Sunday, March 27, 2016

Day 32: St. Mary, Montana to Somer’s Bay, Montana via Avalanche Lake and Costco.

Damn, it was cold this morning.  We didn’t wake up to rain though and that meant a hike was up and coming, although we needed to hustle because rain was supposed to be ugly later throughout the day.  The St. Mary Valley was the worst we had scene it smoke-wise.  It looked like something was holding the smoke inside the valley making visibility very poor.  I was happy we were leaving. 

By the time we hit East Glacier we had limited phone reception, some of the first in days.  I had one message on my phone.  My wife had…more.  There are definitely benefits to being out of cell phone contact.  On Highway 2 between East Glacier and West Glacier we came out of a mountain pass when my wife pointed down the road that something was on the right side.  That something was a bear. 

We pulled up within ten yards of the bear which had one cub in tow and one behind it munching on what seemed to be huckleberries.  My wife struggled to get my iPhone camera to work as the black bear calmly looked at her and lazily turned to walk back into the forest.  We continued west as our roadside attraction ended. 

We made the turn into West Glacier and headed for an old stomping grounds, Avalanche Lake.  It was relatively early and the traffic was light as we wound our way along Lake McDonald and into the center of the park.  Avalanche Lake is well traveled but we  took along bear spray anyway and hiked quickly up to the lake, only to find that many small groups were already there.  Bummer.  But fear not the crowds because an extra half-mile brought us along the west side of Avalanche Lake to a more secluded location and the perfect place for a mid-morning snack stop.  We had been to Avalanche last year and there was a noticable lack of snow along the ridges that fed the lake.  This meant that the number of waterfalls going into the water was cut down about about a third; still impressive but a tad bit of a let down since we saw the lake last.

We decided to head into Kalispell and have our first Costco trip in a long while.  After snagging some supplies and wolfing down a Costco dog we drove south to Somer’s Bay and a series of cabins there were across the road from Flathead Lake.  The cabins were very nice but the road noise was a definate minus.  We’re thinking of maybe hiking some local trails or maybe even hitting a beach tomorrow for a picnic.

Trails hiked:  Avalanche Lake, Trail of the Cedars

Miles hiked: 5.6

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