Gals Enjoy Flowers, Mountains, Views on Climb of Siyeh Pass
Four of us left Great Falls at 5 am arriving in St Mary parking lot at 7:50 am . We quickly connected with Mary Irene and boarded the 8:00 am shuttle for the Siyeh Bend trailhead.
We took our group picture at the trail sign before heading up along Siyeh creek towards the Siyeh junction 2.6 miles ahead. We enjoyed the spruce-fir forest along the way- a beautiful morning walking through the cool forest with multiple fields of colorful wildflowers, babbling brooks and stream crossings with some bridge crossings. Susan C. demonstrated her expert balance capability when crossing a bridge even posing on a one legged stance without her poles! After passing through Preston Park, a glacially carved valley which provided more lovely fields of wildflowers and a tricky stream crossing, we began to enjoy the commanding views of the landscape including Mataphi Peak to the south, Piegan Mt. in the west, and pyramid shaped Mount Reynolds in the southwest.
We completed the toughest part of the hike up to Siyeh pass with multiple switchbacks reaching the top of the pass at 12:15pm. We met 2 female artists on the trail from Colorado taking photos of the area in prep for their next years show. They had driven 20 hours the night before from Colorado for an all women’s art show in Kalispell and with only three hours of sleep on board, were embracing one of the best hikes in the park!
We enjoyed the spectacular views from this vantage point while having lunch before heading down the 5.6 mile loop trail along Baring Creek to Sunrift Gorge. We had 1 trail “boo boo” along the way- Susan C. had a bee sting her just below her left eyebrow-thankfully it wasn’t a pirate maker!! And the first aid “after bite” saved the day!
Josh Shuter was our shuttle driver going both ways on the Going to the Sun road- What a fabulous driver! We finished our hike at Sunrift Gorge with feet a bit on the tired side and with high hopes that the shuttle would come sooner than later. Susie M. was first to the road and waved her arms in the air for Josh to see as he came to the shuttle station- fortunately for us, he patiently waited for all five of us to scurry up to the stop and allowed all of us to squeeze into the van! Hooray!!
Having said our farewell’s to Mary in the visitor parking lot, we headed off to St. Mary for a well earned and delicious ice cream cone before driving to Dupuyer for dinner at Buffalo Joe’s where we introduced Sara to the hot slaw salad!
Those who hiked: Mary Irene M., Sue M., Josy M., Sara J. , Susan C.
Flowers seen on the trail : Elephant head, forget me not, Explorer’s gentian, bear grass, Indian paint brush, huckleberries, lupine, Columbine spires, potentella. Arnica, early everlasting, chives, anemone, death Camus, bergamot, chives, stonecroft, yellow serum,lyles Angelica, cow parsnips, milk vetch, fireweed, Moss champion, Pirate maker on the trail- one eyed mishap with nature, yarrow, orange mountain dandelion, everlasting, heart leaf arnica, Indian blanket, arrow leaf balsam root leaves, elk thistle, showy fleabane, valerian, silky saliva, Oregon grape, twin berry, cushion buckwheat, Yellow columbine,