Last September, the day the manuscript for my book was due to the publisher, I left my desk and hiked up my backyard peak, running over every memorized word on my way up the mountain. By 11,166 feet, I decided it was done and hit “send” on the summit. Almost a year later, when I got my hands on the very first physical copy, it felt right to hike it up Lone Peak.
Lone Peak is featured in the book:
If you were to design the ideal mountain for a world-class ski resort, you might come up with something like Lone Peak, the centerpiece of Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, Montana. Big Sky’s oft-quoted tagline is “The Biggest Skiing in America” and even if that’s no longer strictly true in terms of acreage, the hair-raising double black diamond runs off Lone Peak’s 11,166 foot summit certainly set the bar in terms of sheer grandeur.
Lone Peak lies at the edge of the Madison Range and while it looks like a volcano, it’s actually a failed volcano. Lone Peak was formed by volcanism but it never erupted at the surface. Instead, the magma rose up through a vertical conduit but then then spread out sideways, running out between layers of sedimentary rock, forming lateral arms of dacite and andesite. This type of eruption produces what geologists call a Christmas tree laccolith: a central trunk with radiating lateral arms that intrude into existing sedimentary rock.
Everybody has a favorite geologic term. Mine has been “Christmas tree laccolith” for years, since I learned the term in college. My first summer in Big Sky, after the snow melted, I hiked to the top of Andesite Mountain, next to Lone Peak, and found a plaque on the summit that had been buried under snow all winter. The faded plaque told the geologic story of the area and informed me that “Lone Peak is a Christmas-tree Laccolith”. That’s when I knew I had found Home.
*** Pre-ordered books will ship in October.