Pacific Northwest - Day 10 - Glacier Natl. Park - Huckleberry Mountain
Glacier National Park Travel Blog› entry 971 of 1090 › view all entries
Our last day in beautiful Glacier National Park. Despite the "threats" of the Weather Channel, the weather came out nice and sunny again! Our idea for today was making a hike at higher elevation in a less tourist-crowded part of the park, north of the Apgar area. We had selected the hike to the 2010-meter (6593-ft) high summit of Huckleberry Mountain and its lookout. This would be the highest and longest (19 km / 12 miles) hike, with the biggest elevation gain (800 meters / 2624 ft). Later we learnt that it would also become the snowiest hike of the vacation.
Before going into the park, Stephan, who had celebrated his birthday a few days ago, feasted me on a great slice of huckleberry (relative of the blueberry) pie and a delicious huckleberry milkshake (for a bet he lost about four years ago).
Since snow is such an issue in the park we stopped at the Apgar Ranger Station to check if our hike would be OK from a snow and bear point of view. The ranger on duty assured us we would be fine. So we headed out and our great Toyota took us to the trail head at a 1200 meter (3937 ft) elevation. Unlike the previous hikes where we encountered hundreds of cars on the parking we only saw two other cars.
The hike started in a nice forest with lots of pretty bear grass, rather easy almost horizontally. But then it picked up a pretty steep slope which it kept in an almost perfectly constant incline for almost 6 kilometers (3.7 miles). Taking us up almost 650 meters (2130 ft). The first span of the hike was still in the dense forest with many curves. The bear threat is realistic, Stephan brought a nice whistle, which saved us endless hand clapping like we used to do in bear-populated Alaskan areas.
At an altitude of 1850 meters (6070 ft) we had to switch over from the mountain's south face to its north face. Almost immediately we found ourselves in huge snow fields that inconveniently covered our trail. Fortunately the trails did level out, so, instead of fighting gravitation it was now fighting the H2O crystals. We both wondered why the ranger had said there was no snow on the trail...
The views from the Huckleberry Mountain Fire Lookout were spectacular. So good that we could see heavy clouds and a rain front approaching. One missed us, the other caught up with us during our descent. Not too long fortunately. In the end we were still attacked by the "wildlife". About 1 km (0.6 miles) before getting back to the car huge amounts of persistent mosquitoes attacked us relentlessly and without giving up.
More pictures below.