Eleven-Mile School's Out Hike Brings on More Car Trouble
Our day started at 5:30 a.m. as we headed to the Two Medicine valley. After dropping Mary N's car at the head of the lake, we hopped into two cars and proceeded to the trail head along Pray Lake. We hit the trail at 8:45.
The flowers were spectacular, from glacier lilies to speedwell to early coralroot. The flowers in most abundance were mountain ash, western tobacco root (valerian), buckwheat (sulfur was very pretty), chickweed and cous biscuitroot.
We headed up the north shore of the lake and took the spur to Upper Two Medicine Lake. What a gorgeous site to behold as the valley opened up to reveal Lone Walker, the shard of Pumpelly's Pillar and the back side of Rockwell.
During our rest periods, Katie told the stories of Rising Wolf (Hugh Monroe), Lone Walker and Sinopah (fox kit woman).
After enjoying a half hour lunch at the lake, we hit the trail again, stopping at Twin Falls on our way back to the main lake trail. Then we dropped Brenda off at the boat dock to catch a ride to rest her twisted knee. The rest of us continued on around the south shore of the lake, enjoying even more flowers and scenery of Sinopah, Painted Teepee, Never Laughs, Apistoki and Scenic Point Mountains. One group, went a bit faster and they shuttled the cars when they reached the camp store, while Mary headed to Seeley lake.
The second group finished at 4:45, at which time we hit the road to dinner at Serrano's, pie for strength at the Two Med Grill and fudge at the Mercantile. We were shocked to get a party of 11 into Serrano's without a wait.
But the real drama started after dinner. On the way to Browning, Gail's check-engine light sprang on. The car seemed to drive okay, but the light was very concerning, so we stopped in Browning at the Town Pump. When we restarted the car, it lurched backward and somehow we thought we might have been driving in four-wheel drive low at highway speeds, although that didn't make much sense. When we put it in two-wheel drive, it lurched again, prompting a call to AAA. However, a helpful local, who had had a bit too much to drink, kept bugging us for money, giving us an uneasy feeling. We were all relieved when the tow truck came.
Meanwhile, we called ahead to Catherine in the lead car to come back to Browning to pick up as many of the gals as could fit in her van as the wrecker could only take two with him. So with Brenda in the far back lying on top of all the gear and Katie sitting between the back bucket seats on two cases of Corona beer, we headed toward Conrad, leaving Kathy M and Gail to handle AAA and the wrecker. Katie called her husband to meet the gals in Conrad, so we could drive more safely back to Great Falls. We prayed we wouldn't get pulled over as we imagined how we would explain the no seat belts, the gal lying in the far back and the cases of Corona.
We made it back to town just after 10, which wasn't much past our expected arrival time of 9:30, while Gail and Kathy were an hour later.
Who went: Anita, Gail, Toni, Brenda, Susan, Mary N, Katie, Kathy M, Catherine, Sara, Sue, Nancy
It turns out the check engine light wasn't the transmission after all: just something wrong with the temperature control and cost under $50 to fix! A lot better than a $2,000 transmission fix that Gail expected.