GiG and WoW Survive Insanity Six Times (Three Up; Three Down)
The trail climbs 1,000 feet in just over a mile, so it is steep; and in three places, it is very steep, but we all made it and safely, just taking a few more breather breaks than normal.
Our day began with six gals from the GiG joining seven from the WOW on our 8.5-mile trek to the gorgeous alpine Poia Lake on the Red Gap Pass trail. If we hadn’t taken the Sherburne cutoff trail, the hike would have been 12.5 miles. So we hiked in honor of Doris and Terry Sherburne, two of Katie’s friends, mother and son, who passed away this year and whose family after whom the cutoff trail is named.
On this trip, we welcomed Susan C on her first hike with GiG while realizing that this was Bonnie J's last hike with us as she heads to Las Vegas.
As a side note, even on a Thursday, Many Glacier was so crowded that there was nowhere to park at the picnic area or the lodge; we had to wait for about 20 cars at the entrance gate when we arrived at 8:45. Just pure craziness in the park.
It was 10 a.m. before we started on what was heating up to be a very hot day, but we made it up the steep hill to where the cut off trail connects to the main Poia lake trail that originates at the Apikuni Falls trail. Three sections were very steep, the first one with small ball-bearing rocks that made a few gals think we should walk out the long way instead of going down the slippery, steep slope on our return.
Most of the hike is through the trees, but just before the intersection, the trail breaks out, revealing gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and Sherburne Lake. And the meadow area had many flowers, especially orchids. Some were the following: lady slipper, spotted coralroot, early coralroot, white bog orchid, sticky geranium, nine-leaved biscuitroot, harebells, yarrow, lupine, wood nymph
A little farther and we encountered a hidden lake: Swiftcurrent Ridge Lake, a gem hidden behind trees.
Finally, after a lot more uphill, we crested the ridge and started our long descent into the lake, crossing large boulder fields that had a lot of pika droppings, but we didn’t see one. We also saw bear scat and prints as well as moose and deer prints. At one point, Katie scared a deer as she was in the lead during this section.
The lake was pretty (we didn’t arrive until 1:30 pm), surrounded by Yellow and Red Gap Mountains. Some of the ladies walked a way around the lake for better views of the surrounding cirque while the others enjoyed a longer lunch.
Then it was time for the long hike out. At the decision point where the cutoff trail meets the main trail, we all decided to take the cut-off and go slowly to save the extra 2.25 miles of hiking in the heat. And we all handled the steep downhill well, a few sliding on our backsides at times.
It was time to say goodbye to each other, the Canadians headed north and the Americans south to enjoy a meal at Buffalo Joe’s along the way.