Attack of the Spruce Grouse and Rain Don't Spoil the Day
It was supposed to rain; it was supposed to snow; it was supposed to be cold, but four of the GiG stuck with the plans and made a go of the day (originally 19 had planned to attend).
The decision turned out to be good as we only faced a few sprinkles the entire day, mostly at the lake itself. We had a lot of putting on and taking off rain gear, but the day was mostly sunny with clouds and in the 40s-50s temp-wise, perfect hiking weather.
We arrived in Two Medicine a full 45-minutes early, so we decided to the the .6-mile roundtrip walk to Running Eagle/Trick Falls. It was impressive with water roaring over the top and through the tunnel.
Then it was on to a mostly-empty boat ride, with a tour from a gal who a first-timer as captain of the Sinopah. After working in West Glacier the year before, she decided not to return to Colorado and stay in Montana. She did an excellent tour. Then we hopped off the boat and began our day with a hike to Twin Falls. Two people reported seeing a moose but we didn't see it. However, the falls were impressive with tons of water spilling down the rocks.
Then it was on to Upper Two Med Lake. On this stretch, the clouds started coming in, settling into the cirque. We faced a light rain at the lake and lots of wind, so we didn't stay long. On the return hike to the boat dock, no rain as soon as we got out of the cirque. The head of Sinopah kept up protected and the storm contained in the Upper Two Med valley.This stretch of the hike overlooking the lake and out of the trees in the sun was then too hot, so we were stripping layers.
When we came to the horse ford turn, we saw some hikers who had accidentally gone that way, backtracking. Then we arrived at the Cobalt Lake/Rockwell Falls junction. Susan suggested we do the extra three miles to Rockwell Falls. Katie thought we might be pushing our luck on the rain, since the weather sites said it was really supposed to pour or even snow after three, but we all agreed that we were prepared if it did happen. We went to the Falls and then continued up the switchbacks until we got above the cascades for an overlook. We had a snack on the rocks before heading back down to the main lakeshore trail.
Now, people were starting to figure out that rain wasn't really happening. We came across quite a few people on the trail and even had lines on both sides of the hanging bridge, something we hadn't encountered before. The park, even Two Med, is getting busy, even on a weekday with rain threatening, before Logan Pass is open.
Speaking of threatening, Viki looked up and saw a bird on a low branch, saying "Look, a bird." Katie said, "Watch out!" it's a daddy spruce grouse protecting his nest; he will attack." And he did, getting Amber in particular. After we manged to get far enough away, we could hear screaming behind us; I guess he got the next set of hikers too.
We took another little break at Aster Falls, looked for moose in the moose/beaver ponds but didn't see any, just a brand new beaver lodge. But on our drive out of the park, we did see a herd of sheep, so we were happy on the wildlife score.
In total, we made it a 13.5-mile day instead of the planned nine. We all felt great.
Then it was off to a great dinner at the Glacier Park Lodge. We had a very fun server too and quick service. We arrived home around 7:30. Who went: Viki, Susan, Amber, Katie