First Real Mishap on Trail Doesn't Dampen Day of Tunnel Fun; Kathy M Earns 500 Miles of Hiking with the GiG
On a beautiful summer morning, Mary, Susan, Catherine, Anita, and Kathy M ventured out for another trip to Glacier, this time to Ptarmigan Tunnel. But this hike was like no other as the one of the gals faced an unexpected mishap at the end of the hike. Without Katie, fearless leader, Mary and Susan took charge, made the arrangements, and were the leaders for the day.
The gals met bright and early at 6 a.m. and were on the trail by 9:15 a. m. Shortly after being on the trail, a woman hiking solo informed them that there was a grizzly sow and her cubs in the area. The ladies thanked her for the information and continued on the trail. Knowing that the weather would be hot, the gals moved quickly and kept a steady pace as they made the ascent to the tunnel.
Ptarmigan Falls was a perfect place to stop for a quick snack to replenish their energy before moving on Ptarmigan Lake. After a short lunch the ladies decided not to dally for too long, and they ventured out to make the final steep ascent to the tunnel. The blazing hot sun proved to test their determination to reach the top, but fortunately the breezy wind brought some relief to the gals. The four-hour trek and the stupendous views from the tunnel turned out to be everything they expected and more. Looking back at the steep switchback trail from Ptarmigan Lake to the tunnel, the ladies were proud of their accomplishments.
For Catherine and Anita, this was their first time to reach Ptarmigan Tunnel. Once inside the cool 240 foot long tunnel, the gals received a bit of respite from the heat. In spite of the cool temperatures inside, the "light at the end of the tunnel" spurred them to move quickly to the other side only to find nothing but astounding views of the Belly River country, Old Sun Glacier, and the unique stratified layers of red and white rock. After taking a lot of photos, the gals determined to get back on the trail lined with a riot of wildflowers of every kind imaginable, and in a snowfield near Ptarmigan Lake a large herd of bighorn sheep entertained them with their playful antics. An oncoming hiker informed the ladies that there was a bull moose on a hillside about 1/4 mile away. Because of this, the ladies kept their eyes peeled for any sighting of the moose, but he must have wandered far into the brush and trees. The ladies moved quickly down the trail motivated by the fact that the sun was hot and the temperatures were rising.
Getting closer to the trailhead, the gals anticipated removing their hot boots and to get relief from the heat. As the gals made the final descent to get to the trailhead, Kathy suddenly tripped and found herself sprawled out on the trail bleeding from abrasions on her hand, arm, and split lip. Not only that, but Kathy found that she broke two of her front teeth and her sunglasses broken into several pieces. The rest of the gals came to her aid along with quite a number of other hikers who offered band-aids, ointment, and other first aid items. All Kathy wanted to do was get off the trail and wash her wounds before applying any ointment or bandaids.
Once the pieces of teeth and sunglasses were gathered, the ladies quickly moved on to Swiftcurrent Inn to get cleaned up, remove their boots, and to get something to eat at Many Glacier Hotel. Kathy, not wanting to attract any more attention, went to the shower house behind Swiftcurrent Inn to get cleaned up and somewhat presentable for a nice dinner at the hotel. After dinner, the gals all had a lively conversation and a few laughs (at Kathy's expense) all the way home, as any great group of friends would, and truly enjoyed each other's company. Kathy was in good spirits in spite of her mishap and made light of her predicament.
The ladies arrived back to town by 10:00 p.m. and welcomed a good nights sleep, and Kathy to wake up to a smile broken by 2 missing teeth, a nice shiner, and a fat lip~ enough to make her look like she had been in a back alley fight.