Frenchman Coulee — Saturday, Apr. 21, 2012
Ethan, Brenda, Jonah, & I went over to Frenchman Coulee on this warm, sunny day & did a couple of hikes from Bruce Bjornstad's book, "On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods". We arrived at the parking area in the middle alcove where camping is allowed about 10:30 and it was tent city because of all the rock climbers. We first walked out to the South Alcove Overlook where we had a panoramic view of Echo Basin. Frenchman Coulee Rib was crawling with climbers. After about 1/2 hour taking photos and soaking in the view, we headed over to Frenchman Coulee Rib and walked about 3/4 of the way out the rib and found a spot for lunch at the edge of the cliff with a view back into Echo Basin. After a couple of hours we headed back, taking the main trail down the north side of the rib back to the car. Showy Phlox was in bloom with a scattering of Hooker's Balsamroot and a few other flowers. Walking on slabs of basalt with a coarse reddish sand above towering cliffs was a little like hiking in Utah. Since all the climbers were on the cliffs in the distance or out of sight below us we never felt crowded even though there was probably a couple hundred other people in the area. It was a very nice day.