Graupel Pelts Gals at Apikuni; Better Weather on Wilbur, Red Rocks
On a beautiful spring late afternoon the gals met in the 4B's parking lot anxious to get away from work and get on the trail. We were ready to forget the stress of the day and to enjoy each other's company and the lush spring-green mountain meadows outside our "backyard." The girls left Great Falls around 4:30 and arrived around 5:30 pm at the trailhead to Windy Peak at the Thain Creek campground near Highwood. Once we arrived, we found that the gate to the campground was closed so we trekked over cattle guards, rocks, and a water-filled roadway to get to the first point of interest....the outhouse for a quick stop before heading up the trail to Windy Peak.
Once on the trail, we faced numerous stream crossings along the trail due to the recent snowmelt and runoff from the latest spring storm that blasted central Montana a few days before. With trepidation, the gals crossed the streams balancing on logs, hopping from rock to rock, or making the leap of faith from one side to the other. As we hiked along the trail, the bright green meadows and aspen trees glowed with the afternoon setting sun.
We expected to see a wild array of wildflowers, but were disappointed when we only saw a few Bluebells, a couple of Larkspur, some Oregon Grape, Prairie Smoke, Violets, Pussy Toes, Biscuit Root, a hillside of Arrow Leaf Balsamroot, and a few "spent" Shooting Stars. The evening was warm and a bit humid, and the ascent was bit slow due to the many stream crossings. At one point when the mountainside became a bit too steep, Gail and Denise turned around and went back to the campground to hike around the campground. The rest of us continued on to Windy Point, and by that time it was 7:30 pm when we stopped to eat our dinner and relished the beautiful views surrounding us.
Not even a top 5 Star restaurant could compare with our million dollar views for our simple dinner! ! Knowing that we needed to get back to the parking lot before dark, we quickly finished our meal and met Denise and Gail at the trail head. We arrived home around 10:15 pm. Who went: Cathy K, Allison, Randi, Mary N., Denise, Gail, Catherine, Susan, Beth, and Kathy M.
Girls in Glacier and Katie Kotynski