Last night, I suggested to Yeti that we do a hike the next day. He agreed, but said, “Let’s do an overnight and head toward Fox Creek Cabin.” This is one of our favorite hikes – not too much elevation gain, but a varied walk up canyon with tree covered sections, climbs by rocky outcroppings, and a large open meadow with fast flowing creek.
So, off we went on Thursday fortified by a delicious breakfast at the Spotted Horse!
There were quite a few cars at the trail head. Not a big surprise, as we didn’t get a very early start. We immediately met two mountain bikers ending their ride…it’s a popular spot for biking and dog walking for the first few miles. After that, you don’t see many people. It’s a bit of a climb for about a quarter of a mile, then it is a more gradual climb.
Most of the way, we followed the creek, sometimes it would be just feet away and sometimes as we climbed up canyon, the creek was 100 feet below. Just now, with snow melt in full swing, water is gushing and bubbling over the rocks. No worries for water on this hike. Fewer wildflowers than at the Buffalo Jump as it’s higher up and gets a bit less direct sun, but we did see lots of glacier lilies and varieties of violets and some penstemon.
There are multiple water crossings with log bridges and at about the five mile point you pass a camp site in the woods just off the trail. We thought of coming back here to camp after hiking for a bit further. Small blobs of snow began to appear in the trail which were consolidated, so that we did not post-hole very much.
The meadow appears about 6 miles in…it’s an open expanse of grass bordered by some trees. We continued on for about half a mile to the turn-off for the cabin. At first, we had planned to hike a bit higher — we were so early — but the snow was getting deeper there and we decided to turn back.
Yeti saw flat spots as we hit the meadow and suggested checking out the area over by the creek for a possible place to camp. Glad we did: we found a great old campsite, which had a nice kitchen area with stumps to sit upon and even a log tied high in trees for hanging food. So, this was home for tonight. It was only about 3 o’clock.
We set up, got water at the creek just feet away, and started to play cribbage — Yeti brought his lightweight backpacker set. It got cloudier and soon thunder rumbled and it started to rain lightly. We repaired to Yeti’s tent and continued our game. I’m just learning, but though Yeti beat me, I wasn’t far behind in points! It rained on and off for a while, but eventually stopped and the sun re-appeared.
We cooked an early dinner – glad to use up some of the hiker food we had left over from last summer. After dinner, we hung the food bags and did a little walk around the meadow. Moose-tracks were everywhere and lots of droppings near the camp site, too. But, no midnight visitors!
We went to bed pretty early, too. I had a copy of the NYT puzzle which I played with for a while and Yeti read an e-book on his phone….then we turned in. It wasn’t particularly cold yet, though by morning the temperature had gone down probably into the thirties.
Got up about six or so and we made coffee and had breakfast in camp, which is not our thru-hiker pattern. It was kind of nice to not be in a rush to do miles! We only had about 6 miles mostly downhill and we’d be back to the car. It was a pleasant morning, cool and clearing. Near the end of the trail, we bumped into people coming up for a morning walk…several couples and people with dogs. By, nine thirty we were at the car and soon heading back home. It was a nice interlude and great to be out in the woods. We are both getting cabin fever, but with snow still pretty deep higher up, it’s hard to get out many places yet. No sense slogging through spring snow or mud.