Florence Falls, Gunsight Lake and Piegan Pass Hikes

Two more wonderful day hikes that we had not done before while at Glacier National Park, the first was to Gunsight Lake from the Gunsight Pass Trailhead on the Going-to-the-Sun Road east of Logan Pass. The trail started in a  gradual descent for about a mile when we came to Deadwood Falls, a beautiful 10-foot waterfall with deep crystal clear pools of water above and below the falls. We continued on for about 2 miles to the St Mary River and the beautiful valley where we were hoping to spot a moose that some hikers had seen earlier. No luck this time. A little further along we came to an opening in the canopy that provided us with one of the most magnificent views in Glacier. In the foreground is an open grassy meadow alongside Mirror Pond  and framing the background is Mount Jackson, Gunsight Mountain and Fusillade Mountain, as well as Gunsight Pass. Continue reading

Gunsight Pass Trail Backpacking Trip

It was 3 am and dark, when I got up to go to the backcountry office in Glacier National Park to try and get permits for a 3 day backpacking trip to Gunsight Pass Trail. I arrived just before 4 am and I was 4th in line to wait until the office opened at 8 am. Then it started to rain while we were all huddled in our camp chairs trying to keep warm. It was a very long 4 hours but finally the Park Rangers arrived just before 8 am and we began the process of acquiring backcountry permits. I was assured that I was going to be able to get the 3 campsites I wanted, but when it came to my turn the Ranger said that they had sold the one campsite left at Gunsight Lake campground to an employee about 5 minutes before. Change of plans; I got the first night at Sperry Campground, second night at Lake Wilson Campground and the third night back at Sperry Campground. We started our hike early as it is a steep 6.2 mile climb to reach Sperry Chalet and Campground. Continue reading

Glacier NP, August and September

We came back to Glacier National Park for another 3 week stay at Columbia Falls RV Park in late August and September. We took another drive out to Polebridge for the day to hike along Bowman Lake. It is approximately one mile wide and eight miles in length. We stopped at Polebridge to buy the famous bear claws again to take on the hike to the backpacking campsite where we went down to the lake just before the campsite and set up our camping chairs. Bowman Lake is a very peaceful lake and a perfect place to chill out and swim in the lake while enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Eagle Cap Wilderness

The Eagle Cap Wilderness was established in 1940 and lies in the heart of the Wallowa Mountains in northeastern Oregon, with a total of 359,991 acres. It was used as hunting grounds for bighorn sheep and deer, and was the summer home to the Joseph Band of the Nez Perce tribe, who moved into the Wallowa Valley in 1860.

The Eagle Cap Wilderness is characterized by high alpine lakes and meadows, bare granite peaks and ridges, and U-shaped glaciated valleys. We decided to do an overnight backpacking trip to Ice Lake (8-miles one-way, 3.400′ of climb) from the Wallowa Lake Trailhead, because it is one of the most outstanding and loved locations in the Eagle Cap. The trail climbs, unbelievably, right up a rockslide and up through sub-alpine into alpine, with meadows full of wildflowers, making the 8 mile trek both beautiful and strenuous. We passed a large waterfall, Lower Adam Creek Falls, just before we started the many switchbacks to the final accent into the large cirque that cradles Ice Lake, sitting in a multicolored basin 7,800 feet in the sky. We set up camp over looking Ice Lake under the trees, we were really tired after hiking for almost 8 hours and settled in after dinner for a comfy sleep in our tent. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Joseph Oregon

On August 3rd we left Coeur d’Alene and headed for Joseph, Oregon, with an overnight stop in Clarkston, WA, at the beautiful Granite Lake RV Park situated on the Snake River. The next morning we drove to Joseph along a very narrow, winding road over Rattlesnake Pass to the Wallowa River RV Park in Wallowa, Oregon, just north of Joseph. The town of Joseph named in honor of the famous Nez Perce Chief Joseph, is a true western town with cobblestone sidewalks, no power lines and the crowning feature is the 7 Monumental Bronze Sculptures. These larger-than-life-size sculptures represent themes common to the West. The Bronze statutes were sculpted by different artists all portraying the Western Way of Life. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

St Regis MT and Couer d Alene Idaho

On July 15th it was time to leave Columbia Falls on our way to St Regis, MT and Coeur d’Alene, ID. First we stopped at the Polson Motorcoach RV Resort near Flathead Lake in Polson, MT, for a few days of rest and to enjoy this beautiful park, for Class A motorhomes only. Due to COVID-19 everything was closed in Polson so we went paddleboarding on Flathead Lake. Then we went to St Regis, MT, and stayed at The Nugget RV Park for a week. This is a great Park with the friendliest hosts, who even started our campfire for us. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

West Glacier and Polebridge

On July 3rd it was a beautiful sunny day to drive 35 miles northwest of Columbia Falls to Polebridge, MT, in the remote northwest corner of Glacier National Park. The community is named for the log bridge that formerly connected the “inner” North Fork Road in Glacier National Park to the “outer” North Fork Road, and is very close to the Canada-United States border. The Polebridge Mercantile Store is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been in operation since 1914. The “Merc”, originally established by William and Jessie Adair, is one of the anchors of the North Fork experiences, known as “The North Fork’s Last Best Outpost”. The Mercantile Bakery is worth the drive, huckleberry bear claws, cinnamon rolls, macaroons, coffee, fresh baked bread/hot pocket sandwiches, and signature pizzas are all delicious. We each had a huckleberry bear claw and the hot pocket sandwiches were amazing and great to take on your hike. After spending time at Bowman Lake taking photographs we drove back to Polebridge and stopped at the Northern Lights Saloon for a beer. It’s a one-of-a-kind rustic bar and restaurant, surrounded by good vibes, idyllic mountain views, incredible food and cold brews. Click on thumbnail to view images. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading

Glacier NP -July 2020

On June 29th, Monday, we arrived at Columbia Falls RV Resort in Columbia Falls, Montana. For three weeks we plan on exploring Glacier National Park as much as possible, due to COVID-19 East Glacier is closed. Our first adventure after the rain stopped was to hike to Avalanche Lake, a short 2 mile hike from the trailhead along the Trail of the Cedars that begins on the Going-to-Sun-road. It was a wet/cloudy day as we began hiking up the trail to the bridge over Avalanche Creek. The view of the lower Avalanche Gorge was very impressive and the highlight along this stretch of the trail. The trail was full of hikers, as it is one of the more popular easier hikes in the Park but well worth the view of Avalanche Lake. At 2.3 miles we finally reached the foot of Avalanche Lake with a large beach area to sit and soak-in the magnificent scenery. The Lake sits at the base of 8,694-foot Bearhat Mountain, which rises almost 4,800 feet above the lake. In the distance we saw several waterfalls plunging down the cliffs and mountains that surround the Lake, originating from Sperry Glacier that can’t be seen from the Lake. It was Dr. Lyman Sperry in June of 1895, exploring the basin, heard multiple avalanches roaring down the surrounding mountains, and thus the name Avalanche Basin became the name for the place. Avalanche Lake Trail was likely the first trail to be made for tourists in the Glacier Park area. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

The Wave and Buckskin Gulch, Coyote Buttes North

Finally after six days of trying to get a permit for The Wave I was successful with lucky number 12, on Saturday, June 20th. The Wave, located within the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, is the premier photographic destination in the US Southwest. Only 20 permits per day (10 on-line and 10 walk-in) are available and demand far exceeds supply, so I was ecstatic when number 12 was drawn on my sixth day of getting up at seven to be there early to pick my lucky number. On June 21st, Father’s Day, we were heading out to see The Wave at 6 am from Kanab. We watched the sunrise as we drove along US-89 to the turn off for House Rock Valley Road, and drove 8.4 miles to the Wire Pass Trailhead, which is the gateway to some spectacular scenery and hiking, including The Wave and Buckskin Gulch. It’s a six mile round trip hike in required to get to The Wave, and there are a small number of cairns along the way. We started our hike to The Wave by signing the trailhead register and crossing House Rock Road to follow the Wire Pass wash for a half mile to a sign marked Coyote Butte North on the right. It took us about 90 minutes to get to The Wave, and the light was still perfect, you want to be there just after sunrise, to get great photos of all the beautiful sandstone formations and colors in The Wave. We were fortunate to have The Wave all to ourselves for a short time, and then there were only six other people who showed up while we were there. Continue reading

Southwest Adventures, Kanab Utah

On June 13th, 2020, we arrived at the Grand Plateau RV Resort, Kanab’s newest RV Resort, in Utah, for an extended stay of 3 weeks. Every morning I went to the gym in Kanab to try and get permits to the Wave and when I wasn’t successful we went to discover other beautiful places in the area. One day we drove to Alstrom Point, “The Path less Travelled”, in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. From Big Water, Utah we drove the scenic 4×4 dirt road with Hoodoos and other geological features along the route before reaching the last 3 miles, where the fun began, as Bob guided our Jeep on a technical 4WD rocky section arriving at the remote Alstrom Point. Alstrom Point has a magical view overlooking Lake Powell. The blue water of Lake Powell contrasts with the red rocks and the canyons all around us, as far as you could see makes for a special place. At the overlook we enjoyed the sweeping views of winding Lake Powell and wind-eroded sandstone formations like hoodoos, we couldn’t get enough of this magnificent view. Continue reading