Published: September 7th 2008June 30th 2008
Arriving at the south shore of Lake McDonald in the early evening, I stood up on the rocks and felt the air getting moister and colder. The mountains were reflected in the water, boats were coming back to a tiny marina and fishermen were keeping hope as they swished their rods in a few more attempts to catch that big fish before retiring to the lodge. I took my boots off and shivered as I lowered my feet into the refreshing cold water, touching round pebbles at the lake's bottom. That made me hungry. I grabbed something to eat, returned to the shore and watched the landscape until the evening grew darker and I had to force my eyes to find the dividing line between lake and mountains; only the peak silhouettes were clear against the dimming light. Stars were appearing in the sky.
Most of the time surrounded by really beautiful scenery, I had a very pleasant trip crossing Montana to get here. I spent a couple of days relaxing in the warm pools of Fairmont Hot Springs (where I had a chance of shaving and cutting my hair before I started looking like a caveman!). I spent two
very nice days with a new friend, Jackie in Missoula and on my way to Glacier National Park I visited an Indian Museum. Jackie filled up my cooler with ice and gave me a huge packed lunch - it was enough food to last for 2 days... Meeting nice people is one of the joys of travelling, plus this is a beautiful State!
I did a couple of grand hikes to lakes in the mountains. It was too late to see the glaciers but there was still some snow up in the peaks and plenty water in the river, lakes and streams.
I started my first hike quite early to make sure I would be able to park the van at the trailhead. I made my way up through the forest enjoying the views of Lake Mcdonald framed by trees. Soon I came to a horse farm where I surprised a deer standing by a corral, looking at the horses as if it wanted to join them or rather pitying the enclosed animals. It quickly moved away when it sensed my approach but stopped at a distance and stared at me. I had this funny feeling that a
profusion of words would suddenly come out of the deer's mouth... The expression on its face definitely looked like the deer had a lot to say... But it didn't. I wasn't in wonderland, I realised! Oh well, I would better carry on with my hike.
The forest was left behind. Mountains, peaks and boulders started dominating the scenery. Here and there I noticed some snow on shady areas and white patches up in the peaks. There were new, leafy green plants sprouting from the damp soil, and to my delight flowers contrasting against the darker rock and sky. I've been chasing spring all over this huge country. I might be getting a little less enthusiastic about places having been to so many breathtaking locations, but flowers don't fail to draw a smile on my face; I get so enthusiastic about photographing them.
Snyder Lake. It laid there so peacefully, collecting the water that flowed down from several cascades on its mountainous background. I joined a few students on a flat boulder by the lake's shore and together we had lunch and chatted. They were impressed that I had sandwich, a fresh salad bowl and a piece of black
forest gateau for desert, the last remnants of Jackie's packed lunch. After my envied meal I tried to get to the second Snyder Lake but the terrain got steeper and I thought I would better consider the few lessons I'd had in this trip about knowing when to retreat to safer grounds. Before hiking back I took another break, this time quiet and alone, only distracted by a couple of small fish swimming around in the clear cold water.
Another day, another hike; this time to Avalanche Lake. This pleasant trail, winding through a mature forest, has two bonus. It starts from the awesome, narrow Avalanche Creek. With foaming water gushing fast through shining black rock, this amazing creek has been sculptured by the cold currents that come down from melting snow in the high mountains. Beautiful! Avalanche Lake also looks special with all the peaks and snow patches reflected on is mirror-like surfice. Upon returning, a fork on the trail presents the second bonus: an old cedar forest with huge trunks perfectly wrapped by a multicoloured bark which seems to invite everyone to touch them. I certainly did, going from tree to tree feeling and comparing their texture!
There was still a lot of snow at Logan Pass, so Going-to-the-Sun Road was closed after Weeping Rock, and quite congested. However, the views from up near the pass made the drive worth it. After giving Tan a good shower under the cascades that flow right in the middle of the road, I drove all the way back and around the south part of the park, slept at Two Medicine Lodge and was ready to cross the Canadian border, but not before stopping on the way to enjoy the scenery around St Mary Lake.
There are more photos below