Find us on Google+ Rick and JoAnne's RV Travels: August 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hiking to Avalanche Lake


Last year when I did this hike there was so much smoke over the lake that I couldn’t even see the mountains or waterfalls behind the lake. The smoke was coming from a fire in the park, as well as, from fires from as far away as Idaho.

This year, I did the hike a week ago before smoke from fires in the surrounding area covered much of the park. What a difference!

I really like this moderate 4 mile (round trip) hike which gains only about 700 feet in elevation. This is a popular hike and I think a perfect “first” hike in Glacier. There is parking at the trailhead but it typically fills up early. I think a better option is to take the shuttle from the transit center in Apgar and exit at the Avalanche stop.

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The hike begins from the Trail of the Cedars trailhead. As I stared the hike it felt more like I was hiking in the Pacific Northwest as I passed through a forest of western hemlock and red cedars. Some of these trees reach heights of more than 100 feet and are over 500 years old. Ferns and moss also cover the forest floor.

Just past the Trail of the Cedars and the Avalanche Lake trail junction I started a short, but stiff climb. At the top of the climb is one of my favorite parts of the hike. Here I walked along the banks of Avalanche Creek and had an up-close view of glacially melted water as it rushes down the narrow Avalanche Gorge. 

At about a mile into the hike (a rough estimate) the trail departs from Avalanche Creek. While I could no longer see the creek, I could definitely hear it much of the way to the lake.

About half a mile from the lake and at confluence Hidden Creek and Avalanche Creek I reached a clearing where hundreds of downed trees have fallen - evidently the result of avalanche activity.

At what I think was slightly over 2 miles I reached Avalanche Lake and was rewarded with a really spectacular view of the lake and the impressive Bearhat Mountain, which rises 4800 feet above the lake. (Last year I couldn’t see any of this.)

There are also several spectacular waterfalls tumbling down the mountain for hundreds of feet.

While most hikers stop at the “beach” I continued on trail along the west shore to the head of the lake, which gave me an entirely different perspective.

Confirmed: This is a one of my favorite hikes.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Historic Polebridge


This year, like last year, we trekked up the long and dusty gravel road to the best little bakery around. Why? The Polebridge Mercantile has the best bread, cookies, and scones in the area. Now that’s not the only reason! The scenery along the way is spectacular!

It serves as a general store, as well as, a base camp in the remote upper reaches of the North Fork of the Flathead River. The Mercantile was built in 1914 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Right next to it is the Northern Lights Saloon. They feature occasional live music, delicious dinners and pizzas…but you have to wait until 4 p.m. daily throughout the summer season to enjoy it. But then again, if you’re not there at 4 p.m. you can walk around the grounds and enjoy the clever sayings on the building, and make a pit-stop in the outhouse before you head on to your destination.

Polebridge is not in Glacier National Park; however it borders the Parks’ boundaries. The area itself is just stunning and you do get fantastic views, plus you will see the remnants of the 2003 Robert’s fire as well as fires from earlier years. It’s amazingly beautiful how the forest regenerates.

Oh... the dozen cookies we bought was seriously depleted by the time we arrived back home.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Day Trip = Sensory Overload


On Tuesday passports in hand, we got an early start up and over the Going-to-the-Sun Road headed for Canada and Waterton Glacier International Peace Park.

It was a trip of breathtaking views filled with mountain peaks, valleys, lakes, glaciers, rivers, waterfalls, and wildflowers. Oh… and yes, some wildlife including black bears, grizzly bears, and goats.

The road itself is a marvel and the construction on the west side of Logan Pass is finally complete but now there is some work being done on the east side. Still it was a great day for a drive and really, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Rather than try and write about our trip I am going to borrow an idea from fellow blogger and RVer Rick Doyle of Rick and Paulette’s RV Travels and let the pictures tell the story. Enjoy!

Click below for a slideshow of all the photos.