Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Snow Falling On Cedars

©Bert Gildart: Snow Falling on Cedars is not only a great title for the classic book by David Guterson, but an apt description of a hike to Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park our group made this past week.

Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars

As my sister, brother-in-law, wife and I hiked several days ago, snow was falling on the cedars, enough so that every now and then we could make out tracks of mice and other tiny creatures brave enough to scurry from beneath the protective covering of a log or cluster of rocks. As well, it was complementing the ice now forming in the gorge flanking the trail along which we hiked.

Avalanche Gorge

Avalanche Gorge

Avalanche Lake is reached first following a short boardwalk through an old stand of cedars that survived fires that raged through the area about 1910. From there the trail climbs two miles to a magnificent cirque where glaciers once performed their magic.

MAGNIFICENT SCENERY

Because of all the downed trees from a recent wind storm, it took about an hour to make this relatively easy hike. Of course, we were also slowed by the dramatic scenery along the way, which we often stopped to photograph. But before long, the trail topped out and we were presented with a view of massive mountains that surround the lake. As well, toward the lake’s upper end, we saw snow starting to bank up that in spring will avalanche onto the lake named for these thunderous occurrences.

When we reached Avalanche Lake, water levels were low, resulting from the scarcity of rainfall this past summer. We ate lunch at the lake, sitting on logs and studied the distant shore. Several other hikers told us they had seen a wolverine on the distant shore, and that indeed is a rare sighting. In my 13 summers as a back-country ranger in Glacier, I’ve seen but one, and nothing changed following our scrutiny of the other day.

TRANQUIL SCENE

As we continued to study the terrain we could see the dense and lush vegetation ringing the lake. The Continental Divide acts here as a rain shadow for the park’s west side, and the closer you get to the barrier, the more precipitation. The precipitation gives rise to all the cedars flanking the trail through which we just walked. It is the only area in the park where the species still exist.

Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake

Normally at this time of year, the area is snowed in and the road to the Avalanche Lake trailhead is not accessible. But when it is, you have a perfect opportunity to hike one of the park’s most popular summer trails, and enjoy the first snows as they fall on the park’s community of cedars.



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