C.  Mystic Lake, Anaconda Pintler Wilderness

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Photo by Meg Killen

C. Mystic Lake, Anaconda Pintler Wilderness

July 23 - 29

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Project Name: Mystic Lake, Anaconda Pintler Wilderness
Project Dates: July 23-29

Volunteer Limit: 5
Volunteer Spaces Left: WAITLIST ONLY
Level of Difficulty: Very Strenuous
***Note volunteer spaces limited due to the rugged nature of this project***

Location: Mystic Lake, Anaconda Pintler Wilderness, Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF
Type of Project: Backcountry camping
Meeting Time and Place: July 22, 2017 7:00PM @ Mystic Lake Trailhead

Basic Project Description

MWA’s first backcountry project of the season will take volunteers to Mystic Lake in the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness. Get ready to make that crosscut saw sing! We'll be working to clear the Continental Divide Trail of downfall through a burned portion of the trail headed west, past Hope Lake and onward to Surprise Lake. If we succeed at clearing to Surprise, we'll work north toward Bear Lake and West Pintler Peak.

Clearing trail on this stretch of the CDT has the potential to be an annual project for MWA Volunteers. But first, we have to prove we are up to the task! Come join us as we bust our butts to open the CDT for thru hikers, Forest Service crews, packers and weekend warriors. We'll work hard in the day then kick back and relax at our Mystic Lake backcountry cabin in the evenings. This is a great opportunity to see a lot of country while performing a valuable service!

Meeting Time and Place

We will meet July 22, 7:00 PM at the Mystic Lake Trailhead

Directions from Wisdom, MT:
Head East on Hwy 43
Turn Left onto North Fork Road after aprox 15.5 miles
Continue for 5 miles, then Turn Right on FSR 185 toward Pintler Campground
Turn Left onto FSR 1278/Howell Crk Rd
Continue aprox 7 miles and Mystic Lake TH is on the right

Directions from Wise River, MT:
Head West on Hwy 43
Turn Right onto North Fork Road after aprox 15.5 miles
Continue for 5 miles, then Turn Right on FSR 185 toward Pintler Campground
Turn Left onto FSR 1278/Howell Crk Rd
Continue aprox 7 miles and Mystic Lake TH is on the right

Hike to the Worksite

Expect to hike anywhere from 5-12 miles a day. Our hike will increase daily as we clear more downfall from the trai.

Camping Information

Camp for the week will be a backcountry set up based out of the Mystic Lake backcountry cabin. Volunteers will camp outside the cabin, but be able to use the cabin for preparing meals and hanging out if the rain starts pouring. Crew will be educated on Leave No Trace practices and asked to follow these principles throughout the week. Food storage (bear) regulations will be observed. MWA will provide adequate food and snacks, however, if you want to bring along some extra personal snacks please be prepared to hang the food with your own gear and know-how. MWA bear boxes will be full with crew food and extra space will not be available. Read more about safely camping in bear country here

Food and Water

The first meal provided by MWA will be breakfast and lunch fixings on. Please arrive on Friday evening either having already eaten dinner or prepared to cook for yourself using your own supplies. NOTE: There is no water readily flowing in the area. Please bring a water container for the "extra, personal" water you'd like to use. MWA staff will be bringing water for kitchen-related work, but NOT for personal hygiene for the crew. Please bring whatever you'd like and thank you in advance for sharing, if needed.

MWA provides all food for the duration of the trip. We will require volunteers to assist in the preparation and clean-up of all group meals at camp. Please make sure to specify any allergies or dietary restrictions on your registration. MWA  also provides group filters for safe drinking water. Again, we'll be asking everyone to pitch-in by refilling water filters and taking good care of our equipment.

What to Bring

Please consult the gear list before packing and arriving to the project. Frequently forgotten items include safety gloves, glasses, sunscreen, rain gear and personal mess kits. 

Physical Abilities

The work involved in this project is strenuous and can be very difficult at times.  This project will require you to be in great physical condition with previous backpacking experience.  You should be comfortable lifting, shoveling, bending over, and digging. If you have any concerns about your ability to participate, please contact MWA's Stewardship Coordinator Sonny Mazzullo at smazzullo@wildmontana.org or 406.334.7378


Prepare for possibility of rain, snowstorms, high winds, cold weather and bugs. Unpredictable weather is to be expected – bring proper gear. It can snow in high elevations – even in June! If we do experience actual summerlike temperatures, be prepared for sun exposure. Bring hats, long sleeves, and sunscreen!

Here is a link to the weather forecast on NOAA.gov. However, don't be fooled; weather on the divide can be very different than predicted. Please be prepared for all kinds of conditions, regardless of the forecast.

Typical Daily Schedule

The crew will pack into the backcountry site on the morning of July 23. Work days will be July 24 to 28. Pack out day will be July 29th. 

  • 7:00 AM: Breakfast- this is the time to chow down, pack a lunch, fill waters and prepare necessary layers and gear for the day.
  • 8:00 AM: Hike to the worksite- on Sunday morning this will be our departure for camp.
  • 12:00 PM: Lunch on the trail. One mid-morning and one mid-afternoon break.
  • 4:30 PM: Begin our hike back to camp- once we arrive back at camp we will have some personal time before jumping into dinner prep.
  • After dinner and dishes, you are free to spend the evenings as you wish- taking in a sunset, reading, chatting around the campfire or catching up on some zzz's.


Volunteers are responsible for checking project website for updates up until the day before the project start date. Last minute changes can take place due to weather, bad river crossings, wild fires or other events out of our hands. If you are traveling before your project, be sure to check your email to receive any last minute updates.  MWA staff may be in the field and unreachable 1-2 days before your project so plan ahead!


Do not show up to an MWA project without registering or without receiving a confirmation email from MWA staff. Unregistered volunteers will not be permitted to participate on projects. Minors require a hard copy volunteer registration with two signatures: one from volunteer, one from parent/guardian.

MWA requires a refundable deposit for project registrationThis will help us ensure that everyone who registers is well-intentioned and that MWA will not have to bear the costs of last-minute cancellations. More info available on the registration page linked below. Refundable Deposit for this project is $50.



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