Day7 Sunday, August 5, in East Glacier

Trip Start Jul 30, 2007
Trip End Aug 20, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Monday, August 6, 2007

Day7 Sunday, August 5, in East Glacier
Miles: 122

Eager for the morning hike to start
Hiking the Highline Trail with Ranger Eric
Granite Park Chalet - rugged luxury for the rich
Downhill - 2200ft in 4 miles. Owie!
Loving Glacier in a kinder, gentler way
Pie for Strength
Regrets on our lodging decision at the end of a long day hiking...
Other than that Mrs. Lincoln...

Eager for the morning hike to start
Woke up before the 06:20 AM alarm and were on the road by 06:30.
We chose to follow the roads we were already familiar with. 
We reasoned we'd be on the inside of the scary turns on the way out and able to do a little better time. 
Also, per the AAA map, our host's recommendation included unpaved roadways.
A cool, clear front moved in from the north clearing the air so the views were much improved. 
We later heard that the Skyland fire was not as aggressive while this cool still air was in place though it did grow to over 30,000 acres and cause an evacuation warning for East Glacier - not that anyone in our hostel mentioned while we were staying there.
We arrived at the Park Café shortly after their 07:00 opening time and had a fine breakfast. 
We arrived at Logan Pass by 08:45 with plenty of time for the 09:30 start. 
Clouds were rolling in just over our heads bringing cold, moist air. 
We could see that the trail we were to take would be in clear warmer air and looked forward to a fine day.

Hiking the Highline Trail with Ranger Eric
The views were glorious on the Highline trail along the Garden Wall and Ranger Eric (the same Ranger Eric from Thursday night) was a good explainer. 
There were about 22 hikers along for the day. 
We saw many more along the trail.

The first eight miles were mostly along 'level' benches with one 500 foot climb to a col with views into two basins. 

We saw stromatolites, the algae that changed the world, in situ. 

We saw deer, marmots, goats and WAY down in the valley a mother grisly with her cub. 

This pretty much made the hike a success. 

Wildflowers included yellow columbine, false hellebore and lots of fireweed in the avalanche balds and recent burn areas.

Granite Park Chalet - rugged luxury for the rich
There is a refuge at the end of the Highline trail. 
Three stone buildings with minimal accommodations for hikers. 
This is a remnant of the early era when only the wealthy were able to afford the luxury of extended vacations and, in those days, some luxuries such as warmed sheets. 
Today's hikers bring their own bedding.

Downhill - 2200ft in 4 miles. Owie!
The last four miles of the day covered a 2200 foot decent to our shuttle pick up. 
The air was growing murkier and views went away as we passed through an extensive burn from a couple of years ago. 
Many wildflowers, goldenrod among them, provided new browse for the ungulates. 

This leg of the hike wore some of us out. Even with Rory staying back and carrying her backpack, Chere was the last to walk off the trail.

Loving Glacier in a kinder, gentler way
Glacier has implemented a new shuttle system in an attempt to get cars off the Going to the Sun Road. 
It has proven successful beyond their dreams or capacity. 
Hikers can now walk from one shuttle stop to another. 
Small buses arrive at the stops every fifteen minutes. 

Sometimes they are full and no one gets off. 
We had to wait for the second bus before we could get a ride back to Logan Pass. 
The ride took long enough for us to think we must have walked a long distance.
There was no energy left for the Logan Pass two mile alpine Meadow stroll to the Hidden Lake overlook. 

Pie for Strength
We went back to the Park Café (are we becoming cultish?) where they were glad to seat us even as trail dusty as we were. 
Another great meal. 
Rory had garbanzo, yam curry burrito with a pineapple salsa.

And there was pie.
Glorious pie.
Pie for strength.

Regrets on our lodging decision at the end of a long day hiking...
The drive back to Brownie's Hostel would take another hour.
We'd booked Brownie's while we were still in WA. 
We knew Glacier Park was popular and many places were already booked so we were glad to insure ourselves a spot. 

Now that we knew the lay of the land, we realized we could have gotten into one of the low frills camp grounds in the park and bought a shower in St. Mary in less time than it would take to drive down to East Glacier.

The range cattle were frequenting the narrow roadway. 
Considering the consequences of hitting one; having to pay the farmer for his cow and not having the meat to show for it as well as a nice, big bodywork bill

We drove conservatively. 
The cows are black and do not wear reflectors on their butts.

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln...
We were within four miles of E.Glacier, one car behind us and another approaching when...

A shiny black blur rushes out of the wooded shoulder and into the headlights
"Look out!!!"....
Squealing of brakes...
Car behind lays on horn behind us...
Car approaching us slams on brakes....

"Was it a calf?"...
"I think it was a baby bear."

We are stunned.
The car behind just goes around us. 
The approaching car has come to a stop. 
Rory goes down to side road and turns around. 

We drive up to see a poor little black cub killed by our cars.
The approaching car turns out to be a local fellow who calls out, "I just drove over this cub".
Rory goes out to talk to him and say that our car must have hit the cub first and thrown him into the path of the fellow's pick up.

We never got this guy's name. 
He was bear-wise enough to worry that Mama would show up plenty pissed off. 
Rory had not thought of this as he got out of the car. 

Another car load of locals showed up. 
"Throw him in your ride, man..I would." 
But the fellow did not do that, he just dragged the carcass off the road and headed back to the town he'd just left.

We were now headed away from town and toward the Two Medicine NPS Ranger Station so we headed there. 
It was farther than we'd thought. 
About 15 minutes later we arrived and found the station unstaffed. 
We left a note describing what had happened and contact info.

On the way back we came to realize we must have been well out of the park when this happened. 
So we were on Blackfeet land. 
We were considering looking for the police station in East Glacier when we say flashing lights ahead. 

Two BIA police vehicles were at the scene so we pulled over.  
Rory spoke to the BIA officers. 
Their main concern was that we were OK. 

They tried to make Rory feel better by telling him that dozens of black bears had to be taken last year due to overpopulation. 
They said that they would drag the cub further into the woods, presumably to let nature do her part. 
We let them know where we were staying in case they needed to do some follow up.

We showered late and got to bed about eleven PM feeling lousy after an otherwise great day.
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