Hall Ranch Loop, 01/19/2008

At the Hall Ranch Parking area, there were only a handful of cars. Quite surprising for a Saturday morning. But then it was pretty cold, and a dusting of snow covered everthing.

We started hiking at 10:52, going up the Bitterbrush Trail. There was not a single bike track visible on the thin layer of snow, and it turned out, we wouldn't meet a mountain biker all day, only hikers.

Bird on Ponderosa Pine at Hall Ranch, 01/19/08

Bird on Ponderosa Pine at Hall Ranch, 01/19/08

Before getting to the overlook, we came upon a bunch of little birds ( we didn't know their names). There were at least two different types of birds. They were mostly picking at the pine cones in the ponderosas. We saw one actually fly with a pine cone in its mouth, although the pine cone was much bigger than its head. Another was pecking at the bark on a branch, trying like a woodpecker, to find bugs.

We reached the Prairie Dog Overlook at 11:35, where the odometer showed 1.95 miles. This point is 657 feet higher than the parking area.

Continuing on, in about 3/4 mile, we came upon some prairie dogs, and a fearless rabbit who didn't mind me getting about 3 feet from him.

Indian Lookout Mountain from Nelson Ranch Loop, 01/19/08

Indian Lookout Mountain from Nelson Ranch Loop, 01/19/08

Getting to the Nelson Loop Trail, we went around it clockwise, since that part of the loop is the sunny south side, and reached the intersection of the Nelson Loop and Nighthawk Trail at 12:52, where the odometer showed 4.66 miles. This intersection is approximately the high point (the high point is actually a few hundred feet up the Nighthawk Trail from here) of the loop, and is 1,221 feet higher than the parking area.

Returning along the Nighthawk Trail, we briefly left the trail to climb a knob just south of the trail intersection. This knob (40.21767/105.33221) was the high point of our hike at 6,814 feet.

On our return we met quite a lot of deer.

Getting back to the parking area at 14:59, the odometer showed 9.53 miles. The hike took 4 hours, 7 minutes. The altitude difference from lowest (parking area) to highest (knob) was 1,309 feet.

GPS data
Place nameElev [ft]Accuracy [ft]Lat/Lon
Hall Ranch Parking area55051840.21180/105.28902
Prairie Dog Overlook61621440.21725/105.30666
Inters. of Nelson Loop Trail and Nighthawk Tr.67261540.22118/105.33302
Unnamed knob (high point of hike)68141440.21767/105.33221

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