Home is a relative term I guess since every time I'm in Glacier I feel at home but - I'm home.
It was a long, tiring, amazing, wonderful, fabulous trip. On Saturday morning I got a late start on the trail because of the shuttle schedule so I didn't start hiking until 11:00 but the trail to Gunsight Campground was an easy one and since I didn't have a schedule I took my time.
When I got to the first suspension bridge I felt like a kid again. I ran to it and immediately started bouncing up and down. Hehe, that was fun!
With views like this why would you hurry?
My first side trip was to Florence Falls. Unfortunately the photos I took just don't do it justice. It's taller and more beautiful than I was able to capture but it was sure fun playing in the water. It was somewhere around here that I lost my iPod - oh well, I wasn't going back for it. A couple of hours later I arrived at Gunsight Lake where I camped for the first night. Like all of Glacier that I've seen it is beautiful. Oh, and see that saddle in the middle of the mountains (the gunsight)? See that peak to the left? That's my first stop the next day.
I managed to get an early start the next morning (the potential bear patrolling the campground going "whuw, whuw, whuw" may have helped prompt my early start) and I made it over Gunsight Pass.
As I was coming down the pass to Lake Ellen Wilson me and Mr. Bear met up for a brief chat.
I said "hey bear" over and over again and he looked up as if to say "yeah, what do you want?" (if you click it you can see him looking at me and yeah the photo is slightly out of focus - my hand was shaking).
So I backed up and gave him some space (it's rude to crowd the bears in Glacier Park - and dangerous). I watched him for about 10 minutes, all the time just letting him know that I was there but that I wasn't a threat and wasn't going to push (it feels weird to be lower on the food chain than something else) but eventually managed to get a few feet closer for another photo as he went back to digging roots.
Believe me, this was as close as I was going to get. And when I say a few feet closer I literally mean a few feet. There is no way I was taking the chance of crowding a grizzly bear. That is foolish and stupid hiking. It would have taken him all of about five seconds to cover the distance between us if he wanted to.
It was such a privilege to see this guy and I enjoyed just standing there watching him. He eventually wandered down the hill and as I came down Gunsight Pass I was able to watch him swim across Lake Ellen Wilson and climb out on the shore below. That was sooooo cool!
I finished that day by crossing Lincoln Pass. Boy, the Sperry Chalet roof was a beautiful and welcome sight.
I have a lot of great photos of Sperry Chalet but am including just the one. If you want to see more then you have to make the hike ;) It is so worth it. The people who operate, manage and work at Sperry Chalet do an incredible job of making everyone feel welcome and comfortable and I dare you to stay there and not have it become a part of you. I am already planning my trip for next year.
When I took this photo I was missing it already. My last night was spent lounging and remembering all the great things about this trip. A few bug bites, a few blisters, some sore shoulders and knees but I can't wait to go back.