Thursday, August 14, 2014

Our Last Hike in Glacier NP

Posted from Post Falls, ID     (Click on Pics to Enlarge)

Don't forget to click here to take a look at MANY additional pictures in our Google+ album for the Siyeh Pass Hike.


Trailhead
Our last hike in Glacier National Park was also our longest and most strenuous.  I'm sure that diehard hikers regularly make hikes of this distance, but for us, it was our longest ever.  We hiked the Siyeh Pass Trail, a distance of 10.3 miles from the trailhead at Piegan Pass to the end at Sunrift Gorge.  The distance really wasn't so bad, but the ascent from the start to the pass gains 2240 feet, then descends 3440 feet to the terminus of the trail at the Going to the Sun Road.

We hadn't hiked too far before it was apparent that the longer hike was going to be worth it.

The first few miles took us through trees and several stream crossings.

At approximately 3 miles into the hike, the trail exits the forest into an area called Preston Park.  This is a valley which contains many varieties of flowers.


         Here's a panorama view looking towards the Siyeh Pass.


As we near the end of Preston Park we see this small lake at the base of Mt. Siyeh.  Although it's August, there is still ice and snow surrounding the lake.

This is a closer look at the same lake.












Here's a short video on what we saw as we approached the final climb toward the Siyeh Pass.

                  (Best viewed in 1080p resolution and full screen.)



This photo can't properly capture the true view
Almost midway up the path leading to our destination at Siyeh Pass, the climb has been steep and it's time to take a break (and look around).

Finally, we arrive at Mt. Siyeh Pass.  We've climbed from 5840 feet to almost 8000 feet.  Many folks like to take a break and eat lunch at this point. 





Matahpi Peak Behind
We are no exception.  After lunch we have someone take an obligatory picture of us at the Pass.

Finally it was time to leave the Pass and begin our long descent toward the end at Sunrift Gorge.  You can see St. Mary Lake in the far background in the center of the picture.

The second half of the hike not only provides some beautiful landscapes, but also affords a view of Sexton Glacier.  A bit of research revealed some facts that I thought were disheartening.  In 1850, the area that now occupies Glacier NP contained 150 glaciers.  Today there are 25 active glaciers and by 2020, if warming continues as it has, there will be 0 glaciers left.  That's really sad for anyone who has yet to visit this beautiful area.

We've now descended about 3400 feet and are heading toward Sunrift Gorge.  The melting snows flowing from the peaks flow into St. Mary Lake after passing through the narrow Sunrift Gorge.

Just another mile and we arrive at the trail's end at the Going to the Sun Road.  We were both getting a bit tired around Mile 7.5 on this one.  I'm certainly glad we made this hike, however, as the disappointment I expressed in my last blog concerning the number of hikers on the trail was definitely not found on this trail. If you get a chance, this is certainly a hike to take.

We have one more very short blog coming which will complete our visit to Glacier NP.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!




20 comments:

  1. Another beautiful day in GNP, we've really enjoyed your tour, thanks for sharing.

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  2. Very sad stats about the glaciers. When Mother Nature is out of balance, the results are never good.

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    1. It really is sad when you think that the glaciers will be gone in a VERY short time. Anyone who is thinking of visiting this beautiful park should do it soon.

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  3. You're certainly wearing out your hiking boots with all these hikes! Great pictures, the area is so beautiful even I could get a good photo (maybe). :c)

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    1. Paul, it's hard to take a bad shot in this area. Actually, what's even harder is the temptation to put too many pics in the blog. That's why I've started linking to our Google+ albums to enable those so inclined to see more.

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  4. Very beautiful place! And some great pictures. Hats off to you two for your 10+ mile hike!

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  5. I looked at all of the shots and my favorite is the snow cave at the lake. Thanks again for taking me into the Glacier back country.

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    1. Larry it's like being in another world when you're up there and no one else is around.

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  6. Enjoyed your pics and tour of Glacier. It has been awhile since I was there but look forward to visiting again.

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    1. We stayed on the West Entrance side and did everything from there. On our next visit we're probably stay on the St. Mary side and branch out from there. Hopefully, we'll get up into Waterton and visit the Canadian part some.

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  7. Once again I've enjoyed being on your hike with you, thanks for all the pretty pictures.

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  8. What gorgeous country. You captured some great shots. I especially like the header shot. Looks like you got in some awesome hikes!

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  9. Thank you for the nice compliment. Karen took that one with her Samsung S5 phone.

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  10. Getting those legs in shape for pickle ball

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    1. I hope so, but the lack of actual playing is hurting us the most!

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  11. Hats off to you for a 10+ mile hike. That's amazing given the altitude climb. We were in Glacier on the west side in 2011 and heard the sad news about the loss of the glaciers. I just don't get why our government isn't slamming down hard on everything that contributes to global warming. It's very disheartening to me. Unfortunately I broke my ankle 2 days into our stay and got to do pretty much nothing so I'm planning a month at least for our next trip so we can see both sides. I guess since you comment on my blog you know that at least for me, there are never too many pictures. :-)

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  12. Hi, you 2...boy it wears me out just reading about that elevation change and walking it. Glad you got to do that final trail. We are currently in West Yellowstone until 9/1/14 and then are turning the Phaeton slowly toward Red Bay. Have an appointment with Brannon on 10/13... Keep the post coming

    Maynard

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    1. Say hi to Brannon for us. We've always been pleased with his work for us.

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