The capitol building in Pierre, the capital of South Dakota.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tulare, South Dakota.

Where are they going next? East towards Ontario.

Friday, June 26, 2020

This is why we came to Montana!

We woke up to blue skies and sunshine and it was forecast to stay that way all day.

There are a ton of great hiking trails in Glacier National Park. We wanted to do one that was away from the crowds and offered spectacular views. Hard to find one like that because the really good hikes are often also very crowded. And some are not even accessible for use yet. Ruth did some research and came across the Scalplock Mountain Lookout Trail.

We drove from West Glacier to the ranger station at the settlement of Essex. There, we found some parking for Sherman, and we set off to climb the mountain.


Driving to the trailhead.

A bit of a late start at about 10:45am. We figured this would be about a six hour hike, so still lots of daylight hours left. It's about 10 miles (16 kms) round trip, with a 3,000' elevation gain. It's a tough hike, which is why not many people do it!

Here we go!

We had to cross a rickety suspension bridge.

I bet that water is cold!

Scenery along the way.

Me!

I didn't get the focus quite right!
Make evening grosbeak.

This is the female version. Not so special.
(Yes, I know... in the human species, it is the female who is special!)

Starting to gain some altitude.

It doesn't take long for the trail to start to climb, and once it starts it does not give you a break. Uphill, one foot in front of the other for about 4.5 miles (7.2 kms). 

Looking down.

Fantastic scenery.

Much of the actual trail is in the forest though, so you really don't have many scenic vistas until you get to the top. The last half hour was really tough. We had already been doing steady uphill for 2 1/2 hours and then the trail got steep! 

It took us 3 hours to do the 5 miles (8 kms) to the top where we had some lunch!

And there to, we met Jake. He lives in the fire lookout tower at the top. I forgot to get a photo of him! Originally, there were 17 manned fire towers in and around Glacier National Park. Now, there are only 4, and Jake runs this one. He lives up here 10 days in a row, then takes 4 days off. And yes, he hikes this trail to work and carries a 50 lb pack with his supplies.

Here are the views he wakes up to every morning...



The scraggy peak is Mt. Saint Nicholas.




You are literally on top of the mountain, with 360 degree views. Fantastic.

Jake says he gets about 6-8 visitors every day during July and August. His girlfriend will hike up here for a couple of nights in early August, and last year his 71 year old father did the trip! His mother, the same age didn't quite make it and had to turn back.

We stayed at the top for about 45 minutes, chatting with Jake and enjoying the views.


Heading back down.


Yes, it was a steep slope!


This is why we came to Montana!

We arrived back at Sherman just before 4:30pm. So about 3 hours to go up, 45 minutes at the top, and then 2 hours to come back down. We saw 9 other people the entire time, including Jake.

We had done 10.1 miles (16.2 kms) with a 3,000' elevation gain. We were beat!

Hmm. From the bottom, it doesn't look so tough!

We drove an hour back to Whitefish and stayed in the Moose Lodge parking lot. Maybe today we will do a bike or kayak ride before leaving here and heading back towards Yellowstone.

Heading into Whitefish, Montana.

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14 comments:

  1. Wow! Now that's a picnic bench with a view and quite the reward for a tough hike well done. That guy's office view's incredible indeed.
    Maybe you might enjoy a little easy listening music from one of my original songs.
    https://soundcloud.com/mrdsee/january

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely one of our best picnic spot views!

      Jake has one of the best offices in the world!

      Beautiful music, we really enjoyed listening to it, you are very talented.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Kindly
      If you liked january you might also like june and/or december

      Delete
    3. I will check them out, I am assuming I just need to change the months on the URL that you sent.

      Delete
    4. Yes, if you just go to soundcloud.com/mrdsee you will get to the page with all the music I've posted. soundcloud is a place for people to post original compositions. Be it hobbyists like me to stars as big as Taylor Swift.

      Delete
    5. We will be sure to check some more of your music out! :-)

      Delete
  2. Can't you imagine the books Jake could write? Might not make the NYT bestsellers list but I'd read it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't sound like a lot happens up there for him, although we have no doubt that we would definitely have a few good stories to tell. :-)

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  3. Replies
    1. It sure is! We had been wanting to come to this part of Montana for a long time, we are so glad that we finally made it. :-)

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  4. It was a pleasure to meet you both! Thanks for coming up and chatting with me in my "front yard". Love your blog and safe travels!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And it was a pleasure to meet you too! We loved the hike, and we love your front yard and the backyard you really couldn't ask for better views to wake up too. Enjoy your summer up there as we are sure you will. :-)

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  5. Stunning! The hike looks absolutely amazing, and what a great vista at the top. Jake has a fine life up there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The view was amazing and so was the hike. It was a hard one but we have done harder but once we were at the top it was worth every step we took.

      Jake has an great life up there, especially in these weird times, it isn't hard to isolate when you are up there and the views are something to wake up to each and every day. :-)

      Delete

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