Saturday, October 20, 2018

My Hiking Post

I have to say that when the email comes in the spring with our hiking list and dates it feels like Christmas! What new hikes are we going to do and what repeats because every hike is worth a repeat every summer. The start of hiking season can't come soon enough and I'm always so excited to get going.

Bellevue Trail on June 25
Miles: 7.5
This early in the season in Waterton only saw 2 trails open do to the Kenow Fire last fall. Crypt Lake and this one to the buffalo paddock.  Cars were not allowed on the road to Red Rock although you could walk to "the bear" (below) then get off on this trail. It was a windy day and the hike was in the open prairie the whole time, but it was pretty with all the wildflowers blossoming. It was surprising how much green growth there was.  I heard that because of the fire there were flowers blooming in places and in abundance like never before.

This is the hike where you can safely say, "this is where the prairie meets the mountains".
The Red Rock Road.
Man, I hope it's open next year. 
Because of the fires, there have been Blackfoot camps discovered that have been hidden for hundreds of years. I think it's great that there are some treasures to be had from the fire. 
Here is another article
The pink flowers are Fireweed that typically grow when land has been disturbed by fires. Come to think of it, I bet fireweed are a pretty pink so they can be a contrast mentally and physically to burned areas. 

The wind was blowing on the prairie. Surprise! (not)

 The white flowers are Northern Bedstraw and the purple ones are Lupine. 

 Sad to say that this is Bear's Hump.  It looks small from this picture, doesn't it?   Bear's Hump is the knob you see on the left. When standing on top of that low knob you overlook Waterton townsite and upper Waterton Lake. They are rebuilding the trail to Bear's Hump so hopefully it will open up for next year. It's a good thing for wildflowers because they sure make the contrast with fire much better. 

Tidbit Time:  I was kind of disappointed we didn't get ice cream afterwards.

Cracker Lake on June 28 
Miles: 12.2
 Driving past Lake Sherburne into Many Glacier was a "WOW" moment. 

This is Grinnell Point across from The Many Glacier Hotel. 

 Taken from the trail with a different view of Lake Sherburne. 
Song Sparrow

 Columbian Ground Squirrel.

 Cracker Lake

I thought Crocus grew only in the prairies. 
Hoary Marmot or "whistle pig" because of their high pitched warning.

Sweet lunch spot, right! 
 Notice the WOW on my shirt?  It's our hiking group shirt because everytime we go on a hike you can hear us saying, "Wow"!
Peek A Boo! 

 The glacial dust makes the water such a pretty soft blue. 

 Yah, yah, yah...another picture of me taking a picture.
Everybody wear your shirts on the hike today. 

Tidbit Time: If you don't get on the trail before 8:30 am you will be following horses because the first two miles is a horse trail and horse trails have horse poop. 

Iceberg Lake  July 5
Miles: 10

Look who hiked with me again this year! 
I love to have my kids come on these hikes because I love sharing it with THEM!

Last year I hiked to the top of Swiftcurrent Lookout and came down into Many Glacier which is where I am on this hike, through Swiftcurrent Pass. At the top of the lookout is a building where someone stays all summer to watch for fires. 
2018 pose, although I failed to do this on every hike this year. 

Not very much Bear Grass at all this summer.  Last summer was "the" year as each plant produces a blossom every seven years and last year must have been the magic 7 for a lot of the park. 
Getting closer to the Iceberg Lake.
Almost in full view.
And here she is!

And here we go again. A picture of me taking a picture of....the gnome.
Look at where my camera is pointing. Do you see him on the iceberg?
Isn't she brave to round that corner with no bear spray in her hand? 

The formations on the rocks here are so cool. You gotta wonder how they were formed and this blue rock is under the water.  The lake was so still and glass like.
The yellow flowers are a Goundsell and the white ones are White Bog Orchids and smell like to Hawaii to me. You need to get your nose right down there to smell them. 
And here we are!
Always have to get a group picture! 

Tidbit Time: I believe this hike is the most popular one in Many Glacier. It was crowded!

Poia Lake on July 12
Miles: 8.5

 Poia Lake was a first for all of us I believe. The GIG ( Girls in Glacier) from Great Falls joined us, or did we join them? Katie who heads up the GIG hikes has done this before so perhaps we joined up with them. Anyhow, we started from the Many Glacier gate which took off some miles from the other trailhead near Apikuni Falls.  We had a few pretty steep climbs to make up for less miles and then the hike was fairly level, as level you can get for hiking to a mountain lake. 
Lady's Slipper.
 Views like this is what I live for in the summer.
To know that every summer I can hike these mountains again reminds me how lucky I am to live so close to them. 
 Sticky Purple Geranium 

Lunch time view. 

Tidbit Time: There are no fish in this lake.

Bertha Lake on  July 19
Miles: 9 

 Most of the trails in Waterton were burned last year and were closed at the beginning of the season but Bertha Lake/Falls opened up in July. It's interesting how fires work and what burns and what doesn't burn.  This hike is in that category.  The trail starts out unburned but quite quickly changes.  As you get closer to the falls you would never know there was a fire and then just after you pass the falls the trail opens with views never before seen. As you get to the lake and all around the lake, no fire. You might say you have two different hikes in one. 

 The view from the first lookout looking back towards the townsite

 No rhyme or reason. 

This is Bertha Falls. 
  Now we have some green and the burn, but the green we saw along the trail was new growth. 
I see Thimble berry bushes that the bears will enjoy later in the season. I see some white flowers that may be Northern Bedstraw and the tall plants to the right are Hellebore. 

Look closely at the stem because you can see little bugs and baby grasshoppers!

Bertha Lake in all it's beauty. 
This is the photo that was used in the back ground of my father's memorial program. 
This is a panoramic using my iPhone to show the whole view we had at our lunch stop. 
 A type of Sedge or a Rush.

When you hike Bertha you have to always go all the way around the lake.
 It's a mile or two maybe and it's worth the extra steps, FOR SURE!
There is a little tiny pond at the back side, a little wee waterfall and sometimes snow! 

This  Glacier Lily starting to emerge and the patch of them.  
To see them in the middle of July is not usual because they are an early spring flower that blooms first thing in the spring.
This hike is a very exposed one now so be ready for the heat...bring it on.
 This is what the whole hike used to look like before the fire.  
So so different. 
Peace Out!

Tidbit Time: Mark has never hiked to Bertha. 

Bertha Bay on July 20 (with Lou Lou)
Miles 1:5

Yep, this about sums the hike up. 

Tidbit Time: We have fun together. 

Grinnell Glacier on July 28 (with Mark)
Miles: 12

What a fun day! 
We were going to hike to Lower Grinnell Lake, but at the junction to Grinnell Glacier we decided to do that hike and Mark loved it!  
  He even got into the spirit of the peace sign!
This view will never get old. Never. 
It's good to see him relaxing without a fishing pole in his hand.  I realize hiking is hard work, but to sit and take a break and take in the views near and far is so fun. 

 Sometimes you have to stop and look upwards. 
We are headed past the waterfall you see in the distance on the right.
 This hike is labeled strenuous. It's a pretty steady uphill. 
 The dark peak or mountain you see in the center is called Angel's Wing. Hopefully one day I can get to the top. It's another two hours from Grinnell Glacier.  Can you even imagine what the view form the top would be?  I need to do it. 
 We over dressed! The forecast was for cloudy and cooler weather but was actually pretty hot so when I saw a bit of snow on the trail I grabbed a chunk and let it sit on my scarf. 

The rocks around Grinnell Glacier are so so crazy.

Mark could not believe his eyes when he came upon this view. 
It was spectacular.  I'm so glad he did this hike because I can show him pictures of the hikes I do, but to see something like this with your own eyes is on a whole other level. 
Stick with me Mark and I'll take you to places you've never seen before! 
This years' pose. 
 Mark wanted me to do last year's pose too. 
 See my gnome?  
And this reflection and color of the water....
 Heading back on a really great weather hiking day. 

I seem to take a picture of this tree most of the time I do this hike. 
And we are finished and sitting down. 
It's always nice to sit down and rest your weary feet. Always.  

Ok, so you saw all of my pictures from the hike and now you can enjoy the pictures Mark took.

 It was so nice to get wet under this waterfall. 

I'm probably looking at Monkey Flower. 
I'm glad that he thinks I'm as pretty as the spectacular scenery around. 
Tidbit Time: I brought my camera for this hike and realized on the way that the SD card was not put back in the camera after downloading pictures the day before. My bad. So all of these pictures were taken with my iPhone. 

Grinnell Glacier on September 6 
Miles: 13

Here I am back on the trail after some time off to take care of daddy in St. George, home for a bit then back for his funeral on August 25th. 
And yes, Grinnell Glacier again.  This time it was with part of the hiking group. 
 We didn't get a group picture but some of the ladies are above. 
This is an alternate route because the main route was closed due to bear activity. 
It added a mile which is a bonus when you are trying to get your miles up for the summer. 
 When you start hikes fairly early there is a good chance of having still waters.
 See Angel's Wing forefront and center? 
 It was so unusual to see the floating icebergs here at Grinnell. You would expect this at Iceberg Lake, but usually you just see the glacier up against the far shore. 
See the upper left ice chunk in the shadow on the saddle? Some of us heard it calving, which means is was breaking apart. It sounded like thunder. We didn't see any ice fall off but we were expecting something. What was unexpected though was the slight water movement to my left.  It was so subtle. but I happened to look at the floating chunks of ice move slightly then the water kind of moved alongtheu shore.  It was really wild.  I think that there was some vibration from the calving that caused the water movement. 
 It felt so good to take off my shoes and dip my feet in the cold glacial water.
Notice my moleskin on the bottom of my big toes. It's a must. 
 I may have mentioned this before, but the saddle right above my head is a lookout point from off the Highline trail. I would love to take that side trail next time we do Highline and look down on Grinnell Glacier. 
 This is Willowherb. 

 Wish we had a geologist on our hike.
The rocks formations are so crazy and interesting when you get this close to the glacier. 
 It's like this was soft and plyable at one time, got squished and hardened. 
 So odd right?  The color of the rocks seem to make the water look like blood. 
  Doesn't moss usually grow when its warm?
This hike is one of the last to open because of the altitude and one of the first to close I believe so it seems odd that there would be time for moss to grow. 
 Looks like lace. 
 Now this I don't understand.  I don't see any red rocks. 
 It's not everyday you can hold of chunk off a glacier in your hand. 
 Hey Nona! 
This tree is the same as below. It's pretty unmentionable until you are heading back.

Tidbit Time: I hike wearing long johns. 

Firebrand Pass on  September 8
Miles: 9.5

This is the trailhead at mile marker 203 on the road to Marias Pass. 
 I took this picture last week so that's why there is snow, but I wanted to have this in my post because right behind these trees to the left is where we hiked to. 

We joined up with the girls from Great Falls for this hike.
Calf Robe Mountain

This hole is from a  "rototilling grizzly".  They over turn rocks to find bugs and ants to eat. 

See the line of trees on the pass?  That is where we had our lunch! 

I took this picture last week and it is now covered in snow, but I wanted to have a picture taken of the pass from the highway. I hiked to that lunch spot! 
Sometimes I am pulling up the rear because I am busy taking pictures. 

It was so so so windy here at the pass. Like. So windy! 
See me holding up my pony?  Don't ask me why I did that. 
My photographer had a hard time taking my picture.  The wind! 

Sometimes you just can't get enough trail pictures. 

See the train in the distance?  That's the end of the trail. 

 Tidbit Time: Only saw the one lone cricket on the trail. No bears. 

Apikuni Falls on September 15 (with Mark)
Miles: 2


Close-up of Pinedrops.
There's my man!

Tidbit Time:  Mark left a little message at the end of the trail: Mark & Marilee with a heart.
  Not sure I was too pleased with it, to tell you the truth, but it was super thoughtful!

Ptarmigan Tunnel on  September 17
Miles: 12

FINALLY hiked to Ptarmigan Tunnel. 
I've been wanting to do this one for three years now and today was the day! 
This hike was closed for about a month, along with Iceberg Lake because of bear activity so when it's open you gotta go. 
It was a chilly start, but as the day went along it got nicer and we ended with blue skies!

We are headed up and around to the right. Up ahead you are looking at the Garden Wall which is Glacier on the other side. The Highline Trail to be more exact. And see that large knob to the left on the Garden Wall, that is Bishop's Cap which you can see from Logan's Pass. Just an FYI, this hike is in the Many Glacier part of the Glacier. 
Basically the same view as above, but on the way back.  I must have turned around for something and this view caught my eye. Glorious! 
 This is a Grey Jay which is now called a Canada Jay because as of 2016, there was an online poll along with an expert panel conducted by the Canadian Geographic magazine which selected the Grey jay as their national bird, although not formally recognized. Um, ok! I'm gonna call it a Grey jay. 
Fact. They have their babies only in the winter.  In the summer they gather food and using their saliva, they secure the food to the barks of trees to feed their babies. 

 Laura says to me, " Marilee, you may want to get a picture of the view ahead with all of the colors". 
It's my favorite picture of the day. 
 You can barely see the zigzag trail starting left and going right then left which makes a zigzag.
X marks the spot!  That is the tunnel entrance. 
 I love the massive red rocks.  I took this when I turned around to see where the ladies were.   
 WahLa, I made it to the door!
I had my lunch sitting on the rock seat to the right. 

The tunnel is 250 ft long and was built so you could access Elizabeth Lake on the other side. 
Because I had never done this hike before, the gals let me go through the tunnel first and it was magical! 
   Elizabeth Lake. It would take another 7 miles to get there, but I understand if you hiked a little ways then turned around, you would see one of the oldest glaciers in the park. Our group did't do the extra jaunt, but maybe next time. Honestly, I was so hungry that I didn't care if I saw it or not. I know I'll do the hike again next year so no worries.

And this is the view (with Ptarmigan Lake) that shows where we came from and view from my rock seat for lunch. I'm telling you, hiking is fun, but what's also fun is finally sitting down to eat your lunch with views that are only had by hikers. 
Heading back and bundled up because the wind on the shale can be cold. 

See what the chipmunks do to the pinecones? 
If you zoom in you can see a chipmunk in the tree in the photo above this one.
And do you see the grizzly and her two babies? 
Tidbit Time: The reason why I was so hungry at lunch was because all I ate on the trail was celery. 

Grinnell Glacier on September 21
Miles: 12

Saw this black bear while driving to the trail head. 

   Hey, let's make it three trips for me to Grinnell Glacier in one summer! 
We may look goofy, but if I was stranded on a mountain with any of these ladies I know I would be in good hands. If I needed a kitchen sink, Lorna would have that....oh wait, she has everything but the kitchen sink and that is no lie. Ask anybody who hikes with her. 

 It was a cold start and cloudy most of the day, but the overcast does make for pretty pictures. 
 Sorry about your head being cut off Lavern, but I couldn't get you both in the same shot.  

 The Ptarmigan wasn't too excited about looking at the camera. 
 The fall colors and the glacier water!
 And here is her bambino. 

The Salamander Glacier is getting smaller every year. 
Do you see the dead goat? 
 Heading back after a cold, short and breezy lunch.

 Yep, here is that tree again. 
 Grinnell Lake and what is that mountain in front called?
Angel's Wing.
 There were not many flowers left, but the fall colors were so beautiful. 
And here is a momma black bear and her two cubs to end the day. 

Tidbit Time: You may be wondering if doing the same hike three times in one season was as fun as the was. 

Apikuni Falls and Logan Pass on September 25  (with Lou Lou)
Miles: 2

Story of my life...

Lou Lou and I haven't done much hiking this summer so we thought Apikuni Falls and a drive up Logan Pass would be fun.  The colors were so pretty this fall that it seemed silly not to share it with her. 
Those are Larch, the golden pine trees that drop their needles in the fall.

She'll be coming around the mountain....
This is what we do right? 
 I take pictures of this tree quite often when I hike this trail too. 

At least when someone takes a picture of me taking a picture, it's not a selfie....LOL
The falls are behind her. Promise.  

It was cold up at the pass so we just walked a little ways up the boardwalk.

That is Reynolds Mountain in the background. 
That is the Garden Wall in the background. 

Tidbit Time: This is the last time I'll be hiking with Lou Lou in Glacier for a long time because she is moving to Saskatoon in a month. Dumb!

Total Miles hiked this summer is 112

New hikes for me were Poia Lake, Firebrand Pass and Ptarmigan Tunnel.
No hikes in August.