Photographer:Graham Hiemstra
Camera:Contax T2
Film:Kodak Portra 400

Ten Miles to Mystic Lake, MT

Three days exploring one of the most beautiful places on earth

Mystic Lake is arguably the most popular day hike destination in Montana’s Beartooth Mountains. That is to say, sometimes there are some people on it. Sometimes. Mystic Lake is also the Beartooth’s deepest and largest lake, at over 300 feet deep and stretching two miles in length. This is more than likely due to the attached hydroelectric damn, that admittedly does very little to dampen the lake’s unbelievable beauty. The hike in is managable for folks in any resemblance of good shape, and the views will stop you dead in your tracks, about every 10 steps.

We visited late last summer, and were lucky enough to have some fine folks from local backpack maker Mystery Ranch on hand as guides. We hit some nasty weather, caught a couple trout, hiked a few trails and bushwhacked a few more. With Tempest, Mystic, and Granite Peak mountains looming overhead and at least three other lakes within half a day’s walk, this section of southern Montana is truly a gem. And it’s only three hours outside of Bozeman—a relative breeze by Montana standards.

A word to the wise though — pay attention to forecasts as weather can and often does change dramatically without a moment’s notice, so pack rain gear and additional supplies.

read more about our time in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness here

Contax T2 35mm Film Camera
This legendary piece of '90s Japanese design is made of titanium, has autofocus, flash and a Carl Zeiss 2.8/38mm lens, fits in your back pocket, and can be operated with one hand. What else could you ask for?
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Mystery Ranch Glacier Pack
Ideal for a few days on the trail, this mid-sized backpack features Dana Gleason's legendary external support frame, the right amount of pockets and a detachable daypack lid that converts into a hip sack. The bombproof Glacier will be available in early 2016.
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Danner x Tanner Goods Mountain Pass Randolph Boot
The Mountain Pass Randolph is the 5th generation of collab boots from the two Portland brands. The handsome design feels both fresh and iconic, and is made in Oregon of the highest quality materials available.
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The Field's benevolent overlord, formerly of the PNW and now residing in New York City. He apologizes in advance for his many mispellings.
Related Reading:
Into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness
Gear Review: Hilleberg Tents