Big Sky Vacation Day 4: Adventures with Rams

This is our first day for hiking in the park.  First, we had to start out with a good breakfast.  Zerah, Alex, and I cooked up bacon, sausage, and eggs with toast.  I tell you, Owen can really eat for a 2 year old!  He had several pieces of sausages with his egg and toast.  Then came the inevitable clean up.  Luckily, there is a dishwasher in the house.  I loaded up while everyone was preparing for the day.

Zerah has proven herself to be the ultimate in picnic lunches.  She is officially in charge of that task.

We loaded up a couple of cars and headed out to Two Medicine.  Turning onto 89 from East Glacier, we passed the Glacier Lodge.  I’ll have to get some pictures of the place.  Some of the lodges are celebrating 100 years in business this year.  They are wonderfully architected with great detail.  We passed through the other side of East Glacier.

Once we arrived at the gate for Two Medicine, it was a matter getting a pass to enter when the park is open.  The annual pass is great because it good for a year and we can get into any park in the country.  Unfortunately, it probably doesn’t work when we go over to the Canadian side to Waterton Lake Park.  Oh well, we are supporting the park system.

We met at Running Eagle Falls parking lot for our first hike.  This is a short .6 mile hike round trip.  The path takes you down to the Two Medicine River where a two-tiered falls comes down from the mountain to join the river.  With winter just fading from memory, the falls are pretty full as well as the river itself.

Rich couldn’t find a good place to cross, so he began to ford at the point where we could from the trail.  The rest of the group began to follow.  Once reaching the other side, they made their way to the viewing platform directly opposite the falls.  Me?  I waited on the dry side of the river.  This is glacier water we are talking about.  I just couldn’t take the cold water.  I didn’t even try to dip my toes in.  Pretty soon, the group forded the river again to come back on my side.  Good thing.  I’d hate to leave anyone behind when darkness returned.

Rich really wanted to climb the Appostoki Falls trail.  The parking lot was jammed with vehicles, but we managed to get into a couple of spots.  Funny, because we hardly saw anyone on that trail.  The trail started easy enough.  However, we hit a steep and rocky patch as we climbed beside the river.  I had to stop and wait for everyone at one point.  I figured I could make it up, but coming back down would be too tricky for me.

I decided to move a little further down the trail and was negotiating a slick set of rocks when I heard a voice from high above me.  It was a woman’s voice so I figure it wasn’t God.  Zerah was on a trail above me and letting me know that I should return to the fork in the road and come up the scenic trail.  I did this happily.  I met an older couple coming up the trail.  I stopped to tell them what was ahead and what I was doing.

As I was approaching Zerah, she was talking toward me saying she heard a growling noise and …..There was a ram walking down the trail behind her.  Apparently, this was his highway and he didn’t like sharing.  Seeing me, he decided to take the shortcut over the side.  We could see him bounding through the underbrush down to the trail below.

We made up to the top of the trail where the rest of the group was waiting on a rocky outcrop with a great view of the valley that lead to Appostoki Falls.  Down in the valley, you could see a few mountain sheep coming down the mountain and watering in the river.  Pretty cool to see.

Then it was time to go back down the trail to the parking area.  Now, I don’t walk all that fast and I take my time.  It’s better than getting hurt.  This tends to leave me at the end of the group.  The older couple had decided to follow the scenic trail to the outcrop.  They were so excited to have seen the ram as well.  She was showing me pictures on her phone.  Thank goodness for camera phones.

When we reached the fork for the falls trail and the scenic trail, I turned around in time to see a herd of rams coming down the trail behind us!  Oh my gosh!  How cool.  They stopped and crashed into each other to turn around and get away for us.  I did manage to get a picture of one very wooly, molting ram though.

Back into the cars and we headed to Two Medicine Lake for a picnic.  I went straight for the store and office area to look for a table and found the perfect one.  It was located on a deck on the side of the building.  It was very long and had the perfect view.  We unloaded a cooler and loaded up plates with sandwiches and chips.  But the table came with a price.  There was a ground squirrel who was very interested in us.

Owen came down to my end of the table after finishing his lunch.  I was trying to show him the squirrel, but he really had no idea what to look for.  Finally, he saw the squirrel and literally jumped into my lap.  I assured him that the little guy was harmless and only wanted food.  I taught Owen to say, “Scat” to the squirrel.  But as you can image, the squirrel paid no attention.

With lunch finished and all necessaries taken care of, we decided to hike out to Paradise Point on a trail around one side of the lake.  The ferry boat was filling up as we were getting things together.  All of the boys, and I do mean all of them, were skipping rocks along the shores.  The gravel was all flat and perfecting for skipping.

Tearing them away from the shore, we head up the trail.  About .2 miles in, we followed the fork that lead to Paradise Point.  Zane and I were bringing up the rear.  Poor Zane was tired and running on low.  Me?  I was following his lead and just keeping him company.

Paradise Point is a piece of land that juts out into the lake.  You can get a good view up the lake into the mountains at the back.  Looking toward the store and boat landing, you could see where you had just come from.  We hung out at the point for a while.  The boys skipped more rocks.  We watched a couple of people in a row boat fight the wind and waves to get back to the landing.

Alex found something very shiny on Lone Wolf Mountain directly across from us.  That lead to a ton of speculation on what exactly everyone was looking at.  Joe said it was something alien.  Alex thought it was tailings from a silver thread in the mountain.  There was no way to tell what it was.  It definitely was shiny and took up a lot of attention.

Pretty soon, we made our way back.  This time, Zane took the lead with me following a close second.  We were determined to get as far as possible before the others overtook us.  We did stop to look at the downed tree by beavers.  That was cool enough to stop and look at.  Sure enough, the rest of the group found us and passed us up.

Zerah decided to get Zane signed up for the Junior Ranger program.  She was able to secure a package for Zane and to get a older Junior Ranger package for Joe.  It’s nice to be remembered.  We headed back and Joe started filling his booklet out in the car.

Back at the house, it was time to clean up.  Showers and baths were taken and it was good to be a little dirt-free from the trails.  Zerah and Sean were going up to the lodge to look around.  We all decided to go.  But as fate would not allow this, their vehicle wouldn’t start.  This meant figuring out that the battery was dead to the world and would not accept attempts to revive it.  We found an auto parts place and Alex with Sean went out for a battery.

Now replacing the battery in a Dodge Journey is not an easy thing to do.  Alex changed into total orange shorts and shirt and started to work.  I managed to get tools from the owners of the house and this helped a great deal.  They got it apart, replaced and put back together without the use of many censored content for this blog.  In the meantime, Rich was grilling steaks while Zerah and I prepared other parts of the meal.

I managed to have a conversation with Wendy, who owns the house.  She was setting a sprinkler to water the yard and garden.  Did I mention the beautiful gardens at this house?  I asked her about the garden.  She started on it 8 years ago when she bought the house.  Each year, she adds to it and it grows.  From a gardener’s perspective, it is such a nice project in progress.  I told her I might take out some therapy and weed for her.  She was OK with that.  I miss my flowers at home.

So this evening, we gathered on the front porch again with our drinks of choice.  I assure you that Joe just had tea.  We talked about our lives and situations.  We laughed a lot.  It was good to enjoy the company of family.  Sunset was coming to the Dancing Lady and Calfrobe Mountains, but it was not going to paint them the colors I had hoped for.  Time to move inside and figure out day for tomorrow.

St Mary’s has several good hikes, but we need to remember the little guys will be with us.  So I guess I can end now and wait for more tomorrow.

View of the Dancing Lady and Calfrobe Mountains this morning.
View of the Dancing Lady and Calfrobe Mountains this morning.
Sign for Running Eagle Falls.
Sign for Running Eagle Falls.

 

Sean getting sprayed down for bugs.
Sean getting sprayed down for bugs.
Rich planning to ford the river to get his pictures.
Rich planning to ford the river to get his pictures.
Rich and Alex heading for the other shore at Running Eagle Falls.
Rich and Alex heading for the other shore at Running Eagle Falls.
Joe, Rich, and Alex wading to the opposite shore.
Joe, Rich, and Alex wading to the opposite shore.
Everyone returning from the opposite bank at Running Eagle Falls.
Everyone returning from the opposite bank at Running Eagle Falls.
Running Eagle Falls taken by Joy.
Running Eagle Falls taken by Joy.
Great shot of Running Eagle Falls by Rich from the other side of the river.
Great shot of Running Eagle Falls by Rich from the other side of the river.
Another great shot by Rich of Running Eagle Falls.
Another great shot by Rich of Running Eagle Falls.

 

 

Zane gets a piggyback ride across the river.
Zane gets a piggyback ride across the river.
Zerah and Owen enjoying the river side.
Zerah and Owen enjoying the river side.
Not sure of the name, but it towered over the parking lot at Appostoki Falls.
Not sure of the name, but it towered over the parking lot at Appostoki Falls.
The group heading out for the trail to Appostoki Falls.
The group heading out for the trail to Appostoki Falls.
Beargrass is in full bloom throughout the park.
Beargrass is in full bloom throughout the park.
Beautiful blue flowers growing everywhere on the trail at Appostakic Falls.
Beautiful blue flowers growing everywhere on the trail at Appostakic Falls.

 

View of Appostoki Falls
View of Appostoki Falls
That's the trail back down at Appostoki Falls.
That’s the trail back down at Appostoki Falls.
Ram on the trail at Appostoki Falls.
Ram on the trail at Appostoki Falls.
Rams on the mountainside at Appostaki Falls.
Rams on the mountainside at Appostaki Falls.

 

The groups stopped for lunch.
The groups stopped for lunch.
Uninvited ground squirrel trying to join us for lunch.
Uninvited ground squirrel trying to join us for lunch.
View of Wolf Mountain from our picnic table.
View of Wolf Mountain from our picnic table.
The boys skipping rocks at Two Medicine Lake before we take off for a hike.
The boys skipping rocks at Two Medicine Lake before we take off for a hike.
Joy and Rich with Lone Wolf Mountain in the background.
Joy and Rich with Lone Wolf Mountain in the background.
Sean, Zerah and the boys at Paradise Point.
Sean, Zerah and the boys at Paradise Point.
Standing at Paradise Point looking back at the boat launch.
Standing at Paradise Point looking back at the boat launch.
Lone Wolf Mountain stands majestically.
Lone Wolf Mountain stands majestically.
Great hiking buddies before heading back down the trail.
Great hiking buddies before heading back down the trail.
View from Paradise Point by Rich.
View from Paradise Point by Rich.
Guys working on getting a new battery into the Dodge Journey.
Guys working on getting a new battery into the Dodge Journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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