15-Aug-2003 -- Wednesday morning we flew from Mead, WA to Great Falls, MT with my uncle in his 1954 Beechcraft Bonanza. We were fortunate enough to be able to fly over the confluence and get a view of the terrain before our hike. Upon landing in Great Falls, we rented a car in Great Falls and headed to the West Fork Camp in the Flathead National Forest.
From there we faced a hike of 17 miles each way to the confluence. The first day we hiked over Teton Pass (crossed the Continental Divide) and through a large burned area, most of the drainage of Bowl Creek. We camped about 2 miles from where Bowl Creek meets Basin Creek.
The next morning we were up with the sun and headed north, following a trail for 2 miles, but then had to leave the trail and cut east just south of Mount May. The first two miles of this was not too bad, but the last three presented extremely tough going through very dense forest with no trail. Occasionally we were able to pick up a deer trail, but still spent most of our morning climbing over downed trees.
Shortly after 10:00 AM, we reached the confluence point a few hundred feet west of the South Fork of Trail Creek. As we were pinpointing the exact location of the confluence, we spotted another pair of hikers approaching the confluence via another route. We waited for them at the confluence, but they never crossed the creek to reach the actual point. The confluence itself sits on a heavily forested slope and is difficult to reach. We were able to get a perfect reading on our GPS: 48.00.000N, 113.00.000W.
On the way back to camp, we found a maintained trail near the confluence that went west over the shoulder of Mount May, dropping down into Grizzly Park. Saw many signs of grizzly activity, but unfortunately we never spotted a bear.
From Grizzly Park it was 2 miles back to our camp, where we packed up our gear and headed for Teton Pass. From there we dropped down along the West Fork of the Teton River and followed it back to our trailhead. Total mileage for the second day: 23.