Monday, July 18, 2011

Glacier's Logan Pass finally open!!!!

It might be mid-July but tourists must tunnel through snow to see Logan Pass Visitor's Center

St. Mary's Falls spills at full tilt

At Josephine Lake

Katie at Two Med

Mountain Goat showing off at Cracker Lake
When we heard that Glacier's Logan Pass on the Going-to-the-Sun Highway was finally to open on July 13 we hightailed it to the park for a look.
Cracker Lake from Siyeh peak.
What we saw the next day was impressive.
The Visitor's Center was partially covered in snow and to reach the Hidden Lake Trail "boardwalks," the Park Service had excavated tunnels for access.
The snow was well up the side of Mounts Clement and Oberlin and there was snow as far as the eye could see to the Hidden Lake Overlook.
Many of the Park's trails are impassible because of the deep snow, a snow that delayed the opening to the latest the pass has been opened since the initial year of the highway, in 1933.
Our goals for the four-day trip were to see the pass, do some light hiking, hike the 10-miles roundtrip to Otokomi Lake and the 12 miles to Cracker Lake.
We accomplished all but Otokomi Lake because hikers ahead of us turned back because there was a mother grizzly and cub right on the trail just before the Rose Creek trail crossing.  We decided it wiser to turn around and hike another day.
We also did Virginia Falls and a short piece of the South Shore Trail on St. Mary's Lake and were not disappointed by the snowmelt that had the water crashing over the falls.
Cracker Lake was a great treat.  I've seen the lake four times, but from the perch of Mt. Siyeh, some 5,000 feet above it after various climbs of the peak.
There were lots of signs of grizzlies along the scenic trail and the lake, with its other-worldly azure color did not fail to satisfy.  We were greeted by two friendly mountain goats.
We stayed a night in a cabin at Rising Sun and a cabin at Many Glacier's Swiftcurrent area and at the Jacobsen's motel in East Glacier.
It was a fine four-day getaway.
In the meantime I'm still deep in planning my coming six day trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, concerned about the snow in the passes and along the trails there.
Headquarters Pass is still closed because of steep snow and ice, a remarkable situation because this pass is often accessible even in late May.

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