Benchmark (3U7) is a backcountry airport about 40 miles south of the Schafer wilderness strip.    It is unusual in that it is a paved strip.  Word has it that it was paved to allow some of the larger firefighting planes to operate from there in the summer.

  It's located in a narrow valley at 5,400 ft. above sea level, surrounded by mountains.  The 6,000 ft. paved runway might make it look easy, but its location at the junction of two steep canyons can lead to nasty turbulence and wild shifting crosswinds.  It's not unusual to see all three windsocks pointing in different directions.   On a windy day, it's not for the faint-of-heart.

The Montana Pilots Association mainains an excellent campground on the field.  Unfortunately, the wildlife likes it too.  In Aug. '03 I was chased out of my campsite by a curious black bear.  After spending close to an hour sitting in the plane with my hand on the ignition switch, the bear got bored and wandered off, so I was able to go back and get some (very light) sleep.