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Judith River

September 29, 2016
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Little Belt Mountains

P. and Gunther and I just returned from a hastily planned and executed camping trip on the South Fork of the Judith River.  I had no idea the Little Belt Mountains would knock off my stockings with beauty.

We drove to Buffalo, Montana, then took back roads west, then north, then west, then north — about seven such stair steps — to Utica.  Then we drove south just past the village of Sapphire, then followed the river on a dirt road about ten miles, or so.

Eventually we saw a campground with a pickup with a door open so an old guy could listen to a recording blare.  An old Simon and Garfunkel tape told us about a bridge over troubled water.  While P. got busy with Gunther, I walked over to the (turned out to be) U.S. Forest Service gent eating his lunch, smoking a cigarette, drinking some coffee.

He was a good enough guy.  Assured me the whole area was good for camping, except he was refinishing some picnic tables in the blare of S & Garfunkel that was sitting in a railway station got a ticket for my destination hmmmm hmm hmm on a tour of one night stands…”

P. and I set up the tent and fixed bagel sandwiches for lunch.  And coffee. “I have my poetry books to protect me…”  “I have no need for friendship.  Friendship causes pain. It’s dum de dum and laughter I disdain…”  crooned the S&G duo.

Then we hiked about a mile and a half uphill.  I got tired.  Then we returned.  Yada yada yada.  Made a campfire.  Yada yada yada.  Ate canned chili.  We had trouble making the fire go.  Sparse, damp wood.  Ultimately crawled into our sleeping bags.

Looked for aurora borealis during the three times I had to get up to pee.  No dice.  Saw the big dipper, so I know we were looking in the right spot.

Gunther slept through the night.

New Thermorest mattress was outstanding.

We followed the South Fork of the Judith River until we crossed the divide and ultimately joined Highway 12 near the city of Checkerboard.  Then home via Two Dot, Harlowtown, Ryegate, and Broadview.

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