Monday, August 1, 2011

Hidden Lake GNP Montana Aug 1

For the third year in a row, I have chosen to spend a few days in early August at Glacier National Park in Montana.  This time would be different though in the sense I will be camping instead of hotelling it.  I set up camp yesterday at Johnson's Campground for four nights.  I arrived yesterday while my friends were out hiking Iceberg Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel.  

This morning we stopped in at the St. Mary Visitor Center to check out trail conditions and to see if the Ranger could make a safe suggestion for us that didn't involve needing an ice axe and crampons and that was on the shorter side.  We came away with the decision to do Hidden Lake which I had done twice before but certainly didn't mind hiking it again.  

Once behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center where the trail head is, I thought it looked more like early spring time then the dog days of summer due to the amount of snow.  What wasn't covered with snow, was covered with glacier lilies.
The sticks in the snow marked the trail.  Under all the snow is a board walk with stairs and landings.  It was fun to watch people ahead of me wearing everything from hiking boots to sandals trying to make their way up the snow.
Most hikers opted to stop at the Hidden Lake Overlook and that was what the Ranger recommended but did say folks are going beyond but there are steep slippery snowy slopes and proper foot wear and hiking poles are a good idea.   The little black dots are people crossing the slope.   I bit the bullet and just went for it!  UGH!
On both previous occasions being here, Hidden Lake was totally melted but this time it wasn't and that made doing it a third time all worthwhile.  It looked so pretty with pieces of ice floating in it.
When we reached the lake side, the reflections were gorgeous.  We found a nice spot in the sun and rested for quite some time, ate, took lots of photos and played around the water.
What is going to Logan Pass and hiking Hidden Lake if you don't see a mountain goat?  It's part of the package deal!  The goat population is growing and this baby is trying to get through the snow to catch up to Mom.
Nearing the end of our hike,  Ranger Brady was ending his work assessing conditions along the trail so we stopped for a chat and a photo op.  He had interesting info to share and talked a bit about the story written in the book Night of the Grizzlies. (I picked up the book at the Swift Current Ranger Station before heading back to Calgary.)
The Hidden Lake trail conditions should improve over the next few days with the gorgeous hot sunny weather but I wonder if it will totally clear before the new snow starts to fall.  Today was a great start to this vacation and now we get to go enjoy happy hour at our campsite then dinner, more drinks and end the evening under the stars around a campfire.  Aahhhh, this is what life is all about!

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