Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Glacier National Park - Visiting Two Medicine

We are finding that the eastern section of Glacier National Park is spread over many miles and many entrances into the park. After two long days of road trips, we decided to stay closer to home on Patti's last full day of visiting us. So we drove the short 12 miles to the Two Medicine entrance of the national park. No, we don't know where this entrance got its unusual name, but we're assuming it had something to do with the local Indian tribes. Our first stop was at the Running Eagle Falls trail head. A short hike brought us to a beautiful, but curious sight.

The other name for this waterfall is "Trick Falls." That's because instead of cascading from the top of the mountain face, these tricky falls cascade out of the middle of the mountain.

True to his normally abnormal hiking behavior, Mark climbed up and over the falls to find the source of this plumbing problem. In the picture below, he's standing at the top of the picture, right in the center where we would expect to see the water cascading from the top. It's hard to see him, with his tan pants and navy shirt, even with his arms raised high. 

Another hiker told us he had seen mountain goats on the trail to Appistoki Falls, and we really wanted Patti to see some of Glacier's wildlife. So we hiked up to another waterfall. We were a little disappointed to only see water coming over the top of a cliff--but no goats. We did see nice views of the mountains that frame this section of the park. We found out the big one in the center is Rising Wolf Mountain, flanked by Flinsch Peak to the left and Spot Mountain on the right.

We got that information from an artist on the side of the trail. She was just starting a watercolor while she waited on friends that were hiking higher on the mountain.

Patti was also waiting for us at a lower spot, so we headed down as well. We drove further into the park, glad to find a parking place at Two Medicine Lake in the middle of the morning. We have found that most of the Glacier National Parking lots are full by this time of the day. But Two Medicine is a less-visited part of this popular park. For some reason, that makes it more endearing to us. They have kayaks for rent, but we're planning to bring our boat back here before we leave the area.

Each one of the Glacier National Park entrances has a signature lake. We have also figured out that there is a pricey boat ride to see those lakes from the water. The boat for Two Medicine Lake was pulled into the dock, waiting for the next sailing time.

The artist on the mountain had told us her secret place for finding moose. So we followed her advice and started on the south shore trail around the lake.

Sure enough, we found the shallow ponds along the trail that look like a perfect spot for a moose to hang out. But once again, the wildlife are playing hard to get.

The only evidence of wildlife we saw were the beaver lodges in the pond. The beavers were obviously working on this log for another addition to their home. We could see all the chips around the tree, showing the size of bites they usually take.

Mark really wanted to finish gnawing that tree down, but he didn't seem to have to right chewing technique.

This trail took us to our third waterfall of the day--Aster Falls. After admiring it from the bottom, Mark scrambled up to the top. He's perched just left of the top of the falls.

Denisa followed him to the top, after he convinced her that the views were worth the climb. She would have to agree. Patti still isn't sure about these crazy Engelmans and their crazy hiking habits. So she made a great point of reference at the bottom of the waterfall in her bright orange top.

We were hoping to show Patti some of the grand wildlife that Glacier is famous for, but all we found today were the little guys. The chipmunks are busy harvesting in preparation for the cold winter ahead. Notice the pouch under his neck is getting full.

Likewise, the jowl pouches were full on this ground squirrel as well. We didn't do any of the steep hiking into the high mountains where most of the bigger animals hang out, so we're afraid this is the best Glacier wildlife Patti will get to see.

We don't have any information about this interesting plant picture of the day. Denisa just thinks it looks like a character out of a Doctor Seuss book. She's pretty sure this plant was the inspiration for the good doctor's Hinkle-Horn Honkers.

Speaking of flowers, we also found pretty ones in front of the East Glacier Lodge. After we left Two Medicine Lake, we headed towards home. This lodge is walking distance from our campground, and its entrance is lined with a beautiful flower bed.

We've visited five of the old lodges in Glacier Park, and this is another favorite. It is less ornate and doesn't have the grand lake views that most of them have. But the three-story-tall Douglas fir logs that support the lobby structure give it a special rustic feel.

Mark liked that the bark was left intact when they built this lodge in 1913.

Since we stayed close to home today, we actually got back before dark. But we still got in a good amount of steps. While Patti has been visiting, we have hiked around 9 miles each day. We've kept her pretty busy during her visit. But alas, it has come to an end. The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast and made the trip back to the western side of the park and the airport. When we stopped here on her arrival, the skies were foggy and it rained on us. So it was good to see Lake McDonald with blue skies. 

But as we look closer, we can see that the smoke is still rising from a fire inside the park. We knew that there was a fire burning in the Sperry Chalet area of Glacier National Park, and it looks like it is still not contained this morning.

We're glad to report that Patti had a smooth trip back to Oklahoma. We hope she had a good time wandering His wonders with us!

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