As the day got warmer, we were thankful for the gentle breeze which made the hike a bit more bearable in the heat. Wildflowers were plentiful along the way, although it looked like it was getting to the end of the season for the Beargrass. The Indian Paintbrush were plentiful in a wild array of colors from pink, salmon, orange, red, and even fuchsia. We even saw a few new flowers that we had not seen before.
Once we arrived at the lake, the ladies were stunned by the intense teal blue color of the lake but disappointed that the floating "icebergs" were too far away for those who would be brave enough to attempt a chance to stand on one. However, the wind came up, and it became quite chilly at the lake, so we donned our jackets to keep us warm while we ate our lunch with little chipmunks to keep us entertained. One even scared Beth as he ran between her legs as she sat on the rocks eating her lunch! Later, we hiked towards the northern part of the lake and two young men bolstered with testosterone and a bit of bravado wanted to "show off" for their girlfriends. All four stripped down to their bikinis and swim shorts and there was might bold talk about a $100 bet from the guys about swimming to one of the icebergs. One of the guys dove into the water and made an attempt to swim, but he didn't get to far since the water was bitterly cold. He quickly turned around and went back to shore. The other guy made somewhat of an attempt, but he turned around as well. So much for that!
As we hit the trail to head back to Swiftcurrent Inn, we stopped once in a while to visit with other hikers along the way. One of the hikers notified us of a bear in the area, so we were hyper-vigilant about our surroundings. Sure enough, we saw a bear lumbering along parallel to the trail approximately 20 yards away. We wondered if it was a grizzly bear because we noticed that he had a hump on his upper back, but after reporting the sighting to the ranger, he said that it was a black bear with tawny coloring.
After seeing the bear, we looked below the trail and saw a beautiful black moose coming out of the timber. His coat glistened in the sun and his horns were in velvet. What a sight to behold! As we continued down the trail, the Ptarmigan Tunnel ladies met us on the trail so we all met up with perfect timing. Once we got back to Swiftcurrent Inn, we made reservations for dinner. The restaurant was full, so we had to reserve three separate tables to accommodate all of us. After a nice dinner, some of the ladies opted for the soft-serve huckleberry yogurt ice cream at the Swiftcurrent store. It was a long day, and we arrived back in Great Falls around 10:30 p. m. What a great day!
P.S. It was a personal best for Toni and she got her 100-miler club mug!
Link to Kathy's pics
Link to Gail's pics