Sunday, April 19, 2015

An early Many Glacier visit

Many Glacier reflections in Lake Sherburne

Looking toward Grinnell Glacier

Grinnell Point
We visited Many Glacier on Sunday, the earliest I can recall in any season.
It was a day trip and a magical one at that.
There were only a few people in this part of the park despite a gorgeous blue sky and warm day.
Of course, it is worrisome that the park is so short of snow that something like this is possible.
We made the most of it.
We drove up US 89 by way of St. Mary and then up through Babb and into Many Glacier, stopping along the way to oogle the brilliant reflections of the snow-capped mountains on the glass-like Lake Sherburne. It is highly unusual for the area to be so bereft of wind.
Our goal was to see animals, and see animals we did.
On the Mount Altyn hillside we spyed herds of bighorn sheep and mountain goats.
While we kept a special eye out for moose and grizzlies, we didn't see any, but we saw plenty of signs,including a large pile of grizzly scat in the middle of the road across from the Many Glacier picnic area.  We saw grizzly prints in the snow on our hike and innumerable piles of moose droppings and hoof prints.
We set out to walk from the picnic area around Swiftcurrent Lake and a look at Many Glacier Hotel.
But, by the time we got to the head of the lake, we decided to see if we could get to Lake Josephine with its views of Mounts Gould and Grinnell.
We thought there might be ice on the landlocked Josephine, but there wasn't any.
The views from the foot of the lake toward the mountains were impressive,  The Grinnell Glacier area, the Salamander Glacier, the massive peaks were still in their winter blankets.
As we started up north shore of Josephine we heard what sounded like a loud gunshot, and shortly after another slightly muffled shot.
A bighorn ram on Grinnell Point
I scanned the horizon and the cliffs below Grinnell Point and lo and behold found two bighorn rams squared off, rearing up on their hind legs to butt heads. Sure enough, when they did, they produced the sound we thought to have been gunshots.  This kept us entranced.  I had always wanted to witness rams knocking heads, and here they were above us.
On the way back to the car, we stopped again to watch the wildlife on the mountain-side and found an even greater number of goats.
On the way out of the park, just beyond hotel turnoff we encountered a yearling sheep who allowed us to study and photograph him.
On the way home we stopped for a bite to eat in Dupuyer at the Buffalo Joe restaurant, a new addition to that community, and were quite pleased by the food, service and decor.
It is unusual to find a vegetarian-friendly place in these parts, but they had a home-made vegan black bean burger that was quite delicious.
What a terrific day!
Mount Gould from Lake Josephine boat dock

Where else but Montana would someone photograph grizzly crap in the middle of the road?

Our first glacier lily of the season

A young bighorn stayed still enough for us to enjoy him 

No comments: