Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fifty Mountain Camp ...

This is an historic photo of a spot called "Fifty Mountain" ... easily one of Montana's most evocative place names. Fifty Mountain is high in the backcountry of Glacier Park, a dozen miles from the nearest road, and it's a spectacular location. That's Mount Kipp in the background.

This image, reportedly by the noted park photographer T.J. Hileman, dates from the 1920s or 1930s. Back then, the fashionable way to see Glacier was on a guided, multi-day horseback trip, and Fifty Mountain was an overnight stop for horse parties doing a popular route called the North Circle. For a few weeks every summer, the horse concessionaire operated "Fifty Mountain Camp," a collection of heavy canvas wall tents that provided hot meals and beds to the travelers. You can see the camp nestled in the trees near the bottom of the photo.

It's been over 70 years since Fifty Mountain Camp closed for the last time, but the park still maintains a small backcountry campground in the area. I recall camping there on the night of August 1 a number of years ago, and waking up to find the campground buried in new snow.

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