I feel like I fit three days into one. In the morning I got some housekeeping chores completed. By 11:00 I was all packed up with my kayak on my car. I packed a cooler with several beers, a sandwich, cheese curds, and an orange. I hit the lake at Rising Sun boat dock. The forecast said 8 mph winds, from the south. It was warm and mostly sunny. All in all, a good chance to get out on the lake.
This was probably my third or fourth trip on St. Mary Lake. It’s just TOO WINDY to get out and paddle very often. The wind has kept me from paddling very far up the lake, so today I took advantage of the low wind speeds.
Mountains Left to Right: Mahtotopa Mountain, Little Chief Mountain, Dusty Star Mountain, Gunsight Mountain (barely visible), Fusillade Mountain (front and center), Heavy Runner (darker, low mountain), Reynolds Mountain, Going-to-the-Sun Mountain.
I made it up to Rainbow Rock, which is a landmark for viewing Sexton Glacier from the boat tours. It’s also rare because the whole valley was carved out by glaciers…so why would their be an island in the lake? The educated guess is this: Limestone. The lower layers of rock are Altyn Limestone, a very resistant rock. So, the glaciers theoretically, could have carved around the islands like Rainbow Rock and Wild Goose Island. Pretty amazing to me. Regardless, Rainbow Rock was a welcomed resting spot. I got out, tethered my kayak to my ankle and enjoyed the view, my sandwich and a beer. It was great.
Enjoying a Bud Light...the freshest beer they sell at the local Grocery.
When I returned I gathered a few hiking buddies and walked down the road, across the meadows (in front of the St. Mary Visitor Center), and walked along the St. Mary lakeshore.
We saw moose tracks the entire shoreline. We also saw LOTS of signs of the elk herd that usually lives there during the winter. For some reason they have moved on to greener pastures. All we saw of the elk was hoof prints, elk highways (5 lanes wide), lots of poop, and even a few leg bones from the less fortunate elk. We thought of a neat book idea: “If I were an ungulate….” and we filled in the blank. Ungulates are hoofed animals, like cows, elk, deer, sheep, goats and moose. We came up with a few good ones. “If I were an ungulate I would live with other ungulates for safety.” “If I were an ungulate I would poop where ever I wanted!” “If I were an ungulate I would copulate.” Just kidding, but they’d have to...to carry on their genes! Towards the end of the hike we started saying, “If I were a homo sapien sapien, I would walk in the foot steps of an elk.” And that left a good picture in our heads!
The last leg of my day was sharing conversation and a meal with another lead interpreter here in St. Mary. She returned for the first time this season and it was good to see another friendly face. We shared my leftover Serrano’s and had a few beers while we had stimulating conversations about the season to come!
Needless to say, I’m pooped!
Weather: Warm, upper 50’s, partly cloudy/sunny.