by Margie Goulden
August 14, 2013 - We enjoyed our higher elevation hike to Hidden Lake so much that we planned another one from Logan Pass. This time though, we packed up our gear early, and arrived at the visitor center around 9:20. Even at that, there were only a few spots left in the parking lot. Before hiking we had a "tailgate" breakfast of home made granola, our friend Phyllis' blueberries and the last two pieces of banana bread which my sister gave us for the trip. Then we were off for a 6.6 mile hike.
The Highline Trail along the Garden Wall was constructed similarly to the GTTS (Going to the Sun) Highway. It was literally blasted out of the rock wall face. For a quarter mile of the trail, we hugged the wall of the cliff high above the highway. A hose-covered-cable was secured into the rock wall for hikers to hold onto for safety and/or emotional support. It was a good trail though!
Then we entered the "garden" with flowers gracing both sides of the path and climbing high on the rocky cliffs above as well as hanging onto the cliff sides below. So peaceful with time for personal thought and appreciation for the gifts that Nature provides.
The trail meanders through a couple of small forested areas only to reappear in the "garden"again. The waterfalls cascaded from the peaks above, shedding the last vestiges of snow, and rushing to the road below. The trail paralleled the road with steep and dangerous cliffs separating the two. Dangerous only if one chooses to hike off trail.
Lots of hikers on the trail; most younger and faster than I. Aware of that fact, I stopped and moved to the side so they could pass. And every time the thought occurred to me that I used to be one of them. And even more so as I was still hiking uphill and they passed me going down!
There wasn't much elevation gain, but it was hot and I tend to hike slowly now watching every placement of my feet to avoid tripping and/or falling. Jeff of course was far ahead of me, but our 2-way radios keep us in close contact.
Staying so far ahead is not always beneficial for Jeff since I usually carry the food. So when he arrived at the saddle below Haystack Mountain, he had to wait patiently for his lunch. Lots of "seating" below the Haystack; not restaurant chairs like in Switzerland, but Nature-made ones. Even with lots of hikers in the "saddle", there was plenty of room to spread out.
Since I was one of the last ones arriving, we lingered to give me time to rest before heading down. Fortunate for that, since we were "treated" to a visit by three bighorn sheep, 2 rams and one ewe. This was such an exciting experience for both of us since the bighorns don't populate the areas we usually hike. Of course we used a lot of digital film. And then we really did need to head down the trail, in spite of the afternoon heat.
The meadows maintained their peaceful tranquility and beauty as we departed the "saddle" to return via the same trail to Logan Pass. In the heat of the day, I anticipated the two biggest waterfalls, where I filled my hat with water and poured it over my head. Dipping my hiking handkerchief in the cold water to wipe my face and arms seemed to revive me for the remainder of the hike. Even Jeff relished the cold water on his face. Many years ago we could even drink that cold flowing water and satisfy our thirst. Drinking the warm water in our water bottles today maintained our hydration but was not satisfying like a swig of cold mountain water.
Another day in the high country to renew ourselves and to be continually thankful and appreciative for this part of our world. We have seen a great deal of wildlife on this trip. Deer, antelope, and bison at the National Bison Range. And in Glacier National Park, we had up-close experiences with mountain goats, bighorn sheep, marmots, ground squirrels and even bear poop on the trail. Jeff spotted a bear on Tuesday at such a long distance, he didn't even attempt a picture. So I guess the bear poop will have to count!
Tomorrow, Thursday, Jeff will be up at 6am to get pictures of Wild Goose Island which sits in the middle of Saint Mary Lake. And I'd like an easier day of hiking.
To see more of my pictures from Glacier National Park, visit Glacier National Park Gallery. Signed fine art prints from many of my photographs are available for purchase on Fine Art America. For special offers and to follow my photographic journey please Join My Email List.
Jeff's Photo Blog
In this Photo Blog I have combined my 50 year passion for photography and my love of the natural world, creating a portfolio that reveals nature in its pure and simple beauty. I am pleased to share my passion with you through this blog.