Double the fun in one day: Essex and Two Medicine
We left town at 7:15 a.m. and enjoyed spectacular views of the Rocky Mountain Front as we decided to drive the Choteau route to be closer to the mountains. Although the weather was cool to start and very windy in Two Med, the temperatures warmed to 32 degrees with no wind at Essex. We met the MWA group at the Two-Med Grill, got some snacks and pie for strength as we waited for the last few people from Choteau to arrive, but they never did.
The Lubec Lake hike was more of a stroll with Donna, Jo and a ranger explaining about the homestead and railroad history of the area. (Read Dream Chasers of the West to learn more). Over 20 people attended the hike, and we enjoyed seeing coyote, snowshoe hare, deer, elk and moose tracks. Some of us saw a moose run scared up into the hills from the lake bottoms. The rest of us saw the sign of her. We enjoyed seeing the old homestead buildings or what was left of them, the pussy willows in bloom as well as the beaver lodge and birds' nests.
The GiG gals had to leave the hike a bit early (due to the late start) to meet up with the Westside Gals, who were waiting patiently at the Izaak Walton for us (we were 25 minutes late). Marta and Jackie seemed like long lost friends even though we were meeting them for the first time. The hike up Ole Creek on the South Boundary trail was lovely, and Jackie liked her first experience snowshoeing. Marta filled us in on her plans to set up some "meet-up" backpack trips into the Park this summer. We were amazed to learn that Jackie had traveled all of the way from Eureka on her own to join us. The GiG gals traveled about as far, but we had each other to talk to on the drive.
Most of the gals were a bit tired after the uphill of Ole Creek, which didn't have much snow. In fact, we took off our snowshoes at one point as there wasn't any snow at all in places. We came across four skiers who had skied the notch in St. Nick and were skiing on bare ground.
The day ended with a total of about 6 miles of snowshoeing. We heard from those on Lubec Lake hike that the Izaak Walton had run out of food the night before, so instead of taking our chances and eating there, we decided to hit the road for the Lighthouse out of Valier. Unfortunately, when we got there, a large party was taking up the whole dining room, and the bartender said they weren't seating anyone else for the night. So we decided to hit the road again and go into Conrad, when we spied Froggies, which was open. The food was better than expected, with the fish and chips being very crispy, served with hand-cut fries and chips.
We arrived back in Great Falls at just after 8 p.m.
Who went--Lubec Lake only: Jo Ann, Sara, Anita, Brianna, Bonnie W
Lubec Lake and Ole Creek: Katie, Susan, Bonnie, Jeanne and Westsiders Jackie and Marta
Link to Katie's pictures
Link to Bonnie's pictures