Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Scenic Point GNP Montana Aug 3

Once again, before hitting any trail, we checked in at the St. Mary Visitor Center for the latest conditions.  They seem to be changing on a daily basis due to snow slopes improving, or snow bridges getting worse or trails closed due to bears.  Our plan was for Scenic Point in East Glacier and we confirmed it was A.O.K.   We got a later start due to yesterday's big day and there were already lots of cars at the trailhead by the time we arrived. 
We hiked in the trees for a very short distance then the start of the 17 switchbacks began and this is where the views started immediately.  The trees along the slope were scraggly and the wild flowers were splendid.  While still in the same National Park, this side had a whole different look.
The trail was very obvious and totally clear of snow.  At about the third switchback, we could see the edge of Two Medicine Lake.  This area seemed much further ahead with snow melt then the St. Mary or Many Glaciers areas.  It was so wide open with no place what so ever to take refuge from the sun beating down.
As we worked our way up the switchbacks, we got to see deeper into the valley between Mount Henry and Appistoki Peak and the start of Appistoki Creek in the center of the valley.  
A few of us took a small detour up a rocky scree covered slope which added more elevation to be at a high point where we had this view.  We took a few minutes and a few snacks before descending to join the others again and then head off to our destination.
That's our destination, that very last rock that is sticking out at the far end!  This whole dome- like ridge is called Scenic Point.  Much of the elevation is already done at this point, we just need to traverse this slope then climb to the final rock formation.  
Once at our destination, this was the view!  Two Medicine Lake is plain to see, a portion of Upper Two Medicine Lake was visible and Dawson Pass is on the right.  We could also see the townsite of East Glacier and Browning in the other direction.
I joined others to have this view for lunch.  This is Lower Two Medicine Lake.
Shortly after our descent began, and while we still had a wide open view, I took a panorama shot with Two Medicine Lake being the center of attention.  It was a very quick trip down.  I was already thinking this is an area I would like to come back to.  It is not suppose to be as busy, and I was surprised at the number of other hikers on the trail.  I know the National Park now has three Ranger led hikes in East Glacier where they never did before so are promoting it and I can see why.  It has beauty of a different kind and still a rewarding area to hike in.
If you decide to give it a go, go prepared for wind and take lots of water if it's a hot day.  The drive too and from the trail head was an adventure, being a smaller version of the going-to-the-sun road, but with no guard rails and the sides of the road giving way in a few spots.  

This hike had great rewards for not too much of an effort distance or elevation wise.  Having a view like the one above in my panorama photo, how could you not feel like  you were "on top of the world!"

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'm always curious to know what your comment might be!