Highlights of our trip: Kuntzie woke up late so that gave Susan time to grab a coffee while we waited. At the turnoff Amber made the rookie mistake of not speaking up about the bathroom and wound up having to 'read a sign" on the side of the road prior to arriving in Browning.
As we entered the park Susan was deeply concerned about how low the water was and expressed her dismay several times. Finding an open bathroom proved more challenging than we first thought. Pete, a lone hiker was very helpful with suggestions...there was great little loner pit toilet in a parking lot behind the Many Glacier hotel that we finally found. We made our way back to the Apikuni trailhead and began our journey. We ran into Pete again taking pictures of the pasque flowers (crocus), and he joined us to the falls.
The trail was nice with minimal snow to traverse. The temperature was perfect and the wind was practically non existent (no, really!) The elevation gain was just enough to get the heart pumping! Judy decided pants were optional and did not need her under tights-- and Amber quickly learned the Lesson of the day: Snow does not mean cold! The Apikuni Falls were absolutely beautiful and it was great little jaunt to get our day started. Pete continued on above the falls and we met with the sister GIG group on our way back down.
We were all so enthusiastic about our great little loner pit toilet we decided it was worth another stop on our way to the Bullhead lake trailhead. Some folks had mentioned a Mama bear and cubs on the road but we did not see anything other than an impressive pile of scat.
The trailhead to Bullhead lake looked quite promising until about 500 ft. past the bridge. Much of the trail was shaded by trees and the snow had not completely melted. Probably 75% of our journey to Red Rock Falls was through the snow. We had nice deep moose tracks to helps us avoid some of the deeper post holing spots but never did find our moose guide. We had lunch at Red Rock Falls and after a brief, unsuccessful scouting trip to find the trail to Bullhead Lake we determined it was not to be. Kuntzie had already determined she was not going any further! The snow was far too deep and we did not want to risk losing Judy up to her hips again!
The snow coming back was very slushy and slippery and the post holing was quite frustrating as well. Our only wildlife were some gophers and ducks with white stripes. We did earn ourselves a nice little merit badge for finding lost bear spray and sunglasses on the way out. Once we changed out of our slushy shoes we just could not miss the opportunity the stop by our great little loner pit toilet again. As we left the park and started into the reservation we all shared in the concern for just how low that darn water really was!
Gas in Browning and on to dinner at Buffalo Joe's. Our sister group was already there and eating and after a small panic by the hostess we all enjoyed an wonderful meal. All in all it was a great day in the park and good times were had by all!
Shorter Group HIke Our group left Great Falls at 7:00 a.m.: Gail, Maria, Anita, Jeanne, and Jo Ann. Gail drove. We stopped in Browning for gas and snacks; then, proceed on to Many Glacier. There was snow on part of the trail to Apikuni Falls. Not difficult, but on the way down we wore our Yak Traks; the snow was melting and slippery in spots. As we were going up the trail, we met the other group coming down. The Falls were beautiful and the snow-capped mountains glistened in the warm sun.
Then, we proceed on to the bathroom and lunch at the Many Glacier picnic area on Swiftcurrent Lake. After lunch, we proceeded on to Red Rock Falls Trail. However, after a short time on the trail, observing other hikers post holing and falling in the snow, Gail suggested we turn around and all quickly agreed. Then, we went to the Many Glacier Hotel to check out the trails.
Again, too much snow. We took photos and relaxed in the sun, enjoying the spectacular view of the snow covered mountains. The hotel was in various stages of renovation, including painting the outside. Maria and Anita took a peak inside. On our way home, we stopped at Buffalo Joes in Dupuyer.
We had 6:15 p.m. reservations, but since we hiked less than planned, we arrived around 4:30 p.m. Since dinner service begins at 5 p.m., we ordered off the lunch menu. The food was fair, not as good as in past stops. We then proceeded on to Great Falls. A sunny, warm, scenic day in Glacier was enjoyed by all.