Total Miles: 2507.2
Well, this is awkward, and frankly, it was bound to happen. Especially here. Just as in places like the Wind River Range, there’s hardly anything I can say about the experience of the scenery found in Glacier National Park that photos can’t already tell you. Under a sky swept clean of yesterday’s gray clouds, a deep blue backdrop conveniently arrived to make those photos all the more stunning.
Hemmed in by the prescribed itinerary of our backcountry permit, there was no energy spent on deciding how far to hike today. That much had already been decided, and with it came a kind of freedom: a freedom to enjoy to the fullest the limited number of miles we had to cover. With only one major ascent up and over Triple Divide Pass, there were plenty of opportunities to soak in the grandeur of Glacier, even though no single photo could do it justice.
The interplay between blue sky and clouds gave the ascent on impeccably constructed trail a quality of mystery, leaving to chance whether the clouds might creep in and pull a curtain across the landscape or melt away entirely. Underneath the flirtatious clouds, we watched a family of mountain goats graze their way along the upper slopes of green before leaving the fertile vegetation for a mind bending traverse of an impossibly steep rock face. The bleating of one of the tiniest goats echoed down and made us laugh at how similar it sounded to a crying baby.
The high point of the day did not disappoint. Standing sentinel over a pass of the same name, Triple Divide Peak is especially unique because the water on each of its three faces drains to three separate oceans—the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Arctic.
While Triple Divide Pass and its namesake peak waned behind us, a new valley—the Hudson Bay Creek valley—stretched out before us with fields of plump huckleberry to distract us. Cascades plunged off the escarpments on each side of the valley forming little ribbons of white that cut through the bright green foliage and rock that alternated between shades of red and gray.
Further down, the berries and forest ceded to an open, sunny expanse where trees used to have been. Stretching into the distance and up an adjoining valley, the remnants of a past forest fire were all that was left. Taking us back to memories of similarly devastated valleys last year, the wind would occasionally freshen enough to blow through the dead trees making them whistle like haunted wind chimes. If you listened closely enough, your imagination could fill the sound with almost anything—distant voices, shrieks of despair, the shouts of passengers on a roller coaster.
At the foot of the burn area, we arrived at our home for the evening on the shore of Red Eagle Lake. As we finished dinner, we watched a moose and its calf wade into the shallows of the lake in search of their own. Feeding on submerged vegetation of some kind, their heads would periodically disappear below the surface before emerging to munch and take in their surroundings. The day of visual overload was, at last, complete.