Big hike day!
We got up early to head up to Logan’s pass, the point where going to the sun crosses over the continental divide. Even at 7:30 in the morning parking was a challenge, but fortunately the parking gods smiled upon us at the last minute.
Our goal was the high line trail. Hugging the western face of the garden wall, a series of peaks along the CD, it is supposed to travel through dozens of alpine meadows with amazing views along the way.
After only a couple hundred feet a daunting section carved into the rock face gave the first real taste of hiking in glacier. The ledge was a couple hundred feet above the road we had come in on, and a cable anchored to the rock wall was your only security to not take a shortcut back out.
That brief section over, we entered the first of many meadows sections in full bloom. The diversity of flowers was astounding, nearly everything in peak blossom. We would alternate between meadows, rocky outcroppings, occasional patches of pine trees and some rock fields. Undulating between slopes, the views would alternate directions, framing a new landscape around each corner.
We took a brief detour about 6 miles in to head to an overlook of the Grinnell glacier. This incredibly steep spur trail climbed 800 feet in only 0.8 of a mile. But the view from the saddle at the top was astounding. Perched on the continental divide, we had sweeping views both east and west. The glacial lake below was an incredible blue green that seemed fake. We caught our breath before scrambling back down the steep trail.
After nearly 8 miles we finally reached our lunch spot, the granite park chalet. Built over 100 years ago when the park was first formed, its an aptly named stone building with massive timber ceilings and walls with no power or running water. But still it provides a refuge to those traveling the park just as it had so many decades ago. We ate our lunch and drank more water than we thought we could.
Next was our descent back to the road. By now the sun was high and this was a section that had burned within the last decade, so not a bit of shade to be found. Four miles in the blazing Montana sun, even downhill, ended up being more challenging than the previous 8. We finally cooled off with a stream just before getting to the road. Then a shuttle ride back to our car and a drive had us back in rising sun an hour later. Exhausted and starving, we grabbed food and drinks before pouring ourselves into bed.