Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day 3 July 16 - Highline Trail Glacier National Park Montana

I already had that "stars are aligning for me" feeling and this is only the beginning of Day 3.  Yesterday the Ranger told me the Highline Trail just fully opened two days prior so I knew right then and there I needed to hike that trail today.  I was up early to watch the sunset just a 30 second walk from my campsite.  This sight ignited my excitement for today!
I got to Logan Pass around 8:00 am to be guaranteed a parking spot and to hit the trail early so I could take my time, do the full one way hike and include the Overlook, while being sure to be at the Loop well before the last bus leaves.  Many folks were in the same mind-set as me and my concern of being alone was thrown by the way side.  The very first wide open view is of the trail ahead and the Going-To-The-Sun Road down below.
beargrass was plentiful
beargrass and mountains make a nice pairing
Mid way along the long stretch of the Highline Trail, a fellow solo "Canadian Girl" joined up with me. It was nice to have company, plus our pace was similar as were our interests and topics for discussion.  This was the first sighting of the Granite Park Chalet.  It also meant the detour along The Garden Wall to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook was close.  
While other folks just hiked on by, this detour to the Overlook was a definite must for both of us.  It was a slow grind, in the sweltering heat and it was exhausting but so well worth it.  Before doing anything...
I dropped my pack...
Positioned myself for my summit shot...
because this is where...
I felt like I was on top of the world...
"I just want to feel this moment!" 
view below me towards Grinnell Glacier
We picked a somewhat sheltered spot facing Lady MacDonald Lake to have our lunch.  The view was breathtaking.  I cherished these moments and took time to be thankful that I was right here, right now, present in the moment.  In these quiet moments just around noon, I did hear a thunderous noise and just attributed it to an avalanche occurring somewhere.  I did find out later that was not the case, but instead,   the stars were once again aligning for me. 
After lunch we began the steep descent down The Garden Wall back to the Highline Trail.  Our next destination was the Granite Park Chalet which you can see in the photo below as the dark spot lower mid right.  It looked so far away but took no time to get there. We took a few moments here to fuel up again before attacking the 4 kms down hill through the treed secluded portion that would bring us out to The Loop.  This part could not go by quick enough, it was so hot and I was beat.
We safely made it to The Loop with loads of time.  My friend for the day was heading West and I was heading East, so we shared our Thank Yous then parted ways and got on our buses.  When I planned this trip and was checking the trail status each day, it was looking like this one would not be doable.  I feel so fortunate for how today turned out!  Thank you "Canadian Girl" for sharing today with me!

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