Journal entry – 6 September 2015, Sun – Red Lodge, Montana – Hiking West Fork Trail

Journal entries are just that – the digital copy of my hand-written entries in my journal. If you aren’t interested in the daily details of our adventure, feel free to skip on to the next “regular” post.

It’s cold when we wake – neither of us want to get out of bed. Eventually we rise. Ashley writes the journal entry for Thursday as I finish up the skien of violet (one left!) and write some posts.

Watching mama and two fawns

We debate what to do – errands (like groceries) in town or hike up to the waterfalls at the end of this gnarly gravel road. Both, we decide, and gear up for a hike. We can shop this afternoon.

On down to the trailhead we ride. Everywhere we pass is pretty full. Holiday weekend and no threat of rain help with that.

West Fork Trail meets up with the Lake Fork Trail we overnighted on. They converge at Sundance Pass. Today, however, we’re only hiking in 1.8 miles to see both of the waterfalls.

A very pretty trail, we claim it (in conjunction with Lake Fork) the prettiest of the trails we’ve been on. We pass through a variety of terrains, from the rocky remains of an old avalanche, ghost forest of a burnt stand of pines, surviving pine forest and even alpine meadows. I catch myself looking for the colors we saw in the rain on Thursday in the burnt trees.


Calamity Falls is beautiful. We walk in to the bottom, delighting in the view, then follow the trail up to the top where we enjoy our lunch. The falls are a series of steps, working their way down a hill and around a bend.


After eating we head on up the trail, looking for Sentinal Falls, half a mile further on. We see some white water and a group of people stopped for lunch and continue on. Perhaps that was it?

We stop at every meadow, wide spot in the stream, and view that catches our eye. There are many. We begin to wonder if we missed the falls, if that patch of white water was it. Rock Creek has turned into a wide, meandering stream – blue in the mountain meadows. A far cry from the noisy, splashing rocky creek racing its way joyously down the hill.


Sure that we’ve walked too far we enter a meadow with a sign. We are in Quinnebaugh Meadows – we’ve walked 2.7 miles past our destination. With enjoyable conversation, breathtaking views, and a delightfully level trail the distance flew by and we didn’t realize how far we’d traveled.


Once again sure of where we are and about to head back into the pines we decide to turn around and head back. We spot a few people setting up camp. There are more people on the trail today than we have passed up to this point, combined.

We pause and take in the view at Sentinal Falls. Still beautiful, though less impressive than Calamity. A couple of stops are made for wild raspberries growing alongside the trail. We’re sure that we’ve hiked right past a veritable smorgasboard of wild foods without knowing it – our ignorance of what may well be lost knowledge is frustrating.

Back at the trailhead we hop back on the motorcycle and head for home. Once there we decide to save our shopping trip for tomorrow. We can fix supper and edit writings together tonight. Since we’re going in for breakfast in the morning for Ashley’s birthday we can shop then.

Ashley fixes supper as I journal. I have left-over soup from yesterday’s lunch. Ash didn’t care for it.

We edit posts and read before bed.