Susan Finally Does Siyeh Hike, But Breaks Her Wrist
It was an early start to the day: Amber drove and picked up Katie (and interloper Tom) and then Brenda at Susan's house at 5:15 a.m. We arrived at St. Mary around 8 and Siyeh Bend at 8:30. Already the parking areas were full. Lucky for us, Tom dropped us off while he idled Amber's truck in the shuttle stop. Then he drove to Sunrift Gorge to start the hike in the opposite direction.
We encountered a few hikers right away and played leapfrog with them all day. Others, we actually passed. The trail was a bit more crowded than normal, but it was a Saturday in high summer. Even though it was August, the temperatures were quite cool with a very gusty wind.
We marveled at all the flowers: we counted over 90 different varieties, as we traveled through different zones as we gained elevation.
This hike has gradual elevation gain until Preston Park, a lovely meadow area with tons of greenery and blooms. We even saw the elephant head flower, so pretty by the moose pond. No moose though. We only saw a bit of bear scat and a few old moose tracks. Then the climb starts, switchbacking though scree on the side of Mahtapi Mountain.
Brenda started to complain about the steep climb, but she made it look, easy even as she griped a bit.
The views were glorious too, especially looking toward Mount Reynolds at the top of Logan Pass. But we couldn't enjoy them too long on top as the gusts were approaching 60 mph. So we ducked below some rocks that blocked the wind a bit. While everyone enjoyed lunch, Katie took a peak over the pass to see if Tom had arrived. He had! He was talking to a couple who were going down the other side. All of us marveled that Tom had gone .8 miles farther than we had an had covered 1200 more feet of gain. It made us feel like slackers.
After lunch, we put two rocks on the cairn in memory of our deceased GiG members: Chrissie and Colette/Coco
Then it was down, down , down facing the huge wind gusts that were throwing us off balance. We enjoyed even more flower varieties, mostly purple penstemon, yellow arnica, blue explorers' gentian, sulphur buckwheat, and bear grass. Eye candy for sure. And we had eye candy with the views of St. Mary Lake as well as Baring Creek with its red rock and huge waterfalls flowing directly off the Sexton Glacier.
Soon the gentle switchbacks got a bit steeper as we headed to the creek. We were all looking forward to resting at the cascades before our last mile along Sunrift Gorge. However, Susan took a tumble and hurt her wrist. She wasn't sure how to even get up because she didn't want to put her weight on her arm to get herself upright. But she managed with a bit of help. She wanted to soak her arm in cold water so we headed right for the creek.
The creek was "rototilled" by bears. All of the exposed bare ground had been overturned, making us feel a bit uneasy. And Susan had another mishap: not wanting to sit down as she was afraid to use her arms to get up, she leaned over and approached the stream on a flat rock. She put a foot on a wet portion and slipped, getting her legs and boots soaked. We had to help her get out before she tumbled down the stream a ways.
We forgot about soaking the arm and decided to get off trail quickly and get some ice from Two Dog Flats Cafe at Rising Sun for her arm.
it seemed a long mile to get out, but Susan did fine. When we arrived at Rising Sun around 4 p.m., Tom had taken the shuttle and had been waiting for over an hour. We explained what happened to Susan. Then we ate dinner and drove home.
We got home around 8 pm, worried about Susan's wrist, which had started to swell some more. The next morning, she went to immediate care after a painful night and found out her wrist was broken. It ruined her plans to go to Granite Park Chalet. Katie and Amber felt awful that we had talked Susan into going on this hike, even though it was one she wanted to do. She still said she was glad she finally got to hike Siyeh Bend to Sunrift Gorge. Oh my!