Fasten-Bra-Straps-and-Remove-Dentures Ride Leads up to Waterfalls
Four of us left Great Falls at 7 a.m. for Willow Creek Falls. Gail, Jo Ann and Evie U met Shelley in Augusta. After a break and snacks at the Mannix General Store, Gail drove us to the trail head. The last two miles of the road were a “Tighten Bra Straps and Remove Dentures” ride. Gail did an excellent job of negotiating the rocks and potholes.
Upon arrival at the trail head, we put on our gear and went through the gate rather than under the barbed wire. Last year, the property owner gave us permission to enter through the gate. At the trail head, the Sugar Bowls were dried up and most other wildflowers were past prime. Normally, that area is filled with beautiful flowers, but the weather has been hot and dry. However, today the temperature in the mid to high 70s was perfect.
When we arrived at the creek, we were pleased that the logs placed across the creek last year were still in place. Since we did not need our water shoes, we hid them in the bushes and picked them up on the way out.
Along the way, the trail varies between tree covered, open meadows, and narrow rocky ledges. We observed the five waterfalls and Jo Ann and Gail added both the Upper and the Lower falls to their 2021 Waterfall list. Many wildflowers were identified including the Shining Penstemon, Wild Rose, Blanket Flower, Iris, Yellow Anemone, Parrot’s Beak, Green Gentian aka Monument Plant, Fuzzy Tongue Penstemon, Round-Leaved Alumroot, Wooly Groundsel, Miner’s Candle, Sandwort, Arrowleaf Balsamroot, False Solomon’s Seal, Starry Solomon’s Seal, Bluebells, Townsendia, Larkspur, Silky Phacelia, Silverleaf Phacelia, Fern-Leaved Desert Parsley, Cut-Leaved Daisy, Drummond’s Milkvetch, and others.
After the fourth waterfall, we stopped for lunch. Then, we proceed on to find the fifth waterfall. While eating lunch, we spotted a person wearing a purple jacket in the distance. When we arrived at the fifth waterfall, two ladies from Helena who were backpacking and camping in the area visited with us (the purple jacket). They took a group photo of us and their dog joined us in the photo.
On the way back to the trail head, Shelley visited with a couple hikers from Conrad. Other than the backpackers and the couple, we did not see anyone else on the trail. It was such a beautiful day. We were surprised, but not disappointed, that no one else was enjoying this wonderful trail.
We stopped for burgers at the Buckhorn Bar; then, said goodbye to Shelley as she headed back to Conrad.
All commented about the good hiking weather and the fellowship which made this hike a perfect day in Montana’s great outdoors.