Glacier National Park: Part 3

Noah’s and I spent our third day in Glacier on an all-day, ranger-led hike to Piegan Pass. The hike started at 10am, and the trailhead was along the Going to the Sun Road at Siyeh Bend. We got up early to do the drive and make sure we were at the trailhead with plenty of time to get a parking spot. It turned out that parking wasn’t an issue that morning because it was cold, windy, and rainy. While we were waiting for the ranger to come, we stayed in the car to try to get some last-minute warmth. At one point, we even wondered if was too cold for the hike (it was supposed to take about 6 hours!). In the end, we decided to stick it out. It was definitely a good choice! The hike was amazing and, although I was freezing when we finished, the weather wasn’t really that bad until we made it up to the pass. PLUS, we came upon some huckleberry bushes!

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Fun fact: huckleberries have never been successfully cultivated, so you can only pick them in the wild!

The hike itself crossed through several different landscapes. There were forested areas:

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Flower fields (check out how foggy it is!):

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And it became more and more rocky with snow-capped peaks in the (nearer) distance as we approached the pass:

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When we were in the forest/flower fields things were a bit wet but we were all smiles:

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About 3 hours later after we had been exposed to the frigid winds/snow (yes, snow!) past the tree line, we were still smiling but were a little worse for wear. 🙂

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By the time we made it back down the peak and to the car, the rain wasn’t as heavy but it was still quite foggy. Vision on the road was pretty scary!

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Fortunately, Noah was able to build a fire back at the campsite to warm us up (note: the pic below is just the beginning stages 🙂 ):

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The next morning, our fourth day, was our last day in Glacier. We were only planning to spend a few hours in the park in the morning before driving to Ennis, MT for the wedding of two friends. Noah suggested we do the Avalanche Lake Trail for our last Glacier adventure, and the hike worked out perfectly. The hike was an out-and-back 4-mile trail, and it took us about 2.5 hours – perfect for a quick hike on our way out of the park! At the beginning of the hike we followed along a small stream:

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and were completely surrounded by HUGE trees:

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BONUS: more huckleberries!!

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While we were hiking towards the lake, there was still a bit of fog covering the mountains, so we hoped the view would clear before too long:

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After a little more than an hour of hiking, we made it to Avalanche Lake. Holy cow, it was gorgeous:

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Fortunately, the clouds were just disappearing as we headed back towards the trailhead:

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At the end of the hike there was a short loop called Trail of the Cedars. Trail of the Cedars followed a boardwalk that crossed over the water a few times:

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Noah and I learned from a ranger that the unique appearance of the water at Glacier is a result of rock flour. Rock flour is – just like it sounds – the fine flour that is made when rocks scrape against one another (i.e., what is formed at Glacier as the glaciers move). The rock flour gives the water a bright turquoise-ish tint and also makes it very transparent. When the water is shallow and the color is less intense, it almost looks like the rocks are right at the surface!

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After the hike it was time to say our goodbyes to Glacier and start the 5-6 hour drive to Ennis. Goodbye, Glacier!

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I can’t complain about the drive though – the views from the road were still pretty spectacular:

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Eventually, we saw a sign for Ennis!

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Pretty much as soon as we got to Ennis it was time to celebrate:

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The wedding celebrations went by in a blur – so many hugs, smiles, laughs, (happy) tears! Before we knew it, we had ranched:

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We had decorated:

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We had rehearsal dinner-ed:

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And the last dance was danced:

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It was definitely a happy/wonderful/moving weekend that I won’t forget. ❤

And that concludes our Montana vacation – what a trip!

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