©Bert Gildart: The view from the Hidden Lake Overlook is one of Glacier National Park’s most spectacular, but goats and the chance to show family the spectacles all combined to add another dimension.
That said we almost didn’t make it. We had planned to drive from the park’s West Entrance to Logan Pass, but when we arrived at the entrance station rangers informed us that a mudslide had closed the west side of Going-to-the-Sun-Road. (A link here to a video of the mudslide.)
Logan Pass, however, was still open, but to visit this high point along the Going-to-the-Sun Road we would have to drive an additional 2-½ hours to the park’s east side, and access the pass from St. Mary. Of course I said I was unsure (which means no mendacity) about the extra driving time, believing that no one should leave Montana without a visit to the famed pass, so my motives were pure.
We started the 1.5 mile hike from the pass at about 2 p.m. and reached the overlook an hour or so later. Our group consisted of Janie’s daughter Karen, husband Alun, and the three grandchildren, Cassie, Griff, and Piper. And, of course, it included Janie and me.
L to R: Karen, Griff, Cassie, Piper and Alun, searching for goats, grizzly bears, Columbian ground squirrels, ptarmigan and hoary marmots, and having some luck. (CLICK ANY IMAGE TO SEE IT ENLARGED.)
The upper portion of the trail was covered with snow which added to the challenge of the hike, but that’s where we saw goats. Alun and Piper (the youngest) may have seen the first goat, which approached them from a nearby boulder field. Moments later we saw a nanny and a kid, then an entire group of about seven.
Karen encountered one just as she departed from a grove of trees, and I’m not sure which of the two was the most startled. Except for the small kid, all the other goats were in the process of shedding their fur, and much had accumulated on branches in nearby trees. At this time of year, adult goats appear to have the mange, but all fur grows back by early fall as the animals prepare for the onslaught of winter’s snow and cold.
L to R: Billy goat overlooking Hidden Lake, Nanny with kid, protective nanny.
Without a question, our most spectacular sighting was that of a lone billy (male) sanding on a rock prominence overlooking Hidden Lake. Surrounding us were mountains with names such as Heavy Runner, Bear Hat, Clements and Reynolds. And in the middle, tucked into a glacial cirque, glimmered turquois-colored Hidden Lake, much of which was still covered with winter ice. Flanking the lake were also thousands of glacial lilies, a flower associated with early spring, and that is precisely what it was in this park of grand and lofty mountains.
More than anything Cassie had wanted to see a hoary marmot and on the way back down, she got her wish. Griff had wanted to see a grizzly bear (in the distance!), and often that happens, just not on our trip. Though there was a bit of wind, the day really seemed perfect, and I’ll be anxious to see just how this group feels about this long day’s trip, say a month or so down the line.
AIRSTREAM TRAVELS ONE YEAR AGO:
GILDART BOOKS FOR SALE:
(You can order our new books (shown below ) from Amazon or you can order them directly from the Gildarts. Bert will knock a dollar off the list price of $16.95, but he must add the cost of book-rate mailing and the mailer, which are $2.25. The grand total then is $18.20. Please send checks to Bert Gildart at 1676 Riverside Road, Bigfork, MT 59911.)