Friday, December 1, 2017

My Hiking Journal - Entry 7

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - Fish Lake - 6 miles out and back

Perhaps the most notable aspect of this hike is what occurred AFTER our jaunt - on August 10, lightning ignited a forest fire later named the Sprague Fire.  Ultimately, flames consumed sections of the very paths we had trod.  But let me start from the beginning.

The trail hugs Snyder Creek for a couple of miles, climbing steadily through dense forests, with cedars, hemlocks and larches of the lower elevations giving way to white pines and Douglas firs.
Birds-eye view of Snyder Creek; decimated in September by raging flames
Despite the thick woodland, you can catch a glimpse of Lake McDonald at one point during the ascent.


Fire crept close to left-hand side 
of this bridge
We crossed three streams, all running fast with continuing spring melt.  How fortunate that hand-hewn bridges spanned each one!


The last mile winds through a mossy forest to the lake.  Did you know that two trees rubbing together can sound a lot like a grizzly? I became Snow White in the scene when she is lost in the wood and imagines monsters with creepy eyes, and willow branches that snatch at her clothes.  Bear spray in hand and senses on high alert, we finally relaxed when we arrived at the lake with no bear in sight.  (On the return, we heard the same sound and had a good laugh at ourselves!)
Fish Lake, looking north
The lake is set in a small forested pocket in Snyder Ridge, from which only the surrounding woodland can be seen.
Fish Lake, looking west; forest at west end of lake was consumed in the fire

Perhaps the depth of the forest explains the quantity of beaver chomping near the lake, although a lodge was not visible.  Given the fire, I wonder about the fortunes of the beaver and other wildlife in the vicinity.


Spousal Unit and Number One Son (#1S) tried their hands at fishing (it IS called FISH Lake), with no luck.  Perhaps the cold front that had passed through the night before put the trout off their appetites.   A few snow flakes (more akin to miniscule ice balls) fell during our time at the lake.  We had not planned for frigid temperatures; the forecast earlier in the week called for better weather.  Memo to us!


As we returned to the trail head, we met a crew clearing the 'ditches' designed to drain water off the trail. Looking closely in one, we spied a frog that we later identified as a Pacific Chorus Frog.

To top off our day, we popped in to Lake McDonald Lodge, a short walk from the trail head.  The historic lodge is a 3 1/2-story structure built in 1913; in 1987 it was designated a National Historic Landmark as one of the nation's finest examples of large-scale Swiss chalet architecture.  The lobby is a large, open space that extends to the third story.  A massive fireplace anchors one side of the lobby, with its concrete floor scored in a flagstone pattern and inscribed with messages in several American Indian languages.
Clockwise from left: chandelier in lobby; huckleberry lemonade; Jammer touring bus; Salmon pate platter;
public jigsaw puzzle in the lobby; flowers on back patio
So back to the fire.  As shown on the bulletin board below, created after the fire was (mostly) extinguished, Sprague Fire gobbled up 16,982 acres of Glacier National Park and $7M of resources.  At times, the smoke across the valley reduced visibility to less than a mile.  The Lodge, located a hair's breadth from one of the leading edges of the fire, was closed several weeks before the normal end of the season due to smoke and for the safety of employees and guests.  The Lodge survived the conflagration, and it was truly a blessing that no firefighters were harmed during the 7 weeks spent combatting the fire.   I am glad we had the opportunity to hike this trail before the fire - it will be a long time before it looks the same, or is even accessible.  To this day, all of the trails in this section of the park are closed, and it is unknown when they will open again due to ongoing danger from damaged trees and clogged trails.

Linking to
Mosaic Monday

Nature Notes

Outdoor Wednesday
Outdoor Wednesday logo

Saturday Critters

Skywatch Friday


34 comments:

  1. I'm glad you were able to cross the bridges in time! I have a friend who was in fire country last summer and ended up having trouble breathing and was life-flighted in a helicopter. Sounds exciting, though she didn't enjoy the experience!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, my goodness, firefighting is one of the most difficult and exhausting jobs! Seven weeks ...I wonder (hope) they had reinforcements. My son in law began as a firefighter. Do you realize they hardly sleep when on the job - and their gear is so heavy! Kudos to them! Love your capture of the foaming water. Thank you for visiting my blog!

    By the way, am inviting you to link with a photo to the meme/challenge All Seasons (the title of these posts always begin with "All Seasons ..." The link is open from Sunday through Wednesday evening 7pm, Pacific time. It is not only about season in nature, but any event like birthdays, feasts, personal experience during the season. Sharon, commenting above is a faithful, participant. Hope to see you there!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds like a great hike! Bears spook me a bit... I think I would have been on high alert too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fires were terrible last summer in many places. We had lots of smoke to contend with but were very lucky none of the fires were near our home. We have a great group of guys called the BOMB Squad (Bloody Old Men's Brigade). They maintain trails and build bridges in the backcountry for everyone to use and enjoy. - Margy

    ReplyDelete
  5. A wonderful hike. Such a shame that so much pristine land has been decimated by fires this past year.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello, Glacier is one of my favorite parks. We stayed near the Lake in the smaller Motor Inn. It was great being near the lake. Your hike looks awesome, I have never fished before. The frog is cute. The wildfires are so scary, I hate to see anyone hurt and the damage to the parks and lodges. I am glad you were safe. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day and weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The fires this Fall were absolutely devastating! It was a really bad year for them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's a beautiful hike and lovely photos.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow! Glad you made it through this beautiful area before the fire rolled through. It's not surprising that the area is still closed. So many acres...
    Love that lobby and those chandeliers. Cool looking frog. We still need to get to Glacier one day. Happy December to you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I enjoyed you true story, commentary abd the photos. You had a close shave buy my, waht terrible destruction the fire caused. Interesting how tyrees rubbing together sound like bears. Must remember that next time I'm out for walk in the Yorkshire Dales!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love it, a walk in the mountains in the snow, beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  12. ...thanks for taking me along, this looks like my beloved Adirondack Mountains.

    ReplyDelete
  13. looking at such beautiful images, it was difficult to think that they were impacted by a fire. the mosaics are well done, a great way to display a lot of pictures!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. OMG! I had to laugh about the two trees sounding like a Grizzly. It is amazing how when one is hiking in Montana, everything can sound like a Grizzly!....LOL Oh I love the Jammer buses and yes, have taken one to the top of Logan Pass. In fact, we love them so much, hubby made a model of one from scratch! It is classic. Great photos! Happy Holiday Season, commence the holiday music! :) Kit

    ReplyDelete
  15. Although I loved going on your walk with you, the reality of nearly 17k acres being destroyed made me feel sick. I, too, am a nature lover so the thought of this is daunting, although I know that the forest re-generates (we're living proof)...:)JP

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dearest Angie; First of all, I enjoyed all the pictures from your walk enlarging them♪ Sorry for the devastating fire; and made me also feel worried about the beaver and other wildlife. My next door neighbor's couple who are about the same age of ours enjoys mountain climbing sometime. Nature enrich our minds, doesn't it♡♡♡
    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend, xoxo Miyako*

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm very glad you got to hike the trail before the fire and that the lodge and firemen were not harmed. It's sad to see places like this burn but many times it is nature that is the cause. I love to fish in really cold water...but it's more fun to catch something! Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh my gosh -- that was devastating news about the fires in Montana (and elsewhere) last summer, but how much more when it is pretty much your own backyard! I'm glad you were able to hike it before (and your pictures are a poignant memory). Glad that nobody was hurt and that the lodge survived. Nature will come back eventually.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for sharing great fun of your hike
    Happy you dropped by my blog today

    Muchđź’–love

    ReplyDelete
  20. I enjoyed the photos of your beautiful hike. The terrible fires this summer were heartbreaking. I glad you were safe.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Glad you enjoyed hiking in that beautiful terrain. It sounds chilly, though. The fires this year were devastating in our province - one of the worst years ever. So much forest burned in so many places.
    I nodded as you described the alertness you feel out in the woods. I'm a bit of a nervous Nellie, too, on high alert most of the time!

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a lovely hike and great area.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Dear Angie - You were so fortunate you could hike the trail before the fire. Thanks to this post, we can have a glimpse into the way as it used to be. It’s so frightening that many wild fire broke worldwide this year. Not only humans but also countless many species must have lost their habitat.

    Yoko

    ReplyDelete
  24. Living on this side of the pond I had not heard about this devastating fire, so sad to hear about the loss of forest land and wildlife. The Lodge does look like a wonderful place to stay I'm glad that it survived the blaze.

    ReplyDelete
  25. your hike journal made me long for spring :) Not christmas.
    You had a beautiful place to hike in.

    ReplyDelete
  26. What an awful tragedy … this terrible fire. Precious earth is getting hotter and hotter and humankind has something to do with it. Glad you enjoyed it when you did, though, and hopefully it will return to its original beauty. I wonder about the animals.

    ReplyDelete
  27. What lovely images! I wish I had more time for hiking. Soon. Just need the kids to get a little older. Have a fantastic week!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Such a beautiful description as if I was hiking/trekking. Also, lovely pictures. Hmm...I don't know how bear sounds though we get bears in our garden :-).

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you for sharing your hike. We have been to Glazier and loved it. So sad to see what devestation the fires cause.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks for taking us along! I'm not able to do such hikes any more.

    ReplyDelete
  31. The Montana mountains certainly are wild and beautiful. We were always so proud of our Colorado Rockies, but the state is filling up with people and so are our mountain parks. Thank you sharing your beautiful hike.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Angie,
    Just stopping by to let you know that there's a post up on my blog about my Advent Calendar.
    Hope your day is going well!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hello Angie...I am glad you got to see it before the fire. The fires in this country are just devastating for humans and wildlife....Terrible...Michelle

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...