Home Away from Home
The location of our adventure started with turning off on Skyland Road from Highway 2. The paved road soon turned to gravel as we wound through hills, slowly descending into a canyon. We were graced with an abundance of wildflowers along the road and stopped often to take photos. It was early in the morning and the sun had just peaked over the mountains when we arrived at the parking area at the trailhead.
Although we were told that the trail was mostly downhill, it was apparent early on that there was going to be a lot of hiking up and down. We followed the trail along mountainsides, often going down into gullies and hiking back up again. We often had to cross the small streams using stepping stones and logs to keep our boots dry. Only once did we have to take off our hiking boots and wear our water sandals to cross a river at the beginning of the hike. We covered a lot of ground and after awhile we could tell we were hiking around a mountain and slowly descending into the canyon where the middle fork of the Flathead River flows.
The day was a hot one, probably in the upper 80s F. We were fortunate to have stretches of shaded forest but there were plenty of times we were hiking in the blazing sun. It was a tough hike for us and we both felt that we should have been in better shape. The trail was 6.9 miles to Granite Creek Cabin and we were so happy when we finally made it.
The hike out was a piece of cake in comparison. After 11 days of climbing down to the river from our perch on the big granite outcropping and up again hauling 2 5-gallon buckets of water numerous times a day, hauling our painting gear up and down the trail and along the river side, and doing numerous chores that required a lot of deep knee bends, we were in the best shape and feeling like we earned our self-proclaimed monikers of “Wilderness Women.” Hiking out from Granite Cabin was definitely more uphill then the hike in. Although we were tired when we reached the parking area, we couldn’t believe how quickly we got there and how much easier on our bodies the almost 7 mile hike had been.