By Alkali Springs Correspondent
We managed, the other day, to drag ourself up Mount Otis for a spring walk. We had not walked that mountain for several years now and it is as glorious a walk as there is in this neck of the woods!
In fact, we would encourage everyone to pack a lunch, the family and take off for what could almost be called a short stroll up to a vantage point extraordinary in Beaver Creek Park.
For those of you who have forgotten, the Mount Otis trail was built in the 1930s by CCC boys. Long forgotten for scores of decades, in the past five or six years, it has been sort of rediscovered and is a very popular trail these days.
To get to the Mount Otis trail head, head south in Beaver Creek Park past Camp Kiwanis. Soon you will be at a coulee heading off to the east by the name of Mooney's Coulee. Turn there, follow the narrow gravel road up the coulee. The huge mountain to your left is Mount Otis. After winding through the coulee and past lots of summer cottages, you will find a sign stating this is the trail head for the Mount Otis trail.
Park there and be prepared for a wonderful time of gentle switching back and forth over at least three sides of the mountain, with grand vistas opening up everywhere you look. We especially like the looking into Clear Creek. Wind Mountain, Big John and even Howard's Hill really stick out from Mount Otis. However, looking southwest into the side of Long George Peak is breathtaking as well.
Plan not to make the climb an endurance race and you will enjoy it even more. When you get to the wonderful fir forest that covers most of the top north half, stop there and enjoy forest sounds and birds that are not apparent anywhere else on the walk. These days, each walk should open up more and more carpets of wildflowers to enjoy along the way.
And best of all, someone or some good people have rebuilt portions of the trail, done extensive trail work this spring, and even raked cow pies off the trail where needed. Thanks from all the rest of us whoever you are!
Not only that, but others have planted a really neat elevation and name marker on the top of the mountain. Only thing left to do now is to install a large bell on the top so people can ring the bell when arriving at the top like they used to do on Glacier peaks.
It is a glorious walk, made even better by lots of people helping to make it even better. And you know what? It is a walk to take in every season. There is always something new to see each season on Mount Otis.
And by the way, Mount Otis is the only mountain to be almost entirely within Beaver Creek Park. It gets its name from an early commander out at Fort Assinniboine.