Saturday, October 29, 2011

September 29, 2011 Lazy Day

"Today I don't feel like doin' anything
I just wanna lay in my bed
Don't feel like picking up my phone
So leave a message at the tone
Cuz today I swear I'm not doin' anything" - The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars

I did feel like Bruno Mars today but we have to get from the east side of Glacier to the west side before nightfall so I can't stay in bed all day. So I got up early to take pictures at Bear Creek Ranch. Above is our cabin below are pictures of the ranch.

 We spent most of the morning with Bill Beck and his son and daughter-in-law, Dane & Felicia. Dane whipped up breakfast while we talked about all the places we've all been to. I always enjoy sharing stories with the people we meet on these trips.
Chrissy saying goodbye to her new BFF, Bailey.
 Our first stop was at Marias Pass where there was an interesting triple memorial, one for Theodore Roosevelt, one for "Slippery Bill" Morrison and one for John F. Stevens.
This monument is for Teddy Roosevelt, easily one of our greatest presidents. The reason it exists is because of Mr. Morrison, who was a mountain man that had squatters rights to the land at Marias Pass. Upon his death, he donated the land to the federal government as long as they built a memorial to Teddy Roosevelt. Bill thought he deserved it for all he did to protect America's wild lands. Mr. Stevens helped build the railroad across this part of the country. We also hiked for a little while in two National Forests, the Lewis & Clark NF and the Flathead NF.
Then we drove up a dirt road and started this hike back into Glacier, but we were feeling lazy and the hike was uninspiring so we changed plans and started driving to West Glacier.
 We didn't get very far because I had to stop to check out these railroad avalanche tunnels we kept seeing up on the mountains. While the railroad geek in me forced me to hike up an access road to get some pictures...
 ...Chrissy relaxed along Bear Creek on what was quickly becoming a beautiful day.
 When I got back we both sat there enjoying the fresh air, warmth of the sunshine and the incredible views...
...while fully embracing our lazy day.
 A little further down the road we stopped in the Flathead National Forest...
 Chrissy soaked up the sun on the rocks along the creek...
while I took a short hike up river and crossed over into the forest for a hike.
By the time we stopped at the Goat Lick Overlook, the day was absolutely perfect and Chrissy was rockin' this new fashion style. We didn't see any goats but we did run into the Dead Husbands Club. Let me explain, we kept running into carloads of older women enjoying Glacier NP. So I nicknamed them the Dead Husbands Club. These women killed off their husbands and now are spending their money on these trips they always wanted to take but couldn't. Since there were no goats and Chrissy was thinking about joining the Dead Husbands Club, I said we had to leave to find lunch.
 We had lunch at the Izaak Walton Hotel...
 ...where you can stay in these unique rooms...
...instead of the usual room of four walls and a bed.
After lunch we decided to do a hike in the Great Bear Wilderness. It was listed as an easy hike to Stanton Lake.
But the first mile and a half was uphill the whole way...
...when we got to the lake the trail never seemed to allow good access to the lake and it went in two different directions. So we hiked back to the car.
 We drove to West Glacier and drove the Going To The Sun Road to Avalanche, where the road is closed for construction. On the way back we stopped along McDonald Creek...
 ...for a few photo opportunities...
 ...the sun was beginning to set...
 ...and here is Chrissy soaking up the last of the sun...
...another unintentionally funny sign, at least funny to me.
Chrissy & I have joked about ravens or crows following us on these hiking trips for years. Whenever we hear one 'caawing' above us, we joked they are circling waiting to peck our eyes out. It's just some stupid joke we've continued to repeat. So when I got out of the car to take some pictures of McDonald Lake, this little guy kept following me. He wouldn't leave me alone, so I got down low along side the car to take this picture. Chrissy rolled down the window and said "he's gonna peck your eyes out." So I screamed and jumped up back into Chrissy's view with my hand over my right eye. She couldn't stop laughing.
 McDonald Lake at sunset..
...the end to a perfectly lazy day and yes, that is the same crow that wouldn't leave me alone.

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.