Scattered showers turn to blizzardy conditions; hike views and flowers
After a false start with a bad turn that turned into a gorgeous drive toward Widow Coulee, the gals got their only views of the day on the drive to Thain Creek Campground. The campground is still closed, preventing a pre-hike potty stop at the outhouses, so we headed back to the trail head to begin our hike.
When we started on the trail, around 9 a.m. the clouds were high; but not a mile into the hike, the graupel started to come down, necessitating that we get out the ponchos and other rain gear.
The nine stream crossing didn't prove too difficult as the creek wasn't very high. Most of the gals managed to keep their feet dry by jumping rock to rock or walking on logs that crossed the creek. However, on our return, we noticed the snow had brought up the creek levels, hiding some of our rocks that we had used to cross on the way up. By now, the snow was really coming down and starting to stick to the trail.
A gal passed us by early into the hike, and then we saw a teacher running with his two dogs at the top of the pass. He was doing the Windy Peak Loop, a trail of around eight miles.
After we gained the pass, we attempted to go up the peak; however, it was snowing so hard that it was hard to see the trail. Plus, there were no views and the wind was coming up. So we saved the peak climb for another day and headed back down, completing about a five-mile day.
On the way down, some parts of the trail were very slippery mud, causing us to hike just to the side of the trail to get a purchase in the vegetation.
We were able to kick the snow off a few flowers on our hike: pasque flower, Cous biscuit root, spring beauties and kitten's tails.
We were back before 1 p.m. And although the day cleared in Great Falls, the clouds hung over the mountains all day--so much for Katie's prediction that Saturday was the better day of the weekend.
Link to all of Katie's pics