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DESTINATION
Sperry Glacier Trail
2 Photosets

2012-08-05  
2012-08-05  
mini location map2012-08-05
88 by photographer avatartibber
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Sperry Glacier TrailWestern, MT
Western, MT
Hiking avatar Aug 05 2012
tibber
Hiking7.50 Miles 1,979 AEG
Hiking7.50 Miles   7 Hrs   41 Mns   1.91 mph
1,979 ft AEG   3 Hrs   45 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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desertgirl
Once again, I didn't realize how long this triplog was getting until I hit the Save and Review button. And I wasn't even done yet. So please BEAR :D with me as this is as much for my memory as to share with anyone that wants to know about this hike.

After eating a great breakfast at the Chalet, it was now time to go see that Glacier. We had the opportunity to observe the mule train of stuff that comes up to the Chalet twice a week. They were ahead of schedule so the staff was trying to get us out of the eating quarters sooner than later.

It was a nice morning as we headed down the hill through the forest from the Chalet to the intersection with the Sperry Trail and the Sperry GLACIER Trail. We took a right (north) and eventually came out of the forest to walk on the side of the mountain. Soon we encountered a goat mama and kid where we stepped aside to let them pass. I got some of it in the video. The little ones are always so cute.

We encountered several waterfalls almost immediately. We were in the shade at this point so I got to use the S function on the camera. One of the waterfalls was flowing fast and mighty while the other was simply taking its time flowing from WAY above us. One thing in this area of the Park, the waterfalls all seem so long and they are plentiful. For this hike, there would be boards spread across the waterfall for the most part so you didn't have to worry about getting across and getting your boots wet : queen : .

We hiked around the head wall of a low cirque at the north of us and once again came upon a larger waterfall. It was 1/2 in sun, 1/2 shade so a bit difficult to film. Next you are heading to the west where you get great views of a couple mtn ranges. One range (I think Mission) still had quite a bit of snow on its tops which became more visible the higher we got. Eventually we would get at the same level we were the day before looking at Lincoln Pass 7,050 feet.

We still had a lot of climb to go and after wrapping around a rather large SB, we would start to encounter snowfields from time to time. The first couple times you get on the snowfields it's a little nerve wracking until you develop snow legs and then it seems almost like walking in slippery sand. I never did pull out my yaktrax as the slant was never enough to make me nervous as I would just take my time and carefully place my foot.

Eventually you get to the upper tier or lower level of a higher cirque wall. Here you have meadows interspersed with rocks and boulders and bedrock with large pools of water. And though we had been climbing steeply, it was just so incredible here so we stopped quite frequently to take pics of the scenery and each other :lol: . The flora were intense as was the loud roar of all the many waterfalls along the way. From here we could finally spot the Chute. There was a long snowfield that stretched out before it. I thot the snowfield on the cirque's cliff walls looked like some kind of animal as it had two ears :-$ . I got some good pics using zoom.

Up here there are two really pretty little lakes (tarns) where the color changes based on the sky. Today they looked black as we made our way up; I presume by the glare of the snow and morning sun. This was a fun area to walk through as you could climb up on some of the bigger boulders without much trouble or you could walk up to the side of the lake. And of course, your views out to the other mountain ranges in the distance to the south and west and down to the Chalet were pretty nice too :DANCE: .

You walk on the stepping stones across a mini-water cascade to the other side as you again take another switchback up to the next level above the bigger lake. Now the color of this one was really something else; especially where the snow was below the lake and you had blue ice :o . There was also a crack in the snow above the lake so it looked very glacier-like for sure.

We enjoyed our walk on this tier before it was time to tackle the more slippery and steep approach to the cirque's low head wall at the Chute. There is a cable on part of this entryway though I found no need to use it. Later that evening we would learn that they brot the horses up here and tied them up before using a ladder to get up the Pass. There is a postcard of it in our room at the Chalet.

Yes, they blasted this hole in the cirque head wall and blasted in steps but these are some tall-pumpkin steps : rambo : . There is a cable for those who need it. We had heard others thot it was a bit scary but then these folks haven't been up & down the Brown's Peak Chute :D . We had also heard the story of the grizzly bear at the chute so when I looked up after getting about 1/2 way, I was bewildered to see a mountain goat :o with BIG BROWN EYES staring at me. I yelled down to Ambika and Guru to tell them what I was seeing instead of getting my camera out to take a pic. The goat was looking over the side down into the Chute and waited for less than a minute before taking off. When I got to the top of the Chute he had wandered off a bit and was now looking over the cirque wall. I think he was waiting for us to get out of the way so he could go down.

Seeing goats in the park would almost become second nature on this trip. Once at the top your vista is needless to say WOW. Little did we know it would get even more WOWer. The goat had wandered off to the little lake to the west of us. Our mission now was to head across several snowfields to the Sperry Glacier. One of these snowfields was quite large and slanted to the downhill so you could get your glissade on, YEE HAW! We would also see some goats making their way along the snow covered side of Gunsight Mtn to our right.

Getting off and on the snowfields could prove tricky 8-[ from time to time due to the melting snow, steep slopes and water. One of Guru's legs went 1/2 way down so we walked around. Guru's job was depth tester (when walking thru water and waterfalls) but I just didn't think that was applicable to snowfields ;) .

About 1/2 way to the Glacier :y: :y: :y: OMG what a view. All of the Park's Rocky Mtns seemed in view as well as a couple tarns (little glacier lakes). I had seen this pic many times and now I, Tibber, was finally here :pray: ; something I didn't even dream of until last year. It reminded me of the time during a competition :A1: when they asked me if I could see anything in this world what would it be and I said I would love to see the Lipizzaner stallions in Austria and about 2 years later I did. (I was 17 at the time and still horse crazy, what did I know? :lol: )

We got to the marked rocky knoll before the last marker way down below that gives you the more bottom-up look at the Glacier. Ambika and I decided this was good enough for us as getting down to that last marker looked a bit tenuous :scared: . Guru on the other hand decided he was going to give it a shot :gun: . He made it most of the way but decided it was a bit nerve-wracking so came back. I did get some of his walk on film.

At this second to the last marker is where we decided to have our lunch and rest our laurels. Your view was simply amazing :worthy: including Edwards Mtn behind you to the left, the Little Matterhorn (that very pointy mtn you see from Avalanche Lake), the mountains of the Livingston Range, the mountains around Hidden Lake and to your right Reynolds Mtn now looked like a dome instead of a horn and to our far right the glacier and Gunsight Mtn.

We took lots more pictures as you just couldn't get enough of this most incredible vista on a bright beautiful day in Glacier Park. The tarns were different colors with one being very turquoise. We also thot of the missing hiker that had still not been found. He would have more than likely been hiking somewhere below us as he was coming from Floral Park (just over the ridge in front of us) down to Avalanche Lake.

Alas :( we had to bid adieu :lone: to this marvelous vista. But what a place. I do believe THIS is now my favorite hike in the Park; after all I took nearly 650 :o photos and videos. So off we went back over the sometimes long snowfields. The glare from the snow was pretty intense by this point but I didn't want to stop and get out my sunglasses so I just kept moving. Needless to say, this is beautiful coming and going. We picked up the pace on the way back but the views and flora and wildlife were still causing us to stop and inhale it all; oh and take photos :) .

On the first upper tier I got to see my first ptarmigan that Ambika had seen earlier. At first I only saw a couple chicks with her and then saw all four. I got photos and movie of the family. We once again enjoyed the lakes as we passed by them and now even more flowers were blooming. We passed by the giant colorful rocks and more waterfalls, saw some more goats and continued down the trail that you could see from quite a distance for most of the time.

A couple of the snowfields had developed even deeper holes so you had to be mindful of where you stepped. As we climbed up the last of the large snowfields, once again we encountered goats below and goats on the snowfield. This is when you feel so much one with nature as the goats don't seem too bothered by your presence. We would hike together, hike apart but were always in awe of our surroundings as we were now seeing it in a different light; especially the flora filled side of the mountain (very hard to photograph).

We continued to go down and down on this nice trail where once again, we encounter another goat. This guy can't make up his mind :oplz: where he wants to travel so we try to help by continuing on the trail where we stop again to get his photo. This goat had a lovely fur coat and seemed very inquisitive. He goes to the top of the switchback and looks back at us; the perfect Glacier National Park goat photo op.

Next we hit the last big waterfall and then run into beargrass on both sides of the trail as well as bunches of blooming flora to our left as we hike on the side of the lower headwall taking up back to the Chalet. It's hard to want to hike too fast as we still have a couple hours before the dinner bell. Guru and I lag while Ambika seems to make a beeline for the Chalet. Both of us stop at one more waterfall that is fully bathed in light vs the morning shade. Did I mention the waterfalls seem so very long here in the Park?

We head back through the forest and up the hill encountering some hikers heading back down the Sperry Trail. Many hikers just come up the Sperry Trail for the day and hang out at the Chalet (they have great pie and lemonade). It has to be pretty good pie if a person is going to hike 6.5 miles up nearly 3400 feet and then go down that monster as well.

And here are the movies from the hike. It is best to watch my videos in the second screen (not the little one or full):

Part 1 is from the Chalet to the top of Comeau Pass - http://youtu.be/fQyq7-xeVSI
I put a link in the info section below the video that will take you to the Glacier part of the hike.

Part 2 is to the Sperry Glacier and part way back - http://youtu.be/deUTqyxwn6o

Part 3 is the rest of the hike back including the encounter with the young goat that couldnt' decide where he wanted us to hike - http://youtu.be/bzijaNpfTzw
Culture
Culture
Throwing a Wendy
Meteorology
Meteorology
Glacier
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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