July 31-August 7: Tin Cup

Rachel Kaufman and Mike McBride.

This week, SBFC staffer Rachel Kaufman and I hiked the Tin Cup-Boulder Creek Loop with two volunteers: Andrew Hursh, a wilderness fellow from the Aldo Leopold Institute, and Mike McBride, a local backcountry skiing guru. Mike’s knowledge of the terrain in the Bitterroots was extremely helpful for navigating the ridges to get from Triple Lakes to Boulder Lake. This area offered some of the most scenic and wild terrain that I have seen in the Bitterroots. We naturalized any campsites that we found along the trail. In 50 miles of terrain, we destroyed 30 campfire rings.

One thing that really surprised me about this area was the high density of amphibians around the alpine lakes; there were frogs and newts everywhere, especially around Triple Lakes. This is an unusual situation that contrasts with most high alpine lakes where fish have been introduced. Usually, the introduced fish prey on the tadpoles and decimate amphibian populations.

— Rikk Dunn, Wilderness Ranger Intern | August 7, 2012

Amphibian sighting!