Sunday, October 23, 2011

September 28, 2011 The Highline Trail

Our last day at the St. Mary area of Glacier NP. Once again the clouds look dark over the mountains. We head out to Logan Pass to hike the Highline Trail.
But first a quick stop at the Wild Goose Island overlook on St. Mary Lake. When we get to the Logan Pass Visitor Center it is barely 40 degrees and the wind is blowing about 40 mph. So we bundle up, check with the park ranger who says try it, if it is too windy just turn back and we are off...
...our plan is to hike to Haystack Butte about 3.5 miles down the trail.
Within minutes we are dropping out of the wind and the views are amazing...
Just a few minutes later the trail is cut into the mountain side a few hundred feet above the Going To The Sun Road...
 ...but why look down when a golden eagle is soaring on the wind currents just about eye level to us...
 ...I heard some chirping and all of a sudden there was three of them...
...putting on quite a show. It was hypnotic watching them ride the wind higher and higher without ever flapping their wings. Then dive bombing straight down for no other reason than they appeared to be having fun. Standing on the edge of a three foot wide trail with a 300 foot drop I just kept looking up...circling my head as they flew by...pretending I was up there with them...what an incredible feeling...those 15 minutes will stay with me the rest of my life.
 No matter which way I looked...
...the views made me pause for a moment, because it didn't seem real. The clouds were so low it seemed like I could reach out and touch them.
  Occasionally we were back below the tree line...
 ...then back on the rock...
...where we spotted some mountain goats.
We also had to hike across several waterfalls.
This mountain across the valley caught my eye because half way up it there is a band of rock that has nothing growing on it even though there is vegetation above than line. Sorry I'm amazed by nature and need an explanation by someone smarter than me. Which I doubt I'll get from readers of this ridiculous blog.
Chrissy...always looking for bears.
That line across the mountain is the currently under construction Going To The Sun Road. I can't imagine the logistics to rebuilding a road up here.
 As we neared Haystack Butte, the temperature dropped, the wind picked up...
and it began to snow...
...then we were greeted by a local resident. This hike was giving us 'a little bit of everything' steal a line from a great song by Dawes.
We had lunch on the downwind side of this big rock. I can't remember what gave Chrissy that huge smile...but I'd bet it had something to do with me falling off one of the cliffs on the way back.
We could see the clouds frosting the mountain tops. This must be what someone means when they say they are on top of the world.
 A few scenes from the hike back to Logan Pass.

It was a beautiful sunny day back at Logan Pass.
 A warning sign I missed on the way out.

Next stop Two Medicine Valley and East Glacier.
After an early dinner at Luna Cafe in East Glacier which included an amazing slice of huckleberry pie, we drove into Two Medicine Valley and decided to do a short hike to Running Eagle Falls.

Sure another waterfall but this one was impressive because it seems to come from nowhere. Once again I am thoroughly impressed and very thankful for Mother Nature.
We drove down to Two Medicine Lake where we were told that "You Missed The Boat" by a boarded up boat house. Almost everywhere in Glacier NP is closed for the season by October.
So we decided to hike the Two Medicine South Shore Trail up to Paradise Point. We were greeted by this sign at that trailhead.
So I decided to relax on the shore of Two Medicine Lake and enjoy the setting sun. I took the following pictures from my resting spot on the rocks. Now if I was given a choice of cable TV or this to end my day...that's an easy decision...a pillow of rocks every time.

Off to our cabin at the Bear Creek Ranch.
Dusk at the Bear Creek Ranch. Days like this make life worth living.

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