Lost in Montana

Out of internet coverage for the last couple of days in Glacier NP, which is not a bad thing when you think about it. We saw McMurtry at the Top Hat Lounge in Missoula Saturday night and it was great. His blues / country guitar and great lyrics were awesome to see in person. We’ll have to swing through Austin, TX on our homeward leg and see him again at his regular location.

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Headed to Glacier on Sunday and got a spot at Avalanche campground (1st come 1st serve). Smoke from forest fires in Washington on Saturday darkened Missoula’s skies and possibly made folks think twice about going to Glacier, but on Sunday the smoke cleared and it was blue skies and beautiful. The campground is nicely located in the park for easy access to the trails and shuttles.

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We hiked the Trial of the Cedars when we got there, which is right next to the campground. The water rushing through the rocks was clear and snow-melt cold.

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We then hiked the Sperry Chalet trail, but realized it was a 13 mile round trip with a 4000 foot elevation gain after we started (need a better map), and diverted to Fish Lake for an easier 6 mile hike. This left more time for a couple of good beers and appetizers at the lodge before we caught the shuttle back to the camp for an afternoon nap (best part of retirement). Saw 3 deer with velvet antlers at the start of the trail but luckily no bears.

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The diverted trail to the lake was not a high traffic route and was shaded and spongy from the hundred of layers on pine needles that marked the path. Fish Lake was pretty but thankfully there was a nice breeze to keep the mosquitoes from achieving a full attack.

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Sperry Chalet sounds like a future trip since it was fully book this year. I imagine it to be Phantom Ranch in reverse (hike up instead of down to get there) but a lot less exposed to the sun hiking through the forest. Plus a day hike to Sperry Glacier from Sperry Chalet is supposed to be one of the more beautiful hikes in the park. Any one interested?

We then hiked to Avalanche Lake which is just gorgeous, before heading out of the park. Another stamp too.

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We are now in Great Falls, MT where Louis and Clark chose correctly at the fork in the river only to encountered 5 huge falls within several miles of each other (hence Great Falls) that they had to port around on their way up the mighty Missouri river. The area around here is just beautiful grasslands at the foothills to the Rockies. Check out the awesome vehicle parked in the background.

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The Ranger at the Louis and Clark Encounter gave me a volcanic rock as we were leaving. Must be a good day.

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