Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sulphur Springs hike on a blustery day

Outcroppings are numerous on Sacajawea Springs trail

Katie at the Springs

A better overview of the Springs with Fall color coming on
The weather has been menacing this weekend and discouraged me from doing any climbing.
To exercise I decided to head to River’s Edge Trail and do the Sulphur Springs hike in the Morony Dam area.
It is a 1.8 mile walk each way over a well built and maintained trail that undulates across several very pretty coulees and rock outcrops and down to the Missouri River where there are rapids.
This is a historic place, where Sacajawea, the young Shoshone Indian girl was cured of fever by the sulphur waters of this spring while on the Lewis and Clark Expedition more than 200 years ago.
I hadn’t been back to the spring since the new trail was built and interpretive signs installed. There’s a great parking area at the trailhead, near a trailhead for the North Shore Trail.
We had been looking for fall color, but didn’t find much. The trees and ground cover are barely tinged.
The interpretive signs are particularly informative and well done. They speak of early attempts to make the springs a tourist spot, and that they had been sought, like in Sacajawea’s case, for their medicinal properties.
The springs themselves are a scenic relief in the breaks along the Missouri.
They were covered with an algae bloom on Saturday.
The signs direct hikers around the springs and ask that they stay on the trail to prevent vegetative damage.
One sign points out where Lewis and Clark camped near the mouth of Belt Creek when they came through.
At the beginning of the hike there’s a vista spot that gives a good overview of the area and Morony Dam.
This is a nice hike convenient to Great Falls.

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