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Berit Ramstad Skoyles: Fourth time will be the charm - hopefully

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Berit Ramstad Skoyles: Fourth time will be the charm - hopefully
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This past week my family and I headed out west to Montana on our annual backpacking trip. Our goal was to climb the notorious Crazy Peak.


Our sights had been set on Crazy Peak for quite some time. We made our first attempt six years ago. The second attempt was two years ago. We were sure we were going to reach the summit on our third attempt.

The first attempt ended when the base camp campground was full and we had no place to stay. The second attempt was cut short by the realization that reaching the top or “peaking” Crazy Peak was most definitely not something that is done on a day hike. On that trip, we reached the base camp area of Blue Lake.  It was so beautiful we knew we had to go back and try again.

Our most recent attempt was last Tuesday. We started out from the Half Moon campground on Monday morning and hiked all the way up to Blue Lake. While we were setting up camp it started to rain. The rain steadily increased and then turned to hail.

It started out with huge drops of water and slowly eased into marble sized hail. Sitting under the tarp, we felt like we were in a giant popcorn popper. By the end of the storm our campsite had accumulated about two inches of hail on the ground.

(One could say that I finally received the snow I had been longing for, but maybe these weren’t the best circumstances.)

After the lovely hail storm passed we ventured our way out from underneath our rain tarp. It looked like winter. Snow was caked onto our tents and formed snow banks on the ground.

We grabbed our shovel and hunted for sticks to dig trenches around the tents.

The tent that my brother and I were staying in was completely surrounded by melting snow. Our tent was basically in a puddle, which is not where tents should be. We violated the ‘leave no trace’ policy and carved rivers into the clay so that the water would flow downhill.

While we dug our trenches we began to think that the peak really didn’t want to be climbed.

The next morning after our gear was mostly dry we set out to climb Crazy Peak. We were determined to make it our third and final try. We climbed up the first boulder field in about 45 minutes. At that point we had a couple of different routes to take up to the peak — none of which looked easy.

After some debate we decided to take the long way up. The plan was to go up a different peak and climb along the ridges to get to our final destination. It added an extra half mile or so, but it looked a lot more appealing than walking straight up a rock filled gully.

About three fourths of the way up I started to freak out. Apparently tiny moving rocks that slide down the mountain under foot when you step on them are not my thing. Not wanting to go any further, we turned around and headed back down the mountain.

We made it back to our campsite just in time for the hail storm to start again. Thankfully, the even larger marble sized hail only fell for 15 minutes. There was no flooding this time, so there was no need to dig trenches. We ended the excursion with dinner and card games.

We packed out on Wednesday and made our way to Bozeman to stay with our friends Ed and Kathy. We stayed with them until Saturday and during our stay we explored around the area.

We took a day hike up Sacagawea Peak, went zip-lining at Big Sky, and went to eat at Mackenzie River Pizza Co.

I make my family go to Mackenzie River every time we go to Bozeman. It’s sort of a tradition. After our last trip to Bozeman I wrote an article and mentioned how great I thought their pizza was. This article earned me a shout out on their Facebook page and their Twitter account. You could say that I was a little more than excited.

We went to eat their pizza on a mission. My plan was to show our server the shout out to see if I could get a free T-shirt. Now, I’m not saying I should get a free T-shirt out of that, but why not try?

I was nervous about showing our fantastic server Lee, so I wasn’t going to do it. When we were done eating our pizza my mom went over to Lee without me knowing and told him my story. Lee had a very surprised look on his face. I mean, I’m practically a celebrity. (Or close enough....)

I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it, so I left the restaurant empty handed but still happy.

Although we didn’t make it to the top of Crazy Peak and I didn’t get a Mackenzie River Pizza Co. shirt, we had a great time enjoying Montana.

Dylan is already planning his fourth attempt for that ruthless peak. Who knows? Maybe the fourth time will be the charm.

Berit Ramstad Skoyles is a junior at DLHS.