This morning we drove into the Park via the Two Medicine entrance. Going-to-the-Sun Road, with Logan Pass and other points of interest along that route, is heavily traveled and sees large numbers of visitors. We found it to be quite congested. While we still found quite a good number of fellow visitors at Two Medicine, it was (pleasantly) less heavily traveled. The road to Two Medicine is relatively short, and dead ends at Two Medicine Lake. We ventured back there to check into taking a boat tour of the lake. It was recommended that you reserve your seat a day ahead of time, but we found that there were open seats available that day so we signed right up. Not our original plan, but this was a “go-with-the-flow” kinda trip.
We had to wait a few hours for our scheduled time so we drove back down to where we had seen a sign for a Nature Trail and Waterfall. The Nature Trail was a great little walk to do with the kids. It was a short, flat, wide trail that wandered through the forest.
Variety of Goldenrod (possibly Rocky Mountain Goldenrod)
I believe this is unripe Red Baneberry. It is poisonous.
Lorquin's Admiral (butterfly)
At the far end of the Nature Trail, you could follow another trail across the river to Running Eagle Falls. This waterfall is also known as “Trick Falls”, and it is so cool. Take a look:
Neat, huh? It seems like the water is coming from no where – right out of the rock. We read that during spring runoff, the water level is so high from snow melt that the water actually comes over the top rock.
This was a nice spot for the kids to stick their toes in the water. (Little toes got dipped in glacier water every day we were in the park, with varying degrees of success at removing them from the water – I think wading was their favorite activity for the week!)
We headed back from our little exploration and found a great picnic spot right by the lake shore for lunch.
Butter-and-Eggs (Also known as Yellow Toadflax, this pretty-looking flower is actually considered an invasive species and is listed as a noxious weed in some states.)
Afterward we headed over to the dock for our boat tour. The tour is billed as a 45 minute trip across the lake and back. However, you do have the option of getting off the boat at the far end of the lake and hiking/exploring trails in that area before making your return trip. (Of course, there are trails that go the whole way around the lake – and avoid the cost of the boat trip – but with two pregnant women, a two-year-old and a four-year-old... well, there was no way we were doing that.) Personally, I didn't think the boat tour was really worth the money in and of itself, but factoring in the opportunity to hike and see a neat waterfall that we wouldn't have gotten to see otherwise made it worth the cost, plus it was a neat experience for the kids (at least I thought so – they weren't as impressed with it as I expected them to be though).
Upon arriving at the far side of the lake, we got off the boat and started our hike to Twin Falls. This was another nice, well-maintained trail. The kids were tired though. We forgot to bring our backpack for Mountain Girl to ride in, but at least she is small enough to be carried in someone's arms without too much difficulty. The same cannot be said for Biker Dude, so when he got a little tired something set him off and... well, there were tears and wails and stumbles... (We joked that at least the bears knew we were coming...) Nothing was working to distract him from his misery. And then – mud. A little muddy spot in the trail totally made him forget what he was ever miserable about to begin with and all was well after that point. Three cheers for mud!!!
Lewis' Monkey Flower
Butterfly (some type of Fritillary – they are kinda hard to tell apart)
Twin Falls was really neat and worth the hike to see it. I had a hard time getting both waterfalls in the shot, but here's about the best I could do:
We made it back to the boat dock for our return trip, but there were a lot of people waiting. The boat could not take everyone back at the same time so we had to wait about another 45 minutes or so there on the lake shore until it came back again. And there she is, the Sinopah.
We had left our cars parked by our picnic spot, which was pretty close to the dock area but not right at it, so we had a nice little walk along the rocky lake shore.
I don't know what kind of plant this is, but it is really interesting!
Columbian Ground Squirrel.
That was the end of Day 4! Back to the house for supper and bed. It was another good day, but if I did it over again I would do the boat trip and the longer hike in the morning when the kids were feeling more energetic. I could have done with a little less drama. :)