Friday, April 17, 2015

There's hiking in Glacier already (East Side)

Hard to believe that this was taken Friday, April 17.  Looks like summer's here in the park!
Almost out of habit I packed my skis, boots, and snowshoes in the car when I prepared to head to Glacier to enjoy a spectacular day of sun Friday.
This has always been a time of year when the snow was great there, even when it had disappeared elsewhere.
Luckily, I had also packed my hiking boots, because those were what were needed.
Yes, there's snow in the high country, but the foothills and many ridgetops there are already bare.
Even high peaks like Summit and Rising Wolf are only mottled with snow on their flanks.
I parked at Running Eagle (Trick) Falls in the Two Medicine country where the road was blocked, and decided to hike the remaining 2.5 miles to Two Medicine Lake.
On the shore on an April hike
The road was clear, although there were patches of snow in the shaded, wooded areas.
The lake was clear of ice, which offered an interesting counter-point to what looked like pretty good snow along the Continental Divide near Painted Teepee, Helen peak and Dawson Pass.
I encountered a lone coyote on the way up and throughout the day three other parties of road hikers.
Amazing that a great American national park would be so empty.
After enjoying the lake, I walked around the Two Med campground as far as the bridge to the North Shore Trail, and then circled back, deciding to give the Scenic Point Trail a try.
I'm glad I did, because I could ascend nearly 1,000 feet and more than a mile before I hit snow patches, which on other days when I had more time, I could have skirted.
I enjoyed lunch above the Apistoki valley with the lake below and Rising Wolf in full, glorious view.
After returning to my car, I decided to see what Marias Pass looked like and was pleased to see that Elk Calf, Flattop and Elk mountains all had what could be skiable snow if the sun softened it.
The pass parking lot was clear of snow, making the sign warning of avalanche danger seem out of place.
It was a glorious day that I enjoyed thoroughly, but I think the lack of snow could be a harbinger to a rough summer of fires.
Mighty Rising Wolf

Lone Walker at head of Upper Two Med Lake

Marias Pass is clear and Little Dog and Summit Mountains only mottled with snow

Apistoki Valley on way up Scenic Point Trail

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