Of all the amazing places I’ve been, this is at the top of my list, and I was privileged to hike the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park again after eighteen years. It’s almost an 11-mile hike, but Jackie, Dayna and I were up for the challenge! The Park is still very crowded, and it took two shuttles with enough empty seats to get us to Logan Pass to start this hike, having left the car at the downhill finish of our hike. The weather was exquisite!
The crowds along the trail eventually spread out and thinned. We enjoyed plenty of heavenly moments entirely to ourselves. Hard to find words to describe the beauty, feeling like we were on top of the world. It seemed more springtime in the Rockies rather than mid-August. The flowers put on a show like I’ve never seen in the Park. Columbia ground squirrels mingled with the blossoms.
Paintbrush, gaillardia, twin berry, gentian, columbine, huckleberry, monkey flower
Waterfalls trickled and giggled and dampened the trail, smoothing rocks and watering the happy flowers.
Few places are this untouched. The mountain goats and one longhorn sheep we saw showed no concern for us at all. The promised thunderstorm moved in behind low clouds that changed the scenery and cooled our hike at about the midway point. We were prepared for rain and didn’t mind it much; it stayed calm and cooled down nicely.
By the time we were ready for a break, the weather cleared to show us our mountaintop destination. The Chalet perched above the tree line and we felt much as those 100 years ago must have felt after the long hike from the Pass. The Chalet, along with eight others, was built by the Great Northern Railroad between 1914 and 1915 to encourage tourism. The chalets were spaced to be a day’s hike or horseback ride apart. Three stone chalets are all that are left.
No better place to share lunch. Someday I’d love to stay at the chalet. It was painful to leave.
There was a bittersweet surprise in the main hall of the Chalet – on a chalkboard, a quote of Robin Williams. He’d been shooting What Dreams May Come and had toured the Park in 1998. “If it isn’t God’s backyard, he certainly lives nearby.” We couldn’t have summed it up better ourselves!