Climbing Dome, Finding Home

By Rachel Rebo

My name is Rachel Rebo and I was born and raised in Libby, Montana. Growing up in this beautiful town, it’s hard not to fall in love with the outdoors. Looking back on my childhood, it seems as if there was never a moment where I wanted to be inside, no matter what the weather was like. As I grew older, hiking is what really caught my interest. It helped me to physically grow stronger and at the same time, enjoy the environment I am so blessed to have grown up in. I have hiked a lot of trails and have seen so many amazing views, but none of them have taken my breath away like Dome Mountain did.

I was first introduced to the idea of hiking Dome Mountain in my A.P. Senior Government class in September 2014. That Saturday at 8:00 a.m. my boyfriend and I began what I believe was the best hike of my life. The main trail, leading to lower Cedar Lake, wasn’t anything out of the ordinary until we made our way into the shadiest part of the trail. Further ahead, huckleberries were everywhere, which is why I believe it took so long for us to reach lower Cedar.

I am a sucker for huckleberries and I never had any like these ones before. They were so large, cold and crisp and the greatest flavor that my taste buds would have experienced all day, but not even being close to what extraordinary view my eyes would see later that day.

When we arrived at lower Cedar, there was no time to take a detour and explore the lake, so we continued towards upper Cedar Lake. The more we increased in elevation, the more beautiful it got and by the time we stumbled upon upper Cedar, we knew we had to take a look around. The lake was so cold and clear and the location of it made it all the more incredible.

Surrounded by trees, tall cliffs, and the sun shining directly on it, the lake was postcard worthy. We eventually were able to free ourselves from the grasp that upper Cedar had on our senses and made our way up towards Dome Mountain. However, the beauty of the great outdoors continued to seize us. There was nothing like the view of being able to see both lakes side by side and the vast landscape beyond them.  However, unable to stop time, we were forced to keep walking.

Once we were behind the mountain, we were able to take a lunch break in a little meadow that contained something that seemed almost like magic. “Flying spiders” were all around the meadow and even though they were “flying” from the support of their webs, the way they appeared in the sun was captivating.

After lunch, we continued our trek towards Dome. As we began to approach closer to our destination, we were facing the largest rockslide I had ever seen. Seeing as if it was the easiest route, we were able to reach the valley located between Dome and its “partner.” Once we reached the top, we were greeted with the most magnificent view and the famous jar that enabled us to leave our names as proof of our accomplishment. This was the icing on top of the cake.

I really never knew where I lived until I was looking at all the mountains and bodies of water that surrounded Libby. Since that day up on Dome Mountain, I have never taken this little town for granted. Libby isn’t merely what asbestos has portrayed it to be, it is one of the most gorgeous places on earth. This is why Dome Mountain is my most memorable wilderness experience. It helped me fall in love with my hometown and to appreciate what the wilderness has to offer.

Rachel is a senior at Libby High School. She is the 2015 Scotchman Peaks Scholarship Essay Competition winner for Libby High, as well as the overall winner for all eight participating Montana and Idaho high schools. Rachel’s story was published in the Western News in May of 2015.

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