One of the experiences on the trip that I was really looking forward to was a bike ride up Going to the Sun Road to Logan Pass. It is 3,000 feet of elevation gain over 13 miles. The only problem is that the day that we were planning on doing it there was a fire on the eastern side of the park. They shut down Logan Pass and we weren’t able to make it to the western side of the park. With our plans foiled we went on an alternate side hike that was a little bit outside of Glacier National Park.
The first thing that you should know about bagging peaks in the area is that is much less difficult than it looks. The second thing that you should know is that I am scared of heights and Trevor can traipse up the slopes like a mountain goat. The Great Northern is an 8,709 ft peak and we had luckily picked a very clear day.
You start the hike in the first and zigzag through the trees at a steep incline. Breaks are taken both to catch your breath and stuff your face with huckleberries. We finally came out of the trees and started to make our way to the ridge that takes you to the top of the peak. It doesn’t feel unsafe, but you are basically walking on the side of a mountain that is covered in scree. The rocks slope down and a tumble would not be pleasant.
There were a couple of sections that required using hands and feet to ascend. I was less than excited by this and eventually made it to the top. Most people experience elation at the top of peaks. They have a Titanic like moment and spread their arms and enjoy the scenery. I have a different reaction. I curl into the fetal position and huddle on the ground counting down the seconds until I am back on the ground. I can stand, but one of my hands must be attached to the mountain.
Descending the mountain is much more pleasant for me. Every step is a step closer to feeling more comfortable. At the same time, it’s sad. You look back and see where you were and wish that you had stayed longer. We hiked down and filled our water bottles with huckleberries.
One of the most exciting parts of the trip is not just visiting the National Parks, but connecting with others who are excited about them as well. One of these newly made friends of ours is named Neel. We connected over twitter and he bought us huckleberry pie in St. Mary’s. Due to the fires we not only had to change our hike we also had to change our huckleberry dessert options. We made chocolate huckle-banana-berry bread. It was no pie, but it was pretty good.