines are pretty jagged.

The re-route nicely swings you around the danger/closure area.  Even though the trail isn't ablaze I'm quite sure most of us hikers, especially NOBO's in Montana, don't have an extra $5,000 to pay the fine if you get caught in that area.  

I hope this helps.  How many more hikers are there heading north?  I'm curious!

Pete "Furniture" Michelinie

Pete E. Michelinie, Furniture Maker.
   | http://www.michelinie.com |


On Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 8:14 AM, Warren, Greg -FS <gwarren at fs.fed.us> wrote:

The Forest Service has implemented a fire closure for an area along the CDT from Pyramid Peak to Lost Trail Pass along the Idaho/Montana border.  Information on the Mustang Fire Complex can be found online at:  http://inciweb.org/incident/3100/.  See "Mustang Complex Emergency Area Closure #04-13-12-534" and "Mustang Complex Emergency Area Closure # 04-13-12-533."

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