Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Scenic Point to East Glacier Park

H. Wayne Phillips on top of Scenic Point

On his way to East Glacier Park

Some father-daughter time at Two Med Lake

The famous bear dog of East Glacier Park:  Fatboy

A horse back ride is part of the trip
The town of East Glacier Park is as much of a draw for me as the park itself.
Every year I figure a way to stay a week or two in this quaint village on the Blackfeet Reservation that has somehow resisted the commercialization on the west side of the park.
Sure, there are tourist businesses here, but chains are kept out and they are more mom and pop operations.
I’ve gotten to know some of these operators over the years, Linda Chase, who runs the Whistle Stop CafĂ© and Brownies Deli and Hostel. Terry Sherburne and his mother who run the Mountain Pines motel across the street have become friends; Terry as a climbing and skiing partner.
I’ve enjoyed meeting the community dogs in East Glacier. Fat Boy, an Akita-Cerulian cross, is the alpha male, Quanta, his “girlfriend.”
There’s the magnificent Glacier Park Lodge, built by the Great Northern Railroad, interesting art galleries and curio shops to keep me busy when I’m having a “rest” day.
I like eating at the Villager, where I enjoy seeing Laurie Littner, a perennial waitress, who has been a Glacier Mountaineering Society climbing companion. Serrano’s Mexican restaurant is good if you can get in. On this most recent trip I found the 1 hour 15 minute wait too much and just not worth it. I got great food at the Whistle Stop in 15 minutes after I gave up on Serrano’s.
While staying in East Glacier I’ve become acquainted with the trails to the park you can pick up from town. In the winter I use the Autumn Creek trail. In the summer, I love the walk to and from Two Medicine Lake to East Glacier on the Mount Henry Trail, 10 miles, just perfect. It has something for everyone.
There’s the 2,400 feet climb to Scenic Point from Two Med, and then the 7 mile descent to East Glacier down a ridge line that passes snow fields, alpine grasses and flowers and a rugged canyon where three streams, each with waterfalls, come together.
This is one of the most overlooked trails in the park. I’d say 99 percent of those who hike to Scenic Point simply turn around and go back, neglecting a remote treasure in the park.

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