Glacier National Park!
A September 01/03, 2001 Trip Report.
|Saturday, Doerte and
I wondered if we would even get in the Park at West Glacier since the Moose Fire was
threatening Apgar, but luckily it turned north, away from Lake McDonald, 3,153. We
parked at the Lake McDonald Lodge and started down the beautiful Sperry Glacier Trail to
Gunsight Pass, Sperry Chalets, and Mt. Brown Lookout.
About 1 mile down the trail, we left the main the trail and began the big 30 something switchbacks up to the Mt. Brown Lookout. Above treeline the wind blew hard and cold. We were surprised at how cold the wind was. It was so warm in the trees. We donned jackets and huddled down on the East Side of the lookout for a lunch and rest.
Smoke from the Moose Fire, bellowed north and east. We had a fantastic view of Lake McDonald and views south to yet another fire between Glacier and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The summit of Mt. Brown, 8,565, was to our north, about 1-mile and 1,100 away.
We did 9.4 miles round trip and 4,300 elevation gain to the unmanned Mt. Brown Lookout.
Sunday, we hiked the Highline Trail from Logan Pass, 6,680 on the Continental Divide. The trail goes to Granite Park Chalet and then down to "The Loop" on the Going to the Sun Road. This is a great hike above treeline that begins with an exposed trail with a cable anchored to the wall for the faint of heart. The hike only gets better from there, with views through the gap to Lake McDonald and beyond.
We saw Mountain Goats, and many Bighorn Sheep before we passed in to Grizzly Country just before the Chalet. A great side trip is to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook. The Granite Park Chalet now serves as a hiker shelter or hut. Hikers can rent a room or a bunk, and buy snacks. The trail continues over Swiftcurrent Pass to Many Glacier, or down to The Loop, 4 easy miles downhill. We saw Grizzly scat, but no bears.
We only gained 1,000 on this loop hike, but went 11.4 miles before we hitchhiked back up to Logan Pass and the car.
We saw one black bear, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and 2 coyotes. We didnt see any of the estimated 350 Grizzly bears in Glacier or either of the two wolf packs.
Hiking in Bear country is quite exciting. Hikers must be alert and observant at all times, and not just rely on bear bells or conversation to make their presence know to the bears. Near running water and in windy conditions the bears are not going to hear the bear bell. Hiking in larger groups of 3 to 4 and carrying pepper spray are recommended. Even the car camps required vigilance. Coolers, stoves and all food items were required to be in the vehicles unless in immediate use.
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