Glacier National Park – arrival and the East side

The western side of Glacier is shockingly commercial and crowded. Even though the Road to the Sun through the park is open maybe 15 miles on either side, with the middle 20 still blocked by 15 foot snow drifts hiding whatever damage has been done to the road and guardrails, people come in throngs. It is a gorgeous drive along the Flathead Lake and River. Approaching West Glacier there are signs for zip lines, water adventures, tours,…., and tons of people. It was late in the day so dinner and check out the Glacier Distillery. Dinner was so-so, but the Distillery had a wide selection of options. I did a flight of whiskeys, a spruce flavored gin, and the absinthe. I normally don’t like licorice flavors, but it caught my eye for some reason, and oddly enough I liked it best.

The next day it rained all day, and decided to spend the time driving the two hours over to Two Medicine and Saint Mary, maybe to hike there. Visibility was poor, so the mountains were hidden much of the day. At Two Medicine, I was directed to Whitney as the hiking guru. She provided good updates on what not to do. In particular, one of the hikes I had in mind, the last two miles of the five 5 mile, 3000 foot, Huckleberry Mountain was through snow, deep snow, and sometimes up and down snow banks or walls.  She recommended the short walk to the falls, I thought if I’m going to get wet, I want something more.

Off to Saint Mary’s for the 3,6 mile RT 260 feet, Victoria Falls. The flowers were gorgeous along the way, I identified perhaps 30 different species, some of which I had never seen before, such as the Bear Grass not shown below. I hiked with Natalie, a ranger from Indiana. She was a good hiking companion, very pleasant and good natured. There are several falls along the way, Saint Mary’s, then three unnamed falls, followed by the 50+ foot Victoria Falls. The trail was very muddy, and we went off the main trail to get down by the river. On the way back down, I slipped on the mud ending my 11 month streak of hiking without a fall. Well, I needed to do laundry anyways.

There was a bear on the trail in the other direction, but we missed it. On the drive back, there were mountain sheep and three elk by the road. For dinner at the Huckleberry Patch for a piece of pie and their elk burger, excellent!

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