Long Hikes, or “What Happens when the Bears Close your Trail”

September 4, 2011 – The Iceberg Trail was originally going to be our warm up hike.  Bears had different ideas, since the trail and surrounding areas were closed due to a mama bear and her three cubs. We got a tip from the woman at the hotel hostess desk and decided to do a shuttle trip instead.  First, we wanted to grab some yummy breakfast at the nearby diner – buckwheat pancakes, ham/sausage/mushroom omelet, and fresh fruit, plus some great local coffee.  Most of the other people here are also early bird hikers, and the restaurant was crowded at 6:45am.  Fortunately we got seats, service was good, and we had plenty of time to catch the 7:30 shuttle over to St. Mary Visitor Center.

Swiftcurrent View
Our breakfast view couldn’t be beat!

We waited for about 30 minutes, then hopped the free park shuttle to Logan Pass.  This shuttle normally stops running September 2, but the season was so short this year that they extended the hours.  This was fortunate for us, since it’s tough to do a shuttle if both of you are going hiking (rather than picking up the hikers). 😉

Bighorn Sheep
This bighorn sheep did not mind us passing by on the trail.
Wildflower
To our surprise, the wildflowers were in full bloom at Logan Pass.

After admiring the scenery and the wildflowers at Logan Pass, we headed off on the Highline Trail.  The trail follows Going to the Sun road for awhile before branching off and meandering over some mountain saddles.  Along the way to Granite Park Chalet we spotted two male bighorn sheep, got some great views, and saw many wildflowers.  It was a great first half of the hike.  We finally reached the Chalet and had a picnic lunch while overlooking the nearby mountain peaks before continuing down Swiftcurrent Pass.

Swiftcurrent Pass
Swiftcurrent Pass offers great views of lakes and red rocks.

This side of the mountain range is completely different, more like Colorado or Idaho rather than the Tetons.  Wildlife highlights were four bull moose, including a 22 point bull!  Waterfalls, wildflowers, forest walks, and a mountain goat high on the hill completed the hike.

Glacier Moose
This moose thought that the trail was the best place to munch on some grub.

Dinner was at the diner again, this time coconut curry soup with chickpeas/carrots/celery/onion, BBQ emu burger with an onion ring and pepper jack cheese, and buffalo sausage with peppers and onions, plus huckleberry cream soda.  Dessert was huckleberry and vanilla soft serve, enjoyed outside as the sun began to set over the valley.

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