Before John left for his CDT trail work trip, we had time for one long hike. We decided to try to find a glacier to practice on, this being Glacier NP and all that. We set out from McDonald Lodge up the hill toward Sperry Glacier. This turned out to be our favorite jaunt in the whole park - highly recommend this for anyone considering where to go up in the mountains of Glacier.
John doesn't mind schlepping a load of gear up a hill, one more reason (of the many) that I love this man.
Finally managed a photo of huckleberries before I devoured them... yum!
Hoary marmot! No really, that's what they are called here. This one was hanging out on the trail, happy to pose for photos. Most animals scurried away as soon as I pulled out the camera (no matter how still they had been standing and how discretely I tried to extract the camera from its pocket). This creature was one exception. Nice marmot.
A packer coming down from Sperry Chalet with mules and a bunch of bins. I think it was getting close to opening day for the chalet.
Pretty flowers (before I get started on the ridiculously amazing scenery up higher...):
Oh, and this sight at the chalet bathrooms made me giggle so here's a look for yourself:
The trail curving around across a rock field:
View from below the waterfalls:
John not getting his feet wet:
A marmot track in the snow, first time I've seen (or noticed) one of those:
Geology rocks. There is so much on display at Glacier, all kinds of shapes and forms and curves:
One beautiful mountain lake after another (and make a note of the cliff band at the very top for reference further in this post):
Like a mini "Lac des Vaches" in the Vanoise in France (another incredible place to hike):
The water is incredibly clear and reflective:
What's the big deal with a crevasse, anyway?
More beautiful lake and sky views kept slowing me down to take pictures:
A small snowfield where we broke out the ice axes just for kicks (I'm looking for any chance to use mine now):
We weren't sure how the trail was going to get around the cliff band we could see above us, and we kept guessing as we climbed. Neither of us figured out in advance that we were going THROUGH the cliff band, up a set of stairs build into the rock (apparently CCC-constructed, thank you again CCC!). Super cool! This alone was worth the hike up.
John making it even more interesting with some stemming practice (I stuck to the normal stair-climbing method):
And... over the top to another set of crazy incredible views. It's hard to capture the splendor and immensity and other-worldliness of this plateau.
Snow field crossings to follow giant cairns across the rocks:
Rushing water coming down from the glacier:
Little Matterhorn in the background (sure is cute!):
Colors and rocks all around:
A solar-powered weather station near the glacier:
Getting in a bit of glacier practice with our rope and stuff:
Checking out Sperry Glacier, some snow, some slush, some ice. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to hearing rushing water beneath us on a glacier.
Heading up for some steeper angle practice:
Testing a snow anchor using an ice ax and picket - next time I'll get a picture with the parts in place, here's the impression they left in the snow:
More wandering around the lower part of the glacier:
Wish we had time to explore more of the area below us, it looks really cool (and we were wondering if we could see down to Avalanche Lake from over at the edge) but we figured we had probable mucked around enough for one day. For now then, a view of the glacier in our glacier goggles:
Rare 2nd selfie in a row - this time with Sperry Glacier in the background. Thank you glacier!
Starting down the steps through the crack in the cliff:
Mountain goat - and baby! - one final thrill on the hike out:
Glacier NP sure is one amazing place.