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Saint Mary Falls and Virginia Falls TR
14 Photosets

mini location map2014-07-20
38 by photographer avatartibber
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St Mary Falls - GNPNorth Central, MT
North Central, MT
Hiking avatar Jul 20 2014
Hiking2.22 Miles 264 AEG
Hiking2.22 Miles   1 Hour   32 Mns   2.18 mph
264 ft AEG      31 Mns Break
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1st trip
Partners none no partners
Wanted to do a little hike of some sort before the ranger-guided hike at 1PM on the Highline Trail to Haystack Butte. I didn't want to do anything too heavy so that I would have good energy for the afternoon hike. In retrospect of course, I wish I had gone to Virginia Falls since the Highline hike was called :cry: due to weather (will post video going to the Pass and at Logan Pass of the weather).

At least this morning, though windy, the sun was out and the skies and air was crisp. The smoke finally had moved out of the valley and now, I can finally enjoy not only the scenery of the Park but the air :) . Well there is construction just past the Rising Sun so I wasn't exactly sure where the temporary TH was for this hike. There are a couple and I wanted the short version one. I drove by it and then turned around when I got up too far. Glad I got there when I did as with the construction there is only one TH now and there were cars waiting to get in when I came out of the hike.

The view from here is really spectacular :DANCE: as you look to Little Chief Mountain. You quickly hike down to the main trail. I discovered at the intersection that it is the Cut Off Trail I was on to get here. Once on the main trail you walk thru the forest along side the lake with occasional viewings of the lake. There was lots of mixed flora along the way. The trail is on an ever so slight of a downgrade all the way to the Falls. I encountered hikers off and on both coming and going. It is a popular hike as it should be due to the reward of seeing the incredible St Mary Falls.

The birds were singing loudly and you can hear them on the video. I shot the videos in HD wide screen format so I'm not sure how that will fare. If you like watching waterfalls, this video will be right up your alley. I always stop at the place just before the Falls so that you can see the bridge and Falls from a distance. Then it was time for the main event and I'm NEVER disappointed :y: . There was only one other person there, a photographer. He was trying all sorts of angles of course. The water as it flows from the bottom area of the Falls is a striking glacial turquoise which is beautiful against the red of the rocks.

I was sorely disappointed :( to see you can't get to the top anymore due to revegetation. So I'm glad Wendy, Gary and I went up there in 2011 as it really is spectacular (I do have it in pics and video). So I went along the trail to Virginia Falls for a bit as the side wall has lots of cool fungi and flora. After goofing around a bit more it was time to head out. The sun decided to play hide and seek as I was trying to capture the rainbow from the falls. Little did I know this was a prelude to what would happen at the Pass.

Heading back I saw more and more hikers were coming down. I did notice this one section where there were a ton of Self Heal (little purple bloomed flora) a few years ago there were only a few this year. I later heard too that a bear had to be shot with rubber bullets after false-charging a tourist :o and that in fact this bear was hassling tourists. The bears are probably a bit out of sorts because of the road construction in this area. There is one bear I call the Rising Sun bear that they've had to put up a sign for no soft-camping at the Rising Sun campground. I actually saw the bear on Friday nite foraging by the Rising Sun.

Once up to the parking area there were cars everywhere and cars waiting to find a spot to park. And now it was time to head up to the Pass but not without stopping a few times. I was on a blooming beargrass search as I heard it was awesome by Lunch Creek. My Going to the Sun Road (GTTSR) journey will be a separate trip log :wrt: .

08/01/2014 Two videos are in production. 8/12/2014 I decided to do it all in one. It is a widescreen HD video but because of the length 16 min, I had to save it to .mpg and then try various uploads for the right format that I could use the stabilizer, SHEESH. Still not as happy with it but if you want to hear the birdies, listen to the water and see a gorgeous falls, I think you'll like this:

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Saint Mary Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow
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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