Shaw Butte Opens Views to Rocky Mountain Front, Other Buttes
We drove from Great Falls at 7:45 a.m. to Cascade Colony and checked in at the sign-in box, filling out a form for each vehihcle. Then we were up for exploring as no one had ever been up this butte before. Katie had studied it on Cal Topo and Google maps, but wanted some feedback from others on the decisions she was making.
The day started with us walking by the colony's gravel pit, where we scared a snowshoe hare, all white except brown feet. then a young man on a four-wheeler seemed to be checking us out or watching us, one of the two, during this stretch of the hike, riding straight up the butte. Then he turned around and passed us by as we climbed the steepest section. We asked him some questions about the hike, but he didn't seem to understand us. Some of us really needed to duck behind a rock as there were no trees, but we wan'ted to make sure this teenager wasn't around.
During the hike, Amber, Beth and Suzie all went ahead at times, scouting the way until we arrived at the radio and satellite towers for a bit of a break. This is the high point of the butte. We had made it.
The day promised to be sunny but breezy, and it was, but it was so warm, we hardly noticed and shed layers quickly on the way up, but once we stopped for a snack at the towers, we were putting those layers back on to block the wind.
After arriving at the towers, we followed the service road down, facing the Rocky Mountain Front the whole way. With the blue sky and the white-capped peaks, we did a lot of oohing and ah-ing at the sights in front of us. Caribou, Steamboat, Sawtooth, Rocky Mountain and Ear Mountain peaks showed themselves off for us.
The last two miles are on a road, a bit boring, but we marveled at the huge cuts and canyons in the side of the butte as we encircled it. Beth told us about the geology of the area as we walked right through the dike that created the butte so many years ago. She also talked about Glacial Lake Great Falls and how you can see the water marks along the side of the butte to this day.
We arrived back in town around 2 p.m.
Who went: Suzie, Susan, Amber, Beth, Viki, Carol, Camille, Katie