Hope you all had a great Father’s Day weekend….skipping stones and all!
We were planning on driving the entire Going to the Sun Road, but persistent Pacific storms kept dumping moisture over the region. Weather conditions and an additional 6” of snow fell on the road between Triple Arches and Logan Pass preventing crews from completion of plowing through to the east of the divide. Reportedly, crews were working on clearing the Big Drift, which has about 40 to 50 feet of snow. That is considered average and as far as I know crews are still tackling the job.
So with uncertain weather forecasted for last Sunday, we decided to take advantage of the sunshine on Saturday and headed out to the park. The valley was beautiful drenched in sunlight and I couldn’t resist stopping for this photo along the way.
After a quick stop at the Lake McDonald store and a visit with Weird Ben, we began our drive on the Sun Road.
We drove as far as we could, which was up to Big Bend. A gate blocked the road and neither foot nor bicycle travel was allowed any farther.
People parked and took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the scenery and play in the snow. M and E skied down a slope just for fun and then it was time for a hike.
We turned around and went back to the loop. The Loop Trail was steep with an ascent of about 1800 feet in 3.5 miles. It traverses a forest to Granite Park Chalet. Due to the Trapper Creek Fire of 2003 it is now a burn area with blackened trees.
The benefit of which is that the trail has better views of the mountains and Heaven’s Peak. The sun was really intense and it felt hot as blazes even though temps in the park were mid to upper 60’s.
We stopped, like most of the other hikers that day, when we reached the snow about a half a mile or so before the Chalet.
(If case you are unfamiliar with the terrifying true story of “Night of the Grizzlies”, Granite Park Chalet is where a woman was mauled and killed by a grizzly bear in the early morning hours of August 13, 1967. She had hiked to the chalet and was camping in the area with a friend. They were brutally attacked. Her friend survived the ordeal but she did not.
That same night, another woman camping miles away at Trout Lake was killed by a grizzly. Witnesses say she was unable to escape her sleeping bag during the attack. The incident was well publicized and PBS Montana recently aired a documentary about the horror story. Lots of things have changed concerning bear management since that time, such as strong communication to visitors concerning bear safety and food storage.
Every one of us carries bear spray as a precaution. We are accustomed to seeing black bear and grizzly along the trails we hike in Glacier.)
My daughter and I switched packs on the way down. I felt kind of silly with this little one, but it sure was light.
Some of us snoozed on the way home with David dozing along Hwy 206 *-). We were exhausted and relaxed upon arriving home, and have already decided we will hike to Virginia Falls next weekend.
Remember, “as laughter is the best medicine, exercise is the cheapest”.
Check out some of our other bear stories:
- Bear Charges Trail Riders
- Camping, Boating, and Bears Part I
- Camping, Boating, and Bears Part II
- Too Much to Bear
Until next time,