Two New Hikers Join Two from Eureka for Clouds, Winds, Rain, Moose
The weather had been predicted to be up and down all week, but with a 20 percent chance of rain in the morning and a 70 percent in the afternoon of T-storms, we followed the adage of "always go to the trailhead."
We left Great Falls at 5:30, and after a longer stop in Browning and a quick stop in East Glacier to pick up the Eureka gals, plus time to shuttle vehicles to the campground, we got on trail just before 9 a.m. The boat dock was just opening as we hit the south-shore trail, probably the first hikers on this section for the day, which turned out to be great, since we saw a moose in the pond about a mile down the trail.
She showed off a bit for us but then disappeared into the bushes, probably to seek out a hidden little one.
The flowers also put on a show with buckwheat, Sego lilies (Mariposa), buiscuitroot . woods forget-me-nots and the wild anise very prolific. The bear grass was just starting, and we saw just a few fading spring beauties and glacier lilies in a shaded area. There were many other flowers too, including berries: elderberry, fool's huckleberry, thimbleberry, mountain ash, strawberry, and service/saskatoon berry flowers.
We didn't see another soul on the trail and had both Aster falls and Rockwell falls to ourselves, but on the way out of Rockwell, we ran into two rangers. (An interesting note about the hanging bridge over Paradise Creek: Pat said if she had known about it, she would still be in Eureka). At this point, eight of the gals went ahead to attempt the full 13-miles to include Upper Two-Med lake, while three wanted to take their time encircling the main lake and bypassing the upper lake.
The gals who wanted a slower hike ended up going back they way they came and visiting the camp store, while the others hustled to fit in a long hike as it was already 11:30 with 9 miles to go.
The day had been cool and cloudy, actually a nice temperature all day but started to darken as the gals hit Twin Falls, which meant 8 miles to go. When the thunder started, they decided to skip the upper lake to shave off three miles and just go for the 10. Twice it sprnkled as the gals put on and then took of their raingear, but about a mile and a half from the cars, it stated raining for real. As the droplets descended, so the did the clouds, covering the view of the lake and most everything else. Our boots and pant legs got pretty wet from the soaking brush, but a half mile from the cars, the sky cleared into a beautiful sunny day.
Because we hustled down the trail in the rain and skipped the upper lake, we finished at 2:30 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. And the other gals had already shuttled the other car from the parking lot and met us at the trail's end.
We decided to make the falls count for the day go from three to four by stopping at Running Eagle (Trick) Falls on the way out, Many of the gals hadn't visited this double falls before, including Madelon and Pat from Eureka, so it was fun to see the rushing water coming over the top of the gushing cave.
Then it was time to say goodbye to our Eureka friends while we headed to the Whistlestop cafe in East Glacier for a bit to eat. Then it was on to Great Falls. The drive was eventful with lots of rain at time, buckets of moisture on the road and even a rainbow, but it was sunny when we arrived in Great Falls at 7:30. It was nice to get home early even if we did skip the upper lake.
Who went: Spardha, Emily, Sue, Gail, Mary N, Toni, Roni, Catherine, Madelon, Pat and Katie