Perfect Powder Makes for Fun Day, Quick Day
The Kings Hill to Silver Crest is a fun walk through hike, necessitating at least two vehicles for a car shuttle to the top while leaving one at Silver Crest, the ending point. We had one more twist in our shuttle day: We were dropping off Maria at Showdown for a morning of skiing on a memorial day for a friend of her son's.
We left Great Falls at 8 a.m. and were on trail at 9:45 after a stop at the Inconvenience Store in Neihart. We had a cramped ride with 7 gals and gear, including skis in Katie's Traverse; luckily, it was a short ride to Showdown, where we left Maria off, telling her we would return around 2 p.m.
The day was beautiful with no wind as we started the climb up the Ranch Creek/O'Brien Creek back country ski trail. We did have to break trail all of the way to the bowl where the snowmobilers play, but the snow was powdery, so it wasn't bad. We all took our turns out front.
When we hit the bowl and the Powerline trail, we saw a few snowmobilers, but not many, and they were staying away from the creek areas where we were as the snow wasn't stable. We saw several places where the water and thin ice were visible.
Then we crossed the bowl area to get on the road. Katie pointed out where to go to hit the E-Loop on Silver Crest if we were on skis; some wanted to see the loop, so we took the quarter-mile spur trail until we met the groomed trail. We actually saw two skiers on the E-Loop, which is the first time. Usually no one is on this run. Then, when we turned around, we met a couple following our tracks. They said they were doing O'Brien Creek; we informed them that they had missed their turn quite a ways back. We told them they could backtrack, which might be quite a long way or instead head up the Powerline and back to their car at the top of Kings Hill. They could also have cut cross country to hook back up to the trail, but that might not be a good idea without a GPS. We could tell that gal wasn't into making for even a longer day, so we told them to go the Powerline for sure and save O'Brien for another day.
Then we backtracked to the cat track and followed it around to the Silver Crest Parking lot. We made very good time, arriving at 12:30, which put us back at Showdown by 1 p.m., so we thought we would have a cool drink or some snacks while we waited. Then we found Maria was already waiting for us inside, so it worked out perfectly.
We got back around 2:30.
Who went: Susan, June, Viki, Sue, Amber, Kaite and tag-along Maria