Four-wheeling down Two Med road to go to Trick Falls, Lake
"Yes, let's take bikes; no bikes due to a new skiff of snow; yes, bikes will be better," so went the conversation as to whether we should try to bike down part of the Two Medicine Road instead of hiking the entire way. Katie's friend Terry said we could drive in 1.5 miles with a high-clearance vehicle and then bike almost to Running Eagle/Trick Falls parking lot, but we decided against the idea, which proved to be for the best since it had snowed three inches the day before..
The day started off at 6:30 a.m., with a gorgeous yellow-orange almost-full moon lighting our way to Conrad. The night sky lifted to reveal the Rocky Mountain Front awash in the white of new-fallen snow, so the entire ride was stunning.
When we arrived in Browning, we had a text from Marta, saying she was going to meet us at the Two Med Road/Hwy 49 junction and sure enough, she was there when we arrived. The road started out right away with snow drifts; Katie started leading but she wasn't sure how Marta's smaller Subaru was handling, so then Marta took lead and stopped about a half mile down the road in front of a formidable snowbank, less than the 1.5 miles we had anticipated.
So we got out and geared up. We did have a time strapping on snowshoes to our packs, adding in yaktrax as well as anticipating what we might need on this trip as the road was intermittent snow mixed with half dry pavement.
For about four miles, we enjoyed views of our old mountain friends Rising Wolf and Sinopah while we were able to get by with just our boots, and then a half mile from Trick Falls/Running Eagle Falls, we strapped on the snowshoes. The falls were very pretty with the snow on the surrounding mountains and on banks of the Two Medicine River. We were surprised at two things: no water in the tributary, so we could walk right over to the falls without a bridge and the bathrooms at Trick Falls parking lot were open.
We enjoyed a sunny lunch at the falls overlook (it was 11:30 when we arrived) and discussed if we wanted to continue to the lake, which would add four more miles. We all decided to give it a shot, but about a mile from the lake, Katie and Brenda turned around while Marta, Cathy and Anita kept going.
Brenda and Katie arrived back at the car at 3 p.m. and noticed another car had plowed through two more snow banks, getting about a third of a mile farther down the road, so they packed up their gear and drove the car gingerly down so that when the others returned, they wouldn't have to walk the last third of a mile uphill.
Soon after, Brenda spied three people approaching the car (at 3:45). Katie didn't think there were any way it would be our gals as they hiked two more miles than we did, thinking instead it was three gals we passed on the way in; however, it was the rest of our crew. They had hiked two more miles than Katie and Brenda in only a half hour more AND on snowshoes! The gals who went to the lake reported that it was entirely frozen over still and that they enjoyed a snack at the bench near the shore.
All day, we saw tons of moose tracks, both a mama and a yearling, but we never saw a moose. We also saw coyote scat and tracks, along with mice, squirrel and rabbit evidence, but we didn't spy any actual critters at all.
The day started a bit cloudy but cleared to a bright blue, mixed with plenty of wind, which was to our face going out and to our backs coming back. We finished the day with dropping in on Katie's friend to say we had made it and to check on his mother Doris, who had fallen and broken an arm. Then we headed down the road to have dinner at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Valier. We arrived back in Great Falls at 8 p.m., worn out.