Welcome to Part 2 of my adventure up to Glacier National Park! In yesterday's post I took you through a walk in the ancient cedars and hemlocks along the Trail of the Cedars and today I want to show you our hike at Logan's Pass to see a panoramic view of Hidden Lake! As you head up the trail from the parking lot at Logan's Pass and come over the first hill you come across this small plateau where a large pond (or small lake) is being fed by melting waters from the mountains above. This time of year is actually spring for GNP so many of the wildflowers were in bloom and covered the hillsides while fresh vegetation was being fed by the melting snows. But, I'm getting ahead of myself here because first I want to show you the road going up to the Pass.
I have so many memories of riding along the Going To The Sun Road, but the one that sticks out in my mind the most is the time I got incredibly car sick and had to stick my head out of the window to puke because we couldn't pull over and hold up the huge line of cars behind us. Not exactly the romantic childhood memory to have, but a funny one that my sister loves to bring up each time we mention our hiking adventures. I'm proud to say that I made it up without any incidents this year, but maybe it's because this time we pulled off on several times to stick our hands out to catch water coming off of the Weeping Wall, and to take pictures of the few glaciers and waterfalls left in the park.
We managed to get up to the top and get a parking spot just in time before the hoards of people started piling in and hitting the trails. The increase in visitors has caused so much damage to the park that they have started to close popular sites like Triple Falls which I really wanted to photograph on this trip. Luckily they've maintained the trail into Hidden Lake which heads uphill along a nice wooden boardwalk and steps, and at 6000 ft I thought that I would have a hard time breathing coming from elevation 0 ft, but it wasn't too bad. Ok, I'm lying, I was huffing and puffing starting at the first set of stairs but the fact that I was trying to stay upright while slushing through melting snow, and gazing out at the spectacular views took my mind off of the lack of oxygen going into my lungs.
Coming from California and the lack of water in general made the clear, crisp streams even more mesmerizing and I wanted to jump right in and cool my feet off, but the plethora of signs restricting off-path access and the risk of Giardia infection put that to a stop throughout the hike. But see how clear the water is here! At one point my brother asked me the last time I saw snow and it had been so long that I couldn't even remember! Pathetic or lucky, I'm not sure which at this point! The snow covered the trail in certain parts which made the hike a little trickier, but was also a relief when my foot sunk about a foot deep into the slush. It was still 90 degrees + up at the top!
Mission accomplished! We finally made it out to take in the amazing view of Hidden Lake and luckily we beat most of the tourists out there so we had the views all to ourselves for a while. (see a short video here)I wanted to hike down to the lake but after hearing from another pair of hikers that the lake is where the grizzly bears tend to congregate I thought the view was just as good from up above. Besides we had our fill of mountain goats that crossed our trail and even saw a marmot along the boardwalk so we felt we didn't need to encourage a grizzly sighting as well.
It was a great trip overall, but way too short in the long run. Granted it was over 100 degrees, and we easily remedied that by heading down to Flathead Lake the next day, but despite the heat it was good to be back home again if only for a weekend. GNP is a beautiful place to go hiking and I can't wait to go back and practice more landscape photography! Can you blame me? Just look at this view! Stay tuned tomorrow and I'll show you what all I packed and the camera gear I used on the trip!