Well, you wouldn’t think we would have much gain on the miles Traveled front, but all the construction and plowing going on in Glacier caused us to have to drive all the way around the park to get to the other side. So, 304 miles logged for the day driving and around 12 hiking.
We started off at 6:30 on the west side of Glacier.
Christopher skipped rocks while i admired the gorgeous rocks in and around the lake (I’m obsessed).
After a calm morning on the lake we were ready for the hikes we had planned, only to find out we had to drive all the way around the park to get to the trails we were looking for.
So, we sat down for breakfast and re-evaluated as it takes 2 hours to get to the other side with all of the winding roads and, you guessed it, more road construction.
Since we were put back about three hours of when we actually wanted to start we had to knock off one of the hikes we had planned off our list. We were pretty bummed, but we are rolling with the punches.
Alllll the way around the park, oyyy. The road to get there had some pretty views, but it was also a hot mess. Pot holes or craters, if you will, covered the roads with no guardrails and a straight drop down the side of the mountain.
There were a couple spots we stopped at with some amazing views.
We stopped in at the visitors center to run to the bathroom – Chris was wearing his usual buffalo plaid Smuttynose flannel when a kid walked up to him and said “hey Smuttynose, like New Hampshire Smuttynose.” Turns our he and his buddies are from Nashua, New Hampshire and he had just moved to Oregon so they flew there from New Hampshire and then they headed here .. SUCH A SMALL WORLD.
There weren’t a lot of people on this side of the park so when we set off on our first hike I was definitely a little nervous especially with a big ol sign saying “WARNING bears frequent this area” – one woman later told us she saw three bears the last time she did this trail.
I was almost at the point of turning around, then we started to see other people and heard a bunch of chainsaws, I was more comfortable moving forward.
Using downed trees from in the park, crews were repairing old ‘bridges’ and walkways. Which, after walking over this one, we saw how much a new one was needed. Eeeek. Especially after hearing that the most common cause of deaths in the park are water related.
The hike we picked consisted of three different ‘falls’ all quite different and all equally beautiful. And the trek to get there was worth it.
As the trail went on we ran into more and more people who opted for the shorter trail to the falls and met the trail at different entry points. The first fall had more people than the second as it was a straight uphill to the last one.
I was saying to Chris how awful it must be to have to carry all the construction equipment up here and all the wood for the bridge, when we started our way back we saw this little crew of animals getting loaded up to bring it all back.
After about 8 miles of exploration on a few different trails in the same area as our original we made it back to the car.
We had a little something to eat and continued to explore this side of the park.
The roads over here were a MESS so if the other side was anything like this it is good they were doing them over. It seems like the park, and town, only expect people in July and August (which makes sense with the snow) so a lot of businesses and the park camp sites were starting to gear up for crowds.
We really wanted to see a glacier and stoped at this one you can see from the road. It’s not at all what we were picturing and with the snow it’s hard to tell it actually is one, but below is one between the mountains and trees.
With climate change and general changes of the earth many of them are getting smaller and a few we have talked to say they think that’s why more people are visiting Glacier now as they fear sometime in the future they may not all be there.
It doesn’t get dark here until around 9/9:30 as I was saying yesterday, so we decided on one more hike before we headed back to the Yurt.
We picked, what we thought, would be an easy 2 mile out and back hike .. oh boy were we wrong. With almost a 700ft elevation gain in only one mile (which we didn’t pay attention to on the map), it was a straight incline the ENTIRE way up.
Not to mention it was Bear central. The hike up was MISERABLE sweating the entire way and making as much noise as we could as to not surprise any bears through all the twists and turns. The perfect amount of trees, water, and food sources we are 100% certain we passed a couple bears.
At the end the trail opened up to more uphill
The end site was pretty gorgeous
But we were ready to get the heck out of there. A few times on the way down I swore I heard things in the woods, but brushed it off. When we got down to the car I told The gem and he said he also heard a couple grunt noises and saw a few large spots of matted down grass/bush where an animal was sure to have been. Overall, we were glad to be out of there and safely in the car.
We were both exhausted and hungry and the windy roads back towards food were no help at all. You can tell the Gem was exhausted because he fell asleep in the car and that hasn’t happened yet this trip!
Gas Stop: Colombia Falls, MT $2.99/gal – 2 for $4.00 gallons of H2O
Quick shower and off to sleep,