Apikuni, Red Rocks, Wilbur Falls lure gals despite flooding, closures
With much of Glacier still closed due to a "weather event" that dropped two feet of snow and rain on much of the park, the GiG had to change plans from Baring/St. Mary/Virginia Falls to the Many Glacier area. However, we still ran into trouble, with Swift Current creek outside its banks, causing us either to take our shoes off and ford the stream or wade through and hope the water didn't go over the top of our waterproof boots.
Despite the detour, we had a lovely day, loaded with wildlife First, a jaunt up the short, but steep, Apikuni (Appekunny) falls, which was gushing over the rock wall and still held a bit of snow in its crevices. A herd of bighorn sheep, all ewes and kids, gave quite a display as they jumped from a rocky ledge to the edge of the creek trying to cross at the foot of the falls. Curious picture takers kept them from coming across. Two of our gals, the ones in the lead going to the falls, scared up a ram on the other side of the creek. Besides one other group of hikers, we were the only ones on the trail, until the return trip.
A few of the gals braved a very steep embankment to get better views and chase the ram to see if they could see where he had gone. They came across a petrified forest, similar to the one on Scenic Point in the Two Med area, comprised of dead limber pine. Flowers dotted the trail and provided the most variety of the day --see our sidebar for the different kinds.
The side trails produced gorgeous views on this cloudy day, worthy of postcards. Memorable birds included common mergansers, blue birds and American dippers/water ousels.
On our descent, we encountered a female moose and her calf, that between us and the people starting the trail, were quickly spooked into the trees so we didn't get any pictures. She was nearly at the parking lot.
When we finished the hike, we heard from a ranger that they had opened the Going-to-the-Sun highway to Jackson Glacier Overlook, so we had a decision to make: stay in the Many Glacier area or head to St. Mary and Virginia falls--we wouldn't be able to do the full loop, due to the Many Glacier side trip. We decided to stay in Many and go to Red Rock falls since several of the gals had never hiked to it. Our decision was not a mistake!.
As we headed to the Swift Current parking lot, a cinnamon-colored black bear crossed the road right in front of us and then rummaged around in the trees. Again, no one could get a camera out as most had them in the trunk with their packs.
After a quick rest stop at Swift Current, we were back on the trail, where we soon met up with the creek over the banks and had to cross about 100 feet of not-very-deep, but oh-so-cold water. All but three took off their boots for the crossing. After this ordeal, we stopped at Fishercap Lake for lunch and then headed to Red Rocks, where we were treated to blue camas flowers and two deer. Katie forgot her lunch, but the gals all ponied up and shared theirs so she had enough. What a great bunch to be hiking with. Due to the creek crossing, we were the only people on the trial until we hit Red Rocks falls itself and the return trip. As Chrissie said, "The flooding kept the riffraff away."
After the hiking, around seven miles with the side trips, we ate at the Many Glacier Hotel in the Interlaken Lounge at just after 4 p.m. Those who had the lentil burger recommend it and the carrot cake.The rest of the food was okay.During our dining time, we heard hoots coming from the bar area and discovered that the soccer match between the United States and Portugal was on, with Portugal leading 1-0. Every time the States made a shot on goal, we heard more hollers followed by sighs of disappointment. When the U.S. tied the score, the whole place went crazy and we joined in the celebration too by shouting our approval and clapping.
Toni scored pictures with two young men: the chef and a bellhop in lederhosen, so she was happy. Our last stop of the day was in Valier for Wilcoxson huckleberry ice cream sandwiches. We arrived back at the DOB at just after nine.
After much debate and changes in destination, the day turned out wonderfully after all. The saying about not giving up until you reach the trail head turned out to be true
Who went:.Gail, Chrissie, Kathy M, Sue, Toni, JoAnn, Catherine, Katie
Link to Katie's pics
Link to Kathy M's pics
Flowers we saw: 50
False Solomon seal
Lily of the Valley/Star false
Prairie smoke/old man whiskers
Utah honeysuckle/red twinberry
Western meadow rue
Yellow beardtongue penstemon