Saturday, September 15, 2007

Glacier Gunsight Trail

Well, another hike, another set of amazing vistas, but I wasn’t able to do the 2 night, 3 day hike on the Highline Trail because all the backcountry permits for that area were already booked. So, I fell back to my #2 choice, a similar trip on the trail to Gunsight Pass. I hiked to the Gunsight Lake Camp Area on Thursday, then hiked up to the Gunsight Pass on Friday. Finally, back to the trailhead on Going to the Sun Road today. This trail actually starts at the overlook of Jackson Glacier that I showed in a photo earlier and ends up about 4-5 miles closer. I took the following picture of the Glacier from the trail.

I actually was closer to it when I tried the Jackson Glacier trail from camp, but did not complete this trail to get a better view because it was very steep, overgrown and full of signs of bear activity. I did take this view from near my campsite. It shows Jackson Mountain on the left (the Glacier is on the other side of the mountain and not visible from here) and Gunsight Pass in the low saddle in the center. Gunsight Mountain is on the right.

The hike up to the pass was about 6 miles roundtrip, ascending about 1700 feet. By camping at Gunsight Lake both nights I avoided carrying the full pack up to the pass. As usual, the views were great from the pass. Here is the view looking west, of Ellen Wilson lake and various mountains in the background. On the last night I had several backpackers come over the pass and camp at Gunsight lake because a bear had been harassing them at Ellen Wilson, sniffing around the tents 2 nights in a row. On my hike back today I met a ranger who was putting up a sign closing that area. Again, I didn’t see a bear, but the other couple in the area told me an hour or so after I went to bed a black bear walked through our camp area.

Looking back to the east from the pass, you had a great view of Going to the Sun Mountain in the center and Fussilade Mountain in the foreground on the left. Matahpi Peak is the sharp triangle between the two.

On the trail coming back from the pass, I took this picture of the trail and Gunsight Lake below. My campsite was near the far end of the lake.

I saw some raptors, one of which I think might be a bald eagle, but it was too far away to get a good look or photo. I saw some more mountain goats and of course the usual collection of squirrels, marmots and birds. But, probably the most interesting wildlife were a herd of half dozen or so mule deer who grazed up to camp each night as we were having our evening meal. They were quite tame, venturing to within 10-20 feet of us. Here are a couple of them.

Also along the trail I took this photo of a sharp ridge that I believe is part of Dusty Star or Almost a Dog Mountain and this photo of Deadwood Falls.

Again, a spectacular sight around every corner, but I’m cutting back on the photos because they are so time consuming to load.

Tonight I’m enjoying a night with a real bed and shower, not to mention TV and WiFi, and plan to head back out to the park tomorrow. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate. So far, the weather has been great with hardly a cloud in the sky most of the time, but a front is supposed to come through on Monday and cool things down, as well as increase the chance of rain/snow for a couple of days. Depending on how things look I’ll check into the Highline Trail again and/or go back to Many Glacier for day hikes to Ptarmigan Tunnel or Grinnell Glacier.

1 comment:

Amanda W said...

These photos are fantastic!