Social Distancing in Effect for Trip to Falls Creek
So three of us headed out at 7 a.m. to the Rocky Mountain Front out of Augusta to visit the newly opened Falls Creek area, a gift made possible by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation along with other donations. Our gals had taken a winter trip to see the frozen falls, so now we had the opportunity to see them in the spring.
Roni, Karen and Katie all drove separately to the trailhead, stopping at Augusta just to regroup and then Bean Lake to use the outhouse before hitting the trail. The gravel road was pretty good, except one section with very large, deep gravel, clearly marked "rough road." We also faced several detours for road construction between Simms and Augusta.
Only one other vehicle was at the trailhead, so we knew we wouldn't have a crowd. We got an early start just so we wouldn't run into many people. Plus, the weather looked a bit threatening in the direction of the mountains, which probably further discouraged a few from getting out on a Sunday.
As we walked toward the falls, we were treated to a few spring flowers: pasque flowers, buttercups, and shooting stars were the main attractions along with phlox and a clump or two of douglasia. As we came around the bend to the second meadow area, we spied the cairn making the place to head off trail to see the main waterfall. And it was spilling, even though some ice remained.
Then we continued upstream, hugging the creek and going off trail for views. looking down on argillite rock, similar to Glacier with its aqua and maroon hues. At one point, a road had been cut down to a crossing, a place created in the cliff for the cattle to drink as this land used to be part of a working cattle ranch. We followed the road down to the gorgeous stream that had a nice swimming or fishing hole in this area.
Then we climbed back up to the main trail until we got to the second falls, at which time it was really starting to sprinkle. We could have continued another half mile to the main crossing of the creek, but it would be too high water to cross at this time of year; with the weather moving in, Katie thought it best to turn around, so we did.
As we hiked, Roni told us the amazing, but frightening, story of how her husband survived heart attacks, stents to repair blockages, an air ambulance flight to better health care to repair major aortic tears and a three-and-a half week recovery to now be working full time again. (And how Roni and her family survived the stress and worry too). It brought tears to our eyes.
We arrived back at the cars around 11 and back home by 1:30, for a total of just under four miles.
Who went: Roni, Karen, Katie