Day 11 - Avalanches & Tears At A 1000 Foot Drop

Trip Start Jul 22, 2011
Trip End Aug 15, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm writing this in the car at 7.30pm on the way out of the park after another busy day. We’d had a later start today, and left at 10am and took the Theodore Roosevelt Highway, which skirts the park boundary from East Glacier at one end of the park where we are staying, to West Glacier at the other entrance. This avoids the long Going to The Sun Road which goes directly through the heart of the park. It is a longer, but faster run, but is still really scenic.

We drove alongside the middle fork of the Flathead River, which was amazing. It was as blue as a swimming pool, and so clear. Just by West Glacier we stopped at a high bridge over the river, and watched as some mad kids jumped about 40+ feet into the river below. The river is popular for rafting trips, and we watched some rafts head down the river.

We did some very expensive food shopping in West Glacier, where a loaf of sliced bread cost $5, and then into the park after an interesting little stop in another building. More about that tomorrow!!

After a quick stop by Lake McDonald for a picnic, we headed up to the Trail of the Cedars trailhead. It was my turn for a hike today, while Lyn stopped with Invalid Tegz.

Io, Ci and myself headed out armed with the usual bear spray, bear bell, water, snacks and, for the first time, our new Garmin handheld GPS, where we had entered the trail for Avalanche Lake. We passed the sign that said "You are now entering Grizzly Country".....gulp!

The trail was a very busy 4 mile round trip, but the two miles there were mainly uphill. I don’t do uphill very well! Might be something to do with not being fit, I don’t know, possibly, lol! It’s fair to say I struggled, and my face went a fetching shade of crimson, but with the aid of my trusty hiking poles and guides I made it!

My first sighting of the lake made all my huffing and puffing worthwhile. The photos will not do it justice. Imagine someone has taken an ice cream scoop to the base of some huge mountains, and scooped out a big hollow, and then someone else has filled it with an aquamarine lake. Oh, and someone else has painted 5 beautiful huge waterfalls down the sides of the circle of mountains into the lake. You might get the picture then. Posh people say that the lake is nestled in a glacial cirque of mountains, but I like the ice cream analogy best!

We sat for a good half an hour eating our snacks, and taking in the view. Cian felt the view was not worth the hike, but said he may bring his wife here some day!

It was much easier going back downhill, unsurprisingly, and we flew it, skipping smugly past people trudging on the uphill journey. When we got near Avalanche Creek towards the end of the trail Ci and I sat down to watch the creek thunder past, while Ioan went to tell Lyn to come and meet us, so he could see the creek. Does creek make you think of a lazy little stream? Not this one....full of the power of nature, the glacial melt thundered through Avalanche Gorge. You wouldn’t want to fall in that! Apparantly drownings are the number one cause of fatalities in Glacier, and I can see why looking at this creek.

Lyn met us, and took, what should hopefully, be some nice photos. Tegan and Lyn had had a nice realxing time, reading in the car, and relaxing by the river. Lyn had parked up in a prominent spot, with Pussell on the bonnet so we couldn't miss him!  Tegz’s foot is definitely beginning to heal now. It’s such a shame she’s had to miss out on so much here.

We tested out her foot by venturing out briefly onto the Highline Trail at Logan Pass. Bear in mind that I have to have my eyes closed in the car coming on the road along the top of the wall. Now imagine a pathway, cut high into the rock, over hanging the road so the cars disappear way beneath you, with cables running along it for you to hold onto. Oh, and a thousand foot drop! Not really my cup of tea, to put it mildly, but I had to give it a go, didn’t I??

Big huge round of applause again for me today please....not only did I do another hike not designed for fat unfit people, I also ventured a couple of hundred yards onto the Highline Trail, clutching onto the green cable for dear life, sweating, shaking, and not looking down. I even posed for photos! I then froze when it was time to turn around and come back, and ended up in floods of tears just blindly putting one foot in front of another, holding onto that cable like it was a winning lottery ticket! (not the best way to do it!)

Never mind, all over now, and I’m just waiting for the nightmares tonight. To say I am not good with heights is an understatement. Never mind, another “face the fear and do it anyway” moment. Wooo hoo!

So..... three guesses as to what trail Lyn and Io want to do on our last day, Wednesday??

Nearly home now, to get ourselves sorted for our last but one day in Glacier. Promises to be a good one!!
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mcfarlne on

Brave girl Luce, what a star concurring all those fears. I prefer your ice cream scoop analogy too lol. Good to hear Teggys foot is healing well :0)
When will it be my turn for a holiday?

juliephilip on

Oh Luce, I think I'm with you, I don't think I could do that hike looking at that drop. I think my hands would be blistered I would be gripping the rope so hard. Looking forward to hearing what you did today!! More excellent photos too.

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