Magenta Fireweed Appropriately Colors the Day on Firebrand Pass
The pink fireweed popped on our hike to Firebrand Pass, which got a bit of a late start due to Kuntze oversleeping combined with many farm implements blocking traffic along the way, not to mention semis going slowly.
We left Great Falls at 6:45 and got on trail three hours later after stops in Conrad and East Glacier, the last one to discuss if we should even go on the hike, due to so much smoke. We decided to go anyway, with Katie suggesting doing the Buffalo Lakes hike if it looked too bad at the trailhead.
So we persisted, which became the wording of the day as two of our gals struggled a bit, but "still, she persisted."
Despite the smoke ruining most of the views, we still had a great time. The fireweed and other flowers were gorgeous and the huckleberries, grouse whortleberries and serviceberries were ripe.
Luckily, the temperatures weren't too bad and a breeze helped us especially on the last stretch of uphill getting to the pass. We saw three other groups, two from Georgia, which we thought odd, although many people from the southern states seem to be visiting Montana the last two years. One party was finishing a backpack from Fielding/Coal Creek via Ole Lake.
The haze lifted a bit looking east but the true unfortunate part was the view west as you crest the pass was mostly obliterated by smoke. This is the in-your-face look at Mount Despair, 8888, Despair, Battlement, Summit and Little Dog, their outlines barely visible today, that can take your breath away as you get to the top. And really, today the top didn't have much wind, or not as much as usual.
On the way down, we had to dowse Kuntz with water several times as she was overheating, and Susan had to stop once for pain meds for her knee/ankle. But we all made it back to the car by 4:30. Then it was on to East Glacier for dinner, first stopping at the Lodge and then deciding to go to Serrano's, which was a great choice since we could sit outside. We all enjoyed our food after a few had had bad experiences in the past.
On a side note, Camille earned her 100-miler award in this hike. We arrived home around 8:15.
Who went: Doreen, Sue, Suzie, Susan, Kuntz, Camille, Carol, Katie